[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B is caused by mutations in dynamin 2. We studied the clinical, haematological, electrophysiological and sural nerve biopsy findings in 34 patients belonging to six unrelated dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B families in whom a dynamin 2 mutation had been identified: Gly358Arg (Spain); Asp551_Glu553del; Lys550fs (North America); Lys558del (Belgium); Lys558Glu (Australia, the Netherlands) and Thr855_Ile856del (Belgium). The Gly358Arg and Thr855_Ile856del mutations were novel, and in contrast to the other Charcot-Marie-Tooth-related mutations in dynamin 2, which are all located in the pleckstrin homology domain, they were situated in the middle domain and proline-rich domain of dynamin 2, respectively. We report the first disease-causing mutation in the proline-rich domain of dynamin 2. Patients with a dynamin 2 mutation presented with a classical Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, which was mild to moderately severe since only 3% of the patients were wheelchair-bound. The mean age at onset was 16 years with a large variability ranging from 2 to 50 years. Interestingly, in the Australian and Belgian families, which carry two different mutations affecting the same amino acid (Lys558), Charcot-Marie-Tooth cosegregated with neutropaenia. In addition, early onset cataracts were observed in one of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth families. Our electrophysiological data indicate intermediate or axonal motor median nerve conduction velocities (NCV) ranging from 26 m/s to normal values in four families, and less pronounced reduction of motor median NCV (41-46 m/s) with normal amplitudes in two families. Sural nerve biopsy in a Dutch patient with Lys558Glu mutation showed diffuse loss of large myelinated fibres, presence of many clusters of regenerating myelinated axons and fibres with focal myelin thickenings--findings very similar to those previously reported in the Australian family. We conclude that dynamin 2 mutations should be screened in the autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy families with intermediate or axonal NCV, and in patients with a classical mild to moderately severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, especially when Charcot-Marie-Tooth is associated with neutropaenia or cataracts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influx of Ca(2+) ions through alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors contributes to neuronal damage in stroke, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS. The Ca(2+) permeability of AMPA receptors is largely determined by the glutamate receptor 2 (GluR2) subunit, receptors lacking GluR2 being permeable to Ca(2+) ions. We identified a difference in GluR2 expression in motor neurons from two rat strains, resulting in a difference in vulnerability to AMPA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo. Astrocytes from the ventral spinal cord were found to mediate this difference in GluR2 expression in motor neurons. The presence of ALS-causing mutant superoxide dismutase 1 in astrocytes abolished their GluR2-regulating capacity and thus affected motor neuron vulnerability to AMPA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity. These results reveal a mechanism through which astrocytes influence neuronal functioning in health and disease.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2007; 104(37):14825-30. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review summarizes the genetic advances of hereditary sensory neuropathies and hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies, and provides information on phenotype-genotype correlation and on possible underlying pathomechanisms.
Hereditary sensory neuropathies, also known as hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies, are a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders. These disorders are characterized by prominent sensory loss with acro-mutilating complications and a variable degree of motor and autonomic disturbances. Based on age at onset, clinical features and mode of inheritance, these disorders have originally been subdivided into five types. The identification of eight loci and six disease-causing genes for this group of disorders, however, has shown that this present classification has to be refined.
This review will discuss each of the different loci and genes of these disorders, showing glimpses into a possible underlying pathomechanism leading to the degeneration of sensory and autonomic neurons.
Current Opinion in Neurology 11/2006; 19(5):474-80. · 5.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in mitofusin 2 (MFN2) have been reported in Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT2) families. To study the distribution of mutations in MFN2 we screened 323 families and isolated patients with distinct CMT phenotypes. In 29 probands, we identified 22 distinct MFN2 mutations, and 14 of these mutations have not been reported before. All mutations were located in the cytoplasmic domains of the MFN2 protein. Patients presented with a classical but rather severe CMT phenotype, since 28% of them were wheelchair-dependent. Some had additional features as optic atrophy. Most patients had an early onset and severe disease status, whereas a smaller group experienced a later onset and milder disease course. Electrophysiological data showed in the majority of patients normal to slightly reduced nerve conduction velocities with often severely reduced amplitudes of the compound motor and sensory nerve action potentials. Examination of sural nerve specimens showed loss of large myelinated fibres and degenerative mitochondrial changes. In patients with a documented family history of CMT2 the frequency of MFN2 mutations was 33% indicating that MFN2 mutations are a major cause in this population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy with visual impairment due to optic atrophy has been designated as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type VI (HMSN VI). Reports of affected families have indicated autosomal dominant and recessive forms, but the genetic cause of this disease has remained elusive.
Here, we describe six HMSN VI families with a subacute onset of optic atrophy and subsequent slow recovery of visual acuity in 60% of the patients. Detailed clinical and genetic studies were performed.
In each pedigree, we identified a unique mutation in the gene mitofusin 2 (MFN2). In three families, the MFN2 mutation occurred de novo; in two families the mutation was subsequently transmitted from father to son indicating autosomal dominant inheritance.
MFN2 is a mitochondrial membrane protein that was recently reported to cause axonal CMT type 2A. It is intriguing that MFN2 shows functional overlap with optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), the protein underlying the most common form of autosomal dominant optic atrophy, and mitochondrial encoded oxidative phosphorylation components as seen in Leber's hereditary optic atrophy. We conclude that autosomal dominant HMSN VI is caused by mutations in MFN2, emphasizing the important role of mitochondrial function for both optic atrophies and peripheral neuropathies.
Annals of Neurology 03/2006; 59(2):276-81. · 11.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed differential gene expression profiling in the peripheral nervous system by comparing the transcriptome of sensory neurons with the transcriptome of lower motor neurons. Using suppression subtractive cDNA hybridization, we identified 5 anonymous transcripts with a predominant expression in sensory neurons. We determined the gene structures and predicted the functional protein domains. The 4930579P15Rik gene encodes for a novel inhibitor of protein phosphatase-1 and 9030217H17Rik was found to be the mouse gene synaptopodin. We performed in situ hybridization for all genes in mouse embryos, and found expression predominantly in the primary class of sensory neurons. Expression of 4930579P15Rik and synaptopodin was restricted to craniospinal sensory ganglia. Neither synaptopodin, nor any known family member of 4930579P15Rik, has ever been described in sensory neurons. The identification of protein domains and expression patterns allows further functional analysis of these novel genes in relation to the development and biology of sensory neurons.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 12/2005; 30(3):316-25. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alpha-tectorin (encoded by Tecta) is a component of the tectorial membrane, an extracellular matrix of the cochlea. In humans, the Y1870C missense mutation in TECTA causes a 50- to 80-dB hearing loss. In transgenic mice with the Y1870C mutation in Tecta, the tectorial membrane's matrix structure is disrupted, and its adhesion zone is reduced in thickness. These abnormalities do not seriously influence the tectorial membrane's known role in ensuring that cochlear feedback is optimal, because the sensitivity and frequency tuning of the mechanical responses of the cochlea are little changed. However, neural thresholds are elevated, neural tuning is broadened, and a sharp decrease in sensitivity is seen at the tip of the neural tuning curve. Thus, using Tecta(Y1870C/+) mice, we have genetically isolated a second major role for the tectorial membrane in hearing: it enables the motion of the basilar membrane to optimally drive the inner hair cells at their best frequency.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To reveal the spectrum of genes that are modulated in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type 1A (CMT1A), which is due to overexpression of the gene coding for the peripheral myelin protein 22 (pmp22), we performed a cDNA microarray experiment with cDNA from sciatic nerves of a rat model of the disease. In homozygous pmp22 overexpressing animals, we found a significant down-regulation of 86 genes, while only 23 known genes were up-regulated, suggesting that the increased dosage of pmp22 induces a general down-regulation of gene expression in peripheral nerve tissue. Classification of the modulated genes into functional categories leads to the identification of some pathways altered by overexpression of pmp22. In particular, a selective down-regulation of the ciliary neurotrophic factor transcript and of genes coding for proteins involved in cell cycle regulation, for cytoskeletal components and for proteins of the extracellular matrix, was observed. Cntf expression was further studied by real-time PCR and ELISA technique in pmp22 transgenic sciatic nerves, human CMT1A sural nerve biopsies, and primary cultures of transgenic Schwann cells. According to the results of cDNA microarray analysis, a down-regulation of cntf, both at the mRNA and protein level, was found in all the conditions tested. These results are relevant to reveal the molecular function of PMP22 and the pathogenic mechanism of CMT1A. In particular, finding a specific reduction of cntf expression in CMT1A Schwann cells suggests that overexpression of pmp22 significantly affects the ability of Schwann cells to offer a trophic support to the axon, which could be a factor, among other, responsible for the development of axonal atrophy in human and experimental CMT1A.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 05/2005; 28(4):703-14. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of peripheral neuropathies. Different chromosomal loci have been linked with three autosomal dominant, 'intermediate' types of CMT: DI-CMTA, DI-CMTB and DI-CMTC. We refined the locus associated with DI-CMTB on chromosome 19p12-13.2 to 4.2 Mb in three unrelated families with CMT originating from Australia, Belgium and North America. After screening candidate genes, we identified unique mutations in dynamin 2 (DNM2) in all families. DNM2 belongs to the family of large GTPases and is part of the cellular fusion-fission apparatus. In transiently transfected cell lines, mutations of DNM2 substantially diminish binding of DNM2 to membranes by altering the conformation of the beta3/beta4 loop of the pleckstrin homology domain. Additionally, in the Australian and Belgian pedigrees, which carry two different mutations affecting the same amino acid, Lys558, CMT cosegregated with neutropenia, which has not previously been associated with CMT neuropathies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary sensory neuropathy type I (HSN I) is an autosomal dominant ulceromutilating disorder of the peripheral nervous system characterized by progressive sensory loss. HSN I locus maps to chromosome 9q22.1-22.3 and is caused by mutations in the gene coding for serine palmitoyltransferase long-chain base subunit 1 (SPTLC1). A novel missense mutation in exon 13 of the SPTLC1 gene (c.1160G-->C; p.G387A) in twin sisters with a severe HSN I phenotype is reported.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Slowed nerve-conduction velocities (NCVs) are a biological endophenotype in the majority of the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies (HMSN). Here, we identified a family with autosomal dominant segregation of slowed NCVs without the clinical phenotype of HMSN. Peripheral-nerve biopsy showed predominantly thinly myelinated axons. We identified a locus at 8p23 and a Thr109Ile mutation in ARHGEF10, encoding a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the Rho family of GTPase proteins (RhoGTPases). Rho GEFs are implicated in neural morphogenesis and connectivity and regulate the activity of small RhoGTPases by catalyzing the exchange of bound GDP by GTP. Expression analysis of ARHGEF10, by use of its mouse orthologue Gef10, showed that it is highly expressed in the peripheral nervous system. Our data support a role for ARHGEF10 in developmental myelination of peripheral nerves.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2003; 73(4):926-32. · 10.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2B (CMT2B) is clinically characterized by marked distal muscle weakness and wasting and a high frequency of foot ulcers, infections, and amputations of the toes because of recurrent infections. CMT2B maps to chromosome 3q13-q22. We refined the CMT2B locus to a 2.5-cM region and report two missense mutations (Leu129Phe and Val162Met) in the small GTP-ase late endosomal protein RAB7 which causes the CMT2B phenotype in three extended families and in three patients with a positive family history. The alignment of RAB7 orthologs shows that both missense mutations target highly conserved amino acid residues. RAB7 is ubiquitously expressed, and we found expression in sensory and motor neurons.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2003; 72(3):722-7. · 10.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary sensory neuropathies (HSNs) are rare disorders characterized by progressive distal sensory loss, predominantly affecting the lower limbs. Foot ulcers, severe skin and bone infections, arthropathy, and amputations are frequent and feared complications. Occasionally, patients complain of spontaneous shooting or lancinating pain. Autonomic fibers can be affected to a variable degree. Patients with HSN can also have severe distal weakness, and some HSN variants have therefore been classified among the hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies (HMSNs). Molecular genetic studies of autosomal dominant inherited neuropathies with prominent sensory loss and ulceromutilating features have assigned the genetic loci for HMSN type 2B (Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome type 2B) and HSN type 1 to chromosomes 3q13-22 and 9q22.1-22.3, respectively. However, some families with HSN have been excluded for linkage to these loci, suggesting further genetic heterogeneity. Recently, disease-causing mutations in the SPTLC1 gene have been identified in patients with HSN type 1. In this review, we discuss the hallmark features associated with the distinct genetic subtypes of autosomal dominant inherited HSN and provide genotype-phenotype correlations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently point mutations in the SPTLC1 subunit of serine palmitoyltransferase have been shown to cause the common form of dominant hereditary sensory neuropathy (HSN1). Serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) is a heterodimeric molecule made up of two subunits, SPTLC1 and SPTLC2. Twelve index patients from families with presumed genetic sensory neuropathies were screened for SPTLC2 mutations. These families comprised six multigenerational families, including two previously reported families not linked to the SPTLC1 locus on chromosome 9 and one multigenerational family with a complicated hereditary sensory neuropathy syndrome with associated palmar plantar keratosis, ataxia and spastic paraplegia. The remaining families included one consanguineous family with presumed recessive HSN with two affected siblings, one case of congenital sensory neuropathy and four sporadic cases with adult onset sensory neuropathy. No mutations in the SPTLC2 gene were found in any family. These results suggest that SPTLC2 mutations are not a common cause for genetic sensory neuropathies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Distal hereditary motor neuropathies (distal HMNs) are characterized by degeneration of anterior horn cells of the spinal cord resulting in muscle weakness and atrophy. Distal HMN type II is genetically linked to chromosome 12q24.3 and located within a 13 cM region flanked by D12S86 and D12S340. We previously excluded 5 positional and functional candidate genes for distal HMN II. Here, we report the exclusion of 12 additional candidate genes localized within the distal HMN II region; the genes include musashi (Drosophila) homolog 1 (MSI1), protein inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (PIN), peripherin (PRPH), tubulin alpha ubiquitous (K-ALPHA-1), tubulin alpha 3 (TUBA3), tubulin alpha 6 (TUBA6), splicing factor arginine/serine-rich 9 (SFRS9), U5 snRNP 100 kd (U5- 100K), putative chemokine receptor, GTP-binding protein (HM74), MondoA, cut (Drosophila)-like homeobox 2 (CUX2) and ADP-ribosylation factor 3 (ARF3).
Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System 07/2002; 7(2):87-95. · 2.50 Impact Factor