[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a severe congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) caused by two missense mutations in the gene encoding the muscle specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MUSK). The identified MUSK mutations M605I and A727V are both located in the kinase domain of MuSK. Intracellular microelectrode recordings and microscopy studies of the neuromuscular junction conducted in an anconeus muscle biopsy revealed decreased miniature endplate potential amplitudes, reduced endplate size and simplification of secondary synaptic folds, which were consistent with postsynaptic deficit. The study also showed a striking reduction of the endplate potential quantal content, consistent with additional presynaptic failure. Expression studies in MuSK deficient myotubes revealed that A727V, which is located within the catalytic loop of the enzyme, caused severe impairment of agrin-dependent MuSK phosphorylation, aggregation of acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) and interaction of MuSK with Dok-7, an essential intracellular binding protein of MuSK. In contrast, M605I, resulted in only moderate impairment of agrin-dependent MuSK phosphorylation, aggregation of AChRs and interaction of MuSK with Dok-7. There was no impairment of interaction of mutants with either the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein, Lrp4 (a co-receptor of agrin) or with the mammalian homolog of the Drosophila tumorous imaginal discs (Tid1). Our findings demonstrate that missense mutations in MUSK can result in a severe form of CMS and indicate that the inability of MuSK mutants to interact with Dok-7, but not with Lrp4 or Tid1, is a major determinant of the pathogenesis of the CMS caused by MUSK mutations.
Human Molecular Genetics 04/2010; 19(12):2370-9. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While many functional elements of the meiotic process are well characterized in model organisms, the genetic basis of most of the natural phenotypic variation observed in meiotic pathways has not been determined. To begin to address this issue, we characterized patterns of polymorphism and divergence in the protein-coding regions of 33 genes across 31 lines of Drosophila melanogaster and 6 lines of Drosophila simulans. We sequenced genes known to be involved in chromosome segregation, recombination, DNA repair, and related heterochromatin binding. As expected, we found several of the genes to be highly conserved, consistent with purifying selection. However, a subset of genes showed patterns of polymorphism and divergence typical of other types of natural selection. Moreover, several intriguing differences between the two Drosophila lineages were evident: along the D. simulans lineage we consistently found evidence of adaptive protein evolution, whereas along the D. melanogaster lineage several loci exhibited patterns consistent with the maintenance of protein variation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many patients with the limb-girdle variant of congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) possess mutations in the human Dok-7 gene (DOK7). We identified six unrelated CMS patients with DOK7 mutations. Two patients, one mildly and the other moderately affected, were homozygous for the previously described 1263insC mutation. The common 1124_1127dupTGCC mutation was detected in the other four patients, whose clinical phenotypes range from mildly to severely affected. This striking phenotypic heterogeneity found both within and between mutational classes is made more compelling by data from our electrophysiological studies and electron microscopy of the neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Indeed, several aspects of the physiological and morphometric data do not correlate with genotype or severity of clinical phenotype. Overall, our study corroborates the findings of others and provides an additional demonstration of the considerable phenotypic variability associated with CMS due to DOK7 mutations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA sequence surveys in yeast and humans suggest that the forces shaping telomeric polymorphism and divergence are distinctly more dynamic than those in the euchromatic, gene-rich regions of the chromosomes. However, the generality of this pattern across outbreeding, multicellular eukaryotes has not been determined. To characterize the structure and evolution of Drosophila telomeres, we collected and analyzed molecular population genetics data from the X chromosome subtelomere in 58 lines of North American Drosophila melanogaster and 29 lines of African D. melanogaster. We found that Drosophila subtelomeres exhibit high levels of both structural and substitutional polymorphism relative to linked euchromatic regions. We also observed strikingly different patterns of variation in the North American and African samples. Moreover, our analyses of the polymorphism data identify a localized hotspot of recombination in the most-distal portion of the X subtelomere. While the levels of polymorphism decline sharply and in parallel with rates of crossing over per physical length over the distal first euchromatic megabase pairs of the X chromosome, our data suggest that they rise again sharply in the subtelomeric region (approximately 80 kbp). These patterns of historical recombination and geographic differentiation indicate that, similar to yeast and humans, Drosophila subtelomeric DNA is evolving very differently from euchromatic DNA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of resequencing microarrays for screening multiple, candidate disease loci is a promising alternative to conventional capillary sequencing. We describe the performance of a custom resequencing microarray for mutational analysis of Congenital Myasthenic Syndromes (CMSs), a group of disorders in which the normal process of neuromuscular transmission is impaired.
Our microarray was designed to assay the exons and flanking intronic regions of 8 genes linked to CMSs. A total of 31 microarrays were hybridized with genomic DNA from either individuals with known CMS mutations or from healthy controls. We estimated an overall microarray call rate of 93.61%, and we found the percentage agreement between the microarray and capillary sequencing techniques to be 99.95%. In addition, our microarray exhibited 100% specificity and 99.99% reproducibility. Finally, the microarray detected 22 out of the 23 known missense mutations, but it failed to detect all 7 known insertion and deletion (indels) mutations, indicating an overall sensitivity of 73.33% and a sensitivity with respect to missense mutations of 95.65%.
Overall, our microarray prototype exhibited strong performance and proved highly efficient for screening genes associated with CMSs. Until indels can be efficiently assayed with this technology, however, we recommend using resequencing microarrays for screening CMS mutations after common indels have been first assayed by capillary sequencing.