[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dominant optic atrophy (DOA) and axonal peripheral neuropathy (Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2, or CMT2) are hereditary neurodegenerative disorders most commonly caused by mutations in the canonical mitochondrial fusion genes OPA1 and MFN2, respectively. In yeast, homologs of OPA1 (Mgm1) and MFN2 (Fzo1) work in concert with Ugo1, for which no human equivalent has been identified thus far. By whole-exome sequencing of patients with optic atrophy and CMT2, we identified four families with recessive mutations in SLC25A46. We demonstrate that SLC25A46, like Ugo1, is a modified carrier protein that has been recruited to the outer mitochondrial membrane and interacts with the inner membrane remodeling protein mitofilin (Fcj1). Loss of function in cultured cells and in zebrafish unexpectedly leads to increased mitochondrial connectivity, while severely affecting the development and maintenance of neurons in the fish. The discovery of SLC25A46 strengthens the genetic overlap between optic atrophy and CMT2 while exemplifying a new class of modified solute transporters linked to mitochondrial dynamics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2D (CMT2D) is an autosomal dominant axonal peripheral neuropathy characterized by impaired motor and sensory function in the distal extremities. Mutations in the glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS) gene cause CMT2D. GARS is a member of the ubiquitously expressed aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (ARS) family and is responsible for charging tRNA with glycine. To date, thirteen GARS mutations have been identified in patients with CMT disease. While functional studies have revealed loss-of-function characteristics, only four GARS mutations have been rigorously studied. Here, we report the functional evaluation of nine CMT-associated GARS mutations in tRNA charging, yeast complementation, and subcellular localization assays. Our results demonstrate that impaired function is a common characteristic of CMT-associated GARS mutations. Additionally, one mutation previously associated with CMT disease (p.Ser581Leu) does not demonstrate impaired function, was identified in the general population, and failed to segregate with disease in two newly identified families with CMT disease. Thus, we propose that this variant is not a disease-causing mutation. Together, our data indicate that impaired function is a key component of GARS-mediated CMT disease and emphasize the need for careful genetic and functional evaluation before implicating a variant in disease onset.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Human Mutation 08/2014; 35(11). DOI:10.1002/humu.22681 · 5.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss-of-function mutations in the SH3 domain and tetratricopeptide repeats 2 (SH3TC2) gene cause autosomal recessive demyelinating Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT4C). The SH3TC2 protein has been implicated in promyelination signaling through axonal neuregulin-1 and the ERBB2 Schwann cell receptor. However, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of the SH3TC2 gene. We performed computational and functional analyses that revealed two cis-acting regulatory elements at SH3TC2-one at the promoter and one ∼150 kilobases downstream of the transcription start site. Both elements direct reporter gene expression in Schwann cells and are responsive to the transcription factor SOX10, which is essential for peripheral nervous system myelination. The downstream enhancer harbors a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that causes a ∼80% reduction in enhancer activity. The SNP resides directly within a predicted binding site for the transcription factor CREB, and we demonstrate that this regulatory element binds to CREB and is activated by CREB expression. Finally, forskolin induces Sh3tc2 expression in rat primary Schwann cells, indicating that SH3TC2 is a CREB target gene. These findings prompted us to determine if SNP genotypes at SH3TC2 are associated with differential phenotypes in the most common demyelinating peripheral neuropathy, CMT1A. Interestingly, this revealed several associations between SNP alleles and disease severity. In summary, our data indicate that SH3TC2 is regulated by the transcription factors CREB and SOX10, define a regulatory SNP at this disease-associated locus, and reveal SH3TC2 as a candidate modifier locus of CMT disease phenotypes.
Human Molecular Genetics 05/2014; 23(19). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu240 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot–Marie–Tooth (CMT) disease is a genetically heterogeneous condition with >50 genes now being identified. Thanks to new technological developments, namely, exome sequencing, the ability to identify additional rare genes in CMT has been drastically improved. Here we present data suggesting that MARS is a very rare novel cause of late-onset CMT2. This is supported by strong functional and evolutionary evidence, yet the absence of additional unrelated cases warrant future studies to substantiate this conclusion.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 06/2013; 84(11). DOI:10.1136/jnnp-2013-305049 · 6.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a group of peripheral neuropathies affecting both motor and sensory nerves. CMTX3 is an X-linked CMT locus, which maps to chromosome Xq26.3-q27.3. Initially, CMTX3 was mapped to a 31.2-Mb region in 2 American families. We have reexamined 1 of the original families (US-PED2) by next generation sequencing.
Three members of the family underwent exome sequencing. Candidate variants were validated by PCR and Sanger sequencing analysis.
No pathogenic coding variants localizing to the CMTX3 region were identified. However, exome sequencing identified a known BSCL2 mutation (N88S). This study demonstrates the power of exome sequencing as a tool to identify gene mutations for a small family in the absence of statistically significant linkage data.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitously expressed, essential enzymes responsible for the first step of protein translation-attaching amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules. Interestingly, ARS gene mutations have been implicated in tissue-specific human diseases, including inherited peripheral neuropathies. To date, five loci encoding an ARS have been implicated in peripheral neuropathy, and alleles at each locus show loss-of-function characteristics. The majority of the phenotypes are autosomal dominant, and each of the implicated enzymes acts as an oligomer, indicating that a dominant-negative effect should be considered. On the basis of current data, impaired tRNA charging is likely to be a central component of ARS-related neuropathy. Future efforts should focus on testing this notion and developing strategies for restoring ARS function in the peripheral nerve.
Current opinion in genetics & development 03/2013; 23(3). DOI:10.1016/j.gde.2013.02.002 · 7.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitously expressed enzymes responsible for ligating amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules. Mutations in four genes encoding an ARS have been implicated in inherited peripheral neuropathy with an axonal pathology, suggesting that all ARS genes are relevant candidates for disease in patients with related phenotypes. Here, we present results from a mutation screen of the histidyl-tRNA synthetase (HARS) gene in a large cohort of patients with peripheral neuropathy. These efforts revealed a rare missense variant (c.410G>A/p.Arg137Gln) that resides at a highly conserved amino acid, represents a loss-of-function allele when evaluated in yeast complementation assays, and is toxic to neurons when expressed in a worm model. In addition to the patient with peripheral neuropathy, p.Arg137Gln HARS was detected in three individuals by genome-wide exome sequencing. These findings suggest that HARS is the fifth ARS locus associated with axonal peripheral neuropathy. Implications for identifying ARS alleles in human populations and assessing them for a role in neurodegenerative phenotypes are discussed.
Human Mutation 01/2013; 34(1). DOI:10.1002/humu.22210 · 5.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Martin--Probst syndrome (MPS) is a rare X-linked disorder characterised by deafness, cognitive impairment, short stature and distinct craniofacial dysmorphisms, among other features. The authors sought to identify the causative mutation for MPS.
Massively parallel sequencing in two affected, related male subjects with MPS identified a RAB40AL (also called RLGP) missense mutation (chrX:102,079,078-102,079,079AC→GA p.D59G; hg18). RAB40AL encodes a small Ras-like GTPase protein with one suppressor of cytokine signalling box. The p.D59G variant is located in a highly conserved region of the GTPase domain between β-2 and β-3 strands. Using RT-PCR, the authors show that RAB40AL is expressed in human fetal and adult brain and kidney, and adult lung, heart, liver and skeletal muscle. RAB40AL appears to be a primate innovation, with no orthologues found in mouse, Xenopus or zebrafish. Western analysis and fluorescence microscopy of GFP-tagged RAB40AL constructs from transiently transfected COS7 cells show that the D59G missense change renders RAB40AL unstable and disrupts its cytoplasmic localisation.
This is the first study to show that mutation of RAB40AL is associated with a human disorder. Identification of RAB40AL as the gene mutated in MPS allows for further investigations into the molecular mechanism(s) of RAB40AL and its roles in diverse processes such as cognition, hearing and skeletal development.
Journal of Medical Genetics 05/2012; 49(5):332-40. DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2011-100575 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor SOX10 has essential roles in neural crest-derived cell populations, including myelinating Schwann cells-specialized glial cells responsible for ensheathing axons in the peripheral nervous system. Importantly, SOX10 directly regulates the expression of genes essential for proper myelin function. To date, only a handful of SOX10 target loci have been characterized in Schwann cells. Addressing this lack of knowledge will provide a better understanding of Schwann cell biology and candidate loci for relevant diseases such as demyelinating peripheral neuropathies. We have identified a highly-conserved SOX10 binding site within an alternative promoter at the SH3-domain kinase binding protein 1 (Sh3kbp1) locus. The genomic segment identified at Sh3kbp1 binds to SOX10 and displays strong promoter activity in Schwann cells in vitro and in vivo. Mutation of the SOX10 binding site ablates promoter activity, and ectopic expression of SOX10 in SOX10-negative cells promotes the expression of endogenous Sh3kbp1. Combined, these data reveal Sh3kbp1 as a novel target of SOX10 and raise important questions regarding the function of SH3KBP1 isoforms in Schwann cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease comprises a heterogeneous group of peripheral neuropathies characterized by muscle weakness and wasting, and impaired sensation in the extremities. Four genes encoding an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (ARS) have been implicated in CMT disease. ARSs are ubiquitously expressed, essential enzymes that ligate amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules. Recently, a p.Arg329His variant in the alanyl-tRNA synthetase (AARS) gene was found to segregate with dominant axonal CMT type 2N (CMT2N) in two French families; however, the functional consequence of this mutation has not been determined. To investigate the role of AARS in CMT, we performed a mutation screen of the AARS gene in patients with peripheral neuropathy. Our results showed that p.Arg329His AARS also segregated with CMT disease in a large Australian family. Aminoacylation and yeast viability assays showed that p.Arg329His AARS severely reduces enzyme activity. Genotyping analysis indicated that this mutation arose on three distinct haplotypes, and the results of bisulfite sequencing suggested that methylation-mediated deamination of a CpG dinucleotide gives rise to the recurrent p.Arg329His AARS mutation. Together, our data suggest that impaired tRNA charging plays a role in the molecular pathology of CMT2N, and that patients with CMT should be directly tested for the p.Arg329His AARS mutation.
Human Mutation 01/2012; 33(1):244-53. DOI:10.1002/humu.21635 · 5.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 (CMT2) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of inherited axonal neuropathies. The aim of this study was to extensively investigate the mutational spectrum of CMT2 in a cohort of patients of Han Chinese.
Genomic DNA from 36 unrelated Taiwanese CMT2 patients of Han Chinese descent was screened for mutations in the coding regions of the MFN2, RAB7, TRPV4, GARS, NEFL, HSPB1, MPZ, GDAP1, HSPB8, DNM2, AARS and YARS genes. Ten disparate mutations were identified in 14 patients (38.9% of the cohort), including p.N71Y in AARS (2.8%), p.T164A in HSPB1 (2.8%), and p.[H256R]+[R282H] in GDAP1 (2.8%) in one patient each, three NEFL mutations in six patients (16.7%) and four MFN2 mutations in five patients (13.9%). The following six mutations were novel: the individual AARS, HSPB1 and GDAP1 mutations and c.475-1G>T, p.L233V and p.E744M mutations in MFN2. An in vitro splicing assay revealed that the MFN2 c.475-1G>T mutation causes a 4 amino acid deletion (p.T159_Q162del). Despite an extensive survey, the genetic causes of CMT2 remained elusive in the remaining 22 CMT2 patients (61.1%).
This study illustrates the spectrum of CMT2 mutations in a Taiwanese CMT2 cohort and expands the number of CMT2-associated mutations. The relevance of the AARS and HSPB1 mutations in the pathogenesis of CMT2 is further highlighted. Moreover, the frequency of the NEFL mutations in this study cohort was unexpectedly high. Genetic testing for NEFL and MFN2 mutations should, therefore, be the first step in the molecular diagnosis of CMT2 in ethnic Chinese.
PLoS ONE 12/2011; 6(12):e29393. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029393 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myelin insulates axons in the peripheral nervous system to allow rapid propagation of action potentials, and proper myelination requires the precise regulation of genes encoding myelin proteins, including PMP22. The correct gene dosage of PMP22 is critical; a duplication of PMP22 is the most common cause of the peripheral neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) (classified as type 1A), while a deletion of PMP22 leads to another peripheral neuropathy, hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. Recently, duplications upstream of PMP22, but not containing the gene itself, were reported in patients with CMT1A like symptoms, suggesting that this region contains regulators of PMP22. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis of two transcription factors known to upregulate PMP22-EGR2 and SOX10-we found several enhancers in this upstream region that contain open chromatin and direct reporter gene expression in tissue culture and in vivo in zebrafish. These studies provide a novel means to identify critical regulatory elements in genes that are required for myelination, and elucidate the functional significance of non-coding genomic rearrangements.
Human Molecular Genetics 12/2011; 21(7):1581-91. DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddr595 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2D (CMT2D) is a dominantly inherited peripheral neuropathy caused by missense mutations in the glycyl-tRNA synthetase gene (GARS). In addition to GARS, mutations in three other tRNA synthetase genes cause similar neuropathies, although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. To address this, we generated transgenic mice that ubiquitously over-express wild-type GARS and crossed them to two dominant mouse models of CMT2D to distinguish loss-of-function and gain-of-function mechanisms. Over-expression of wild-type GARS does not improve the neuropathy phenotype in heterozygous Gars mutant mice, as determined by histological, functional, and behavioral tests. Transgenic GARS is able to rescue a pathological point mutation as a homozygote or in complementation tests with a Gars null allele, demonstrating the functionality of the transgene and revealing a recessive loss-of-function component of the point mutation. Missense mutations as transgene-rescued homozygotes or compound heterozygotes have a more severe neuropathy than heterozygotes, indicating that increased dosage of the disease-causing alleles results in a more severe neurological phenotype, even in the presence of a wild-type transgene. We conclude that, although missense mutations of Gars may cause some loss of function, the dominant neuropathy phenotype observed in mice is caused by a dose-dependent gain of function that is not mitigated by over-expression of functional wild-type protein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ERBB3 gene is essential for the proper development of the neural crest (NC) and its derivative populations such as Schwann cells. As with all cell fate decisions, transcriptional regulatory control plays a significant role in the progressive restriction and specification of NC derived lineages during development. However, little is known about the sequences mediating transcriptional regulation of ERBB3 or the factors that bind them.
In this study we identified three transcriptional enhancers at the ERBB3 locus and evaluated their regulatory potential in vitro in NC-derived cell types and in vivo in transgenic zebrafish. One enhancer, termed ERBB3_MCS6, which lies within the first intron of ERBB3, directs the highest reporter expression in vitro and also demonstrates epigenetic marks consistent with enhancer activity. We identify a consensus SOX10 binding site within ERBB3_MCS6 and demonstrate, in vitro, its necessity and sufficiency for the activity of this enhancer. Additionally, we demonstrate that transcription from the endogenous Erbb3 locus is dependent on Sox10. Further we demonstrate in vitro that Sox10 physically interacts with that ERBB3_MCS6. Consistent with its in vitro activity, we also show that ERBB3_MCS6 drives reporter expression in NC cells and a subset of its derivative lineages in vivo in zebrafish in a manner consistent with erbb3b expression. We also demonstrate, using morpholino analysis, that Sox10 is necessary for ERBB3_MCS6 expression in vivo in zebrafish.
Taken collectively, our data suggest that ERBB3 may be directly regulated by SOX10, and that this control may in part be facilitated by ERBB3_MCS6.