[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A member of the four-and-a half-LIM (FHL) domain protein family, FHL1 is highly expressed in human adult skeletal and cardiac muscle. Mutations in FHL1 have been associated with diverse X-linked muscle diseases: scapuloperoneal (SP) myopathy, reducing body myopathy, X-linked myopathy with postural muscle atrophy, rigid spine syndrome (RSS), and Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. In 2008, we identified a missense mutation in the second LIM domain of FHL1 (c.365 G>C, p.W122S) in a family with SP myopathy. We generated a knock-in mouse model harboring the c.365 G>C Fhl1 mutation and investigated the effects of this mutation at 3 time points (3-5 months, 7-10 months, and 18-20 months) in hemizygous male and heterozygous female mice. Survival was comparable in mutant and wild-type animals. We observed decreased forelimb strength and exercise capacity in adult hemizygous male mice starting from 7-10 months of age. Western blot analysis showed absence of Fhl1 in muscle at later stages. Thus, adult hemizygous male, but not heterozygous female, mice showed a slowly progressive phenotype similar to humans patients with late-onset muscle weakness. In contrast to SP myopathy patients with the FHL1 W122S mutation, mutant mice did not manifest cytoplasmic inclusions (reducing bodies) in muscle. Because muscle weakness was evident prior to loss of Fhl1 protein and without reducing bodies, our findings indicate that loss of function is responsible for the myopathy in the Fhl1 W122S knock-in mice.
Human Molecular Genetics 09/2014; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited ataxias are heterogeneous disorders affecting both children and adults, with over 40 different causative genes, making molecular genetic diagnosis challenging. Although recent advances in next-generation sequencing have significantly improved mutation detection, few treatments exist for patients with inherited ataxia. In two patients with adult-onset cerebellar ataxia and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency in muscle, whole exome sequencing revealed mutations in ANO10, which encodes anoctamin 10, a member of a family of putative calcium-activated chloride channels, and the causative gene for autosomal recessive spinocerebellar ataxia-10 (SCAR10). Both patients presented with slowly progressive ataxia and dysarthria leading to severe disability in the sixth decade. Epilepsy and learning difficulties were also present in one patient, while retinal degeneration and cataract were present in the other. The detection of mutations in ANO10 in our patients indicate that ANO10 defects cause secondary low CoQ10 and SCAR10 patients may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous syndrome which has been associated with 5 major clinical phenotypes: (1) encephalomyopathy, (2) severe infantile multisystemic disease, (3) nephropathy, (4) cerebellar ataxia, and (5) isolated myopathy. Of these phenotypes, cerebellar ataxia and syndromic or isolated nephrotic syndrome are the most common. CoQ10 deficiency predominantly presents in childhood. To date, causative mutations have been identified in a small proportion of patients, making it difficult to identify a phenotype-genotype correlation. Identification of CoQ10 deficiency is important because the disease, in particular muscle symptoms and nephropathy, frequently responds to CoQ10 supplementation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency is a rare mitochondrial disorder associated with 5 major clinical phenotypes: (1) encephalomyopathy, (2) severe infantile multisystemic disease, (3) cerebellar ataxia, (4) isolated myopathy, and (5) steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome. Growth retardation, deafness and hearing loss have also been described in CoQ10-deficient patients. This heterogeneity in the clinical presentations suggests that multiple pathomechanisms may exist. To investigate the biochemical and molecular consequences of CoQ10 deficiency, different laboratories have studied cultures of skin fibroblasts from patients with CoQ10 deficiency. In this review, we summarize the results obtained in these studies over the last decade.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive mutations in the thymidine kinase 2 gene (TK2) cause mitochondrial DNA depletion, multiple deletions, or both due to loss of TK2 enzyme activity and ensuing unbalanced deoxynucleotide triphosphate (dNTP) pools. To bypass Tk2 deficiency, we administered deoxycytidine and deoxythymidine monophosphates (dCMP+dTMP) to the Tk2 H126N (Tk2(-/-)) knock-in mouse model from postnatal day 4, when mutant mice are phenotypically normal, but biochemically affected. Assessment of 13-day-old Tk2(-/-) mice treated with dCMP+dTMP 200 mg/kg/day each (Tk2(-/-200dCMP/) (dTMP)) demonstrated that in mutant animals, the compounds raise dTTP concentrations, increase levels of mtDNA, ameliorate defects of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes, and significantly prolong their lifespan (34 days with treatment versus 13 days untreated). A second trial of dCMP+dTMP each at 400 mg/kg/day showed even greater phenotypic and biochemical improvements. In conclusion, dCMP/dTMP supplementation is the first effective pharmacologic treatment for Tk2 deficiency.
EMBO Molecular Medicine 06/2014; · 7.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no established biological marker. Recent observation of a reduced number of gems (survival motor neuron protein (SMN)-positive nuclear bodies) in cells from patients with familial ALS and the mouse models suggests an involvement of SMN in ALS pathology. At a molecular level, fused in sarcoma (FUS), one of the familial ALS-linked proteins, has been demonstrated to directly interact with SMN, while impaired nuclear localization of mutated FUS causes defective gem formation. Our objective was to determine whether gems and/or nuclear FUS levels in skin derived fibroblasts from sporadic ALS patients are consistently reduced and thus could constitute a novel and readily available biomarker of the disease. Fibroblasts from 20 patients and 17 age-matched healthy controls were cultured and co-immunostained for SMN and FUS. Results showed that no difference was detected between the two groups in the number of gems and in expression pattern of FUS. The number of gems negatively correlated with the age at biopsy in both ALS and control subjects. In conclusion, the expression pattern of SMN and FUS in fibroblasts cannot serve as a biomarker for sporadic ALS. Donor age-dependent gem reduction is a novel observation that links SMN with cellular senescence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Suicide gene therapy (SGT) is a promising strategy for treating cancer. In this work, we show that thymidine phosphorylase (TP) deficiency, the underlying genetic defect in mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE), presents an opportunity to apply SGT using capecitabine, a commonly used prodrug that is converted into 5-fluorouracil by TP. Using an immortalised B-lymphoblastoid cell line from a patient with MNGIE, the tumourigenic EL-4 cell line, lentiviral vectors encoding TP and a double knockout (Tymp(-/-)Upp1(-/-)) murine model, we found that EL-4 cell-derived TP(+) tumours were exquisitely sensitive to capecitabine and generated a significant local bystander effect. In addition, we detected a spontaneous cytolytic immune response in a significant fraction of the animals surviving more than 20 days after termination of the therapy. These data indicate that, in individuals lacking TP expression, TP is a highly specific suicide gene, which can be used to treat tumours that could hypothetically arise in MNGIE patients undergoing gene therapy, as these tumours will likely originate from the gene-modified cells and will be selectively targeted by capecitabine. These observations have important implications for gene therapy for MNGIE.Gene Therapy advance online publication, 8 May 2014; doi:10.1038/gt.2014.41.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Balanced pools of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate precursors are required for DNA replication, and alterations of this balance are relevant to human mitochondrial diseases including mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy. In this disease, autosomal recessive TYMP mutations cause severe reductions of thymidine phosphorylase activity; marked elevations of the pyrimidine nucleosides thymidine and deoxyuridine in plasma and tissues, and somatic multiple deletions, depletion and site-specific point mutations of mitochondrial DNA. Thymidine phosphorylase and uridine phosphorylase double knockout mice recapitulated several features of these patients including thymidine phosphorylase activity deficiency, elevated thymidine and deoxyuridine in tissues, mitochondrial DNA depletion, respiratory chain defects and white matter changes. However, in contrast to patients with this disease, mutant mice showed mitochondrial alterations only in the brain. To test the hypothesis that elevated levels of nucleotides cause unbalanced deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate pools and, in turn, pathogenic mitochondrial DNA instability, we have stressed double knockout mice with exogenous thymidine and deoxyuridine, and assessed clinical, neuroradiological, histological, molecular, and biochemical consequences. Mutant mice treated with exogenous thymidine and deoxyuridine showed reduced survival, body weight, and muscle strength, relative to untreated animals. Moreover, in treated mutants, leukoencephalopathy, a hallmark of the disease, was enhanced and the small intestine showed a reduction of smooth muscle cells and increased fibrosis. Levels of mitochondrial DNA were depleted not only in the brain but also in the small intestine, and deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate imbalance was observed in the brain. The relative proportion, rather than the absolute amount of deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate, was critical for mitochondrial DNA maintenance. Thus, our results demonstrate that stress of exogenous pyrimidine nucleosides enhances the mitochondrial phenotype of our knockout mice. Our mouse studies provide insights into the pathogenic role of thymidine and deoxyuridine imbalance in mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalopathy and an excellent model to study new therapeutic approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in TYMP, enconding thymidine phosphorylase (TP). TP deficiency results in systemic accumulation of thymidine and deoxyuridine, which interferes with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication and leads to mitochondrial dysfunction. To date, the only treatment available for MNGIE patients is allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Here, we report that AAV2/8-mediated transfer of the human TYMP coding sequence (hcTYMP) under the control of a liver-specific promoter prevents the biochemical imbalances in a murine model of MNGIE. hcTYMP expression was restricted to liver, and a dose as low as 2x10(11) genome copies/kg led to a permanent reduction in systemic nucleoside levels to normal values in about 50% of treated mice. Higher doses resulted in reductions to normal or slightly below normal levels in virtually all mice treated. The nucleoside reduction achieved by this treatment prevented dCTP depletion, which is the limiting factor affecting mtDNA replication in this disease. These results demonstrate that the use of AAV to direct TYMP expression in liver is feasible as a potentially safe gene therapy strategy for MNGIE.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.6.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion syndrome (MDS) is characterized by a reduction in mtDNA copy number and consequent mitochondrial dysfunction in affected tissues. A subgroup of MDS is caused by mutations in genes that disrupt deoxyribonucleotide metabolism, which ultimately leads to limited availability of one or several dNTPs, and subsequent mtDNA depletion. Here, using in vitro experimental approaches (primary cell culture of dGK-deficient cells and thymidine-induced mtDNA depletion in culture as a model of mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy, MNGIE), we show that supplements of those deoxyribonucleosides involved in each biochemical defect (deoxyguanosine or deoxycytidine) prevents mtDNA copy number reduction. Similar effects can be obtained by specific inhibition of deoxyribonucleoside catabolism using tetrahydrouridine (inhibitor of cytidine deaminase) or immucillin H (inhibitor of purine nucleoside phosphorylase). In addition, using a MNGIE animal model, we provide evidence that mitochondrial dNTP content can be modulated in vivo by systemic administration of deoxycytidine or tetrahydrouridine. In spite of the severity associated with diseases due to defects in mtDNA replication, there are currently no effective therapeutic options available. Only in the case of MNGIE, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has proven efficient as a long-term therapeutic strategy. We propose increasing cellular availability of the deficient dNTP precursor by direct administration of the deoxyribonucleoside or inhibition of its catabolism, as a potential treatment for mtDNA depletion syndrome caused by defects in dNTP metabolism.
Human Molecular Genetics 12/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE The neuromuscular presentation of glycogen branching enzyme deficiency includes a severe infantile form and a late-onset variant known as adult polyglucosan body disease. Herein, we describe 2 patients with adult acute onset of fluctuating neurological signs and brain magnetic resonance imaging lesions simulating multiple sclerosis. A better definition of this new clinical entity is needed to facilitate diagnosis. OBJECTIVES To describe the clinical presentation and progression of a new intermediate variant of glycogen branching enzyme deficiency and to discuss genotype-phenotype correlations. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Clinical, biochemical, morphological, and molecular study of 2 patients followed up for 6 years and 8 years at academic medical centers. The participants were 2 patients of non-Ashkenazi descent with adult acute onset of neurological signs initially diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Clinical course, muscle and nerve morphology, longitudinal study of brain magnetic resonance imaging, and glycogen branching enzyme activity and GBE1 molecular analysis. RESULTS Molecular analysis showed that one patient was homozygous (c.1544G>A) and the other patient was compound heterozygous (c.1544G>A and c.1961-1962delCA) for GBE1 mutations. Residual glycogen branching enzyme activity was 16% and 30% of normal in leukocytes. Both patients manifested acute episodes of transient neurological symptoms, and neurological impairment was mild at age 45 years and 53 years. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed nonprogressive white matter lesions and spinocerebellar atrophy similar to typical adult polyglucosan body disease. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE GBE1 mutations can cause an early adult-onset relapsing-remitting form of polyglucosan body disease distinct from adult polyglucosan body disease in several ways, including younger age at onset, history of infantile liver involvement, and subacute and remitting course simulating multiple sclerosis. This should orient neurologists toward the correct diagnosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia due to PEO1 mutations is considered relatively benign, but no data about long-term progression of this disease have been reported. The aim of this study was to provide a 16-year clinical follow-up of autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia due to the p.R357P gene mutation in PEO1. OBSERVATIONS Twenty-two members of an Irish-American family were examined in 1996, when PEO1 sequencing revealed a c.1071G>C/p.R357P mutation in 9 of them. We reexamined the family in 2012 using a standardized clinical protocol. Autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia due to the p.R357P PEO1 mutation is a late-onset ocular myopathy beginning with ptosis and progressing slowly. Ophthalmoparesis, if present, is mild and evident only by neurological examination. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Our results are important for prognosis and genetic counseling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial diseases involve the respiratory chain, which is under the dual control of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The complexity of mitochondrial genetics provides one explanation for the clinical heterogeneity of mitochondrial diseases, but our understanding of disease pathogenesis remains limited. Classification of Mendelian mitochondrial encephalomyopathies has been laborious, but whole-exome sequencing studies have revealed unexpected molecular aetiologies for both typical and atypical mitochondrial disease phenotypes. Mendelian mitochondrial defects can affect five components of mitochondrial biology: subunits of respiratory chain complexes (direct hits); mitochondrial assembly proteins; mtDNA translation; phospholipid composition of the inner mitochondrial membrane; or mitochondrial dynamics. A sixth category-defects of mtDNA maintenance-combines features of Mendelian and mitochondrial genetics. Genetic defects in mitochondrial dynamics are especially important in neurology as they cause optic atrophy, hereditary spastic paraplegia, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Therapy is inadequate and mostly palliative, but promising new avenues are being identified. Here, we review current knowledge on the genetics and pathogenesis of the six categories of mitochondrial disorders outlined above, focusing on their salient clinical manifestations and highlighting novel clinical entities. An outline of diagnostic clues for the various forms of mitochondrial disease, as well as potential therapeutic strategies, is also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common cause of inherited multisystem disease that often involves the nervous system. Despite major advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of mitochondrial diseases, clinical management of these conditions remains largely supportive. Using a systematic approach, we identified 1,039 publications on treatments for mitochondrial diseases, only 35 of which included observations on more than five patients. Reports of a positive outcome on the basis of a biomarker of unproven clinical significance were more common in nonrandomized and nonblinded studies, suggesting a publication bias toward positive but poorly executed studies. Although trial design is improving, there is a critical need to develop new biomarkers of mitochondrial disease. In this Perspectives article, we make recommendations for the design of future treatment trials in mitochondrial diseases. Patients and physicians should no longer rely on potentially biased data, with the associated costs and risks.