Nicholas W Wood

University College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (215)2094.44 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Myoclonus-dystonia (M-D) is a very rare movement disorder, caused in approximately 30-50% of cases by mutations in SGCE. The CACNA1B variant c.4166G>A; (p.R1389H) was recently reported as the likely causative mutation in a single 3-generation Dutch pedigree with 5 subjects affected by a unique dominant M-D syndrome and cardiac arrhythmias. In an attempt to replicate this finding, we assessed by direct sequencing the frequency of CACNA1B c.4166G>A; (p.R1389H) in a cohort of 520 M-D cases, in which SGCE mutations had been previously excluded. 146 cases (28%) had a positive family history of M-D. The frequency of the variant was also assessed in 489 neurologically healthy controls and in publicly available datasets of genetic variation (1000 Genomes, Exome Variant Server and Exome Aggregation Consortium). The variant was detected in a single sporadic case with M-D, but in none of the 146 probands with familial M-D. Overall, the variant was present at comparable frequencies in M-D cases (1/520; 0.19%) and healthy controls (1/489; 0.2%). A similar frequency of the variant was also reported in all publicly available databases. These results do not support a causal association between the CACNA1B c.4166G>A; (p.R1389H) variant and M-D. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
    Human Molecular Genetics 07/2015; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddv255 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    The Lancet Neurology 07/2015; 14(7):678-679. DOI:10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00094-0 · 21.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the contribution of ADCY5 mutations in cases with genetically undefined benign hereditary chorea (BHC). We studied 18 unrelated cases with BHC (7 familial, 11 sporadic) who were negative for NKX2-1 mutations. The diagnosis of BHC was based on the presence of a childhood-onset movement disorder, predominantly characterized by chorea and no other major neurologic features. ADCY5 analysis was performed by whole-exome sequencing or Sanger sequencing. ADCY5 and NKX2-1 expression during brain development and in the adult human brain was assessed using microarray analysis of postmortem brain tissue. The c.1252C>T; p.R418W mutation was identified in 2 cases (1 familial, 1 sporadic). The familial case inherited the mutation from the affected father, who had a much milder presentation, likely due to low-grade somatic mosaicism. The mutation was de novo in the sporadic case. The clinical presentation of these cases featured nonparoxysmal generalized chorea, as well as dystonia in the most severely affected, but no facial myokymia. We observed significant progression of symptoms in ADCY5 mutation carriers, in contrast to BHC secondary to NKX2-1 mutations. The difference in the clinical course is mirrored by the brain expression data, showing increasing ADCY5 expression in the striatum during brain development, whereas NKX2-1 shows an opposite trend. Our study identifies mutations in ADCY5, the gene previously linked to familial dyskinesia with facial myokymia, as a cause of familial and sporadic BHC. ADCY5 genetic analysis should be performed in cases with a benign choreiform movement disorder even in the absence of facial myokymia. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
    Neurology 06/2015; 85(1). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001720 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myoclonus-dystonia (M-D) is a rare movement disorder characterized by a combination of non-epileptic myoclonic jerks and dystonia. SGCE mutations represent a major cause for familial M-D being responsible for 30%-50% of cases. After excluding SGCE mutations, we identified through a combination of linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing KCTD17 c.434 G>A p.(Arg145His) as the only segregating variant in a dominant British pedigree with seven subjects affected by M-D. A subsequent screening in a cohort of M-D cases without mutations in SGCE revealed the same KCTD17 variant in a German family. The clinical presentation of the KCTD17-mutated cases was distinct from the phenotype usually observed in M-D due to SGCE mutations. All cases initially presented with mild myoclonus affecting the upper limbs. Dystonia showed a progressive course, with increasing severity of symptoms and spreading from the cranio-cervical region to other sites. KCTD17 is abundantly expressed in all brain regions with the highest expression in the putamen. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis, based on mRNA expression profile of brain samples from neuropathologically healthy individuals, showed that KCTD17 is part of a putamen gene network, which is significantly enriched for dystonia genes. Functional annotation of the network showed an over-representation of genes involved in post-synaptic dopaminergic transmission. Functional studies in mutation bearing fibroblasts demonstrated abnormalities in endoplasmic reticulum-dependent calcium signaling. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the KCTD17 c.434 G>A p.(Arg145His) mutation causes autosomal dominant M-D. Further functional studies are warranted to further characterize the nature of KCTD17 contribution to the molecular pathogenesis of M-D. Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2015; 96(6). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.04.008 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is avialble via PNAS at http://www.pnas.org/content/112/16/E1994.long#ack-1.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2015; 112(16):E1994-E2003. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1421204112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reports of primary isolated dystonia inherited in an autosomal-recessive (AR) manner, often lumped together as "DYT2 dystonia," have appeared in the scientific literature for several decades, but no genetic cause has been identified to date. Using a combination of homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing in a consanguineous kindred affected by AR isolated dystonia, we identified homozygous mutations in HPCA, a gene encoding a neuronal calcium sensor protein found almost exclusively in the brain and at particularly high levels in the striatum, as the cause of disease in this family. Subsequently, compound-heterozygous mutations in HPCA were also identified in a second independent kindred affected by AR isolated dystonia. Functional studies suggest that hippocalcin might play a role in regulating voltage-dependent calcium channels. The identification of mutations in HPCA as a cause of AR primary isolated dystonia paves the way for further studies to assess whether "DYT2 dystonia" is a genetically homogeneous condition or not. Copyright © 2015 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 03/2015; 96(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.02.007 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective We have investigated the polygenic architecture of Parkinson disease (PD) and have also explored the potential relationship between an individual's polygenic risk score and their disease age at onset.Methods This study used genotypic data from 4,294 cases and 10,340 controls obtained from the meta-analysis of PD genome-wide association studies. Polygenic score analysis was performed as previously described by the International Schizophrenia Consortium, testing whether the polygenic score alleles identified in 1 association study were significantly enriched in the cases relative to the controls of 3 independent studies. Linear regression was used to investigate the relationship between an individual's polygenic score for PD risk alleles and disease age at onset.ResultsOur polygenic score analysis has identified significant evidence for a polygenic component enriched in the cases of each of 3 independent PD genome-wide association cohorts (minimum p = 3.76 × 10−6). Further analysis identified compelling evidence that the average polygenic score in patients with an early disease age at onset was significantly higher than in those with a late age at onset (p = 0.00014).InterpretationThis provides strong support for a large polygenic contribution to the overall heritable risk of PD and also suggests that early onset forms of the illness are not exclusively caused by highly penetrant Mendelian mutations, but can also be contributed to by an accumulation of common polygenic alleles with relatively low effect sizes. Ann Neurol 2015
    Annals of Neurology 03/2015; 77(4). DOI:10.1002/ana.24335 · 11.91 Impact Factor
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    Brain 11/2014; 138(5). DOI:10.1093/brain/awu309 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intellectual disability and cerebellar atrophy occur together in a large number of genetic conditions and are frequently associated with microcephaly and/or epilepsy. Here we report the identification of causal mutations in Sorting Nexin 14 (SNX14) found in seven affected individuals from three unrelated consanguineous families who presented with recessively inherited moderate-severe intellectual disability, cerebellar ataxia, early-onset cerebellar atrophy, sensorineural hearing loss, and the distinctive association of progressively coarsening facial features, relative macrocephaly, and the absence of seizures. We used homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing to identify a homozygous nonsense mutation and an in-frame multiexon deletion in two families. A homozygous splice site mutation was identified by Sanger sequencing of SNX14 in a third family, selected purely by phenotypic similarity. This discovery confirms that these characteristic features represent a distinct and recognizable syndrome. SNX14 encodes a cellular protein containing Phox (PX) and regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) domains. Weighted gene coexpression network analysis predicts that SNX14 is highly coexpressed with genes involved in cellular protein metabolism and vesicle-mediated transport. All three mutations either directly affected the PX domain or diminished SNX14 levels, implicating a loss of normal cellular function. This manifested as increased cytoplasmic vacuolation as observed in cultured fibroblasts. Our findings indicate an essential role for SNX14 in neural development and function, particularly in development and maturation of the cerebellum. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2014; 95(5):611-21. DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.10.007 · 10.99 Impact Factor
  • Neurology 10/2014; 83(20). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000981 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme is a major determinant of prefrontal dopamine levels. The Val158Met polymorphism affects COMT enzymatic activity and has been associated with variation in executive function and affective processing. This study investigated the effect of COMT genotype on the flexible modulation of the balance between processing self-generated and processing stimulus-oriented information, in the presence or absence of affective distractors. Analyses included 124 healthy adult participants, who were also assessed on standard working memory (WM) tasks. Relative to Val carriers, Met homozygotes made fewer errors when selecting and manipulating self-generated thoughts. This effect was partly accounted for by an association between COMT genotype and visuospatial WM performance. We also observed a complex interaction between the influence of affective distractors, COMT genotype and sex on task accuracy: male, but not female, participants showed a sensitivity to the affective distractors that was dependent on COMT genotype. This was not accounted for by WM performance. This study provides novel evidence of the role of dopaminergic genetic variation on the ability to select and manipulate self-generated thoughts. The results also suggest sexually dimorphic effects of COMT genotype on the influence of affective distractors on executive function.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 09/2014; 10(6). DOI:10.1093/scan/nsu118 · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GTP cyclohydrolase 1, encoded by the GCH1 gene, is an essential enzyme for dopamine production in nigrostriatal cells. Loss-of-function mutations in GCH1 result in severe reduction of dopamine synthesis in nigrostriatal cells and are the most common cause of DOPA-responsive dystonia, a rare disease that classically presents in childhood with generalized dystonia and a dramatic long-lasting response to levodopa. We describe clinical, genetic and nigrostriatal dopaminergic imaging ([123I]N-omega-fluoropropyl-2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl) tropane single photon computed tomography) findings of four unrelated pedigrees with DOPA-responsive dystonia in which pathogenic GCH1 variants were identified in family members with adult-onset parkinsonism. Dopamine transporter imaging was abnormal in all parkinsonian patients, indicating Parkinson's disease-like nigrostriatal dopaminergic denervation. We subsequently explored the possibility that pathogenic GCH1 variants could contribute to the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, even in the absence of a family history for DOPA-responsive dystonia. The frequency of GCH1 variants was evaluated in whole-exome sequencing data of 1318 cases with Parkinson's disease and 5935 control subjects. Combining cases and controls, we identified a total of 11 different heterozygous GCH1 variants, all at low frequency. This list includes four pathogenic variants previously associated with DOPA-responsive dystonia (Q110X, V204I, K224R and M230I) and seven of undetermined clinical relevance (Q110E, T112A, A120S, D134G, I154V, R198Q and G217V). The frequency of GCH1 variants was significantly higher (Fisher's exact test P-value 0.0001) in cases (10/1318 = 0.75%) than in controls (6/5935 = 0.1%; odds ratio 7.5; 95% confidence interval 2.4-25.3). Our results show that rare GCH1 variants are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's disease. These findings expand the clinical and biological relevance of GTP cycloydrolase 1 deficiency, suggesting that it not only leads to biochemical striatal dopamine depletion and DOPA-responsive dystonia, but also predisposes to nigrostriatal cell loss. Further insight into GCH1-associated pathogenetic mechanisms will shed light on the role of dopamine metabolism in nigral degeneration and Parkinson's disease.
    Brain 09/2014; 137(9):2480-2492. DOI:10.1093/brain/awu179 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Neurology 08/2014; 261(9). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7463-z · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted a meta-analysis of Parkinson's disease genome-wide association studies using a common set of 7,893,274 variants across 13,708 cases and 95,282 controls. Twenty-six loci were identified as having genome-wide significant association; these and 6 additional previously reported loci were then tested in an independent set of 5,353 cases and 5,551 controls. Of the 32 tested SNPs, 24 replicated, including 6 newly identified loci. Conditional analyses within loci showed that four loci, including GBA, GAK-DGKQ, SNCA and the HLA region, contain a secondary independent risk variant. In total, we identified and replicated 28 independent risk variants for Parkinson's disease across 24 loci. Although the effect of each individual locus was small, risk profile analysis showed substantial cumulative risk in a comparison of the highest and lowest quintiles of genetic risk (odds ratio (OR) = 3.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.55-4.30; P = 2 × 10(-16)). We also show six risk loci associated with proximal gene expression or DNA methylation.
    Nature Genetics 07/2014; 46(9). DOI:10.1038/ng.3043 · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dissecting how genetic and environmental influences impact on learning is helpful for maximizing numeracy and literacy. Here we show, using twin and genome-wide analysis, that there is a substantial genetic component to children's ability in reading and mathematics, and estimate that around one half of the observed correlation in these traits is due to shared genetic effects (so-called Generalist Genes). Thus, our results highlight the potential role of the learning environment in contributing to differences in a child's cognitive abilities at age twelve.
    Nature Communications 07/2014; 5:4204. DOI:10.1038/ncomms5204 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Although alpha-synuclein (SNCA) is crucial to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), mutations in the gene appear to be rare. We have recently hypothesized that somatic mutations in early development could contribute to PD.Methods Expanding on our recent negative small study, we used high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis to screen SNCA coding exons for somatic point mutations in DNA from 539 PD and DLB cerebellar samples, with two additional regions (frontal cortex, substantia nigra) for 20 PD cases. We used artificial mosaics to determine sensitivity where possible.ResultsWe did not detect any evidence of somatic coding mutations. Three cases were heterozygous for known silent polymorphisms. The protocol we used was sensitive enough to detect 5% to 10% mutant DNA.Conclusion Using DNA predominantly from cerebellum, but also from frontal cortex and substantia nigra (n = 20 each), we have not detected any somatic coding SNCA point mutations. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    Movement Disorders 07/2014; 29(8). DOI:10.1002/mds.25883 · 5.68 Impact Factor
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    Practical Neurology 06/2014; 14(6). DOI:10.1136/practneurol-2014-000859
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    ABSTRACT: Working memory (WM) refers to mental processes that enable temporary retention and manipulation of information, including information about other people ("social working memory"). Previous studies have demonstrated that nonsocial WM is supported by dopamine neurotransmission. Here, we investigated in 131 healthy adults whether dopamine is similarly involved in social WM by testing whether social and nonsocial WM are influenced by genetic variants in three genes coding for molecules regulating the availability of dopamine in the brain: catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), dopamine active transporter (DAT), and monoamine-oxidase A (MAOA). An advantage for the Met allele of COMT was observed in the two standard WM tasks and in the social WM task. However, the influence of COMT on social WM performance was not accounted for by its influence on either standard WM paradigms. There was no main effect of DAT1 or MAOA, but a significant COMT x DAT1 interaction on social WM performance. This study provides novel preliminary evidence of effects of genetic variants of the dopamine neurotransmitter system on social cognition. The results further suggest that the effects observed on standard WM do not explain the genetic effects on effortful social cognition.
    Social Neuroscience 06/2014; 9(5):1-15. DOI:10.1080/17470919.2014.925503 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genes causing primary dystonia are rare. Recently, pathogenic mutations in the anoctamin 3 gene (ANO3) have been identified to cause autosomal dominant craniocervical dystonia and have been assigned to the dystonia locus dystonia-24 (DYT24). Here, we expand on the phenotypic spectrum of DYT24 and provide demonstrative videos. Moreover, tremor recordings were performed, and back-averaged electroencephalography, sensory evoked potentials, and C-reflex studies were carried out in two individuals who carried two different mutations in ANO3. Ten patients from three families are described. The age at onset ranged from early childhood to the forties. Cervical dystonia was the most common site of onset followed by laryngeal dystonia. The characteristic feature in all affected individuals was the presence of tremor, which contrasts DYT24 from the typical DYT6 phenotype. Tremor was the sole initial manifestation in some individuals with ANO3 mutations, leading to misdiagnosis as essential tremor. Electrophysiology in two patients with two different mutations showed co-contraction of antagonist muscles, confirming dystonia, and a 6-Hz arm tremor at rest, which increased in amplitude during action. In one of the studied patients, clinically superimposed myoclonus was observed. The duration of the myoclonus was in the range of 250 msec at about 3 Hz, which is more consistent with subcortical myoclonus. In summary, ANO3 causes a varied phenotype of young-onset or adult-onset craniocervical dystonia with tremor and/or myoclonic jerks. Patients with familial cervical dystonia who also have myoclonus-dystonia as well as patients with prominent tremor and mild dystonia should be tested for ANO3 mutations. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
    Movement Disorders 06/2014; 29(7). DOI:10.1002/mds.25802 · 5.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Parkinson's disease (PD) gene, PARK6, encodes the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) mitochondrial kinase, which provides protection against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Given the link between glucose metabolism, mitochondrial function and insulin secretion in β-cells, and the reported association of PD with type 2 diabetes, we investigated the response of PINK1-deficient β-cells to glucose stimuli to determine whether loss of PINK1 affected their function. We find that loss of PINK1 significantly impairs the ability of mouse pancreatic β-cells (MIN6 cells) and primary intact islets to take up glucose. This was accompanied by higher basal levels of intracellular calcium leading to increased basal levels of insulin secretion under low glucose conditions. Finally, we investigated the effect of PINK1 deficiency in vivo and find that PINK1 knockout mice have improved glucose tolerance. For the first time, these combined results demonstrate that loss of PINK1 function appears to disrupt glucose-sensing leading to enhanced insulin release, which is uncoupled from glucose uptake, and suggest a key role for PINK1 in β-cell function.
    Open Biology 05/2014; 4(5):140051. DOI:10.1098/rsob.140051 · 4.56 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

13k Citations
2,094.44 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001–2015
    • University College London
      • • Department of Clinical Neuroscience
      • • Department of Molecular Neuroscience
      • • Institute of Child Health
      • • Institute of Neurology
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2014
    • University of Bristol
      Bristol, England, United Kingdom
    • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2012–2014
    • WWF United Kingdom
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Sydney
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2003–2014
    • UCL Eastman Dental Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • London Research Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
    • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • Philipps University of Marburg
      Marburg, Hesse, Germany
  • 2011
    • Wellcome Trust
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2007
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
    • Beaumont Hospital
      Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
  • 1996–2001
    • University of London
      • The School of Pharmacy
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom