[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital mirror movements (CMM) are characterized by involuntary movements of one side of the body that mirror intentional movements on the opposite side. CMM reflect dysfunctions and structural abnormalities of the motor network and are mainly inherited in an autosomal-dominant fashion. Recently, heterozygous mutations in DCC, the gene encoding the receptor for netrin 1 and involved in the guidance of developing axons toward the midline, have been identified but CMM are genetically heterogeneous. By combining genome-wide linkage analysis and exome sequencing, we identified heterozygous mutations introducing premature termination codons in RAD51 in two families with CMM. RAD51 mRNA was significantly downregulated in individuals with CMM resulting from the degradation of the mutated mRNA by nonsense-mediated decay. RAD51 was specifically present in the developing mouse cortex and, more particularly, in a subpopulation of corticospinal axons at the pyramidal decussation. The identification of mutations in RAD51, known for its key role in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks through homologous recombination, in individuals with CMM reveals a totally unexpected role of RAD51 in neurodevelopment. These findings open a new field of investigation for researchers attempting to unravel the molecular pathways underlying bimanual motor control in humans.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 02/2012; 90(2):301-7. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mirror movements (MM) are involuntary movements of one side of the body that accompany and mirror intentional movements on the opposite side. Physiological MM can occur during normal childhood development, probably owing to corpus callosum immaturity. Pathological congenital MM may be clinically isolated or part of a complex congenital syndrome, including Kallmann syndrome, Klippel-Feil syndrome, and congenital hemiplegia. Congenital isolated MM are usually familial. Recently, heterozygous mutations of the DCC gene, with autosomal dominant inheritance, were shown to cause some cases of MM. The pathogenesis of congenital MM may involve (i) abnormal interhemispheric inhibition between the two motor cortices; (ii) functional alteration of motor planning and motor execution; and/or (iii) abnormal persistence of the ipsilateral corticospinal tract. Fundamental and clinical research is providing novel insights into the complex underlying molecular pathways, and recent experimental work has identified several mechanisms that may mediate the motor network dysfunction. In this review, we analyze clinical, genetic, neurophysiologic, and neuroimaging data on congenital MM, and discuss how this knowledge may improve our understanding of bimanual motor control.
Journal of Neurology 06/2011; 258(11):1911-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DCC is the receptor for netrin, a protein that guides axon migration of developing neurons across the body's midline. Mutations in the DCC gene were recently identified in 2 families with congenital mirror movements (MM). The objective was to study clinical and genetic characteristics of 3 European families with MM and to test whether this disorder is genetically homogeneous.
We studied 3 MM families with a total of 13 affected subjects. Each patient had a standardized interview and neurologic examination, focusing on the phenomenology and course of the MM. The severity of MM was also assessed. Molecular analysis of DCC was performed in the index cases. In addition, linkage analysis of the DCC locus was performed in a large French family.
The clinical expression and course of MM were very similar in all the affected subjects, regardless of DCC mutational status. However, slight intersubject variability in the severity of MM was noted within each family. Onset always occurred in infancy or early childhood, and MM did not deteriorate over time. Motor disability due to MM was mild and restricted to activities that require independent movements of the 2 hands. We found a novel mutation in the DCC gene in an Italian family with MM associated with abnormal ipsilateral corticospinal projection. The DCC locus was excluded in the French family.
DCC has a crucial role in the development of corticospinal tracts in humans. Congenital MM is genetically heterogeneous, despite its clinical homogeneity.