[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The small heat shock protein HSPB1 is a multifunctional, α-crystallin-based protein that has been shown to be neuroprotective in animal models of motor neuron disease and peripheral nerve injury. Missense mutations in HSPB1 result in axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease with minimal sensory involvement (CMT2F) and distal hereditary motor neuropathy type 2 (dHMN-II). These disorders are characterized by a selective loss of motor axons in peripheral nerve resulting in distal muscle weakness and often severe disability. To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of HSPB1 mutations in motor neurons in vivo, we have developed and characterized transgenic PrP-HSPB1 and PrP-HSPB1(R136W) mice. These mice express the human HSPB1 protein throughout the nervous system including in axons of peripheral nerve. Although both mouse strains lacked obvious motor deficits, the PrP-HSPB1(R136W) mice developed an age-dependent motor axonopathy. Mutant mice showed axonal pathology in spinal cord and peripheral nerve with evidence of impaired neurofilament cytoskeleton, associated with organelle accumulation. Accompanying these findings, increases in the number of Schmidt-Lanterman incisures, as evidence of impaired axon-Schwann cell interactions, were present. These observations suggest that overexpression of HSPB1(R136W) in neurons is sufficient to cause pathological and electrophysiological changes in mice that are seen in patients with hereditary motor neuropathy.
Neurobiology of Disease 04/2012; 47(2):163-73. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2012.03.035 · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Idiopathic peripheral neuropathy is common and likely due to genetic factors that are not detectable using standard linkage analysis. We initiated a candidate gene approach to study the genetic influence of the small heat shock protein (sHSP) gene family on an axonal motor and motor/sensory neuropathy patient population.
The promoter region and all exonic and intronic sequences of the 10 sHSP genes (HSPB1-HSPB10) were screened in a cohort of presumed nonacquired, axonal motor and motor/sensory neuropathy patients seen at the Ohio State University Neuromuscular Clinic.
A missense mutation in the gene encoding small heat shock protein B3 (HSPB3, also called HSP27, protein 3) was discovered in 2 siblings with an asymmetric axonal motor neuropathy. Electrophysiologic studies revealed an axonal, predominantly motor, length-dependent neuropathy. The mutation, HSPB3(R7S), is located in the N-terminal domain and involves the loss of a conserved arginine.
The discovery of an HSPB3 mutation associated with an axonal motor neuropathy using a candidate gene approach supports the notion that the small heat shock protein gene family coordinately plays an important role in motor neuron viability.