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Strasburg, PA, United States

Lancaster E.,University of Pennsylvania | Huijbers M.G.M.,University of Pennsylvania | Bar V.,Weizmann Institute of Science | Boronat A.,University of Pennsylvania | And 15 more authors.
Annals of Neurology | Year: 2011

Objective To report clinical and immunological investigations of contactin-associated protein-like 2 (Caspr2), an autoantigen of encephalitis and peripheral nerve hyperexcitability (PNH) previously attributed to voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKC). Methods Clinical analysis was performed on patients with encephalitis, PNH, or both. Immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry were used to identify the antigen and to develop an assay with Caspr2-expressing cells. Immunoabsorption with Caspr2 and comparative immunostaining of brain and peripheral nerve of wild-type and Caspr2-null mice were used to assess antibody specificity. Results Using Caspr2-expressing cells, antibodies were identified in 8 patients but not in 140 patients with several types of autoimmune or viral encephalitis, PNH, or mutations of the Caspr2-encoding gene. Patients' antibodies reacted with brain and peripheral nerve in a pattern that colocalized with Caspr2. This reactivity was abrogated after immunoabsorption with Caspr2 and was absent in tissues from Caspr2-null mice. Of the 8 patients with Caspr2 antibodies, 7 had encephalopathy or seizures, 5 neuropathy or PNH, and 1 isolated PNH. Three patients also had myasthenia gravis, bulbar weakness, or symptoms that initially suggested motor neuron disease. None of the patients had active cancer; 7 responded to immunotherapy and were healthy or only mildly disabled at last follow-up (median, 8 months; range, 6-84 months). Interpretation Caspr2 is an autoantigen of encephalitis and PNH previously attributed to VGKC antibodies. The occurrence of other autoantibodies may result in a complex syndrome that at presentation could be mistaken for a motor neuron disorder. Recognition of this disorder is important, because it responds to immunotherapy. Copyright © 2011 American Neurological Association. Source


Parker W.E.,University of Pennsylvania | Orlova K.A.,University of Pennsylvania | Parker W.H.,University of Pennsylvania | Birnbaum J.F.,University of Pennsylvania | And 9 more authors.
Science Translational Medicine | Year: 2013

A rare neurodevelopmental disorder in the Old Order Mennonite population called PMSE (polyhydramnios, megalencephaly, and symptomatic epilepsy syndrome; also called Pretzel syndrome) is characterized by infantile-onset epilepsy, neurocognitive delay, craniofacial dysmorphism, and histopathological evidence of heterotopic neurons in subcortical white matter and subependymal regions. PMSE is caused by a homozygous deletion of exons 9 to 13 of the LYK5/STRADA gene, which encodes the pseudokinase STRADA, an upstream inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). We show that disrupted pathfinding in migrating mouse neural progenitor cells in vitro caused by STRADA depletion is prevented by mTORC1 inhibition with rapamycin or inhibition of its downstream effector p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K) with the drug PF-4708671 (p70S6Ki). We demonstrate that rapamycin can rescue aberrant cortical lamination and heterotopia associated with STRADA depletion in the mouse cerebral cortex. Constitutive mTORC1 signaling and a migration defect observed in fibroblasts from patients with PMSE were also prevented by mTORC1 inhibition. On the basis of these preclinical findings, we treated five PMSE patients with sirolimus (rapamycin) without complication and observed a reduction in seizure frequency and an improvement in receptive language. Our findings demonstrate a mechanistic link between STRADA loss and mTORC1 hyperactivity in PMSE, and suggest that mTORC1 inhibition may be a potential treatment for PMSE as well as other mTOR-associated neurodevelopmental disorders. Copyright 2013 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved. Source


Grace R.F.,Dana Farber Boston Childrens Cancer and Blood Disorder Center | Zanella A.,Fondazione IRCCS CaGranda | Neufeld E.J.,Dana Farber Boston Childrens Cancer and Blood Disorder Center | Morton D.H.,Clinic for Special Children | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Hematology | Year: 2015

Over the last several decades, our understanding of the genetic variation, pathophysiology, and complications of the hemolytic anemia associated with red cell pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD) has expanded. Nonetheless, there remain significant gaps in our knowledge with regard to clinical care and monitoring. Treatment remains supportive with phototherapy and/or exchange transfusion in the newborn period, regular or intermittent red cell transfusions in children and adults, and splenectomy to decrease transfusion requirements and/or anemia related symptoms. In this article, we review the clinical diversity of PKD, the current standard of treatment and for supportive care, the complications observed, and future treatment directions. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source


Xin B.,DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children | Puffenberger E.G.,Clinic for Special Children | Puffenberger E.G.,Franklin And Marshall College | Turben S.,DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children | And 4 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2010

We identified an autosomal recessive condition in 11 individuals in the Old Order Amish of northeastern Ohio. The syndrome was characterized by distinctive craniofacial dysmorphism, skeletal anomalies, and mental retardation. The typical craniofacial dysmorphism included brachycephaly, highly arched bushy eyebrows, synophrys, long eyelashes, low-set ears, microdontism of primary teeth, and generalized gingival hyperplasia, whereas Sprengel deformity of scapula, fusion of spine, rib abnormities, pectus excavatum, and pes planus represented skeletal anomalies. The genome-wide homozygosity mapping using six affected individuals localized the disease gene to a 3.3-Mb region on chromosome 1q23.3-q24.1. Candidate gene sequencing identified a homozygous frameshift mutation, c.139-140delAG, in the transmembrane and coiled-coil domains 1 (TMCO1) gene, as the pathogenic change in all affected members of the extended pedigree. This mutation is predicted to result in a severely truncated protein (p.Ser47Ter) of only one-fourth the original length. The TMCO1 gene product is a member of DUF841 superfamily of several eukaryotic proteins with unknown function. The gene has highly conserved amino acid sequence and is universally expressed in all human tissues examined. The high degree of conservation and the ubiquitous expression pattern in human adult and fetal tissues suggest a critical role for TMCO1. This report shows a TMCO1 sequence variant being associated with a genetic disorder in human. We propose "TMCO1 defect syndrome" as the name of this condition. Source


Orlova K.A.,University of Pennsylvania | Parker W.E.,University of Pennsylvania | Heuer G.G.,University of Pennsylvania | Tsai V.,University of Pennsylvania | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2010

Polyhydramnios, megalencephaly, and symptomatic epilepsy syndrome (PMSE) is a rare human autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by abnormal brain development, cognitive disability, and intractable epilepsy. It is caused by homozygous deletions of STE20-related kinase adaptor α (STRADA). The underlying pathogenic mechanisms of PMSE and the role of STRADA in cortical development remain unknown. Here, we found that a human PMSE brain exhibits cytomegaly, neuronal heterotopia, and aberrant activation of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling. STRADα normally binds and exports the protein kinase LKB1 out of the nucleus, leading to suppression of the mTORC1 pathway. We found that neurons in human PMSE cortex exhibited abnormal nuclear localization of LKB1. To investigate this further, we modeled PMSE in mouse neural progenitor cells (mNPCs) in vitro and in developing mouse cortex in vivo by knocking down STRADα expression. STRADα-deficient mNPCs were cytomegalic and showed aberrant rapamycin-dependent activation of mTORC1 in association with abnormal nuclear localization of LKB1. Consistent with the observations in human PMSE brain, knockdown of STRADα in vivo resulted in cortical malformation, enhanced mTORC1 activation, and abnormal nuclear localization of LKB1. Thus, we suggest that the aberrant nuclear accumulation of LKB1 caused by STRADα deficiency contributes to hyperactivation of mTORC1 signaling and disruption of neuronal lamination during corticogenesis, and thereby the neurological features associated with PMSE. Source

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