Molecular Neurogenomics Group

Antwerpen, Belgium

Molecular Neurogenomics Group

Antwerpen, Belgium
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Griffin L.B.,University of Pennsylvania | Mademan I.,Neurogenetics Group | Mademan I.,University of Antwerp | Baets J.,Neurogenetics Group | And 9 more authors.
Neurology | Year: 2015

To determine the genetic cause of neurodegeneration in a family with myeloneuropathy. Methods: We studied 5 siblings in a family with a mild, dominantly inherited neuropathy by clinical examination and electrophysiology. One patient had a sural nerve biopsy. After ruling out common genetic causes of axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, we sequenced 3 tRNA synthetase genes associated with neuropathy. Results: All affected family members had a mild axonal neuropathy, and 3 of 4 had lower extremity hyperreflexia, evidence of a superimposed myelopathy. A nerve biopsy showed evidence of chronic axonal loss. All affected family members had a heterozygous missense mutation c.304G>C (p.Gly102Arg) in the alanyl-tRNA synthetase (AARS) gene; this allele was not identified in unaffected individuals or control samples. The equivalent change in the yeast ortholog failed to complement a strain of yeast lacking AARS function, suggesting that the mutation is damaging. Conclusion: A novel mutation in AARS causes a mild myeloneuropathy, a novel phenotype for patients with mutations in one of the tRNA synthetase genes. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.


Rossor A.M.,University College London | Oates E.C.,Childrens Hospital | Oates E.C.,University of Sydney | Salter H.K.,University of Cambridge | And 37 more authors.
Brain | Year: 2015

Spinal muscular atrophy is a disorder of lower motor neurons, most commonly caused by recessive mutations in SMN1 on chromosome 5q. Cases without SMN1 mutations are subclassified according to phenotype. Spinal muscular atrophy, lower extremity-predominant, is characterized by lower limb muscle weakness and wasting, associated with reduced numbers of lumbar motor neurons and is caused by mutations in DYNC1H1, which encodes a microtubule motor protein in the dynein-dynactin complex and one of its cargo adaptors, BICD2. We have now identified 32 patients with BICD2 mutations from nine different families, providing detailed insights into the clinical phenotype and natural history of BICD2 disease. BICD2 spinal muscular atrophy, lower extremity predominant most commonly presents with delayed motor milestones and ankle contractures. Additional features at presentation include arthrogryposis and congenital dislocation of the hips. In all affected individuals, weakness and wasting is lower-limb predominant, and typically involves both proximal and distal muscle groups. There is no evidence of sensory nerve involvement. Upper motor neuron signs are a prominent feature in a subset of individuals, including one family with exclusively adult-onset upper motor neuron features, consistent with a diagnosis of hereditary spastic paraplegia. In all cohort members, lower motor neuron features were static or only slowly progressive, and the majority remained ambulant throughout life. Muscle MRI in six individuals showed a common pattern of muscle involvement with fat deposition in most thigh muscles, but sparing of the adductors and semitendinosus. Muscle pathology findings were highly variable and included pseudomyopathic features, neuropathic features, and minimal change. The six causative mutations, including one not previously reported, result in amino acid changes within all three coiled-coil domains of the BICD2 protein, and include a possible 'hot spot' mutation, p.Ser107Leu present in four families. We used the recently solved crystal structure of a highly conserved region of the Drosophila orthologue of BICD2 to further-explore how the p.Glu774Gly substitution inhibits the binding of BICD2 to Rab6. Overall, the features of BICD2 spinal muscular atrophy, lower extremity predominant are consistent with a pathological process that preferentially affects lumbar lower motor neurons, with or without additional upper motor neuron involvement. Defining the phenotypic features in this, the largest BICD2 disease cohort reported to date, will facilitate focused genetic testing and filtering of next generation sequencing-derived variants in cases with similar features. © 2014 The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


Peeters K.,Molecular Neurogenomics Group | Peeters K.,University of Antwerp | Litvinenko I.,Medical University-Sofia | Asselbergh B.,University of Antwerp | And 23 more authors.
American Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2013

The most common form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a recessive disorder caused by deleterious SMN1 mutations in 5q13, whereas the genetic etiologies of non-5q SMA are very heterogeneous and largely remain to be elucidated. In a Bulgarian family affected by autosomal-dominant proximal SMA, we performed genome-wide linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing and found a heterozygous de novo c.320C>T (p.Ser107Leu) mutation in bicaudal D homolog 2 (Drosophila) (BICD2). Further analysis of BICD2 in a cohort of 119 individuals with non-5q SMA identified a second de novo BICD2 mutation, c.2321A>G (p.Glu774Gly), in a simplex case. Detailed clinical and electrophysiological investigations revealed that both families are affected by a very similar disease course, characterized by early childhood onset, predominant involvement of lower extremities, and very slow disease progression. The amino acid substitutions are located in two interaction domains of BICD2, an adaptor protein linking the dynein molecular motor with its cargo. Our immunoprecipitation and localization experiments in HeLa and SH-SY5Y cells and affected individuals' lymphoblasts demonstrated that p.Ser107Leu causes increased dynein binding and thus leads to accumulation of BICD2 at the microtubule-organizing complex and Golgi fragmentation. In addition, the altered protein had a reduced colocalization with RAB6A, a regulator of vesicle trafficking between the Golgi and the endoplasmic reticulum. The interaction between p.Glu744Gly altered BICD2 and RAB6A was impaired, which also led to their reduced colocalization. Our study identifies BICD2 mutations as a cause of non-5q linked SMA and highlights the importance of dynein-mediated motility in motor neuron function in humans. © 2013 The American Society of Human Genetics.


Peeters K.,Molecular Neurogenomics Group | Peeters K.,University of Antwerp | Bervoets S.,Molecular Neurogenomics Group | Bervoets S.,University of Antwerp | And 20 more authors.
Human Mutation | Year: 2015

The heavy chain 1 of cytoplasmic dynein (DYNC1H1) is responsible for movement of the motor complex along microtubules and recruitment of dynein components. Mutations in DYNC1H1 are associated with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN), cortical malformations, or a combination of these. Combining linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing, we identified a novel dominant defect in the DYNC1H1 tail domain (c.1792C>T, p.Arg598Cys) causing axonal HMSN. Mutation analysis of the tail region in 355 patients identified a de novo mutation (c.791G>T, p.Arg264Leu) in an isolated SMA patient. Her phenotype was more severe than previously described, characterized by multiple congenital contractures and delayed motor milestones, without brain malformations. The mutations in DYNC1H1 increase the interaction with its adaptor BICD2. This relates to previous studies on BICD2 mutations causing a highly similar phenotype. Our findings broaden the genetic heterogeneity and refine the clinical spectrum of DYNC1H1, and have implications for molecular diagnostics of motor neuron diseases. © 2014 WILEY PERIODICALS, INC.


Kancheva D.,Molecular Neurogenomics Group | Kancheva D.,University of Antwerp | Kancheva D.,Medical University-Sofia | Chamova T.,Medical University-Sofia | And 9 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2015

Background: Mutations in TUBB4A have been associated with a spectrum of neurological conditions, ranging from the severe hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum syndrome to the clinically milder dystonia type 4. The presence of movement abnormalities was considered the common hallmark of these disorders. Methods: Clinical, neurological, and neuroimaging examinations, followed by whole exome sequencing and mutation analysis, were performed in a highly consanguineous pedigree with five affected children. Results: We identified a novel c.568C>T (p.H190Y) TUBB4A mutation that originated de novo in the asymptomatic mother. The affected subjects presented with an early-onset, slowly progressive spastic paraparesis of the lower limbs, ataxia, and brain hypomyelination, in the absence of dystonia or rigidity. Conclusions: Our study adds complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia to the clinical spectrum of TUBB4A-associated neurological disorders. We establish genotype-phenotype correlations with mutations located in the same region in the tertiary structure of the protein. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society 30 6 May 2015 10.1002/mds.26196 Brief Report Brief Reports © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.


PubMed | Molecular Neurogenomics Group, University of Western Australia and Medical University-Sofia
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society | Year: 2015

Mutations in TUBB4A have been associated with a spectrum of neurological conditions, ranging from the severe hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum syndrome to the clinically milder dystonia type 4. The presence of movement abnormalities was considered the common hallmark of these disorders.Clinical, neurological, and neuroimaging examinations, followed by whole exome sequencing and mutation analysis, were performed in a highly consanguineous pedigree with five affected children.We identified a novel c.568C>T (p.H190Y) TUBB4A mutation that originated de novo in the asymptomatic mother. The affected subjects presented with an early-onset, slowly progressive spastic paraparesis of the lower limbs, ataxia, and brain hypomyelination, in the absence of dystonia or rigidity.Our study adds complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia to the clinical spectrum of TUBB4A-associated neurological disorders. We establish genotype-phenotype correlations with mutations located in the same region in the tertiary structure of the protein.

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