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Verstraeten A.,Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group
Neurobiology of aging | Year: 2012

VPS35 was recently identified as a novel autosomal dominant gene for Parkinson disease. In this study, we aimed to determine the contribution of simple and complex VPS35 variations to the genetic etiology of the spectrum of Lewy body disorders (LBD) in a Flanders-Belgian patient cohort (n = 677). We identified 3 novel missense variations in addition to 1 silent and 1 intronic variation predicted to activate a cryptic splice site, but no copy number variations. Despite the absence of these rare variations in the control group (n = 800), we could not attain convincing evidence for pathogenicity by segregation analysis or in silico predictions. Hence, our data do not support a major role for VPS35 variations in the genetic etiology of Lewy body disorders in the Flanders-Belgian population. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


We have followed-up on the recent genome-wide association (GWA) of the clusterin gene (CLU) with increased risk for Alzheimer disease (AD), by performing an unbiased resequencing of all CLU coding exons and regulatory regions in an extended Flanders-Belgian cohort of Caucasian AD patients and control individuals (n = 1930). Moreover, we have replicated genetic findings by targeted resequencing in independent Caucasian cohorts of French (n = 2182) and Canadian (n = 573) origin and by performing meta-analysis combining our data with previous genetic CLU screenings. In the Flanders-Belgian cohort, we identified significant clustering in exons 5-8 of rare genetic variations leading to non-synonymous substitutions and a 9-bp insertion/deletion affecting the CLU β-chain (p = 0.02). Replicating this observation by targeted resequencing of CLU exons 5-8 in 2 independent Caucasian cohorts of French and Canadian origin identified identical as well as novel non-synonymous substitutions and small insertion/deletions. A meta-analysis, combining the datasets of the 3 cohorts with published CLU sequencing data, confirmed that rare coding variations in the CLU β-chain were significantly enriched in AD patients (OR(MH) = 1.96 [95% CI = 1.18-3.25]; p = 0.009). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis indicated the common AD risk association (GWA SNP rs11136000, p = 0.013) in the 3 combined datasets could not be explained by the presence of the rare coding variations we identified. Further, high-density SNP mapping in the CLU locus mapped the common association signal to a more 5' CLU region. We identified a new genetic risk association of AD with rare coding CLU variations that is independent of the 5' common association signal identified in the GWA studies. At this stage the role of these coding variations and their likely effect on the β-chain domain and CLU protein functioning remains unclear and requires further studies.


Noskova L.,Charles University | Stranecky V.,Charles University | Hartmannova H.,Charles University | Pristoupilova A.,Charles University | And 15 more authors.
American Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2011

Autosomal-dominant adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (ANCL) is characterized by accumulation of autofluorescent storage material in neural tissues and neurodegeneration and has an age of onset in the third decade of life or later. The genetic and molecular basis of the disease has remained unknown for many years. We carried out linkage mapping, gene-expression analysis, exome sequencing, and candidate-gene sequencing in affected individuals from 20 families and/or individuals with simplex cases; we identified in five individuals one of two disease-causing mutations, c.346-348delCTC and c.344T>G, in DNAJC5 encoding cysteine-string protein alpha (CSPα). These mutations - causing a deletion, p.Leu116del, and an amino acid exchange, p.Leu115Arg, respectively - are located within the cysteine-string domain of the protein and affect both palmitoylation-dependent sorting and the amount of CSPα in neuronal cells. The resulting depletion of functional CSPα might cause in parallel the presynaptic dysfunction and the progressive neurodegeneration observed in affected individuals and lysosomal accumulation of misfolded and proteolysis-resistant proteins in the form of characteristic ceroid deposits in neurons. Our work represents an important step in the genetic dissection of a genetically heterogeneous group of ANCLs. It also confirms a neuroprotective role for CSPα in humans and demonstrates the need for detailed investigation of CSPα in the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses and other neurodegenerative diseases presenting with neuronal protein aggregation. © 2011 The American Society of Human Genetics.


Vanden Broeck L.,Catholic University of Leuven | Vanden Broeck L.,Center for the Biology of Disease | Vanden Broeck L.,University of Lille Nord de France | Naval-Sanchez M.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 19 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2013

TDP-43 proteinopathy is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and related neurodegenerative disorders. Whether TDP-43 neurotoxicity is caused by a novel toxic gain-of-function mechanism of the aggregates or by a loss of its normal function is unknown. We increased and decreased expression of . TDP-43 (dTDP-43) in Drosophila. Although upregulation of dTDP-43 induced neuronal ubiquitin and dTDP-43-positive inclusions, both up- and downregulated dTDP-43 resulted in selective apoptosis of bursicon neurons and highly similar transcriptome alterations at the pupal-adult transition. Gene network analysis and genetic validation showed that both up- and downregulated dTDP-43 directly and dramatically increased the expression of the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Map205, resulting in cytoplasmic accumulations of the ecdysteroid receptor (EcR) and a failure to switch EcR-dependent gene programs from a pupal to adult pattern. We propose that dTDP-43 neurotoxicity is caused by a loss of its normal function. © 2013 The Authors.


Janssens J.,Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group | Janssens J.,University of Antwerp | Van Broeckhoven C.,Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group | Van Broeckhoven C.,University of Antwerp
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2013

Aggregation of misfoldedTARDNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a striking hallmark of neurodegenerative processes that are observed in several neurological disorders, and in particular in most patients diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A direct causal link with TDP-43 brain proteinopathy was provided by the identification of pathogenic mutations in TARDBP, the gene encoding TDP-43, in ALS families. However, TDP-43 proteinopathy has also been observed in carriers of mutations in several other genes associated with both ALS and FTLD demonstrating a key role for TDP-43 in neurodegeneration. To date, and despite substantial research into the biology of TDP-43, its functioning in normal brain and in neurodegeneration processes remains largely elusive. Nonetheless, breakthroughs using cellular and animal models have provided valuable insights into ALS and FTLD pathogenesis. Accumulating evidence has redirected the research focus towards amajor role for impaired RNA metabolism and protein homeostasis. At the same time, the concept that toxic TDP-43 protein aggregates promote neurodegeneration is losing its credibility. This review aims at highlighting and discussing the current knowledge on TDP-43 driven pathomechanisms leading to neurodegeneration as observed in TDP-43 proteinopathies. Based on the complexity of the associated neurological diseases, a clear understanding of the essential pathological modifications will be crucial for further therapeutic interventions. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press.

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