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Antwerpen, Belgium

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

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. Source

Strazisar M.,University of Antwerp | Cammaerts S.,University of Antwerp | Van Der Ven K.,University of Antwerp | Van Der Ven K.,Multiplicom | And 17 more authors.
Molecular Psychiatry

Sequence analysis of 13 microRNA (miRNA) genes expressed in the human brain and located in genomic regions associated with schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder, in a northern Swedish patient/control population, resulted in the discovery of two functional variants in the MIR137 gene. On the basis of their location and the allele frequency differences between patients and controls, we explored the hypothesis that the discovered variants impact the expression of the mature miRNA and consequently influence global mRNA expression affecting normal brain functioning. Using neuronal-like SH-SY5Y cells, we demonstrated significantly reduced mature miR-137 levels in the cells expressing the variant miRNA gene. Subsequent transcriptome analysis showed that the reduction in miR-137 expression led to the deregulation of gene sets involved in synaptogenesis and neuronal transmission, all implicated in psychiatric disorders. Our functional findings add to the growing data, which implicate that miR-137 has an important role in the etiology of psychiatric disorders and emphasizes its involvement in nervous system development and proper synaptic function. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Bogaert E.,Catholic University of Leuven | Bogaert E.,Vesalius Research Center | Goris A.,Catholic University of Leuven | van Damme P.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 32 more authors.
Neurobiology of Aging

Excitotoxicity is thought to play a pathogenic role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Excitotoxic motor neuron death is mediated through the Ca 2+-permeable α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA)-type of glutamate receptors and Ca 2+ permeability is determined by the GluR2 subunit. We investigated whether polymorphisms or mutations in the GluR2 gene (GRIA2) predispose patients to ALS. Upon sequencing 24 patients and 24 controls no nonsynonymous coding variants were observed but 24 polymorphisms were identified, 9 of which were novel. In a screening set of 310 Belgian ALS cases and 794 healthy controls and a replication set of 3157 cases and 5397 controls from 6 additional populations no association with susceptibility, age at onset, or disease duration was observed. We conclude that polymorphisms in the GluR2 gene (GRIA2) are not a major contributory factor in the pathogenesis of ALS. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

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

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. Source

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