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Ratti A.,University of Milan | Pensato V.,Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Disease | Castucci A.,Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Disease | Soraru G.,University of Padua | And 9 more authors.
Neurobiology of Aging

Mutations in valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene, already known to be associated with the multisystemic disorder, inclusion body myopathy with Paget's disease and frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD), have been recently found also in familial cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To further define the frequency of VCP mutations in ALS Italian population, we screened a cohort of 166 familial ALS and 14 ALS-frontotemporal dementia (FTD) individuals. We identified a previously reported synonymous mutation (c.2093A>C; p.Q568Q), 2 intronic variants (c.1749-14C>T; c.2085-3C>T), and 1 nucleotide change (c.2814G>T) in the 3' untranslated region (UTR). Bioinformatical analyses predicted no changes in splicing process or microRNA binding sites. Our results do not confirm a main contribution of VCP gene to familial ALS in the Italian population. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Del Bo R.,University of Milan | Tiloca C.,Laboratory of Neuroscience | Pensato V.,Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Disease | Corrado L.,The Interdisciplinary Center | And 13 more authors.
Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Background: Optineurin (OPTN), a causative gene of hereditary primary open-angle glaucoma, has been recently associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with mainly autosomal recessive, but also dominant, traits. To further define the contribution of OPTN gene in ALS, we performed a mutational screening in a large cohort of Italian patients. Methods: A group of 274 ALS patients, including 161 familial (FALS) and 113 sporadic (SALS) cases, were screened for OPTN mutations by direct sequencing of its coding sequence. All patients fulfilled the El Escorial criteria for probable or definite ALS and were negative for mutations in SOD1, ANG, TARDBP and FUS/TLS genes. Results: The genetic analysis revealed six novel variants in both FALS and SALS patients, all occurring in an heterozygous state. We identified three missense (c.844A→C p.T282P, c.941A→T p.Q314L, c.1670A→C p.K557T), one nonsense (c.67G→T p. G23X) and two intronic mutations (c.552+1delG, c.1401 +4A→G). The intronic c.552+1delG variant determined a splicing defect as demonstrated by mRNA analysis. All mutations were absent in 280 Italian controls and over 6800 worldwide glaucoma patients and controls screened so far. The clinical phenotype of OPTN-mutated patients was heterogeneous for both age of onset and disease duration but characterised by lower-limb onset and prevalence of upper motor neuron signs. Conclusion: In this cohort, OPTN mutations were present both in FALS (2/161), accounting for 1.2% cases, and in SALS patients (4/113), thereby extending the spectrum of OPTN mutations associated with ALS. The study further supports the possible pathological role of optineurin protein in motor neuron disease. Source

Matilla-Duenas A.,Health science Research Institute Germans Trias i Pujol IGTP | Matilla-Duenas A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Ashizawa T.,University of Florida | Brice A.,Institute Du Cerveau Et Of La Moelle Epiniere | And 16 more authors.

Intensive scientific research devoted in the recent years to understand the molecular mechanisms or neurodegeneration in spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are identifying new pathways and targets providing new insights and a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis in these diseases. In this consensus manuscript, the authors discuss their current views on the identified molecular processes causing or modulating the neurodegenerative phenotype in spinocerebellar ataxias with the common opinion of translating the new knowledge acquired into candidate targets for therapy. The following topics are discussed: transcription dysregulation, protein aggregation, autophagy, ion channels, the role of mitochondria, RNA toxicity, modulators of neurodegeneration and current therapeutic approaches. Overall point of consensus includes the common vision of neurodegeneration in SCAs as a multifactorial, progressive and reversible process, at least in early stages. Specific points of consensus include the role of the dysregulation of protein folding, transcription, bioenergetics, calcium handling and eventual cell death with apoptotic features of neurons during SCA disease progression. Unresolved questions include how the dysregulation of these pathways triggers the onset of symptoms and mediates disease progression since this understanding may allow effective treatments of SCAs within the window of reversibility to prevent early neuronal damage. Common opinions also include the need for clinical detection of early neuronal dysfunction, for more basic research to decipher the early neurodegenerative process in SCAs in order to give rise to new concepts for treatment strategies and for the translation of the results to preclinical studies and, thereafter, in clinical practice. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media. Source

Corrado L.,Health Science University | Corrado L.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Magri S.,Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Disease | Bagarotti A.,Health Science University | And 10 more authors.
Neuromuscular Disorders

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is an inherited peripheral neuropathy with a heterogeneous genetic background. Here, we describe two CMT1B families with a mild sensory-motor neuropathy and a novel synonymous variant (c.309G > T, p.G103G) in exon 3 of the MPZ gene. Next generation sequencing analysis on a 94 CMT gene panel showed no mutations in other disease genes. In vitro splicing assay and mRNA expression analysis indicated that the c.309T variant enhances a cryptic donor splice site at position c.304 resulting in the markedly increased expression of the r.304_448del alternative transcript in patients' cells. This transcript is predicted to encode a truncated P0 protein (p.V102Cfs11*) lacking the transmembrane domain, thus suggesting a possible haploinsufficiency mechanism for this mutation. This is the third reported synonymous MPZ variant associated with CMT1 and affecting splicing. These data confirm the functional impact of synonymous variants on MPZ splicing and their possible role as disease-causing mutations rather than silent polymorphisms. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Source

Masson R.,University of Verona | Guerra S.,University of Verona | Cerini R.,Radiology Unit | Pensato V.,Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Disease | And 3 more authors.
European Journal of Paediatric Neurology

We describe the clinical findings and MRI features observed in a child who presented a two-step disease course: he was hypotonic at birth and soon afterwards developed seizures, which were partially responsive to treatment; he subsequently showed developmental delay and a progressive neurological deterioration with the onset of severe seizures at around three years of age. Head MRI at age 20 days was unremarkable, whereas at 25 months it showed bilateral hyperintensity of the deep cerebellar nuclei; five months later, the signal hyperintensity was also present in the cerebellar white matter and ventral pontine fibre tracts. Molecular analysis revealed a novel ACOX1 mutation, predicting a largely truncated protein. The white matter involvement, which followed an ascending trajectory from cerebellar and brainstem structures to the cerebral hemispheres, seemed to originate from the perinuclear white matter of the deep cerebellar nuclei. © 2016 European Paediatric Neurology Society. Source

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