University Clinics Tuebingen

Tübingen, Germany

University Clinics Tuebingen

Tübingen, Germany
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Achilli A.,University of Perugia | Iommarini L.,University of Bologna | Olivieri A.,University of Pavia | Pala M.,University of Pavia | And 24 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited blinding disorder, which in over 90% of cases is due to one of three primary mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) point mutations (m.11778G>A, m.3460G>A and m.14484T>C, respectively in MT-ND4, MT-ND1 and MT-ND6 genes). However, the spectrum of mtDNA mutations causing the remaining 10% of cases is only partially and often poorly defined. Methodology/Principal Findings: In order to improve such a list of pathological variants, we completely sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of suspected LHON patients from Italy, France and Germany, lacking the three primary common mutations. Phylogenetic and conservation analyses were performed. Sixteen mitochondrial genomes were found to harbor at least one of the following nine rare LHON pathogenic mutations in genes MT-ND1 (m.3700G>A/p.A132T, m.3733G>A-C/p.E143K-Q, m.4171C>A/p.L289M), MT-ND4L (m.10663T>C/p.V65A) and MT-ND6 (m.14459G>A/p.A72V, m.14495A>G/p.M64I, m.14482C>A/p.L60S, and m.14568C>T/p.G36S). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that these substitutions were due to independent events on different haplogroups, whereas interspecies comparisons showed that they affected conserved amino acid residues or domains in the ND subunit genes of complex I. Conclusions/Significance: Our findings indicate that these nine substitutions are all primary LHON mutations. Therefore, despite their relative low frequency, they should be routinely tested for in all LHON patients lacking the three common mutations. Moreover, our sequence analysis confirms the major role of haplogroups J1c and J2b (over 35% in our probands versus 6% in the general population of Western Europe) and other putative synergistic mtDNA variants in LHON expression. © 2012 Achilli et al.


Shaikh R.S.,Bahauddin Zakariya University | Reuter P.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Sisk R.A.,Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Research Foundation | Kausar T.,Bahauddin Zakariya University | And 8 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2015

We assessed a large consanguineous Pakistani family (PKAB157) segregating early onset low vision problems. Funduscopic and electroretinographic evaluation of affected individuals revealed juvenile cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) with maculopathy. Other clinical symptoms included loss of color discrimination, photophobia and nystagmus. Whole-exome sequencing, segregation and haplotype analyses demonstrated that a transition variant (c.955T>C; p.(Cys319Arg)) in CNGA3 co-segregated with the CRD phenotype in family PKAB157. The ability of CNGA3 channel to influx calcium in response to agonist, when expressed either alone or together with the wild-type CNGB3 subunit in HEK293 cells, was completely abolished due to p.Cys319Arg variant. Western blotting and immunolocalization studies suggest that a decreased channel density in the HEK293 cell membrane due to impaired folding and/or trafficking of the CNGA3 protein is the main pathogenic effect of the p.Cys319Arg variant. Mutant alleles of the human cone photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (CNGA3) are frequently associated with achromatopsia. In rare cases, variants in CNGA3 are also associated with cone dystrophy, Leber's congenital amaurosis and oligo cone trichromacy. The identification of predicted p.(Cys319Arg) missense variant in CNGA3 expands the repertoire of the known genetic causes of CRD and phenotypic spectrum of CNGA3 alleles. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Sothilingam V.,University of Tübingen | Garrido M.G.,University of Tübingen | Jiao K.,University of Tübingen | Jiao K.,Kunming Medical University | And 16 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2015

Mutations in the PDE6A gene can cause rod photoreceptors degeneration and the blinding disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). While a number of pathogenic PDE6A mutations have been described, little is known about their impact on compound heterozygous situations and potential interactions of different disease-causing alleles. Here, we used a novel mouse model for the Pde6a R562W mutation in combination with an existing line carrying the V685M mutation to generate compound heterozygous Pde6a V685M/R562W animals, exactly homologous to a case of human RP. We compared the progression of photoreceptor degeneration in these compound heterozygous mice with the homozygous V685M and R562W mutants, and additionally with the D670G line that is known for a relatively mild phenotype. We investigated PDE6A expression, cyclic guanosine mono-phosphate accumulation, calpain and caspase activity, in vivo retinal function and morphology, as well as photoreceptor cell death and survival. This analysis confirms the severity of different Pde6a mutations and indicates that compound heterozygous mutants behave like intermediates of the respective homozygous situations. Specifically, the severity of the four different Pde6a situations may be categorized by the pace of photoreceptor degeneration: V685M (fastest) > V685M/ R562W > R562W > D670G (slowest). While calpain activity was strongly increased in all four mutants, caspase activity was not. This points to the execution of non-apoptotic cell death and may lead to the identification of new targets for therapeutic interventions. For individual RP patients, our study may help to predict time-courses for Pde6a-related retinal degeneration and thereby facilitate the definition of a window-of-opportunity for clinical interventions. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Carretero L.,University of Oviedo | Carretero L.,King's College London | Llavona P.,University of Oviedo | Llavona P.,University Clinics Tuebingen | And 7 more authors.
Cellular Signalling | Year: 2015

The transduction pathway mediating the inhibitory effect that TRH exerts on r-ERG channels has been thoroughly studied in GH3 rat pituitary cells but some elements have yet to be discovered, including those involved in a phosphorylation event(s). Using a quantitative phosphoproteomic approach we studied the changes in phosphorylation caused by treatment with 1μM TRH for 5min in GH3 cells. The activating residues of Erk2 and Erk1 undergo phosphorylation increases of 5.26 and 4.87 fold, respectively, in agreement with previous reports of ERK activation by TRH in GH3 cells. Thus, we studied the possible involvement of ERK pathway in the signal transduction from TRH receptor to r-ERG channels. The MEK inhibitor U0126 at 0.5μM caused no major blockade of the basal r-ERG current, but impaired the TRH inhibitory effect on r-ERG. Indeed, the TRH effect on r-ERG was also reduced when GH3 cells were transfected with siRNAs against either Erk1 or Erk2. Using antibodies, we found that TRH treatment also causes activating phosphorylation of Rsk. The TRH effect on r-ERG current was also impaired when cells were transfected with any of two different siRNAs mixtures against Rsk1. However, treatment of GH3 cells with 20nM EGF for 5min, which causes ERK and RSK activation, had no effect on the r-ERG currents. Therefore, we conclude that in the native GH3 cell system, ERK and RSK are involved in the pathway linking TRH receptor to r-ERG channel inhibition, but additional components must participate to cause such inhibition. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Grau T.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Grau T.,University of Tübingen | Burbulla L.F.,University of Tübingen | Burbulla L.F.,German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Medical Genetics | Year: 2013

Background Mutations in OPA3 have been reported in patients with autosomal dominant optic atrophy plus cataract and Costeff syndrome. Here, we report the results of a comprehensive study on OPA3 mutations, including the mutation spectrum and its prevalence in a large cohort of OPA1-negative autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) patients, the associated clinical phenotype and the functional characterisation of a newly identified OPA3 mutant. Methods Mutation analysis was carried out in a patient cohort of 121 independent ADOA patients. To characterise a novel OPA3 mutation, we analysed the mitochondrial import, steady-state levels and the mitochondrial localisation of the mutated protein in patients' fibroblasts. Furthermore, the morphology of mitochondria harbouring the mutated OPA3 was monitored. Results We identified four independent cases (representing families with multiple affected members) with OPA3 mutations. Besides the known p.Q105E mutation, we observed a novel insertion, c.10_11insCGCCCG/p.V3_G4insAP which is located in the mitochondrial presequence. Detailed functional analysis of mitochondria harbouring this novel mutation demonstrates a fragmented mitochondrial network with a decreased mitochondrial mass in patient fibroblasts. In addition, quantification of the OPA3 protein reveals decreased steady-state levels of the mutant protein compared with the native one. Comparison of the clinical phenotypes suggests that OPA3 mutations can additionally evoke hearing loss and by that extend the clinical manifestation of OPA3-associated optic atrophy. This finding is supported by expression analysis of OPA3 in murine cochlear tissue. Conclusions In summary, our study provides new insights into the clinical spectrum and the pathogenesis of dominant optic atrophy caused by mutations in the OPA3 gene.


Remez L.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology | Zobor D.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Kohl S.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Ben-Yosef T.,Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Experimental Eye Research | Year: 2014

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the most common form of hereditary retinal degeneration. Mutations of the PRCD gene are associated with RP in both dogs and humans. To date, four distinct PRCD mutations have been reported worldwide. Here we report the clinical phenotype of another patient with PRCD mutations, carrying the known p.R18X mutation and a novel missense mutation, p.P25T. This mutation affects a highly conserved amino acid, is predicted to be damaging by several prediction tools, and was not found in the public databases or in 115 ethnically-matched control individuals. The phenotype of this patient resembles that of previously reported patients with PRCD mutations, including bull's eye maculopathy, which appears to be a hallmark of the PRCD-induced phenotype. PRCD encodes for a 54 amino acids long protein with unknown function. The first 20 amino acids appear to encode for a signal peptide (SP), suggesting that PRCD is a secreted protein. To study PRCD secretion, C-terminally myc-tagged PRCD was expressed in cultured cells. Cells and conditioned media were analyzed by Western blot. PRCD was found in both cell extracts and media. However, a truncated PRCD protein lacking the first 20 amino acids was present only in cell extracts and not in media, confirming that PRCD extracellular secretion is mediated by its N-terminal SP. To characterize the secretory pathway of PRCD, various pharmacological agents which interfere with transport of proteins through the ER and Golgi to the plasma membrane were used. PRCD secretion was significantly inhibited by all tested pharmacological agents, confirming that it is secreted through the classic ER/Golgi-dependent secretory pathway. We tested the effect of two mutations on the PRCD protein, and found that p.C2Y, but not p.P25T, affects protein stability, and that neither mutation affects secretion. Our data suggest that PRCD functions as a secreted protein. These findings shed a new light on PRCD function and the etiology of RP. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Nguyen D.,University of California at San Diego | Alavi M.V.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Kim K.-Y.,University of California at San Diego | Kang T.,University of California at San Diego | And 8 more authors.
Cell Death and Disease | Year: 2011

Glutamate excitotoxicity leads to fragmented mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, mediated by nitric oxide and S-nitrosylation of dynamin-related protein 1, a mitochondrial outer membrane fission protein. Optic atrophy gene 1 (OPA1) is an inner membrane protein important for mitochondrial fusion. Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA), caused by mutations in OPA1, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting mainly retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Here, we showed that OPA1 deficiency in an ADOA model influences N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression, which is involved in glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. Opa1 enu/+ mice show a slow progressive loss of RGCs, activation of astroglia and microglia, and pronounced mitochondrial fission in optic nerve heads as found by electron tomography. Expression of NMDA receptors (NR1, 2A, and 2B) in the retina of Opa1 enu/+ mice was significantly increased as determined by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) expression was significantly decreased, the apoptotic pathway was activated as Bax was increased, and phosphorylated Bad and BcL-xL were decreased. Our results conclusively demonstrate that not only glutamate excitotoxicity and/or oxidative stress alters mitochondrial fission/fusion, but that an imbalance in mitochondrial fission/fusion in turn leads to NMDA receptor upregulation and oxidative stress. Therefore, we propose a new vicious cycle involved in neurodegeneration that includes glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dynamics. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Carelli V.,University of Bologna | Schimpf S.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Fuhrmann N.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Valentino M.L.,University of Bologna | And 21 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is genetically heterogeneous and pathogenic mutations have been identified in the OPA1 and OPA3 genes, both encoding for mitochondrial proteins. We characterized clinical and laboratory features in a large OPA1-negative family with complicated DOA. Search for mitochondrial dysfunction was performed by studying muscle biopsies, fibroblasts, platelets and magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy. Genetic investigations included mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis, linkage analysis, copy number variation (CNV) analysis and candidate gene screening. Optic neuropathy was undistinguishable from that in OPA1-DOA and frequently associated with late-onset sensorineural hearing loss, increases of central conduction times at somato-sensory evoked potentials and various cardiac abnormalities. Serum lactic acid after exercise, platelet respiratory complex activities, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content in fibroblasts and muscle phosphorus MR spectroscopy all failed to reveal a mitochondrial dysfunction. However, muscle biopsies and their mtDNA analysis showed increased mitochondrial biogenesis. Furthermore, patient's fibroblasts grown in the galactose medium were unable to increase ATP content compared with controls, and exhibited abnormally high rate of fusion activity. Genome-wide linkage revealed a locus on chromosome 16q21-q22 with a maximum two-point LOD score of 8.84 for the marker D16S752 and a non-recombinant interval of ~6.96 cM. Genomic screening of 45 genes in this interval including several likely candidate genes (CALB2, CYB5B, TK2, DHODH, PLEKHG4) revealed no mutation. Moreover, we excluded the presence of CNVs using array-based comparative genome hybridization. The identification of a new OPA locus (OPA8) in this pedigree demonstrates further genetic heterogeneity in DOA, and our results indicate that the pathogenesis may still involve mitochondria. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Grau T.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Artemyev N.O.,University of Iowa | Rosenberg T.,Kennedy Center | Rosenberg T.,The Gordon Norrie Center for Genetic Eye Disease | And 11 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Mutations in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of the cone photoreceptor phosphodiesterase (PDE6C) have been recently reported in patients with autosomal recessive inherited achromatopsia (ACHM) and early-onset cone photoreceptor dysfunction. Here we present the results of a comprehensive study on PDE6C mutations including the mutation spectrum, its prevalence in a large cohort of ACHM/cone dysfunction patients, the clinical phenotype and the functional characterization of mutant PDE6C proteins. Twelve affected patients from seven independent families segregating PDE6C mutations were identified in our total patient cohort of 492 independent families. Eleven different PDE6C mutations were found including two nonsense mutations, three mutations affecting transcript splicing as shown by minigene assays, one 1 bp-insertion and five missense mutations. We also performed a detailed functional characterization of six missense mutations applying the baculovirus system to express recombinant mutant and wildtype chimeric PDE6C/PDE5 proteins in Sf9 insect cells. Purified proteins were analyzed using Western blotting, phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity measurements as well as inhibition assays by zaprinast and PΓ. Four of the six PDE6C missense mutations led to baseline PDE activities and most likely represent functional null alleles. For two mutations, p.E790K and p.Y323N, we observed reduction in PDE activity of approximately 60% and 80%, respectively. We also observed differences for PΓ inhibition. The p.E790K mutant, with an IC50 value of 2.7 nm is 20.7-fold more sensitive for PΓ inhibition, whereas the p.Y323N mutant with an IC50 of 158 nm is 3-fold less sensitive when compared with the wildtype control. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


PubMed | University Clinics Tuebingen and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Type: | Journal: Experimental eye research | Year: 2014

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the most common form of hereditary retinal degeneration. Mutations of the PRCD gene are associated with RP in both dogs and humans. To date, four distinct PRCD mutations have been reported worldwide. Here we report the clinical phenotype of another patient with PRCD mutations, carrying the known p.R18X mutation and a novel missense mutation, p.P25T. This mutation affects a highly conserved amino acid, is predicted to be damaging by several prediction tools, and was not found in the public databases or in 115 ethnically-matched control individuals. The phenotype of this patient resembles that of previously reported patients with PRCD mutations, including bulls eye maculopathy, which appears to be a hallmark of the PRCD-induced phenotype. PRCD encodes for a 54 amino acids long protein with unknown function. The first 20 amino acids appear to encode for a signal peptide (SP), suggesting that PRCD is a secreted protein. To study PRCD secretion, C-terminally myc-tagged PRCD was expressed in cultured cells. Cells and conditioned media were analyzed by Western blot. PRCD was found in both cell extracts and media. However, a truncated PRCD protein lacking the first 20 amino acids was present only in cell extracts and not in media, confirming that PRCD extracellular secretion is mediated by its N-terminal SP. To characterize the secretory pathway of PRCD, various pharmacological agents which interfere with transport of proteins through the ER and Golgi to the plasma membrane were used. PRCD secretion was significantly inhibited by all tested pharmacological agents, confirming that it is secreted through the classic ER/Golgi-dependent secretory pathway. We tested the effect of two mutations on the PRCD protein, and found that p.C2Y, but not p.P25T, affects protein stability, and that neither mutation affects secretion. Our data suggest that PRCD functions as a secreted protein. These findings shed a new light on PRCD function and the etiology of RP.

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