Dissection of the genetic background of childhood onset progressive myoclonic epilepsies

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7561-2
Title: Dissection of the genetic background of childhood onset progressive myoclonic epilepsies
Author: Kousi, Maria
Contributor organization: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Haartman Institute, Department of Medical Genetics
Neuroscience Center and Folkhälsan Institute of Genetics
Helsingin yliopisto, lääketieteellinen tiedekunta, kliinisteoreettinen laitos
Helsingfors universitet, medicinska fakulteten, Haartman institutet
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2012-01-13
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7561-2
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/28690
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: The progressive myoclonic epilepsies (PMEs) are a clinically and etiologically heterogeneous group of symptomatic epilepsies characterized by myoclonus, tonic-clonic seizures, psychomotor regression and ataxia. Different disorders have been classified as PMEs. Of these, the group of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) comprise an entity that has onset in childhood, being the most common cause of neurodegeneration in children. The primary aim of this thesis was to dissect the molecular genetic background of patients with childhood onset PME by studying candidate genes and attempting to identify novel PME-associated genes. Another specific aim was to study the primary protein properties of the most recently identified member of the NCL-causing proteins, MFSD8. To dissect the genetic background of a cohort of Turkish patients with childhood onset PME, a screen of the NCL-associated genes PPT1, TPP1, CLN3, CLN5, CLN6, MFSD8, CLN8 and CTSD was performed. Altogether 49 novel mutations were identified, which together with 56 mutations found by collaborators raised the total number of known NCL mutations to 364. Fourteen of the novel mutations affect the recently identified MFSD8 gene, which had originally been identified in a subset of mainly Turkish patients as the underlying cause of CLN7 disease. To investigate the distribution of MFSD8 defects, a total of 211 patients of different ethnic origins were evaluated for mutations in the gene. Altogether 45 patients from nine different countries were provided with a CLN7 molecular diagnosis, denoting the wide geographical occurrence of MFSD8 defects. The mutations are private with only one having been established by a founder-effect in the Roma population from the former Czechoslovakia. All mutations identified except one are associated with the typical clinical picture of variant late-infantile NCL. To address the trafficking properties of MFSD8, lysosomal targeting of the protein was confirmed in both neuronal and non-neuronal cells. The major determinant for this lysosomal sorting was identified to be an N-terminal dileucine based signal (9-EQEPLL-14), recognized by heterotetrameric AP-1 adaptor proteins, suggesting that MFSD8 takes the direct trafficking pathway en route to the lysosomes. Expression studies revealed the neurons as the primary cell-type and the hippocampus and cerebellar granular cell layer as the predominant regions in which MFSD8 is expressed. To identify novel genes associated with childhood onset PME, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genomewide scan was performed in three small families and 18 sporadic patients followed by homozygosity mapping to determine the candidate loci. One of the families and a sporadic patient were positive for mutations in PLA2G6, a gene that had previously been shown to cause infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. Application of next-generation sequencing of candidate regions in the remaining two families led to identification of a homozygous missense mutation in USP19 for the first and TXNDC6 for the second family. Analysis of the 18 sporadic cases mapped the best candidate interval in a 1.5 Mb region on chromosome 7q21. Screening of the positional candidate KCTD7 revealed six mutations in seven unrelated families. All patients with mutations in KCTD7 were reported to have early onset PME, rapid disease progression leading to dementia and no pathologic hallmarks. The identification of KCTD7 mutations in nine patients and the clinical delineation of their phenotype establish KCTD7 as a gene for early onset PME. The findings presented in this thesis denote MFSD8 and KCTD7 as genes commonly associated with childhood onset symptomatic epilepsy. The disease-associated role of TXNDC6 awaits verification through identification of additional mutations in patients with similar phenotypes. Completion of the genetic spectrum underlying childhood onset PMEs and understanding of the gene products functions will comprise important steps towards understanding the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms, and will possibly shed light on the general processes of neurodegeneration and nervous system regulation, facilitating the diagnosis, classification and possibly treatment of the affected cases.Ei saatavilla
Subject: lääketieteellinen genetiikka
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