Muscle-eye-brain disease (MEB) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by congenital muscular dystrophy, ocular abnormalities, and lissencephaly. Mammalian O-mannosyl glycosylation is a rare type of protein modification that is observed in a limited number of glycoproteins of brain, nerve, and skeletal muscle. Here we isolated a human cDNA for protein O-mannose beta-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (POMGnT1), which participates in O-mannosyl glycan synthesis. We also identified six independent mutations of the POMGnT1 gene in six patients with MEB. Expression of most frequent mutation revealed a great loss of the enzymatic activity. These findings suggest that interference in O-mannosyl glycosylation is a new pathomechanism for muscular dystrophy as well as neuronal migration disorder.
Muscular dystrophies with reduced glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan (alpha-DG), commonly referred to as dystroglycanopathies, are a heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive conditions which include a wide spectrum of clinical severity. Reported phenotypes range from severe congenital onset Walker-Warburg syndrome (WWS) with severe structural brain and eye involvement, to relatively mild adult onset limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). Specific clinical syndromes were originally described in association with mutations in any one of six demonstrated or putative glycosyltransferases. Work performed on patients with mutations in the FKRP gene has identified that the spectrum of phenotypes due to mutations in this gene is much wider than originally assumed. To further define the mutation frequency and phenotypes associated with mutations in the other five genes, we studied a large cohort of patients with evidence of a dystroglycanopathy. Exclusion of mutations in FKRP was a prerequisite for participation in this study. Ninety-two probands were screened for mutations in POMT1, POMT2, POMGnT1, fukutin and LARGE. Homozygous and compound heterozygous mutations were detected in a total of 31 probands (34 individuals from 31 families); 37 different mutations were identified, of which 32 were novel. Mutations in POMT2 were the most prevalent in our cohort with nine cases, followed by POMT1 with eight cases, POMGnT1 with seven cases, fukutin with six cases and LARGE with only a single case. All patients with POMT1 and POMT2 mutations had evidence of either structural or functional central nervous system involvement including four patients with mental retardation and a LGMD phenotype. In contrast mutations in fukutin and POMGnT1 were detected in four patients with LGMD and no evidence of brain involvement. The majority of patients (six out of nine) with mutations in POMT2 had a Muscle-Eye-Brain (MEB)-like condition. In addition we identified a mutation in the gene LARGE in a patient with WWS. Our data expands the clinical phenotypes associated with POMT1, POMT2, POMGnT1, fukutin and LARGE mutations. Mutations in these five glycosyltransferase genes were detected in 34% of patients indicating that, after the exclusion of FKRP, the majority of patients with a dystroglycanopathy harbour mutations in novel genes.
Exome sequencing enhances the ability to identify potential nuclear gene mutations in patients with biochemically defined defects affecting multiple mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes. Additional study is required in independent patient populations to determine the utility of this approach in comparison with traditional diagnostic methods.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder with heterogenous phenotypic manifestations and genetic background. We describe seven patients from five independent families with an isolated myopathic phenotype of CoQ10 deficiency. The clinical, histological and biochemical presentation of our patients was very homogenous. All patients presented with exercise intolerance, fatigue, proximal myopathy and high serum CK. Muscle histology showed lipid accumulation and subtle signs of mitochondrial myopathy. Biochemical measurement of muscle homogenates showed severely decreased activities of respiratory chain complexes I and II + III, while complex IV (COX) was moderately decreased. CoQ10 was significantly decreased in the skeletal muscle of all patients. Tandem mass spectrometry detected multiple acyl-CoA deficiency, leading to the analysis of the electron-transferring-flavoprotein dehydrogenase (ETFDH) gene, previously shown to result in another metabolic disorder, glutaric aciduria type II (GAII). All of our patients carried autosomal recessive mutations in ETFDH, suggesting that ETFDH deficiency leads to a secondary CoQ10 deficiency. Our results indicate that the late-onset form of GAII and the myopathic form of CoQ10 deficiency are allelic diseases. Since this condition is treatable, correct diagnosis is of the utmost importance and should be considered both in children and in adults. We suggest to give patients both CoQ10 and riboflavin supplementation, especially for long-term treatment.
Nemaline myopathy (NEM) is a common congenital myopathy. At the very severe end of the NEM clinical spectrum are genetically unresolved cases of autosomal-recessive fetal akinesia sequence. We studied a multinational cohort of 143 severe-NEM-affected families lacking genetic diagnosis. We performed whole-exome sequencing of six families and targeted gene sequencing of additional families. We identified 19 mutations in KLHL40 (kelch-like family member 40) in 28 apparently unrelated NEM kindreds of various ethnicities. Accounting for up to 28% of the tested individuals in the Japanese cohort, KLHL40 mutations were found to be the most common cause of this severe form of NEM. Clinical features of affected individuals were severe and distinctive and included fetal akinesia or hypokinesia and contractures, fractures, respiratory failure, and swallowing difficulties at birth. Molecular modeling suggested that the missense substitutions would destabilize the protein. Protein studies showed that KLHL40 is a striated-muscle-specific protein that is absent in KLHL40-associated NEM skeletal muscle. In zebrafish, klhl40a and klhl40b expression is largely confined to the myotome and skeletal muscle, and knockdown of these isoforms results in disruption of muscle structure and loss of movement. We identified KLHL40 mutations as a frequent cause of severe autosomal-recessive NEM and showed that it plays a key role in muscle development and function. Screening of KLHL40 should be a priority in individuals who are affected by autosomal-recessive NEM and who present with prenatal symptoms and/or contractures and in all Japanese individuals with severe NEM.
Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiencies (MADDs) are a heterogeneous group of metabolic disorders with combined respiratory-chain deficiency and a neuromuscular phenotype. Despite recent advances in understanding the genetic basis of MADD, a number of cases remain unexplained. Here, we report clinically relevant variants in FLAD1, which encodes FAD synthase (FADS), as the cause of MADD and respiratory-chain dysfunction in nine individuals recruited from metabolic centers in six countries. In most individuals, we identified biallelic frameshift variants in the molybdopterin binding (MPTb) domain, located upstream of the FADS domain. Inasmuch as FADS is essential for cellular supply of FAD cofactors, the finding of biallelic frameshift variants was unexpected. Using RNA sequencing analysis combined with protein mass spectrometry, we discovered FLAD1 isoforms, which only encode the FADS domain. The existence of these isoforms might explain why affected individuals with biallelic FLAD1 frameshift variants still harbor substantial FADS activity. Another group of individuals with a milder phenotype responsive to riboflavin were shown to have single amino acid changes in the FADS domain. When produced in E. coli, these mutant FADS proteins resulted in impaired but detectable FADS activity; for one of the variant proteins, the addition of FAD significantly improved protein stability, arguing for a chaperone-like action similar to what has been reported in other riboflavin-responsive inborn errors of metabolism. In conclusion, our studies identify FLAD1 variants as a cause of potentially treatable inborn errors of metabolism manifesting with MADD and shed light on the mechanisms by which FADS ensures cellular FAD homeostasis.
SUMMARY Dystroglycan, which serves as a major extracellular matrix receptor in muscle and the central nervous system, requires extensive O-glycosylation to function. We identified a dystroglycan missense mutation (Thr192→Met) in a woman with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy and cognitive impairment. A mouse model harboring this mutation recapitulates the immunohistochemical and neuromuscular abnormalities observed in the patient. In vitro and in vivo studies showed that the mutation impairs the receptor function of dystroglycan in skeletal muscle and brain by inhibiting the post-translational modification, mediated by the glycosyltransferase LARGE, of the phosphorylated O-mannosyl glycans on α-dystroglycan that is required for high-affinity binding to laminin.
Core myopathies (CM), the main non-dystrophic myopathies in childhood, remain genetically unexplained in many cases. Heart disease is not considered part of the typical CM spectrum. No congenital heart defect has been reported, and childhood-onset cardiomyopathy has been documented in only two CM families with homozygous mutations of the TTN gene. TTN encodes titin, a giant protein of striated muscles. Recently, heterozygous TTN truncating mutations have also been reported as a major cause of dominant dilated cardiomyopathy. However, relatively few TTN mutations and phenotypes are known, and titin pathophysiological role in cardiac and skeletal muscle conditions is incompletely understood. We analyzed a series of 23 families with congenital CM and primary heart disease using TTN M-line-targeted sequencing followed in selected patients by whole-exome sequencing and functional studies. We identified seven novel homozygous or compound heterozygous TTN mutations (five in the M-line, five truncating) in 17% patients. Heterozygous parents were healthy. Phenotype analysis identified four novel titinopathies, including cardiac septal defects, left ventricular non-compaction, Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy or arthrogryposis. Additionally, in vitro studies documented the first-reported absence of a functional titin kinase domain in humans, leading to a severe antenatal phenotype. We establish that CM are associated with a large range of heart conditions of which TTN mutations are a major cause, thereby expanding the TTN mutational and phenotypic spectrum. Additionally, our results suggest titin kinase implication in cardiac morphogenesis and demonstrate that heterozygous TTN truncating mutations may not manifest unless associated with a second mutation, reassessing the paradigm of their dominant expression.
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