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Extending the phenotypic spectrum of RBFOX1 deletions: Sporadic focal epilepsy.

April 30, 2016 - 6:35am
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Extending the phenotypic spectrum of RBFOX1 deletions: Sporadic focal epilepsy.

Epilepsia. 2015 Sep;56(9):e129-33

Authors: Lal D, Pernhorst K, Klein KM, Reif P, Tozzi R, Toliat MR, Winterer G, Neubauer B, Nürnberg P, Rosenow F, Becker F, Lerche H, Kunz WS, Kurki MI, Hoffmann P, Becker AJ, Perucca E, Zara F, Sander T, Weber YG

Abstract
Partial deletions of the RBFOX1 gene encoding the neuronal splicing regulator have been reported in a range of neurodevelopmental diseases including idiopathic/genetic generalized epilepsy (IGE/GGE), childhood focal epilepsy, and self-limited childhood benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS, rolandic epilepsy), and autism. The protein regulates alternative splicing of many neuronal transcripts involved in the homeostatic control of neuronal excitability. Herein, we examined whether structural deletions affecting RBFOX1 exons confer susceptibility to common forms of juvenile and adult focal epilepsy syndromes. We screened 807 unrelated patients with sporadic focal epilepsy, and we identified seven hemizygous exonic RBFOX1 deletions in patients with sporadic focal epilepsy (0.9%) in comparison to one deletion found in 1,502 controls. The phenotypes of the patients carrying RBFOX1 deletions comprise magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-negative epilepsy of unknown etiology with frontal and temporal origin (n = 5) and two patients with temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis. The epilepsies were largely pharmacoresistant but not associated with intellectual disability. Our study extends the phenotypic spectrum of RBFOX1 deletions as a risk factor for focal epilepsy and suggests that exonic RBFOX1 deletions are involved in the broad spectrum of focal and generalized epilepsies.

PMID: 26174448 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Expanding the phenotype of Timothy syndrome type 2: an adolescent with ventricular fibrillation but normal development.

April 30, 2016 - 6:35am
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Expanding the phenotype of Timothy syndrome type 2: an adolescent with ventricular fibrillation but normal development.

Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Mar;167A(3):629-34

Authors: Hiippala A, Tallila J, Myllykangas S, Koskenvuo JW, Alastalo TP

Abstract
Timothy syndrome is a rare multiorgan disorder with prolonged QTc interval, congenital heart defects, syndactyly, typical facial features and neurodevelopmental problems. Ventricular tachyarrhythmia is the leading cause of death at early age. Classical Timothy syndrome type 1 (TS1) results from a recurrent de novo CACNA1C mutation, G406R in exon 8 A. An atypical form of Timothy syndrome type 2 (TS2) is caused by mutations in G406R and G402S in the alternatively spliced exon 8. Only one individual for each exon 8 mutations has been described. In contrast to multiorgan disease caused by the mutation in G406R either in exon 8 A or 8, the G402S carrier manifested only an isolated cardiac phenotype with LQTS and cardiac arrest. We describe a teenage patient resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation and treated with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. She has no other organ manifestations, no syndactyly, normal neurodevelopment and her QTc has ranged between 440-480 ms. There is no family history of arrhythmias or sudden death. Targeted oligonucleotide-selective sequencing (OS-Seq) of channelopathy genes revealed a de novo substitution, G402S in exon 8 of CACNA1C. Direct sequencing of blood and saliva derived DNA showed an identical mutation peak suggesting ubiquitous expression in different tissues. The phenotype of our patient and the previously described patient show an isolated arrhythmia disease with no other organ manifestations of classical Timothy syndrome.

PMID: 25691416 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Increased plasma chemokine levels in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

April 30, 2016 - 6:35am
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Increased plasma chemokine levels in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Mar;167A(3):563-71

Authors: Butler MG, Hossain W, Sulsona C, Driscoll DJ, Manzardo AM

Abstract
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by loss of paternally expressed genes from the 15q11-q13 region and reportedly rearranged as a cause of autism. Additionally, increased inflammatory markers and features of autism are reported in PWS. Cytokines encoded by genes involved with inflammation, cell proliferation, migration, and adhesion play a role in neurodevelopment and could be disturbed in PWS as abnormal plasma cytokine levels are reported in autism. We analyzed 41 plasma cytokines in a cohort of well-characterized children with PWS between 5 and 11 years of age and unaffected unrelated siblings using multiplex sandwich immunoassays with the Luminex magnetic-bead based platform. Data were analyzed using ANOVA testing for effects of diagnosis, gender, body mass index (BMI) and age on the 24 cytokines meeting laboratory criteria for inclusion. No significant effects were observed for age, gender or BMI. The log-transformed levels of the 24 analyzable cytokines were examined simultaneously using MANOVA adjusting for age and gender and a main effect of diagnosis was found (P-value <0.03). Four of 24 plasma cytokine levels (MCP1, MDC, Eotaxin, RANTES) were significantly higher in children with PWS compared with controls and classified as bioinflammatory chemokines supporting a disturbed immune response unrelated to obesity status. BMI was not statistically different in the two subject groups (PWS or unaffected unrelated siblings) and chemokine levels were not correlated with percentage of total body fat. Additional studies are required to identify whether possible early immunological disturbances and chemokine inflammatory processes found in PWS may contribute to neurodevelopment and behavioral features.

PMID: 25691409 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Duplication Xp11.22-p14 in females: does X-inactivation help in assessing their significance?

April 30, 2016 - 6:35am
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Duplication Xp11.22-p14 in females: does X-inactivation help in assessing their significance?

Am J Med Genet A. 2015 Mar;167A(3):553-62

Authors: Evers C, Mitter D, Strobl-Wildemann G, Haug U, Hackmann K, Maas B, Janssen JW, Jauch A, Hinderhofer K, Moog U

Abstract
In females, large duplications in Xp often lead to preferential inactivation of the aberrant X chromosome and a normal phenotype. Recently, a recurrent ∼4.5 Mb microduplication of Xp11.22-p11.23 was found in females with developmental delay/intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental disorders (speech development disorder, epilepsy or EEG anomalies, autism spectrum disorder, or behavioral disorder). Unexpectedly, most of them showed preferential inactivation of the normal X chromosome. We describe five female patients carrying de novo Xp duplications encompassing p11.23. Patient 1 carried the recurrent microduplication Xp11.22-p11.23, her phenotype and X-chromosome inactivation (XI) pattern was consistent with previous reports. The other four patients had novel Xp duplications. Two were monozygotic twins with a similar phenotype to Patient 1 and unfavorable XI skewing carrying an overlapping ∼5 Mb duplication of Xp11.23-p11.3. Patient 4 showed a duplication of ∼5.5 Mb comparable to the twins but had a more severe phenotype and unskewed XI. Patient 5 had a ∼8.5 Mb duplication Xp11.23-p11.4 and presented with mild ID, epilepsy, behavioral problems, and inconsistent results of XI analysis. A comparison of phenotype, size and location of the duplications and XI patterns in Patients 1-5 and previously reported females with overlapping duplications provides further evidence that microduplications encompassing Xp11.23 are associated with ID and other neurodevelopmental disorders in females. To further assess the implication of XI for female carriers, we recommend systematic analysis of XI pattern in any female with X imbalances that are known or suspected to be pathogenic.

PMID: 25691408 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

The potential of biomarkers in psychiatry: focus on proteomics.

April 30, 2016 - 6:35am
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The potential of biomarkers in psychiatry: focus on proteomics.

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2015 Aug;122 Suppl 1:S9-18

Authors: Sokolowska I, Ngounou Wetie AG, Wormwood K, Thome J, Darie CC, Woods AG

Abstract
The etiology and pathogenesis of many psychiatric disorders are unclear with many signaling pathways and complex interactions still unknown. Primary information provided from gene expression or brain activity imaging experiments is useful, but can have limitations. There is a current effort focusing on the discovery of diagnostic and prognostic proteomic potential biomarkers for psychiatric disorders. Despite this work, there is still no biological diagnostic test available for any mental disorder. Biomarkers may advance the care of psychiatric illnesses and have great potential to knowledge of psychiatric disorders but several drawbacks must be considered. Here, we describe the potential of proteomic biomarkers for better understanding and diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and current putative biomarkers for schizophrenia, depression, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

PMID: 24357051 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

JAKMIP1, a Novel Regulator of Neuronal Translation, Modulates Synaptic Function and Autistic-like Behaviors in Mouse.

April 29, 2016 - 6:35am
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JAKMIP1, a Novel Regulator of Neuronal Translation, Modulates Synaptic Function and Autistic-like Behaviors in Mouse.

Neuron. 2015 Dec 16;88(6):1173-91

Authors: Berg JM, Lee C, Chen L, Galvan L, Cepeda C, Chen JY, Peñagarikano O, Stein JL, Li A, Oguro-Ando A, Miller JA, Vashisht AA, Starks ME, Kite EP, Tam E, Gdalyahu A, Al-Sharif NB, Burkett ZD, White SA, Fears SC, Levine MS, Wohlschlegel JA, Geschwind DH

Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a heritable, common neurodevelopmental disorder with diverse genetic causes. Several studies have implicated protein synthesis as one among several of its potential convergent mechanisms. We originally identified Janus kinase and microtubule-interacting protein 1 (JAKMIP1) as differentially expressed in patients with distinct syndromic forms of ASD, fragile X syndrome, and 15q duplication syndrome. Here, we provide multiple lines of evidence that JAKMIP1 is a component of polyribosomes and an RNP translational regulatory complex that includes fragile X mental retardation protein, DEAD box helicase 5, and the poly(A) binding protein cytoplasmic 1. JAKMIP1 loss dysregulates neuronal translation during synaptic development, affecting glutamatergic NMDAR signaling, and results in social deficits, stereotyped activity, abnormal postnatal vocalizations, and other autistic-like behaviors in the mouse. These findings define an important and novel role for JAKMIP1 in neural development and further highlight pathways regulating mRNA translation during synaptogenesis in the genesis of neurodevelopmental disorders.

PMID: 26627310 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Mutations in NLRP5 are associated with reproductive wastage and multilocus imprinting disorders in humans.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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Mutations in NLRP5 are associated with reproductive wastage and multilocus imprinting disorders in humans.

Nat Commun. 2015;6:8086

Authors: Docherty LE, Rezwan FI, Poole RL, Turner CL, Kivuva E, Maher ER, Smithson SF, Hamilton-Shield JP, Patalan M, Gizewska M, Peregud-Pogorzelski J, Beygo J, Buiting K, Horsthemke B, Soellner L, Begemann M, Eggermann T, Baple E, Mansour S, Temple IK, Mackay DJ

Abstract
Human-imprinting disorders are congenital disorders of growth, development and metabolism, associated with disturbance of parent of origin-specific DNA methylation at imprinted loci across the genome. Some imprinting disorders have higher than expected prevalence of monozygotic twinning, of assisted reproductive technology among parents, and of disturbance of multiple imprinted loci, for which few causative trans-acting mutations have been found. Here we report mutations in NLRP5 in five mothers of individuals affected by multilocus imprinting disturbance. Maternal-effect mutations of other human NLRP genes, NLRP7 and NLRP2, cause familial biparental hydatidiform mole and multilocus imprinting disturbance, respectively. Offspring of mothers with NLRP5 mutations have heterogenous clinical and epigenetic features, but cases include a discordant monozygotic twin pair, individuals with idiopathic developmental delay and autism, and families affected by infertility and reproductive wastage. NLRP5 mutations suggest connections between maternal reproductive fitness, early zygotic development and genomic imprinting.

PMID: 26323243 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

An Autism-Linked Mutation Disables Phosphorylation Control of UBE3A.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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An Autism-Linked Mutation Disables Phosphorylation Control of UBE3A.

Cell. 2015 Aug 13;162(4):795-807

Authors: Yi JJ, Berrios J, Newbern JM, Snider WD, Philpot BD, Hahn KM, Zylka MJ

Abstract
Deletion of UBE3A causes the neurodevelopmental disorder Angelman syndrome (AS), while duplication or triplication of UBE3A is linked to autism. These genetic findings suggest that the ubiquitin ligase activity of UBE3A must be tightly maintained to promote normal brain development. Here, we found that protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylates UBE3A in a region outside of the catalytic domain at residue T485 and inhibits UBE3A activity toward itself and other substrates. A de novo autism-linked missense mutation disrupts this phosphorylation site, causing enhanced UBE3A activity in vitro, enhanced substrate turnover in patient-derived cells, and excessive dendritic spine development in the brain. Our study identifies PKA as an upstream regulator of UBE3A activity and shows that an autism-linked mutation disrupts this phosphorylation control. Moreover, our findings implicate excessive UBE3A activity and the resulting synaptic dysfunction to autism pathogenesis.

PMID: 26255772 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Coordinated Spine Pruning and Maturation Mediated by Inter-Spine Competition for Cadherin/Catenin Complexes.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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Coordinated Spine Pruning and Maturation Mediated by Inter-Spine Competition for Cadherin/Catenin Complexes.

Cell. 2015 Aug 13;162(4):808-22

Authors: Bian WJ, Miao WY, He SJ, Qiu Z, Yu X

Abstract
Dendritic spines are postsynaptic compartments of excitatory synapses that undergo dynamic changes during development, including rapid spinogenesis in early postnatal life and significant pruning during adolescence. Spine pruning defects have been implicated in developmental neurological disorders such as autism, yet much remains to be uncovered regarding its molecular mechanism. Here, we show that spine pruning and maturation in the mouse somatosensory cortex are coordinated via the cadherin/catenin cell adhesion complex and bidrectionally regulated by sensory experience. We further demonstrate that locally enhancing cadherin/catenin-dependent adhesion or photo-stimulating a contacting channelrhodopsin-expressing axon stabilized the manipulated spine and eliminated its neighbors, an effect requiring cadherin/catenin-dependent adhesion. Importantly, we show that differential cadherin/catenin-dependent adhesion between neighboring spines biased spine fate in vivo. These results suggest that activity-induced inter-spine competition for β-catenin provides specificity for concurrent spine maturation and elimination and thus is critical for the molecular control of spine pruning during neural circuit refinement.

PMID: 26255771 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Applying the ethoexperimental approach to neurodevelopmental syndrome research reveals exaggerated defensive behavior in Mecp2 mutant mice.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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Applying the ethoexperimental approach to neurodevelopmental syndrome research reveals exaggerated defensive behavior in Mecp2 mutant mice.

Physiol Behav. 2015 Jul 1;146:98-104

Authors: Pearson BL, Defensor EB, Blanchard DC, Blanchard RJ

Abstract
Rett syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) associated with de novo mutations of the methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. Mecp2 functions as a transcription factor that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes. Identification of the role of Mecp2 in specific neurodevelopmental symptoms remains an important research aim. We previously demonstrated that male mice possessing a truncation mutation in Mecp2 are hyper-social. We predicted that reduced fear or anxiety might underlie this enhanced affiliation. In order to probe risk assessment and anxiety-like behavior, we compared Mecp2 truncation mutants to their wild-type littermates in the elevated plus maze and elevated zero maze. Additionally, subjects were administered the mouse defense test battery to evaluate unconditioned fear- and panic-like behavior to a graded set of threat scenarios and a predator stimulus. Mutant mice showed no significant changes in anxiety-like behavior. Yet, they displayed hyper-reactive escape and defensive behaviors to an animate predatory threat stimulus. Notably, mutant mice engaged in exaggerated active defense responding to threat stimuli at nearly all phases of the fear battery. These results reveal abnormalities in emotion regulation in Mecp2 mutants particularly in response to ecologically relevant threats. This hyper-responsivity suggests that transcriptional targets of Mecp2 are critical to emotion regulation. Moreover, we suggest that detailed analysis of defensive behavior and aggression with ethologically relevant tasks provides an avenue to interrogate gene-behavior mechanisms of neurodevelopmental and other psychiatric conditions.

PMID: 26066729 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

GABAB Receptor Agonist R-Baclofen Reverses Social Deficits and Reduces Repetitive Behavior in Two Mouse Models of Autism.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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GABAB Receptor Agonist R-Baclofen Reverses Social Deficits and Reduces Repetitive Behavior in Two Mouse Models of Autism.

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Aug;40(9):2228-39

Authors: Silverman JL, Pride MC, Hayes JE, Puhger KR, Butler-Struben HM, Baker S, Crawley JN

Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is diagnosed by two core behavioral criteria, unusual reciprocal social interactions and communication, and stereotyped, repetitive behaviors with restricted interests. Excitatory/inhibitory imbalance is a prominent hypothesis for the etiology of autism. The selective GABAB receptor agonist R-baclofen previously reversed social deficits and reduced repetitive behaviors in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome, and Arbaclofen improved some clinical symptoms in some Fragile X and ASD patients. To evaluate R-baclofen in a broader range of mouse models of ASD, we tested both the R-baclofen enantiomer and the less potent S-baclofen enantiomer in two inbred strains of mice that display low sociability and/or high repetitive or stereotyped behaviors. R-baclofen treatment reversed social approach deficits in BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J (BTBR), reduced repetitive self-grooming and high marble burying scores in BTBR, and reduced stereotyped jumping in C58/J (C58), at nonsedating doses. S-baclofen produced minimal effects at the same doses. These findings encourage investigations of R-baclofen in other preclinical model systems. Additional clinical studies may be warranted to further evaluate the hypothesis that the GABAB receptor represents a promising pharmacological target for treating appropriately stratified subsets of individuals with ASD.

PMID: 25754761 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Age-related sperm DNA methylation changes are transmitted to offspring and associated with abnormal behavior and dysregulated gene expression.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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Age-related sperm DNA methylation changes are transmitted to offspring and associated with abnormal behavior and dysregulated gene expression.

Mol Psychiatry. 2015 Aug;20(8):995-1001

Authors: Milekic MH, Xin Y, O'Donnell A, Kumar KK, Bradley-Moore M, Malaspina D, Moore H, Brunner D, Ge Y, Edwards J, Paul S, Haghighi FG, Gingrich JA

Abstract
Advanced paternal age (APA) has been shown to be a significant risk factor in the offspring for neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. During aging, de novo mutations accumulate in the male germline and are frequently transmitted to the offspring with deleterious effects. In addition, DNA methylation during spermatogenesis is an active process, which is susceptible to errors that can be propagated to subsequent generations. Here we test the hypothesis that the integrity of germline DNA methylation is compromised during the aging process. A genome-wide DNA methylation screen comparing sperm from young and old mice revealed a significant loss of methylation in the older mice in regions associated with transcriptional regulation. The offspring of older fathers had reduced exploratory and startle behaviors and exhibited similar brain DNA methylation abnormalities as observed in the paternal sperm. Offspring from old fathers also had transcriptional dysregulation of developmental genes implicated in autism and schizophrenia. Our findings demonstrate that DNA methylation abnormalities arising in the sperm of old fathers are a plausible mechanism to explain some of the risks that APA poses to resulting offspring.

PMID: 25092244 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Elfn1 recruits presynaptic mGluR7 in trans and its loss results in seizures.

April 27, 2016 - 7:55am
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Elfn1 recruits presynaptic mGluR7 in trans and its loss results in seizures.

Nat Commun. 2014;5:4501

Authors: Tomioka NH, Yasuda H, Miyamoto H, Hatayama M, Morimura N, Matsumoto Y, Suzuki T, Odagawa M, Odaka YS, Iwayama Y, Won Um J, Ko J, Inoue Y, Kaneko S, Hirose S, Yamada K, Yoshikawa T, Yamakawa K, Aruga J

Abstract
GABAergic interneurons are highly heterogeneous, and much is unknown about the specification and functional roles of their neural circuits. Here we show that a transinteraction of Elfn1 and mGluR7 controls targeted interneuron synapse development and that loss of Elfn1 results in hyperactivity and sensory-triggered epileptic seizures in mice. Elfn1 protein increases during postnatal development and localizes to postsynaptic sites of somatostatin-containing interneurons (SOM-INs) in the hippocampal CA1 stratum oriens and dentate gyrus (DG) hilus. Elfn1 knockout (KO) mice have deficits in mGluR7 recruitment to synaptic sites on SOM-INs, and presynaptic plasticity is impaired at these synapses. In patients with epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), we find damaging missense mutations of ELFN1 that are clustered in the carboxy-terminal region required for mGluR7 recruitment. These results reveal a novel mechanism for interneuron subtype-specific neural circuit establishment and define a common basis bridging neurological disorders.

PMID: 25047565 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Modeling the autistic cell: iPSCs recapitulate developmental principles of syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am

Modeling the autistic cell: iPSCs recapitulate developmental principles of syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD.

Dev Growth Differ. 2016 Apr 25;

Authors: Ben-Reuven L, Reiner O

Abstract
The opportunity to model autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through generation of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is currently an emerging topic. Wide-scale research of altered brain circuits in syndromic ASD, including Rett Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Angelman's Syndrome and sporadic Schizophrenia, was made possible through animal models. However, possibly due to species differences, and to the possible contribution of epigenetics in the pathophysiology of these diseases, animal models fail to recapitulate many aspects of ASD. With the advent of iPSCs technology, 3D cultures of patient-derived cells are being used to study complex neuronal phenotypes, including both syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD. Here, we review recent advances in using iPSCs to study various aspects of the ASD neuropathology, with emphasis on the efforts to create in vitro model systems for syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD. We summarize the main cellular activity phenotypes and aberrant genetic interaction networks that were found in iPSC-derived neurons of syndromic and nonsyndromic autistic patients.

PMID: 27111774 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Germline activating MTOR mutation arising through gonadal mosaicism in two brothers with megalencephaly and neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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Germline activating MTOR mutation arising through gonadal mosaicism in two brothers with megalencephaly and neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

BMC Med Genet. 2015;16:102

Authors: Mroske C, Rasmussen K, Shinde DN, Huether R, Powis Z, Lu HM, Baxter RM, McPherson E, Tang S

Abstract
BACKGROUND: In humans, Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (MTOR) encodes a 300 kDa serine/ threonine protein kinase that is ubiquitously expressed, particularly at high levels in brain. MTOR functions as an integrator of multiple cellular processes, and in so doing either directly or indirectly regulates the phosphorylation of at least 800 proteins. While somatic MTOR mutations have been recognized in tumors for many years, and more recently in hemimegalencephaly, germline MTOR mutations have rarely been described.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report the successful application of family-trio Diagnostic Exome Sequencing (DES) to identify the underlying molecular etiology in two brothers with multiple neurological and developmental lesions, and for whom previous testing was non-diagnostic. The affected brothers, who were 6 and 23 years of age at the time of DES, presented symptoms including but not limited to mild Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), megalencephaly, gross motor skill delay, cryptorchidism and bilateral iris coloboma. Importantly, we determined that each affected brother harbored the MTOR missense alteration p.E1799K (c.5395G>A). This exact variant has been previously identified in multiple independent human somatic cancer samples and has been shown to result in increased MTOR activation. Further, recent independent reports describe two unrelated families in whom p.E1799K co-segregated with megalencephaly and intellectual disability (ID); in both cases, p.E1799K was shown to have originated due to germline mosaicism. In the case of the family reported herein, the absence of p.E1799K in genomic DNA extracted from the blood of either parent suggests that this alteration most likely arose due to gonadal mosaicism. Further, the p.E1799K variant exerts its effect by a gain-of-function (GOF), autosomal dominant mechanism.
CONCLUSION: Herein, we describe the use of DES to uncover an activating MTOR missense alteration of gonadal mosaic origin that is likely to be the causative mutation in two brothers who present multiple neurological and developmental abnormalities. Our report brings the total number of families who harbor MTOR p.E1799K in association with megalencephaly and ID to three. In each case, evidence suggests that p.E1799K arose in the affected individuals due to gonadal mosaicism. Thus, MTOR p.E1799K can now be classified as a pathogenic GOF mutation that causes megalencephaly and cognitive impairment in humans.

PMID: 26542245 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Autism spectrum disorder in Phelan-McDermid syndrome: initial characterization and genotype-phenotype correlations.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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Autism spectrum disorder in Phelan-McDermid syndrome: initial characterization and genotype-phenotype correlations.

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2015;10:105

Authors: Oberman LM, Boccuto L, Cascio L, Sarasua S, Kaufmann WE

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with a terminal deletion affecting chromosome 22 (22q13) that results in the loss of function of the SHANK3 gene. SHANK3 has also been identified in gene-linkage studies to be associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Diagnosis of ASD in individuals with PMS is complicated by the presence of moderate to profound global developmental delay/intellectual disability as well as other co-morbid systemic and neurological symptoms.
METHODS: The current study aimed to characterize the symptoms of ASD in patients with PMS and to do a preliminary exploration of genotype-ASD phenotype correlations. We conducted a standardized interview with 40 parents/guardians of children with PMS. Further, we conducted analyses on the relationship between disruption of SHANK3 and adjacent genes on specific characteristic symptoms of ASD in PMS in small subset of the sample.
RESULTS: The majority of PMS participants in our sample displayed persistent deficits in Social communication, but only half met diagnostic criteria under the restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities domain. Furthermore, logistic regressions indicated that general developmental delay significantly contributed to the ASD diagnosis. The analyses relating the PMS genotype to the behavioral phenotype revealed additional complex relationships with contributions of genes in both deleted and preserved SHANK3 regions to the ASD phenotype and other neurobehavioral impairments.
CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be a unique behavioral phenotype associated with ASD in individuals with PMS. There also appears to be contributions of genes in both deleted and preserved SHANK3 regions to the ASD phenotype and other neurobehavioral impairments. Better characterization of the behavioral phenotype using additional standardized assessments and further analyses exploring the relationship between the PMS genotype and behavioral phenotype in a larger sample are warranted.

PMID: 26306707 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Urine proteome analysis to evaluate protein biomarkers in children with autism.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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Urine proteome analysis to evaluate protein biomarkers in children with autism.

Clin Chim Acta. 2015 Oct 23;450:210-9

Authors: Suganya V, Geetha A, Sujatha S

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Autism is a complex developmental disability for which no specific diagnostic markers have been identified so far. The present study aimed to evaluate whether there is any abnormal protein(s) excreted in the urine of autistic children by proteome analysis which may act as diagnostic marker.
METHODS: Urine proteome analysis was carried out in first void urine samples of autistic and normal children (n=30) in the age group of 4-12 years by 2D-PAGE followed by MALDI-TOF-MS analysis.
RESULTS: Comparison of 2D-PAGE gels revealed that many urinary proteins are expressed differentially in autistic children. Total numbers of spots observed were 250 and 159 in autism and normal samples respectively, out of which 95 matches were observed. In addition, 3 spots of abnormally expressed peptides were selected, excised and analyzed. Peptide sequence with significant match score was for kininogen-1 (KNG-1)-50 (spot-1), IgG1 heavy chain variable region-35(spot-2) and mannan-binding lectin serine protease-2 isoform-2 precursor-45(spot-3). All the autistic children showed significant increase (p<0.001) in urinary kininogen level measured quantitatively by ELISA, when compared to normal children.
CONCLUSION: Increased urinary kininogen-1 level in all the autistic children and the possibility of this protein as a diagnostic marker need further investigation.

PMID: 26296899 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

MeCP2 Affects Skeletal Muscle Growth and Morphology through Non Cell-Autonomous Mechanisms.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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MeCP2 Affects Skeletal Muscle Growth and Morphology through Non Cell-Autonomous Mechanisms.

PLoS One. 2015;10(6):e0130183

Authors: Conti V, Gandaglia A, Galli F, Tirone M, Bellini E, Campana L, Kilstrup-Nielsen C, Rovere-Querini P, Brunelli S, Landsberger N

Abstract
Rett syndrome (RTT) is an autism spectrum disorder mainly caused by mutations in the X-linked MECP2 gene and affecting roughly 1 out of 10.000 born girls. Symptoms range in severity and include stereotypical movement, lack of spoken language, seizures, ataxia and severe intellectual disability. Notably, muscle tone is generally abnormal in RTT girls and women and the Mecp2-null mouse model constitutively reflects this disease feature. We hypothesized that MeCP2 in muscle might physiologically contribute to its development and/or homeostasis, and conversely its defects in RTT might alter the tissue integrity or function. We show here that a disorganized architecture, with hypotrophic fibres and tissue fibrosis, characterizes skeletal muscles retrieved from Mecp2-null mice. Alterations of the IGF-1/Akt/mTOR pathway accompany the muscle phenotype. A conditional mouse model selectively depleted of Mecp2 in skeletal muscles is characterized by healthy muscles that are morphologically and molecularly indistinguishable from those of wild-type mice raising the possibility that hypotonia in RTT is mainly, if not exclusively, mediated by non-cell autonomous effects. Our results suggest that defects in paracrine/endocrine signaling and, in particular, in the GH/IGF axis appear as the major cause of the observed muscular defects. Remarkably, this is the first study describing the selective deletion of Mecp2 outside the brain. Similar future studies will permit to unambiguously define the direct impact of MeCP2 on tissue dysfunctions.

PMID: 26098633 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Apitoxin protects rat pups brain from propionic acid-induced oxidative stress: The expression pattern of Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 apoptotic genes.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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Apitoxin protects rat pups brain from propionic acid-induced oxidative stress: The expression pattern of Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 apoptotic genes.

Neurotoxicology. 2015 Jul;49:121-31

Authors: Khalil SR, Abd-Elhakim YM, Selim ME, Al-Ayadhi LY

Abstract
The primary aim of this study was to determine the potential modulatory role of the apitoxin (bee venom; BV) against propionic acid (PPA)-induced neurotoxicity. The biochemical responses to PPA exposure in rat pups were assayed, including changes in the antioxidant barrier systems and lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation biomarkers in the brain tissue. DNA damage was measured by single-cell gel electrophoresis and differences in Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 mRNA expression were assessed using real-time PCR. Changes in amygdala complex ultrastructure were visually assessed using electron microscopy. Sixty rat pups were assigned into six groups: a control group, a PPA-treated group, a BV-treated group, a protective co-treated group, a therapeutic co-treated group, and a protective/therapeutic co-treated group. The results indicate that PPA induced a pronounced increase (64.6%) in malondialdehyde (MDA), and in DNA damage (73.3%) with three-fold increase in protein carbonyl concentration. A significant reduction was observed in the enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) (48.7%) and catalase (CAT) (74.8%) and reduced glutathione (GSH) level (52.6%). BV significantly neutralized the PPA-induced oxidative stress effects, especially in the BV protective/therapeutic co-treated group. In this group, GSH levels were restored to 64.5%, and MDA, protein carbonyl levels and tail moment % were diminished by 69.5, 21.1 and 18.8% relative to the control, respectively. Furthermore, while PPA induced significant apoptotic neural cell death, BV markedly inhibited apoptosis by promoting Bcl-2 expression and blocking Caspase-3 expression. BV markedly restored the normal ultrastructural morphology of the amygdala complex neurons. These results conclusively demonstrate that BV administration provides both protective and therapeutic effects in response to the PPA-induced deleterious effects, including oxidative stress, DNA damage, and neuronal death in the brains of rat pups.

PMID: 26048086 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Rare heterozygous truncating variations and risk of autism spectrum disorder: Whole-exome sequencing of a multiplex family and follow-up study in a Japanese population.

April 26, 2016 - 7:09am
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Rare heterozygous truncating variations and risk of autism spectrum disorder: Whole-exome sequencing of a multiplex family and follow-up study in a Japanese population.

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015 Aug;69(8):472-6

Authors: Inoue E, Watanabe Y, Egawa J, Sugimoto A, Nunokawa A, Shibuya M, Igeta H, Someya T

Abstract
AIMS: Rare heterozygous truncating variations in multiplex families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are suggested to play a major role in the genetic etiology of ASD. To further investigate the role of rare heterozygous truncating variations, we performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in a multiplex ASD family with four affected individuals (two siblings and two maternal cousins), and a follow-up case-control study in a Japanese population.
METHODS: WES was performed in four individuals (a proband, his affected and unaffected siblings, and their putative carrier mother) from the multiplex ASD family. Rare heterozygous truncating variations prioritized in WES were genotyped in 243 patients and 667 controls.
RESULTS: By WES of the multiplex family, we prioritized two rare heterozygous truncating variations, RPS24 Q191X and CD300LF P261fsX266. However, we did not identify these variations in patients or controls in the follow-up study.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that two rare heterozygous truncating variations (RPS24 Q191X and CD300LF P261fsX266) are risk candidates for ASD.

PMID: 25601189 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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