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See detailMitochondrial Morphology, Function and Homeostasis Are Impaired by Expression of an N-terminal Calpain Cleavage Fragment of Ataxin-3.
Harmuth, Tina; Prell-Schicker, Caroline; Weber, Jonasz J. et al

in Frontiers in molecular neuroscience (2018), 11

Alterations in mitochondrial morphology and function have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease. Metabolic defects, resulting ... [more ▼]

Alterations in mitochondrial morphology and function have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease. Metabolic defects, resulting from dysfunctional mitochondria, have been reported in patients and respective animal models of all those diseases. Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 (SCA3), another neurodegenerative disorder, also presents with metabolic defects and loss of body weight in early disease stages although the possible role of mitochondrial dysfunction in SCA3 pathology is still to be determined. Interestingly, the SCA3 disease protein ataxin-3, which is predominantly localized in cytoplasm and nucleus, has also been associated with mitochondria in both its mutant and wildtype form. This observation provides an interesting link to a potential mitochondrial involvement of mutant ataxin-3 in SCA3 pathogenesis. Furthermore, proteolytic cleavage of ataxin-3 has been shown to produce toxic fragments and even overexpression of artificially truncated forms of ataxin-3 resulted in mitochondria deficits. Therefore, we analyzed the repercussions of expressing a naturally occurring N-terminal cleavage fragment of ataxin-3 and the influence of an endogenous expression of the S256 cleavage fragment in vitro and in vivo. In our study, expression of a fragment derived from calpain cleavage induced mitochondrial fragmentation and cristae alterations leading to a significantly decreased capacity of mitochondrial respiration and contributing to an increased susceptibility to apoptosis. Furthermore, analyzing mitophagy revealed activation of autophagy in the early pathogenesis with reduced lysosomal activity. In conclusion, our findings indicate that cleavage of ataxin-3 by calpains results in fragments which interfere with mitochondrial function and mitochondrial degradation processes. [less ▲]

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See detailInvolvement of the cerebellum in Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Seidel, Kay; Bouzrou, Mohamed; Heidemann, Nina et al

in Annals of neurology (2017), 81(6), 898-903

Brains from patients with Parkinson disease or dementia with Lewy bodies show aggregation of alpha-synuclein in precerebellar brainstem structures. Furthermore, patients exhibit resting tremor, unstable ... [more ▼]

Brains from patients with Parkinson disease or dementia with Lewy bodies show aggregation of alpha-synuclein in precerebellar brainstem structures. Furthermore, patients exhibit resting tremor, unstable gait, and impaired balance, which may be associated with cerebellar dysfunction. Therefore, we screened the cerebella of 12 patients with alpha-synucleinopathies for neuropathological changes. Cerebellar nuclei and neighboring white matter displayed numerous aggregates, whereas lobules were mildly affected. Cerebellar aggregation pathology may suggest a prionlike spread originating from affected precerebellar structures, and the high homogeneity between patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson disease shows that both diseases likely belong to the same neuropathological spectrum. Ann Neurol 2017;81:898-903. [less ▲]

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See detailDe novo loss- or gain-of-function mutations in KCNA2 cause epileptic encephalopathy
Syrbe, Steffen; Hedrich, Ulrike B.S.; Riesch, Erik et al

in Nature Genetics (2015), 47(4), 393-9

Epileptic encephalopathies are a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous group of severe epilepsies accompanied by intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental features1–6. Using next ... [more ▼]

Epileptic encephalopathies are a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous group of severe epilepsies accompanied by intellectual disability and other neurodevelopmental features1–6. Using next-generation sequencing, we identified four different de novo mutations in KCNA2, encoding the potassium channel KV1.2, in six patients with epileptic encephalopathy (one mutation recurred three times independently). Four individuals presented with febrile and multiple afebrile, often focal seizure types, multifocal epileptiform discharges strongly activated by sleep, mild to moderate intellectual disability, delayed speech development and sometimes ataxia. Functional studies of the two mutations associated with this phenotype showed almost complete loss of function with a dominant-negative effect. Two further individuals presented with a different and more severe epileptic encephalopathy phenotype. They carried mutations inducing a drastic gain-of-function effect leading to permanently open channels. These results establish KCNA2 as a new gene involved in human neurodevelopmental disorders through two different mechanisms, predicting either hyperexcitability or electrical silencing of KV1.2-expressing neurons. [less ▲]

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See detailDe novo mutations in hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (HDLS).
Karle, Kathrin N.; Biskup, Saskia; Schule, Rebecca et al

in Neurology (2013), 81(23), 2039-44

OBJECTIVE: Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (HDLS) is caused by autosomal-dominantly inherited mutations in the colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) gene, and is ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids (HDLS) is caused by autosomal-dominantly inherited mutations in the colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) gene, and is clinically characterized by a progressive cognitive and motor decline leading to death within several years. METHODS: In a continuous series of 25 patients with adult-onset leukoencephalopathy of unknown cause, we genetically confirmed HDLS in 6 families. Affected and nonaffected individuals were examined clinically and by brain MRI studies. RESULTS: HDLS presented as prominent dementia and apraxia, often with extrapyramidal and pyramidal signs, rarely with ataxia. White matter MRI changes were detectable early in the disease course. Family history was negative in 4 of 6 index patients. In 2 of 6 index patients, we could confirm the occurrence of de novo mutations in the CSF1R gene. One family showed possible incomplete penetrance: the 69-year-old father of the index patient carried a CSF1R mutation but was clinically unaffected. In one family, the parents were apparently unaffected and not available for genetic testing. CONCLUSIONS: Typical clinical phenotype and early brain MRI alterations can help to guide the diagnosis of HDLS. Because we confirmed de novo mutations in one-third of patients with CSF1R mutations, this diagnosis should be considered even in the absence of a family history. Furthermore, we present evidence for reduced penetrance of a CSF1R mutation. These results have substantial impact for genetic counseling of asymptomatic individuals at risk and should foster research into disease-modifying factors. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst appraisal of brain pathology owing to A30P mutant alpha-synuclein.
Seidel, Kay; Schols, Ludger; Nuber, Silke et al

in Annals of neurology (2010), 67(5), 684-9

Familial Parkinson disease (PD) due to the A30P mutation in the SNCA gene encoding alpha-synuclein is clinically associated with PD symptoms. In this first pathoanatomical study of the brain of an A30P ... [more ▼]

Familial Parkinson disease (PD) due to the A30P mutation in the SNCA gene encoding alpha-synuclein is clinically associated with PD symptoms. In this first pathoanatomical study of the brain of an A30P mutation carrier, we observed neuronal loss in the substantia nigra, locus coeruleus, and dorsal motor vagal nucleus, as well as widespread occurrence of alpha-synuclein immunopositive Lewy bodies, Lewy neurites, and glial aggregates. Alpha-synuclein aggregates ultrastructurally resembled Lewy bodies, and biochemical analyses disclosed a significant load of insoluble alpha-synuclein, indicating neuropathological similarities between A30P disease patients and idiopathic PD, with a more severe neuropathology in A30P carriers. [less ▲]

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See detailComplex hyperkinetic movement disorders associated with POLG mutations.
Synofzik, Matthis; Schule, Rebecca; Schulte, Claudia et al

in Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society (2010), 25(14), 2472-5

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See detailSevere orthostatic dysregulation associated with Wolfram syndrome.
Synofzik, Matthis; Weiss, Daniel; Erharhaghen, Jite et al

in Journal of neurology (2010), 257(10), 1751-3

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See detailDissecting the role of the mitochondrial chaperone mortalin in Parkinson's disease: functional impact of disease-related variants on mitochondrial homeostasis.
Burbulla, Lena F.; Schelling, Carina; Kato, Hiroki et al

in Human molecular genetics (2010), 19(22), 4437-52

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the ... [more ▼]

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the PD-associated protein DJ-1. Recently, two amino acid exchanges in the ATPase domain (R126W) and the substrate-binding domain (P509S) of mortalin were identified in Spanish PD patients. Here, we identified a separate and novel variant (A476T) in the substrate-binding domain of mortalin in German PD patients. To define a potential role as a susceptibility factor in PD, we characterized the functions of all three variants in different cellular models. In vitro import assays revealed normal targeting of all mortalin variants. In neuronal and non-neuronal human cell lines, the disease-associated variants caused a mitochondrial phenotype of increased reactive oxygen species and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential, which were exacerbated upon proteolytic stress. These functional impairments correspond with characteristic alterations of the mitochondrial network in cells overexpressing mutant mortalin compared with wild-type (wt), which were confirmed in fibroblasts from a carrier of the A476T variant. In line with a loss of function hypothesis, knockdown of mortalin in human cells caused impaired mitochondrial function that was rescued by wt mortalin, but not by the variants. Our genetic and functional studies of novel disease-associated variants in the mortalin gene define a loss of mortalin function, which causes impaired mitochondrial function and dynamics. Our results support the role of this mitochondrial chaperone in neurodegeneration and underscore the concept of impaired mitochondrial protein quality control in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailNovel homozygous p.E64D mutation in DJ1 in early onset Parkinson disease (PARK7).
Hering, Robert; Strauss, Karsten M.; Tao, Xiao et al

in Human mutation (2004), 24(4), 321-9

Mutations in the parkin gene have been identified as a common cause of autosomal recessive inherited Parkinson disease (PD) associated with early disease manifestation. However, based on linkage data ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the parkin gene have been identified as a common cause of autosomal recessive inherited Parkinson disease (PD) associated with early disease manifestation. However, based on linkage data, mutations in other genes contribute to the genetic heterogeneity of early-onset PD (EOPD). Recently, two mutations in the DJ1 gene were described as a second cause of autosomal recessive EOPD (PARK7). Analyzing the PARK7/DJ1 gene in 104 EOPD patients, we identified a third mutation, c.192G>C (p.E64D), associated with EOPD in a patient of Turkish ancestry and characterized the functional significance of this amino acid substitution. In the patient, a substantial reduction of dopamine uptake transporter (DAT) binding was found in the striatum using [(18)F]FP-CIT and PET, indicating a serious loss of presynaptic dopaminergic afferents. His sister, homozygous for E64D, was clinically unaffected but showed reduced dopamine uptake when compared with a clinically unaffected brother, who is heterozygous for E64D. We demonstrate by crystallography that the E64D mutation does not alter the structure of the DJ1 protein, however we observe a tendency towards decreased levels of the mutant protein when overexpressed in HEK293 or COS7 cells. Using immunocytochemistry in contrast to the homogenous nuclear and cytoplasmic staining in HEK293 cells overexpressing wild-type DJ1, about 5% of the cells expressing E64D and up to 80% of the cells expressing the recently described L166P mutation displayed a predominant nuclear localization of the mutant DJ1 protein. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and functional characterization of a novel R621C mutation in the synphilin-1 gene in Parkinson's disease.
Marx, Frank P.; Holzmann, Carsten; Strauss, Karsten M. et al

in Human molecular genetics (2003), 12(11), 1223-31

Synphilin-1 is linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its identification as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and parkin (PARK2) interacting protein. Moreover, synphilin-1 is a component ... [more ▼]

Synphilin-1 is linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its identification as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and parkin (PARK2) interacting protein. Moreover, synphilin-1 is a component of Lewy bodies (LB) in brains of sporadic PD patients. Therefore, we performed a detailed mutation analysis of the synphilin-1 gene in 328 German familial and sporadic PD patients. In two apparently sporadic PD patients we deciphered a novel C to T transition in position 1861 of the coding sequence leading to an amino acid substitution from arginine to cysteine in position 621 (R621C). This mutation was absent in a total of 702 chromosomes of healthy German controls. To define a possible role of mutant synphilin-1 in the pathogenesis of PD we performed functional analyses in SH-SY5Y cells. We found synphilin-1 capable of producing cytoplasmic inclusions in transfected cells. Moreover we observed a significantly reduced number of inclusions in cells expressing C621 synphilin-1 compared with cells expressing wild-type (wt) synphilin-1, when subjected to proteasomal inhibition. C621 synphilin-1 transfected cells were more susceptible to staurosporine-induced cell death than cells expressing wt synphilin-1. Our findings argue in favour of a causative role of the R621C mutation in the synphilin-1 gene in PD and suggest that the formation of intracellular inclusions may be beneficial to cells and that a mutation in synphilin-1 that reduces this ability may sensitize neurons to cellular stress. [less ▲]

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See detailMutation analysis of the neurofilament M gene in Parkinson's disease.
Krüger, Rejko UL; Fischer, Christian; Schulte, Thorsten et al

in Neuroscience letters (2003), 351(2), 125-9

Neurofilament M, a major component of Lewy bodies, represents an interesting candidate in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We performed detailed mutation analyses of the NF-M gene in 322 ... [more ▼]

Neurofilament M, a major component of Lewy bodies, represents an interesting candidate in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). We performed detailed mutation analyses of the NF-M gene in 322 familial and sporadic PD patients. Two polymorphisms (Ala475Thr and Gly697Arg) occurred at similar frequencies in PD patients and controls. A Pro725Gln substitution and a deletion of valine in position 829 were identified in two PD patients. These substitutions affect residues of the NF-M protein that are highly conserved among different species. None of our patients carried the Gly336Ser substitution, which has been described in familial PD. Our results argue against a major role of NF-M in PD. However, rare variants of the NF-M gene may act as susceptibility factors for PD and functional analyses of the identified variations are warranted to decipher possible mechanisms in neurodegeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailPolymorphisms in the interleukin-1 alpha and beta genes and the risk for Parkinson's disease.
Schulte, Thorsten; Schols, Ludger; Muller, Thomas et al

in Neuroscience letters (2002), 326(1), 70-2

Several lines of evidence indicate that immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Activated immunocompetent cells and inflammatory cytokines are present in ... [more ▼]

Several lines of evidence indicate that immune mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Activated immunocompetent cells and inflammatory cytokines are present in affected brain regions in patients with Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). For AD biochemical and pathological data are supported by genetic studies identifying risk alleles for polymorphisms in regulatory regions of the interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha-889) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta-511) gene, respectively. The partially overlapping pathology and inflammatory reaction pattern between AD and PD led us to investigate these polymorphisms in a large sample of 295 German PD patients and 270 healthy controls. We found T in position -511 in the IL-1 beta gene more frequent in patients compared to controls (chi(2)=4.44, P=0.034). For the IL-1 alpha-889 polymorphism no significant difference between patients and controls was observed. [less ▲]

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See detailNeurofilament L gene is not a genetic factor of sporadic and familial Parkinson's disease.
Rahner, Nils; Holzmann, Carsten; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Brain research (2002), 951(1), 82-6

Mutations in two genes, alpha-synuclein and parkin, have been identified as some rare causes for familial Parkinson's disease (PD). alpha-Synuclein and parkin protein have subsequently been identified in ... [more ▼]

Mutations in two genes, alpha-synuclein and parkin, have been identified as some rare causes for familial Parkinson's disease (PD). alpha-Synuclein and parkin protein have subsequently been identified in Lewy bodies (LB). To gain further insight into the pathogenesis of PD we investigated the role of neurofilament light (NF-L), another component of LB aggregation. A detailed mutation search of the NF-L gene in 328 sporadic and familial PD patients of German ancestry revealed three silent DNA changes (G163A, C224T, C487T) in three unrelated patients. Analysis of the promoter region of the NF-L gene identified a total of three base pair substitutions defining five haplotypes. Association studies based on these haplotypes revealed no significant differences between PD patients and 344 control individuals. Therefore, NF-L is unlikely to play a major role in the pathogenesis of PD. [less ▲]

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