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See detailHaploinsufficiency due to a novel ACO2 deletion causes mitochondrial dysfunction in fibroblasts from a patient with dominant optic nerve atrophy
Neumann, Marie Anne-Catherine UL; Grossmann, Dajana UL; Schimpf-Linzenbold, Simone et al

in Scientific Reports (2020)

ACO2 is a mitochondrial protein, which is critically involved in the function of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), the maintenance of iron homeostasis, oxidative stress defense and the integrity of ... [more ▼]

ACO2 is a mitochondrial protein, which is critically involved in the function of the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), the maintenance of iron homeostasis, oxidative stress defense and the integrity of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mutations in the ACO2 gene were identified in patients suffering from a broad range of symptoms, including optic nerve atrophy, cortical atrophy, cerebellar atrophy, hypotonia, seizures and intellectual disabilities. In the present study, we identified a heterozygous 51 bp deletion (c.1699_1749del51) in ACO2 in a family with autosomal dominant inherited isolated optic atrophy. A complementation assay using aco1-deficient yeast revealed a growth defect for the mutant ACO2 variant substantiating a pathogenic effect of the deletion. We used patient-derived fibroblasts to characterize cellular phenotypes and found a decrease of ACO2 protein levels, while ACO2 enzyme activity was not affected compared to two age- and gender-matched control lines. Several parameters of mitochondrial function, including mitochondrial morphology, mitochondrial membrane potential or mitochondrial superoxide production, were not changed under baseline conditions. However, basal respiration, maximal respiration, and spare respiratory capacity were reduced in mutant cells. Furthermore, we observed a reduction of mtDNA copy number and reduced mtDNA transcription levels in ACO2-mutant fibroblasts. Inducing oxidative stress led to an increased susceptibility for cell death in ACO2-mutant fibroblasts compared to controls. Our study reveals that a monoallelic mutation in ACO2 is sufficient to promote mitochondrial dysfunction and increased vulnerability to oxidative stress as main drivers of cell death related to optic nerve atrophy. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome sequencing analysis identifies new loci associated with Lewy body dementia and provides insights into the complex genetic architecture
Chia, Ruth; Sabir, Marya S.; Bandres-Ciga, Sara et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic ... [more ▼]

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic architecture of this understudied form of dementia and to generate a resource for the scientific community. Genome-wide association analysis identified five independent risk loci, whereas genome-wide gene-aggregation tests implicated mutations in the gene GBA. Genetic risk scores demonstrate that LBD shares risk profiles and pathways with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, providing a deeper molecular understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition.Competing Interest StatementThomas G. Beach is a consultant for Prothena, Vivid Genomics and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals. He is a scientific advisory board member for Vivid Genomics. John A. Hardy, Huw R. Morris, Stuart Pickering-Brown, Andrew B. Singleton, and Bryan J. Traynor hold US, EU and Canadian patents on the clinical testing and therapeutic intervention for the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9orf72. Michael A. Nalls is supported by a consulting contract between Data Tecnica International and the National Institute on Aging, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA; as a possible conflict of interest Dr. Nalls also consults for Neuron23 Inc., Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc., Illumina Inc., the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Vivid Genomics among others. Jose A. Palma is an editorial board member of Movement Disorders, Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, BMC Neurology, and Clinical Autonomic Research. Bradley F. Boeve, James Leverenz, and Sonja W. Scholz serve on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Sonja W. Scholz is an editorial board member for the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. Bryan J. Traynor is an editorial board member for JAMA Neurology; Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry; Brain; and Neurobiology of Aging. Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on Abbvie, Inc. (M15-562 and M15-563), Biogen, Inc. (228PD201) grant, and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BHV4157-206 and BHV3241-301). Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as the principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral Center, and as co-principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic APDA Center for Advanced Research. All other authors report no competing interests. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic Architecture of Parkinson's Disease in the Indian Population: Harnessing Genetic Diversity to Address Critical Gaps in Parkinson's Disease Research.
Rajan, Roopa; Divya, K. P.; Kandadai, Rukmini Mridula et al

in Frontiers in neurology (2020), 11

Over the past two decades, our understanding of Parkinson's disease (PD) has been gleaned from the discoveries made in familial and/or sporadic forms of PD in the Caucasian population. The transferability ... [more ▼]

Over the past two decades, our understanding of Parkinson's disease (PD) has been gleaned from the discoveries made in familial and/or sporadic forms of PD in the Caucasian population. The transferability and the clinical utility of genetic discoveries to other ethnically diverse populations are unknown. The Indian population has been under-represented in PD research. The Genetic Architecture of PD in India (GAP-India) project aims to develop one of the largest clinical/genomic bio-bank for PD in India. Specifically, GAP-India project aims to: (1) develop a pan-Indian deeply phenotyped clinical repository of Indian PD patients; (2) perform whole-genome sequencing in 500 PD samples to catalog Indian genetic variability and to develop an Indian PD map for the scientific community; (3) perform a genome-wide association study to identify novel loci for PD and (4) develop a user-friendly web-portal to disseminate results for the scientific community. Our "hub-spoke" model follows an integrative approach to develop a pan-Indian outreach to develop a comprehensive cohort for PD research in India. The alignment of standard operating procedures for recruiting patients and collecting biospecimens with international standards ensures harmonization of data/bio-specimen collection at the beginning and also ensures stringent quality control parameters for sample processing. Data sharing and protection policies follow the guidelines established by local and national authorities.We are currently in the recruitment phase targeting recruitment of 10,200 PD patients and 10,200 healthy volunteers by the end of 2020. GAP-India project after its completion will fill a critical gap that exists in PD research and will contribute a comprehensive genetic catalog of the Indian PD population to identify novel targets for PD. [less ▲]

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See detailParkinson’s disease-associated alterations of the gut microbiome predict diseaserelevant changes in metabolic functions
Krüger, Rejko UL; Baldini, Federico UL; Thiele, Ines UL et al

in BMC Biology (2020)

Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a systemic disease clinically defined by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. While alterations in the gut microbiome composition have been ... [more ▼]

Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a systemic disease clinically defined by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. While alterations in the gut microbiome composition have been reported in PD, their functional consequences remain unclear. Herein, we addressed this question by an analysis of stool samples from the Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study (n = 147 typical PD cases, n = 162 controls). Results: All individuals underwent detailed clinical assessment, including neurological examinations and neuropsychological tests followed by self-reporting questionnaires. Stool samples from these individuals were first analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Second, we predicted the potential secretion for 129 microbial metabolites through personalised metabolic modelling using the microbiome data and genome-scale metabolic reconstructions of human gut microbes. Our key results include the following. Eight genera and seven species changed significantly in their relative abundances between PD patients and healthy controls. PD-associated microbial patterns statistically depended on sex, age, BMI, and constipation. Particularly, the relative abundances of Bilophila and Paraprevotella were significantly associated with the Hoehn and Yahr staging after controlling for the disease duration. Furthermore, personalised metabolic modelling of the gut microbiomes revealed PD-associated metabolic patterns in the predicted secretion potential of nine microbial metabolites in PD, including increased methionine and cysteinylglycine. The predicted microbial pantothenic acid production potential was linked to the presence of specific non-motor symptoms. Conclusion: Our results suggest that PD-associated alterations of the gut microbiome can translate into substantial functional differences affecting host metabolism and disease phenotype. [less ▲]

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See detailDeep sncRNA-seq of the PPMI cohort to study Parkinson’s disease progression
Kern, Fabian; Fehlmann, Tobias; Violich, Ivo et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

Coding and non-coding RNAs have diagnostic and prognostic importance in Parkinson’s diseases (PD). We studied circulating small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in 7, 003 samples from two longitudinal PD cohorts ... [more ▼]

Coding and non-coding RNAs have diagnostic and prognostic importance in Parkinson’s diseases (PD). We studied circulating small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) in 7, 003 samples from two longitudinal PD cohorts (Parkinson’s Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) and Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study (NCER-PD)) and modelled their influence on the transcriptome. First, we sequenced sncRNAs in 5, 450 blood samples of 1, 614 individuals in PPMI. The majority of 323 billion reads (59 million reads per sample) mapped to miRNAs. Other covered RNA classes include piRNAs, rRNAs, snoRNAs, tRNAs, scaRNAs, and snRNAs. De-regulated miRNAs were associated with the disease and disease progression and occur in two distinct waves in the third and seventh decade of live. Originating mostly from a characteristic set of immune cells they resemble a systemic inflammation response and mitochondrial dysfunction, two hallmarks of PD. By profiling 1, 553 samples from 1, 024 individuals in the NCER-PD cohort using an independent technology, we validate relevant findings from the sequencing study. Finally, network analysis of sncRNAs and transcriptome sequencing of the original cohort identified regulatory modules emerging in progressing PD patients.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. [less ▲]

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See detailEmerging concepts for precision medicine in Parkinson's disease with focus on genetics
Krüger, Rejko UL; Stute, Lara UL

in Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie (2020)

The diverse and highly individual presentations of Parkinson's disease (PD) as a complex combination of motor and non-motor symptoms are being increasingly well characterised not least through large ... [more ▼]

The diverse and highly individual presentations of Parkinson's disease (PD) as a complex combination of motor and non-motor symptoms are being increasingly well characterised not least through large patient cohorts applying deep phenotyping. However, in terms of treatment of PD, the approach is uniform and purely symptomatic. Better stratification strategies with better precision medicine approaches offer opportunities to improve symptomatic treatment, define first causative therapies and provide more patient-centred care. Insight from targeted therapies for monogenic forms of PD aiming at neuroprotection may pave the way for new mechanism-based interventions also for the more common idiopathic PD. Improved stratification of patients may support symptomatic treatments by predicting treatment efficacy and long-term benefit of current pharmacological or neuromodulatory therapies, e.g. in the context of emerging pharmacogenomic knowledge. Based on asymptomatic carriers with monogenic PD or patients with REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), first options for applying preventive treatments emerge. The implications of these treatment strategies in relation to disease progression, and the prospects of their implementation in clinical practice need to be addressed. [less ▲]

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See detailMissing heritability in Parkinson’s disease: the emerging role of non‑coding genetic variation
Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; May, Patrick UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2020)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical trials, including causative treatments, a better understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of PD is required. Despite substantial efforts, genome-wide association studies have not been able to explain most of the observed heritability. The majority of PD-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. A systematic assessment of their functional role is hampered by our incomplete understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, for example through differential regulation of gene expression. Here, the recent progress and remaining challenges for the elucidation of the role of non-coding genetic variants is reviewed with a focus on PD as a complex disease with multifactorial origins. The function of gene regulatory elements and the impact of non-coding variants on them, and the means to map these elements on a genome-wide level, will be delineated. Moreover, examples of how the integration of functional genomic annotations can serve to identify disease-associated pathways and to prioritize disease- and cell type-specific regulatory variants will be given. Finally, strategies for functional validation and considerations for suitable model systems are outlined. Together this emphasizes the contribution of rare and common genetic variants to the complex pathogenesis of PD and points to remaining challenges for the dissection of genetic complexity that may allow for better stratification, improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for PD in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailInduced pluripotent stem cell line (LCSBi001-A) derived from a patient with Parkinson's disease carrying the p.D620N mutation in VPS35
Larsen, Simone UL; Hanss, Zoé UL; Cruciani, Gérald UL et al

in Stem Cell Research (2020)

Fibroblasts were obtained from a 76 year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD). The disease is caused by a heterozygous p.D620N mutation in VPS35. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were ... [more ▼]

Fibroblasts were obtained from a 76 year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD). The disease is caused by a heterozygous p.D620N mutation in VPS35. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were generated using the CytoTune™-iPS 2.0 Sendai Reprogramming Kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific). The presence of the c.1858G > A base exchange in exon 15 of VPS35 was confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The iPSCs are free of genomically integrated reprogramming genes, express pluripotency markers, display in vitro differentiation potential to the three germ layers and have karyotypic integrity. Our iPSC line will be useful for studying the impact of the p.D620N mutation in VPS35 in vitro. [less ▲]

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See detailProgramme Démence Prévention (pdp ): A Nation-Wide Programme for Dementia Prevention in Luxembourg
Schröder, Valerie UL; Kaysen, Anne UL; Fritz, Joëlle UL et al

Poster (2020, April)

Objectives: To implement a multi-year nation-wide programme, by the means of a personalised lifestyle intervention, to prevent or to delay cognitive decline that can contribute to development of dementia ... [more ▼]

Objectives: To implement a multi-year nation-wide programme, by the means of a personalised lifestyle intervention, to prevent or to delay cognitive decline that can contribute to development of dementia in Luxembourg. Methods: Participants with mild cognitive impairment, referred to the programme by their treating physician, undergo an extensive cognitive evaluation by a neuropsychologist on relevant neuropsychological domains as well as a structured dementia risk factor assessment. Based on these assessments, individualised lifestyle interventions are offered by diverse national partners involved in the programme, thus filling a gap of not yet reimbursed services in the Luxemburgish healthcare system. After the personalised lifestyle interventions, each participant will undergo a neuropsychological follow-up in order to re-evaluate his/her health status in terms of cognition. Results: We established a participant-centred national network by presenting the programme on many outreach events and efficient stakeholder communication. The network raises the awareness of dementia prevention in the Luxembourgish population, fosters interdisciplinary communication between individual medical and non-medical healthcare professionals and allows for a successful recruitment of the target population. Moreover, we collect information about adherence to the suggested lifestyle changes, as well as the effectiveness of our interventions in reducing risk factors contributing to the onset of dementia. Conclusions: We provide evidence for the feasibility of the implementation of a nation-wide dementia prevention programme including diverse partners offering personalised lifestyle interventions, which are easily transferrable to other countries. Future results from this programme may also help to integrate prevention interventions into the regular healthcare system. [less ▲]

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See detailGrundlagen und Stellenwert der COMT- und MAO-B-Inhibitoren in der Therapie des idiopathischen Parkinson-Syndroms.
Woitalla, Dirk; Krüger, Rejko UL; Lorenzl, Stefan et al

in Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie (2020)

Inhibitors of COMT and MAO-B are well established in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson's disease (PD). MAO-B inhibitors are used as monotherapy as well as in combination with levodopa, whereas COMT ... [more ▼]

Inhibitors of COMT and MAO-B are well established in the pharmacotherapy of Parkinson's disease (PD). MAO-B inhibitors are used as monotherapy as well as in combination with levodopa, whereas COMT inhibitors exert their effects only in conjungtion with levodopa. Both classes of compounds prolong the response duration of levodopa and optimise its clinical benefit. As a result, the ON-times are prolonged significantly. In the past, MAO-B inhibitors were also adminstered for neuroprotection; however, despite convincing scientific reasoning in support of neuroprotective effects, these could not be substantiated in clinical studies performed so far. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluating the Use of Circulating MicroRNA Profiles for Lung Cancer Detection in Symptomatic Patients
Fehlmann, Tobias; Kahraman, Mustafa; Backes, Christina et al

in JAMA Oncology (2020)

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular ... [more ▼]

Importance The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patient outcomes. Multivariable molecular signatures, such as blood-borne microRNA (miRNA) signatures, may have high rates of sensitivity and specificity but require additional studies with large cohorts and standardized measurements to confirm the generalizability of miRNA signatures. Objective To investigate the use of blood-borne miRNAs as potential circulating markers for detecting lung cancer in an extended cohort of symptomatic patients and control participants. Design, Setting, and Participants This multicenter, cohort study included patients from case-control and cohort studies (TREND and COSYCONET) with 3102 patients being enrolled by convenience sampling between March 3, 2009, and March 19, 2018. For the cohort study TREND, population sampling was performed. Clinical diagnoses were obtained for 3046 patients (606 patients with non–small cell and small cell lung cancer, 593 patients with nontumor lung diseases, 883 patients with diseases not affecting the lung, and 964 unaffected control participants). No samples were removed because of experimental issues. The collected data were analyzed between April 2018 and November 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures Sensitivity and specificity of liquid biopsy using miRNA signatures for detection of lung cancer. Results A total of 3102 patients with a mean (SD) age of 61.1 (16.2) years were enrolled. Data on the sex of the participants were available for 2856 participants; 1727 (60.5%) were men. Genome-wide miRNA profiles of blood samples from 3046 individuals were evaluated by machine-learning methods. Three classification scenarios were investigated by splitting the samples equally into training and validation sets. First, a 15-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients diagnosed with lung cancer from all other individuals in the validation set with an accuracy of 91.4% (95% CI, 91.0%-91.9%), a sensitivity of 82.8% (95% CI, 81.5%-84.1%), and a specificity of 93.5% (95% CI, 93.2%-93.8%). Second, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with lung cancer from patients with nontumor lung diseases in the validation set with an accuracy of 92.5% (95% CI, 92.1%-92.9%), sensitivity of 96.4% (95% CI, 95.9%-96.9%), and specificity of 88.6% (95% CI, 88.1%-89.2%). Third, a 14-miRNA signature from the training set was used to distinguish patients with early-stage lung cancer from all individuals without lung cancer in the validation set with an accuracy of 95.9% (95% CI, 95.7%-96.2%), sensitivity of 76.3% (95% CI, 74.5%-78.0%), and specificity of 97.5% (95% CI, 97.2%-97.7%). Conclusions and Relevance The findings of the study suggest that the identified patterns of miRNAs may be used as a component of a minimally invasive lung cancer test, complementing imaging, sputum cytology, and biopsy tests. [less ▲]

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See detailExcess of singleton loss-of-function variants in Parkinson's disease contributes to genetic risk.
Bobbili, Dheeraj Reddy; Banda, Peter UL; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Journal of Medical Genetics (2020)

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple ... [more ▼]

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple variants associated with sporadic PD were discovered via association studies. Methods We studied the whole-exome sequencing data of 340 PD cases and 146 ethnically matched controls from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) and performed burden analysis for different rare variant classes. Disease prediction models were built based on clinical, non-clinical and genetic features, including both common and rare variants, and two machine learning methods. Results We observed a significant exome-wide burden of singleton loss-of-function variants (corrected p=0.037). Overall, no exome-wide burden of rare amino acid changing variants was detected. Finally, we built a disease prediction model combining singleton loss-of-function variants, a polygenic risk score based on common variants, and family history of PD as features and reached an area under the curve of 0.703 (95% CI 0.698 to 0.708). By incorporating a rare variant feature, our model increased the performance of the state-of-the-art classification model for the PPMI dataset, which reached an area under the curve of 0.639 based on common variants alone. Conclusion The main finding of this study is to highlight the contribution of singleton loss-of-function variants to the complex genetics of PD and that disease risk prediction models combining singleton and common variants can improve models built solely on common variants. [less ▲]

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See detailFibroblast mitochondria in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease display morphological changes and enhanced resistance to depolarization
Krüger, Rejko UL; Balling, Rudolf UL; Antony, Paul UL et al

in Scientific Reports (2020)

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). Here, we established screenable phenotypes of mitochondrial morphology and function in primary fibroblasts derived from ... [more ▼]

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (IPD). Here, we established screenable phenotypes of mitochondrial morphology and function in primary fibroblasts derived from patients with IPD. Upper arm punch skin biopsy was performed in 41 patients with mid-stage IPD and 21 age-matched healthy controls. At the single-cell level, the basal mitochondrial membrane potential (Ψm) was higher in patients with IPD than in controls. Similarly, under carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP) stress, the remaining Ψm was increased in patients with IPD. Analysis of mitochondrial morphometric parameters revealed significantly decreased mitochondrial connectivity in patients with IPD, with 9 of 14 morphometric mitochondrial parameters differing from those in controls. Significant morphometric mitochondrial changes included the node degree, mean volume, skeleton size, perimeter, form factor, node count, erosion body count, endpoints, and mitochondria count (all P-values < 0.05). These functional data reveal that resistance to depolarization was increased by treatment with the protonophore FCCP in patients with IPD, whereas morphometric data revealed decreased mitochondrial connectivity and increased mitochondrial fragmentation. [less ▲]

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See detailUnraveling Molecular Mechanisms of THAP1 Missense Mutations in DYT6 Dystonia
Krüger, Rejko UL; Cheng, Fubo; Walter, Michael et al

in Journal of Molecular Neuroscience (2020)

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith ... [more ▼]

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith primary dystonia, and two third of them are missense mutations. The potential pathogeneses of these missense mutations in human are largely elusive. In the present study, we generated stable transfected human neuronal cell lines expressing wild-type or mutated THAP1 proteins found in DYT6 patients. Transcriptional profiling using microarrays revealed a set of 28 common genes dysregulated in two mutated THAP1 (S21T and F81L) overexpression cell lines suggesting a common mechanism of these mutations. ChIP-seq showed that THAP1 can bind to the promoter of one of these genes, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2). Overexpression of THAP1 in SK-N-AS cells resulted in increased SOD2 protein expression, whereas fibroblasts from THAP1 patients have less SOD2 expression, which indicates that SOD2 is a direct target gene of THAP1. In addition, we show that some THAP1 mutations (C54Y and F81L) decrease the protein stability which might also be responsible for altered transcription regulation due to dosage insufficiency. Taking together, the current study showed different potential pathogenic mechanisms of THAP1 mutations which lead to the same consequence of DYT6 dystonia. [less ▲]

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See detailA patient-based model of RNA mis-splicing uncovers treatment targets in Parkinson's disease.
Boussaad, Ibrahim UL; Obermaier, Carolin D.; Hanss, Zoé et al

in Science translational medicine (2020), 12(560),

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder with monogenic forms representing prototypes of the underlying molecular pathology and reproducing to variable degrees the sporadic ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder with monogenic forms representing prototypes of the underlying molecular pathology and reproducing to variable degrees the sporadic forms of the disease. Using a patient-based in vitro model of PARK7-linked PD, we identified a U1-dependent splicing defect causing a drastic reduction in DJ-1 protein and, consequently, mitochondrial dysfunction. Targeting defective exon skipping with genetically engineered U1-snRNA recovered DJ-1 protein expression in neuronal precursor cells and differentiated neurons. After prioritization of candidate drugs, we identified and validated a combinatorial treatment with the small-molecule compounds rectifier of aberrant splicing (RECTAS) and phenylbutyric acid, which restored DJ-1 protein and mitochondrial dysfunction in patient-derived fibroblasts as well as dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in mutant midbrain organoids. Our analysis of a large number of exomes revealed that U1 splice-site mutations were enriched in sporadic PD patients. Therefore, our study suggests an alternative strategy to restore cellular abnormalities in in vitro models of PD and provides a proof of concept for neuroprotection based on precision medicine strategies in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired Mitochondrial-Endoplasmic Reticulum Interaction and Mitophagy in Miro1-Mutant Neurons in Parkinson’s Disease
Berenguer-Escuder, Clara; Grossmann, Dajana; Antony, Paul UL et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2020)

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See detailMachine learning-assisted neurotoxicity prediction in human midbrain organoids
Monzel, Anna Sophia UL; Hemmer, K; Smits, Lisa UL et al

in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders (2020)

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See detailThe atypical chemokine receptor ACKR3/CXCR7 is a broad-spectrum scavenger for opioid peptides.
Meyrath, Max; Szpakowska, Martyna; Zeiner, Julian et al

in Nature communications (2020), 11(1), 3033

Endogenous opioid peptides and prescription opioid drugs modulate pain, anxiety and stress by activating opioid receptors, currently classified into four subtypes. Here we demonstrate that ACKR3/CXCR7 ... [more ▼]

Endogenous opioid peptides and prescription opioid drugs modulate pain, anxiety and stress by activating opioid receptors, currently classified into four subtypes. Here we demonstrate that ACKR3/CXCR7, hitherto known as an atypical scavenger receptor for chemokines, is a broad-spectrum scavenger of opioid peptides. Phylogenetically, ACKR3 is intermediate between chemokine and opioid receptors and is present in various brain regions together with classical opioid receptors. Functionally, ACKR3 is a scavenger receptor for a wide variety of opioid peptides, especially enkephalins and dynorphins, reducing their availability for the classical opioid receptors. ACKR3 is not modulated by prescription opioids, but we show that an ACKR3-selective subnanomolar competitor peptide, LIH383, can restrain ACKR3's negative regulatory function on opioid peptides in rat brain and potentiate their activity towards classical receptors, which may open alternative therapeutic avenues for opioid-related disorders. Altogether, our results reveal that ACKR3 is an atypical opioid receptor with cross-family ligand selectivity. [less ▲]

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See detailVariants in Miro1 cause alterations of ER-mitochondria contact sites in fibroblasts from Parkinson's disease patients
Berenguer, Clara UL; Grossmann, Dajana; Massart, François UL et al

in Journal of Clinical Medicine (2019)

Background: Although most cases of Parkinson´s disease (PD) are idiopathic with unknown cause, an increasing number of genes and genetic risk factors have been discovered that play a role in PD ... [more ▼]

Background: Although most cases of Parkinson´s disease (PD) are idiopathic with unknown cause, an increasing number of genes and genetic risk factors have been discovered that play a role in PD pathogenesis. Many of the PD‐associated proteins are involved in mitochondrial quality control, e.g., PINK1, Parkin, and LRRK2, which were recently identified as regulators of mitochondrial‐endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites (MERCs) linking mitochondrial homeostasis to intracellular calcium handling. In this context, Miro1 is increasingly recognized to play a role in PD pathology. Recently, we identified the first PD patients carrying mutations in RHOT1, the gene coding for Miro1. Here, we describe two novel RHOT1 mutations identified in two PD patients and the characterization of the cellular phenotypes. Methods: Using whole exome sequencing we identified two PD patients carrying heterozygous mutations leading to the amino acid exchanges T351A and T610A in Miro1. We analyzed calcium homeostasis and MERCs in detail by live cell imaging and immunocytochemistry in patient‐derived fibroblasts. Results: We show that fibroblasts expressing mutant T351A or T610A Miro1 display impaired calcium homeostasis and a reduced amount of MERCs. All fibroblast lines from patients with pathogenic variants in Miro1, revealed alterations of the structure of MERCs. Conclusion: Our data suggest that Miro1 is important for the regulation of the structure and function of MERCs. Moreover, our study supports the role of MERCs in the pathogenesis of PD and further establishes variants in RHOT1 as rare genetic risk factors for neurodegeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailGene-environment interaction and Mendelian randomisation
Krüger, Rejko UL; Kolber, Pierre Luc UL

in Revue Neurologique (2019)

Genetic factors only account for up to a third of the cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown aetiology. Environmental exposures (such as pesticides or heavy metals ... [more ▼]

Genetic factors only account for up to a third of the cases of Parkinson's disease (PD), while the remaining cases are of unknown aetiology. Environmental exposures (such as pesticides or heavy metals) and the interaction with genetic susceptibility factors (summarized in the concept of impaired xenobiotic metabolism) are believed to play a major role in the mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Beside of the classical association studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies), a novel approach to investigate environmental risk factors are Mendelian randomisation studies. This review explores the gene-environment interaction and the gain of Mendelian randomisation studies in assessing causalities of modifiable risk factors for PD. [less ▲]

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