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1.  PRION PROTEIN CODON 129 POLYMORPHISM MODIFIES AGE AT ONSET OF FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA WITH THE C.709-1G>A PROGRANULIN MUTATION 
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration due to mutations in the progranulin gene (PGRN) presents a high variability both in the clinical phenotype and age of onset of disease. Factors that influence this variability remain largely unknown. The aim of our study was to determine whether selected genetic variables modify age at onset of disease in our series of 21 patients with a single splicing mutation (c.709-1G>A) in the PGRN gene, all of whom were of Basque descent. In our analysis, we included the following genetic variables: PGRN rs5848 and rs9897526 polymorphisms, APOE and MAPT genotypes and PRNP codon 129 polymorphism. We found no association between PGRN polymorphisms, APOE and MAPT genotypes and age at onset of the disease; while we report evidence for an association between PRNP codon 129 polymorphism and age at onset of disease in frontotemporal dementia-PGRN(+) patients. MM homozygous carriers presented onset of disease on average 8.5 years earlier than patients who carried at least one valine on their PRNP codon 129 (MV or VV). The biological justification for this association remains speculative.
doi:10.1097/WAD.0b013e3181eff695
PMCID: PMC3540994  PMID: 20711061
APOE; PRNP codon 129; frontotemporal dementia; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; progranulin; prion protein gene
2.  Inactivation of CDK/pRb Pathway Normalizes Survival Pattern of Lymphoblasts Expressing the FTLD-Progranulin Mutation c.709-1G>A 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37057.
Background
Mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene, leading to haploinsufficiency, cause familial frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP), although the pathogenic mechanism of PGRN deficit is largely unknown. Allelic loss of PGRN was previously shown to increase the activity of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) CDK6/pRb pathway in lymphoblasts expressing the c.709-1G>A PGRN mutation. Since members of the CDK family appear to play a role in neurodegenerative disorders and in apoptotic death of neurons subjected to various insults, we investigated the role of CDK6/pRb in cell survival/death mechanisms following serum deprivation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed a comparative study of cell viability after serum withdrawal of established lymphoblastoid cell lines from control and carriers of c.709-1G>A PGRN mutation, asymptomatic and FTLD-TDP diagnosed individuals. Our results suggest that the CDK6/pRb pathway is enhanced in the c.709-1G>A bearing lymphoblasts. Apparently, this feature allows PGRN-deficient cells to escape from serum withdrawal-induced apoptosis by decreasing the activity of executive caspases and lowering the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria. Inhibitors of CDK6 expression levels like sodium butyrate or the CDK6 activity such as PD332991 were able to restore the vulnerability of lymphoblasts from FTLD-TDP patients to trophic factor withdrawal.
Conclusion/Significance
The use of PGRN-deficient lymphoblasts from FTLD-TDP patients may be a useful model to investigate cell biochemical aspects of this disease. It is suggested that CDK6 could be potentially a therapeutic target for the treatment of the FTLD-TDP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037057
PMCID: PMC3356399  PMID: 22623979
3.  Genetic and Clinical Features of Progranulin-Associated Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Archives of neurology  2011;68(4):488-497.
Objective
To assess the relative frequency of unique mutations and their associated characteristics in 97 individuals with mutations in progranulin (GRN), an important cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Participants and Design
A 46-site International Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Collaboration was formed to collect cases of FTLD with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43-kDa (TDP-43)–positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We identified 97 individuals with FTLD-TDP with pathogenic GRN mutations (GRN+ FTLD-TDP), assessed their genetic and clinical characteristics, and compared them with 453 patients with FTLD-TDP in which GRN mutations were excluded (GRN− FTLD-TDP). No patients were known to be related. Neuropathologic characteristics were confirmed as FTLD-TDP in 79 of the 97 GRN+ FTLDTDP cases and all of the GRN− FTLD-TDP cases.
Results
Age at onset of FTLD was younger in patients with GRN+ FTLD-TDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (median, 58.0 vs 61.0 years; P<.001), as was age at death (median, 65.5 vs 69.0 years; P<.001). Concomitant motor neuron disease was much less common in GRN+ FTLDTDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (5.4% vs 26.3%; P<.001). Fifty different GRN mutations were observed, including 2 novel mutations: c.139delG (p.D47TfsX7) and c.378C>A (p.C126X). The 2 most common GRN mutations were c.1477C>T (p.R493X, found in 18 patients, representing 18.6% of GRN cases) and c.26C>A (p.A9D, found in 6 patients, representing 6.2% of cases). Patients with the c.1477C>T mutation shared a haplotype on chromosome 17; clinically, they resembled patients with other GRN mutations. Patients with the c.26C>A mutation appeared to have a younger age at onset of FTLD and at death and more parkinsonian features than those with other GRN mutations.
Conclusion
GRN+ FTLD-TDP differs in key features from GRN− FTLD-TDP.
doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.53
PMCID: PMC3160280  PMID: 21482928
4.  Gene Expression Profiling in Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2A 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3750.
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A (LGMD2A) is a recessive genetic disorder caused by mutations in calpain 3 (CAPN3). Calpain 3 plays different roles in muscular cells, but little is known about its functions or in vivo substrates. The aim of this study was to identify the genes showing an altered expression in LGMD2A patients and the possible pathways they are implicated in. Ten muscle samples from LGMD2A patients with in which molecular diagnosis was ascertained were investigated using array technology to analyze gene expression profiling as compared to ten normal muscle samples. Upregulated genes were mostly those related to extracellular matrix (different collagens), cell adhesion (fibronectin), muscle development (myosins and melusin) and signal transduction. It is therefore suggested that different proteins located or participating in the costameric region are implicated in processes regulated by calpain 3 during skeletal muscle development. Genes participating in the ubiquitin proteasome degradation pathway were found to be deregulated in LGMD2A patients, suggesting that regulation of this pathway may be under the control of calpain 3 activity. As frizzled-related protein (FRZB) is upregulated in LGMD2A muscle samples, it could be hypothesized that β-catenin regulation is also altered at the Wnt signaling pathway, leading to an incorrect myogenesis. Conversely, expression of most transcription factor genes was downregulated (MYC, FOS and EGR1). Finally, the upregulation of IL-32 and immunoglobulin genes may induce the eosinophil chemoattraction explaining the inflammatory findings observed in presymptomatic stages. The obtained results try to shed some light on identification of novel therapeutic targets for limb-girdle muscular dystrophies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003750
PMCID: PMC2582180  PMID: 19015733

Results 1-4 (4)