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2.  ALS2 mutations 
Neurology  2014;82(12):1065-1067.
Objective:
To determine the genetic etiology in 2 consanguineous families who presented a novel phenotype of autosomal recessive juvenile amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with generalized dystonia.
Methods:
A combination of homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing in the first family and Sanger sequencing of candidate genes in the second family were used.
Results:
Both families were found to have homozygous loss-of-function mutations in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 2 (juvenile) (ALS2) gene.
Conclusions:
We report generalized dystonia and cerebellar signs in association with ALS2-related disease. We suggest that the ALS2 gene should be screened for mutations in patients who present with a similar phenotype.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000254
PMCID: PMC3962990  PMID: 24562058
3.  Analysis of Parkinson’s Disease Brain–Derived DNA for Alpha-Synuclein Coding Somatic Mutations 
Background
Although alpha-synuclein (SNCA) is crucial to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), mutations in the gene appear to be rare. We have recently hypothesized that somatic mutations in early development could contribute to PD.
Methods
Expanding on our recent negative small study, we used high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis to screen SNCA coding exons for somatic point mutations in DNA from 539 PD and DLB cerebellar samples, with two additional regions (frontal cortex, substantia nigra) for 20 PD cases. We used artificial mosaics to determine sensitivity where possible.
Results
We did not detect any evidence of somatic coding mutations. Three cases were heterozygous for known silent polymorphisms. The protocol we used was sensitive enough to detect 5% to 10% mutant DNA.
Conclusion
Using DNA predominantly from cerebellum, but also from frontal cortex and substantia nigra (n=20 each), we have not detected any somatic coding SNCA point mutations.
doi:10.1002/mds.25883
PMCID: PMC4190821  PMID: 24752924
SNCA; alpha-synuclein; somatic mutation; mosaicism; etiology of Parkinson’s disease
4.  Glycine receptor antibodies in PERM and related syndromes: characteristics, clinical features and outcomes 
Brain  2014;137(8):2178-2192.
See Martinez-Martinez et al. (doi:10.1093/brain/awu153) for a scientific commentary on this article.
Carvajal-González et al. describe the first prospective cohort of patients with glycine receptor antibodies. The majority have progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus. The antibodies bind to extracellular determinants on glycine receptor-α1 and to glycine receptors on spinal cord and brainstem neurons. The patients make a good recovery with immunotherapies.
The clinical associations of glycine receptor antibodies have not yet been described fully. We identified prospectively 52 antibody-positive patients and collated their clinical features, investigations and immunotherapy responses. Serum glycine receptor antibody endpoint titres ranged from 1:20 to 1:60 000. In 11 paired samples, serum levels were higher than (n = 10) or equal to (n = 1) cerebrospinal fluid levels; there was intrathecal synthesis of glycine receptor antibodies in each of the six pairs available for detailed study. Four patients also had high glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (>1000 U/ml), and one had high voltage-gated potassium channel-complex antibody (2442 pM). Seven patients with very low titres (<1:50) and unknown or alternative diagnoses were excluded from further study. Three of the remaining 45 patients had newly-identified thymomas and one had a lymphoma. Thirty-three patients were classified as progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus, and two as stiff person syndrome; five had a limbic encephalitis or epileptic encephalopathy, two had brainstem features mainly, two had demyelinating optic neuropathies and one had an unclear diagnosis. Four patients (9%) died during the acute disease, but most showed marked improvement with immunotherapies. At most recent follow-up, (2–7 years, median 3 years, since first antibody detection), the median modified Rankin scale scores (excluding the four deaths) decreased from 5 at maximal severity to 1 (P < 0.0001), but relapses have occurred in five patients and a proportion are on reducing steroids or other maintenance immunotherapies as well as symptomatic treatments. The glycine receptor antibodies activated complement on glycine receptor-transfected human embryonic kidney cells at room temperature, and caused internalization and lysosomal degradation of the glycine receptors at 37°C. Immunoglobulin G antibodies bound to rodent spinal cord and brainstem co-localizing with monoclonal antibodies to glycine receptor-α1. Ten glycine receptor antibody positive samples were also identified in a retrospective cohort of 56 patients with stiff person syndrome and related syndromes. Glycine receptor antibodies are strongly associated with spinal and brainstem disorders, and the majority of patients have progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus. The antibodies demonstrate in vitro evidence of pathogenicity and the patients respond well to immunotherapies, contrasting with earlier studies of this syndrome, which indicated a poor prognosis. The presence of glycine receptor antibodies should help to identify a disease that responds to immunotherapies, but these treatments may need to be sustained, relapses can occur and maintenance immunosuppression may be required.
doi:10.1093/brain/awu142
PMCID: PMC4107739  PMID: 24951641
stiff person syndrome; progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus; autoimmune encephalitis; glycine receptor; autoantibody
5.  Parkinson's disease-linked mutations in VPS35 induce dopaminergic neurodegeneration 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(17):4621-4638.
Mutations in the vacuolar protein sorting 35 homolog (VPS35) gene at the PARK17 locus, encoding a key component of the retromer complex, were recently identified as a new cause of late-onset, autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). Here we explore the pathogenic consequences of PD-associated mutations in VPS35 using a number of model systems. VPS35 exhibits a broad neuronal distribution throughout the rodent brain, including within the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway. In the human brain, VPS35 protein levels and distribution are similar in tissues from control and PD subjects, and VPS35 is not associated with Lewy body pathology. The common D620N missense mutation in VPS35 does not compromise its protein stability or localization to endosomal and lysosomal vesicles, or the vesicular sorting of the retromer cargo, sortilin, SorLA and cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor, in rodent primary neurons or patient-derived human fibroblasts. In yeast we show that PD-linked VPS35 mutations are functional and can normally complement VPS35 null phenotypes suggesting that they do not result in a loss-of-function. In rat primary cortical cultures the overexpression of human VPS35 induces neuronal cell death and increases neuronal vulnerability to PD-relevant cellular stress. In a novel viral-mediated gene transfer rat model, the expression of D620N VPS35 induces the marked degeneration of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons and axonal pathology, a cardinal pathological hallmark of PD. Collectively, these studies establish that dominant VPS35 mutations lead to neurodegeneration in PD consistent with a gain-of-function mechanism, and support a key role for VPS35 in the development of PD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu178
PMCID: PMC4119414  PMID: 24740878
6.  A pathway-based analysis provides additional support for an immune-related genetic susceptibility to Parkinson's disease 
Holmans, Peter | Moskvina, Valentina | Jones, Lesley | Sharma, Manu | Vedernikov, Alexey | Buchel, Finja | Sadd, Mohamad | Bras, Jose M. | Bettella, Francesco | Nicolaou, Nayia | Simón-Sánchez, Javier | Mittag, Florian | Gibbs, J. Raphael | Schulte, Claudia | Durr, Alexandra | Guerreiro, Rita | Hernandez, Dena | Brice, Alexis | Stefánsson, Hreinn | Majamaa, Kari | Gasser, Thomas | Heutink, Peter | Wood, Nicholas W. | Martinez, Maria | Singleton, Andrew B. | Nalls, Michael A. | Hardy, John | Morris, Huw R. | Williams, Nigel M. | Arepalli, Sampath | Barker, Roger | Barrett, Jeffrey | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Berendse, Henk W. | Berg, Daniela | Bhatia, Kailash | de Bie, Rob M.A. | Biffi, Alessandro | Bloem, Bas | Brice, Alexis | Bochdanovits, Zoltan | Bonin, Michael | Bras, Jose M. | Brockmann, Kathrin | Brooks, Janet | Burn, David J. | Charlesworth, Gavin | Chen, Honglei | Chinnery, Patrick F. | Chong, Sean | Clarke, Carl E. | Cookson, Mark R. | Cooper, Jonathan M. | Corvol, Jen-Christophe | Counsell, Carl | Damier, Philippe | Dartigues, Jean Francois | Deloukas, Panagiotis | Deuschl, Günther | Dexter, David T. | van Dijk, Karin D. | Dillman, Allissa | Durif, Frank | Durr, Alexandra | Edkins, Sarah | Evans, Jonathan R. | Foltynie, Thomas | Gao, Jianjun | Gardner, Michelle | Gasser, Thomas | Gibbs, J. Raphael | Goate, Alison | Gray, Emma | Guerreiro, Rita | Gústafsson, Ómar | Hardy, John | Harris, Clare | Hernandez, Dena G. | Heutink, Peter | van Hilten, Jacobus J. | Hofman, Albert | Hollenbeck, Albert | Holmans, Peter | Holton, Janice | Hu, Michele | Huber, Heiko | Hudson, Gavin | Hunt, Sarah E. | Huttenlocher, Johanna | Illig, Thomas | Langford, Cordelia | Lees, Andrew | Lesage, Suzanne | Lichtner, Peter | Limousin, Patricia | Lopez, Grisel | Lorenz, Delia | Martinez, Maria | McNeill, Alisdair | Moorby, Catriona | Moore, Matthew | Morris, Huw | Morrison, Karen E. | Moskvina, Valentina | Mudanohwo, Ese | Nalls, Michael A. | Pearson, Justin | Perlmutter, Joel S. | Pétursson, Hjörvar | Plagnol, Vincent | Pollak, Pierre | Post, Bart | Potter, Simon | Ravina, Bernard | Revesz, Tamas | Riess, Olaf | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rizzu, Patrizia | Ryten, Mina | Saad, Mohamad | Sawcer, Stephen | Schapira, Anthony | Scheffer, Hans | Sharma, Manu | Shaw, Karen | Sheerin, Una-Marie | Shoulson, Ira | Schulte, Claudia | Sidransky, Ellen | Simón-Sánchez, Javier | Singleton, Andrew B. | Smith, Colin | Stefánsson, Hreinn | Stefánsson, Kári | Steinberg, Stacy | Stockton, Joanna D. | Sveinbjornsdottir, Sigurlaug | Talbot, Kevin | Tanner, Carlie M. | Tashakkori-Ghanbaria, Avazeh | Tison, François | Trabzuni, Daniah | Traynor, Bryan J. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Velseboer, Daan | Vidailhet, Marie | Walker, Robert | van de Warrenburg, Bart | Wickremaratchi, Mirdhu | Williams, Nigel | Williams-Gray, Caroline H. | Winder-Rhodes, Sophie | Wood, Nicholas
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(5):1039-1049.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting 1–2% in people >60 and 3–4% in people >80. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have now implicated significant evidence for association in at least 18 genomic regions. We have studied a large PD-meta analysis and identified a significant excess of SNPs (P < 1 × 10−16) that are associated with PD but fall short of the genome-wide significance threshold. This result was independent of variants at the 18 previously implicated regions and implies the presence of additional polygenic risk alleles. To understand how these loci increase risk of PD, we applied a pathway-based analysis, testing for biological functions that were significantly enriched for genes containing variants associated with PD. Analysing two independent GWA studies, we identified that both had a significant excess in the number of functional categories enriched for PD-associated genes (minimum P = 0.014 and P = 0.006, respectively). Moreover, 58 categories were significantly enriched for associated genes in both GWA studies (P < 0.001), implicating genes involved in the ‘regulation of leucocyte/lymphocyte activity’ and also ‘cytokine-mediated signalling’ as conferring an increased susceptibility to PD. These results were unaltered by the exclusion of all 178 genes that were present at the 18 genomic regions previously reported to be strongly associated with PD (including the HLA locus). Our findings, therefore, provide independent support to the strong association signal at the HLA locus and imply that the immune-related genetic susceptibility to PD is likely to be more widespread in the genome than previously appreciated.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds492
PMCID: PMC3561909  PMID: 23223016
7.  A Multicenter Study of Glucocerebrosidase Mutations in Dementia With Lewy Bodies 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(6):10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.1925.
Importance
While mutations in glucocerebrosidase (GBA1) are associated with an increased risk for Parkinson disease (PD), it is important to establish whether such mutations are also a common risk factor for other Lewy body disorders.
Objective
To establish whether GBA1 mutations are a risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
Design
We compared genotype data on patients and controls from 11 centers. Data concerning demographics, age at onset, disease duration, and clinical and pathological features were collected when available. We conducted pooled analyses using logistic regression to investigate GBA1 mutation carrier status as predicting DLB or PD with dementia status, using common control subjects as a reference group. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to account for additional heterogeneity.
Setting
Eleven centers from sites around the world performing genotyping.
Participants
Seven hundred twenty-one cases met diagnostic criteria for DLB and 151 had PD with dementia. We compared these cases with 1962 controls from the same centers matched for age, sex, and ethnicity.
Main Outcome Measures
Frequency of GBA1 mutations in cases and controls.
Results
We found a significant association between GBA1 mutation carrier status and DLB, with an odds ratio of 8.28 (95% CI, 4.78–14.88). The odds ratio for PD with dementia was 6.48 (95% CI, 2.53–15.37). The mean age at diagnosis of DLB was earlier in GBA1 mutation carriers than in noncarriers (63.5 vs 68.9 years; P<.001), with higher disease severity scores.
Conclusions and Relevance
Mutations in GBA1 are a significant risk factor for DLB. GBA1 mutations likely play an even larger role in the genetic etiology of DLB than in PD, providing insight into the role of glucocerebrosidase in Lewy body disease.
doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.1925
PMCID: PMC3841974  PMID: 23588557
8.  Creation of an Open-Access, Mutation-Defined Fibroblast Resource for Neurological Disease Research 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43099.
Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of many neurological disorders has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of mutations in genes linked to familial forms of these diseases. These have facilitated the generation of cell and animal models that can be used to understand the underlying molecular pathology. Recently, there has been a surge of interest in the use of patient-derived cells, due to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells and their subsequent differentiation into neurons and glia. Access to patient cell lines carrying the relevant mutations is a limiting factor for many centres wishing to pursue this research. We have therefore generated an open-access collection of fibroblast lines from patients carrying mutations linked to neurological disease. These cell lines have been deposited in the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Repository at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research and can be requested by any research group for use in in vitro disease modelling. There are currently 71 mutation-defined cell lines available for request from a wide range of neurological disorders and this collection will be continually expanded. This represents a significant resource that will advance the use of patient cells as disease models by the scientific community.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043099
PMCID: PMC3428297  PMID: 22952635
9.  Study of the genetic variability in a Parkinson's Disease gene: EIF4G1 
Neuroscience Letters  2012;518(1):19-22.
Highlights
► Mutations in the EIF4G1 gene have been found in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) [2]. ► We investigate the mutations in a familial PD cohort and in sub-Saharian Africans and Europeans. ► We failed to identify any mutation in the PD cohort. We identify the p.A502V (previously associated to PD) in Caucasians. ► Mutations in the EIF4G1 gene are a very rare cause of PD in European individuals. ► The protein can tolerate some extent of genetic variability.
Chartier-Harlin and colleagues [2] recently reported mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4-gamma (EIF4G1) gene in families with parkinsonism. Large-scale screening found two mutations (p.R1205H and p.A502V) only in affected individuals, although their relative frequency was very low. The aim of this study was to investigate EIF4G1 parkinsonism-related variants in two separate cohorts and study coding variability across the gene. We first screened a series of familial Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients in an attempt to confirm previous results by showing segregation. Then, to determine the extent of coding variation in the gene, we first screened a cohort of sub-Saharan African individuals from the Centre d’Etude du Polymorphisme Humain – Human Genome Diversity Cell Line Panel (HGDP) [1] and then analyzed data from 5350 individuals National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) exome sequencing project. We failed to identify any PD-related mutations in the familial samples. Conversely we found the p.A502V variant in the NHLBI population. We observed a high number of coding polymorphism in the exons where the two PD variants have been previously reported. We conclude that either EIF4G1 variants are an extremely rare cause of familial PD in Caucasian cohorts, or that A502V is in fact a rare benign variant not involved in PD aetiology. Our data also suggests that the protein can tolerate some extent of variability particularly at this point of the gene.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2012.04.033
PMCID: PMC3769807  PMID: 22561553
Parkinson's Disease; EIF4G1
10.  Tau acts as an independent genetic risk factor in pathologically proven PD 
Neurobiology of Aging  2012;33(4):838.e7-838.e11.
MAPT has been repeatedly linked with Parkinson's disease (PD) in association studies. Although tau deposition may be seen in PD, its relevance to the pathogenesis of the condition remains unclear. The presence of tau-positive inclusions is, however, the defining feature of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), which may often be clinically misdiagnosed as idiopathic PD. On a genetic level, variants in MAPT are the strongest risk factor for PSP. These facts raise the question whether the MAPT association in PD results from contamination with unrecognized cases of PSP. Using only neuropathologically proven PD, we show that the MAPT association remains and is independent of the PSP Association.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.11.001
PMCID: PMC3629571  PMID: 22221882
Genetics; Association study; Parkinson's disease; MAPT; Tau; Progressive supranuclear palsy; PD; PSP
11.  Screening for VPS35 mutations in Parkinson's disease 
Neurobiology of Aging  2012;33(4):838.e1-838.e5.
Recently 2 groups have independently identified a mutation in the gene ‘vacuolar protein sorting 35 homolog’ (VPS35 c.1858G>A; p.Asp620Asn) as a possible cause of autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease (PD). In order to assess the frequency of the reported mutation and to search for other possible disease-causing variants in this gene, we sequenced all 17 exons of VPS35 in 96 familial PD cases, and exon 15 (in which the reported mutation is found) in an additional 64 familial PD cases, 175 young-onset PD cases, and 262 sporadic, neuropathologically confirmed PD cases. We identified 1 individual with the p.Asp620Asn mutation and an autosomal dominant family history of PD. Subsequent follow-up of the family confirmed an affected sibling and cousin who also carried the same mutation. No other potentially disease-causing mutations were identified. We conclude that the VPS35 c.1858G>A mutation is an uncommon cause of familial Parkinson's disease in our population.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.10.032
PMCID: PMC3629567  PMID: 22154191
Parkinson's disease; Genetics; VPS35; Population screening
12.  The Phenotypic Spectrum of DYT24 Due to ANO3 Mutations 
Movement Disorders  2014;29(7):928-934.
Genes causing primary dystonia are rare. Recently, pathogenic mutations in the anoctamin 3 gene (ANO3) have been identified to cause autosomal dominant craniocervical dystonia and have been assigned to the dystonia locus dystonia-24 (DYT24). Here, we expand on the phenotypic spectrum of DYT24 and provide demonstrative videos. Moreover, tremor recordings were performed, and back-averaged electroencephalography, sensory evoked potentials, and C-reflex studies were carried out in two individuals who carried two different mutations in ANO3. Ten patients from three families are described. The age at onset ranged from early childhood to the forties. Cervical dystonia was the most common site of onset followed by laryngeal dystonia. The characteristic feature in all affected individuals was the presence of tremor, which contrasts DYT24 from the typical DYT6 phenotype. Tremor was the sole initial manifestation in some individuals with ANO3 mutations, leading to misdiagnosis as essential tremor. Electrophysiology in two patients with two different mutations showed co-contraction of antagonist muscles, confirming dystonia, and a 6-Hz arm tremor at rest, which increased in amplitude during action. In one of the studied patients, clinically superimposed myoclonus was observed. The duration of the myoclonus was in the range of 250 msec at about 3 Hz, which is more consistent with subcortical myoclonus. In summary, ANO3 causes a varied phenotype of young-onset or adult-onset craniocervical dystonia with tremor and/or myoclonic jerks. Patients with familial cervical dystonia who also have myoclonus-dystonia as well as patients with prominent tremor and mild dystonia should be tested for ANO3 mutations. © 2014 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
doi:10.1002/mds.25802
PMCID: PMC4150528  PMID: 24442708
cervical dystonia; cranial dystonia; laryngeal dystonia; dystonic tremor; ANO3; DYT24
13.  Analysis of Parkinson's disease brain–derived DNA for alpha-synuclein coding somatic mutations 
Movement Disorders  2014;29(8):1060-1064.
Background
Although alpha-synuclein (SNCA) is crucial to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), mutations in the gene appear to be rare. We have recently hypothesized that somatic mutations in early development could contribute to PD.
Methods
Expanding on our recent negative small study, we used high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis to screen SNCA coding exons for somatic point mutations in DNA from 539 PD and DLB cerebellar samples, with two additional regions (frontal cortex, substantia nigra) for 20 PD cases. We used artificial mosaics to determine sensitivity where possible.
Results
We did not detect any evidence of somatic coding mutations. Three cases were heterozygous for known silent polymorphisms. The protocol we used was sensitive enough to detect 5% to 10% mutant DNA.
Conclusion
Using DNA predominantly from cerebellum, but also from frontal cortex and substantia nigra (n = 20 each), we have not detected any somatic coding SNCA point mutations. © 2014 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
doi:10.1002/mds.25883
PMCID: PMC4190821  PMID: 24752924
SNCA; alpha-synuclein; somatic mutation; mosaicism; etiology of Parkinson's disease

Results 1-13 (13)