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1.  Clinical Characteristics of C9ORF72-Linked Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration 
Background
The most common genetic cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been linked to a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene. The frequency of the C9ORF72 expansion in Finland is among the highest in the world.
Methods
We assessed 73 Finnish patients with FTLD in order to examine the clinical characteristics associated with the expanded C9ORF72. Demographic and clinical features were evaluated. As a potential disease modifier, the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype was also assessed. Neuropathological analysis was available on 2 expansion carriers and 1 non-carrier.
Results
The C9ORF72 expansion was present in 20 of 70 (29%) probands. Significant associations with the C9ORF72 expansion were observed for concomitant ALS and positive family history of dementia or ALS. Psychoses were detected in both carriers and non-carriers (21 vs. 10%, p = 0.25). The APOE ε4 allele did not cluster among expansion carriers. Numerous p62-positive neuronal inclusions were detected in the cerebellar cortex of the 2 expansion carriers.
Conclusion
In line with the suggested C9ORF72 core phenotype, we also detected a high frequency of neuropsychiatric symptoms; however, these symptoms seem not be specific to C9ORF72-associated FTLD. FTLD should be considered in cases of middle-age-onset psychosis.
doi:10.1159/000351859
PMCID: PMC3776392  PMID: 24052799
Association study; Clinical features; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Genetics
2.  Encephalopsin (OPN3) protein abundance in the adult mouse brain 
Encephalopsin belongs to the family of extraretinal opsins having a putative role in CNS tissue photosensitivity. Encephalopsin mRNA has earlier been localized in rodent brains, but expression and localization of the protein has not yet been reported. In this study, we aimed to define encephalopsin protein abundance and localization in the rodent brain. The distribution and localization of encephalopsin protein in a mouse brain and selected peripheral tissues were analysed in ten mice, using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The specificity of immunoreaction was validated by primary antibody omitting and immunizing peptide blocking experiment. We found encephalopsin protein abundant in the mouse brain, but not in the periphery. Encephalopsin protein was present in neurons of the mouse cerebral cortex, paraventricular area, and cerebellar cells. Our results show that encephalopsin is expressed at the protein level in different brain areas of the mouse. Therefore, the suggested idea that encephalopsin plays a role in non-visual photic processes seems to be applicable. Evidently, further investigations are needed to find out the signalling mechanisms, and the potential physiological role of encephalopsin in phototransduction due to the changes in ambient light.
doi:10.1007/s00359-012-0754-x
PMCID: PMC3478508  PMID: 22991144
Cerebellum; Cerebral cortex; Circadian entrainment; Extraretinal phototransduction; Hypothalamus
3.  POLG1 p.R722H mutation associated with multiple mtDNA deletions and a neurological phenotype 
BMC Neurology  2010;10:29.
Background
The c.2447G>A (p.R722H) mutation in the gene POLG1 of the catalytic subunit of human mitochondrial polymerase gamma has been previously found in a few occasions but its pathogenicity has remained uncertain. We set out to ascertain its contribution to neuromuscular disease.
Methods
Probands from two families with probable mitochondrial disease were examined clinically, muscle and buccal epithelial DNA were analyzed for mtDNA deletions, and the POLG1, POLG2, ANT1 and Twinkle genes were sequenced.
Results
An adult proband presented with progressive external ophthalmoplegia, sensorineural hearing impairment, diabetes mellitus, dysphagia, a limb myopathy and dementia. Brain MRI showed central and cortical atrophy, and 18F-deoxyglucose PET revealed reduced glucose uptake. Histochemical analysis of muscle disclosed ragged red fibers and cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibers. Electron microscopy showed subsarcolemmal aggregates of morphologically normal mitochondria. Multiple mtDNA deletions were found in the muscle, and sequencing of the POLG1 gene revealed a homozygous c.2447G>A (p.R722H) mutation. His two siblings were also homozygous with respect to the p.R722H mutation and presented with dementia and sensorineural hearing impairment. In another family the p.R722H mutation was found as compound heterozygosity with the common p.W748S mutation in two siblings with mental retardation, ptosis, epilepsy and psychiatric symptoms. The estimated carrier frequency of the p.R722H mutation was 1:135 in the Finnish population. No mutations in POLG2, ANT1 and Twinkle genes were found. Analysis of the POLG1 sequence by homology modeling supported the notion that the p.R722H mutation is pathogenic.
Conclusions
The recessive c.2447G>A (p.R722H) mutation in the linker region of the POLG1 gene is pathogenic for multiple mtDNA deletions in muscle and is associated with a late-onset neurological phenotype as a homozygous state. The onset of the disease can be earlier in compound heterozygotes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-29
PMCID: PMC2873323  PMID: 20438629
5.  Individuals with mutations in XPNPEP3, which encodes a mitochondrial protein, develop a nephronophthisis-like nephropathy  
The autosomal recessive kidney disease nephronophthisis (NPHP) constitutes the most frequent genetic cause of terminal renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Ten causative genes (NPHP1–NPHP9 and NPHP11), whose products localize to the primary cilia-centrosome complex, support the unifying concept that cystic kidney diseases are “ciliopathies”. Using genome-wide homozygosity mapping, we report here what we believe to be a new locus (NPHP-like 1 [NPHPL1]) for an NPHP-like nephropathy. In 2 families with an NPHP-like phenotype, we detected homozygous frameshift and splice-site mutations, respectively, in the X-prolyl aminopeptidase 3 (XPNPEP3) gene. In contrast to all known NPHP proteins, XPNPEP3 localizes to mitochondria of renal cells. However, in vivo analyses also revealed a likely cilia-related function; suppression of zebrafish xpnpep3 phenocopied the developmental phenotypes of ciliopathy morphants, and this effect was rescued by human XPNPEP3 that was devoid of a mitochondrial localization signal. Consistent with a role for XPNPEP3 in ciliary function, several ciliary cystogenic proteins were found to be XPNPEP3 substrates, for which resistance to N-terminal proline cleavage resulted in attenuated protein function in vivo in zebrafish. Our data highlight an emerging link between mitochondria and ciliary dysfunction, and suggest that further understanding the enzymatic activity and substrates of XPNPEP3 will illuminate novel cystogenic pathways.
doi:10.1172/JCI40076
PMCID: PMC2827951  PMID: 20179356
6.  Role of MAPT mutations and haplotype in frontotemporal lobar degeneration in Northern Finland 
BMC Neurology  2008;8:48.
Background
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) consists of a clinically and neuropathologically heterogeneous group of syndromes affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Mutations in microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT), progranulin (PGRN) and charged multi-vesicular body protein 2B (CHMP2B) are associated with familial forms of the disease. The prevalence of these mutations varies between populations. The H1 haplotype of MAPT has been found to be closely associated with tauopathies and with sporadic FTLD. Our aim was to investigate MAPT mutations and haplotype frequencies in a clinical series of patients with FTLD in Northern Finland.
Methods
MAPT exons 1, 2 and 9–13 were sequenced in 59 patients with FTLD, and MAPT haplotypes were analysed in these patients, 122 patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease (eoAD) and 198 healthy controls.
Results
No pathogenic mutations were found. The H2 allele frequency was 11.0% (P = 0.028) in the FTLD patients, 9.8% (P = 0.029) in the eoAD patients and 5.3% in the controls. The H2 allele was especially clustered in patients with a positive family history (P = 0.011) but did not lower the age at onset of the disease. The ApoE4 allele frequency was significantly increased in the patients with eoAD and in those with FTLD.
Conclusion
We conclude that although pathogenic MAPT mutations are rare in Northern Finland, the MAPT H2 allele may be associated with increased risks of FTLD and eoAD in the Finnish population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-8-48
PMCID: PMC2625345  PMID: 19091059

Results 1-6 (6)