episodic ataxia type 2; CACNA1A; p.R1346Stop; acetazolamide; cerebellar vermis
Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA) are progressive neurodegenerative disorders classified as synucleinopathies, which are defined by the presence of α-synuclein protein pathology. Genetic studies have identified a total of 18 PARK loci that are associated with PD. The SNCA gene encodes the α-synuclein protein. The first pathogenic α-synuclein p.A53T substitution was discovered in 1997; this was followed by the identification of p.A30P and p.E46K pathogenic substitutions in 1998 and 2004, respectively. In the last year, two possible α-synuclein pathogenic substitutions, p.A18T and p.A29S, and two probable pathogenic substitutions, p.H50Q and p.G51D have been nominated. Next-generation sequencing approaches in familial PD have identified mutations in the VPS35 gene. A VPS35 p.D620N substitution remains the only confirmed pathogenic substitution. A second synucleinopathy, MSA, originally was considered a sporadic condition with little or no familial aggregation. However, recessive COQ2 mutations recently were nominated to be the genetic cause in a subset of familial and sporadic MSA cases. Further studies on the clinicogenetics and pathology of parkinsonian disorders will facilitate clarification of the molecular characteristics and pathomechanisms underlying these disorders.
SNCA; VPS35; PD; MSA; Genetics; Familial
The global impact of LRRK2 mutations is yet to be realized with a lack of studies in specific ethnic groups, including those of Asian and African descent. Herein we investigated the frequency of common LRRK2 variants by complete exon sequencing in a series of publicly available African American Parkinson's disease patients. Our study identified three novel synonymous exonic variants and thirteen known coding variations however, there did not appear to be any frequent (>5%) pathogenic mutations. Given the ethnic-specific LRRK2 variation previously identified in PD further studies in under-represented populations are warranted.
Parkinsonism; Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2; genetics
adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and pigmented glia; CSF1R; calcification; computed tomography; white matter; differential diagnosis
Atypical Parkinsonism associated with white matter pathology has been described in cerebrovascular diseases, mitochondrial cytopathies, osmotic demyelinating disorders, leukoencephalopathies including leukodystrophies, and others. Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with symptomatic onset in midlife and death within a few years after symptom onset. Neuroimaging reveals cerebral white matter lesions that are pathologically characterized by non-inflammatory myelin loss, reactive astrocytosis, and axonal spheroids. Most cases are caused by mutations in the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) gene.
We studied neuropathologically verified HDLS patients with CSF1R mutations to assess Parkinsonian features. Ten families were evaluated with 16 affected individuals. During the course of the illness, all patients had at least some degree of bradykinesia. Fifteen patients had postural instability, and seven had rigidity. Two patients initially presented with Parkinsonian gait and asymmetrical bradykinesia. These two patients and two others exhibited bradykinesia, rigidity, postural instability, and tremor (two with resting) early in the course of the illness. Levodopa/carbidopa therapy in these four patients provided no benefit, and the remaining 12 patients were not treated. The mean age of onset for all patients was about 45 years (range, 18-71) and the mean disease duration was approximately six years (range, 3-11).
We also reviewed HDLS patients published prior to the CSF1R discovery for the presence of Parkinsonian features. Out of 50 patients, 37 had gait impairments, 8 rigidity, 7 bradykinesia, and 5 resting tremor. Our report emphasizes the presence of atypical Parkinsonism in HDLS due to CSF1R mutations.
HDLS; CSF1R mutation; Parkinsonism; Autosomal dominant; White matter disorders
Major progress in genetic studies of Parkinson's disease (PD) and parkinsonism has been achieved in the last two decades. Objective: We provide a brief review of the current status of PARK and non-PARK loci/genes, and discuss two new genes: eIF4G1 and VPS35.
The literature on PARK and non-PARK loci/genes was reviewed and some novel information on two new genes is provided.
There are 18 PARK loci. The symptomatic carriers of these genes usually present with parkinsonism, although additional clinical features can be seen during the course of the disease. Carriers of non-PARK loci/genes frequently present with a mixed phenotype that includes parkinsonism and additional clinical features. Carriers of the eIF4G1 and VPS35 genes present with a parkinsonian phenotype. The pathology of eIF4G1 is of the α-synuclein type; the pathology of VPS35 is unknown.
The current genetic classification of PD/parkinsonism genes is not ideal. The pathological classification based on the accumulation of particular proteins/inclusions is also misleading since there are kindred with a single mutation but pleomorphic pathology. A better classification of neurodegenerative conditions is needed. It is hoped that the genetic studies will lead to better therapies.
Genetics; Parkinsonism; SNCA; PRKN; LRRK2; GBA; eIF4G1; VPS35
Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) was originally described in a large Swedish pedigree. Since then, 22 reports describing a total of 13 kindred's and 11 sporadic cases have been published. Inheritance is autosomal dominant, albeit the gene is unknown. Here we report on the clinical findings, genealogical data, brain MRI data, and autopsy/biopsy findings of four probands from three independently ascertained novel families from Norway, Germany and US.
We identified a 39-year-old female and her twin sister, a 52-year-old male and a 47-year-old male with progressive neurological illness characterized by personality changes, cognitive decline and motor impairments, such as gait problems, bradykinesia, tremor and rigidity. Brain MRI showed white matter abnormalities with frontal prominence. Brain biopsy/autopsies were consistent with HDLS.
HDLS is an under-recognized disease and in reporting these cases, we aim to increase the awareness of the disorder. Due to varied and wide phenotypic presentations, which may imitate several neurodegenerative diseases, HDLS can be difficult to diagnose. Definitive diagnosis can be established only by direct brain tissue examination. Familiarity with the clinical presentation and typical neuroimaging findings may be helpful in narrowing the diagnosis.
HDLS; White matter disease; Autosomal dominant; Personality changes; Cognitive problems; Depression; Parkinsonism
The genetic cause of late-onset focal and segmental dystonia remains unknown in most individuals. Recently, mutations in Thanatos-associated protein domain containing, apoptosis associated protein 1 (THAP1) have been described in DYT6 dystonia and associated with some cases of familial and sporadic late-onset dystonia in Caucasians. We are not aware of any previous descriptions of familial dystonia in African Americans or reports of THAP1 mutations in African Americans. Herein, we characterize an African-American (AA) kindred with late-onset primary dystonia, clinically and genetically. The clinical phenotype included cervical, laryngeal and hand-forearm dystonia. Symptoms were severe and disabling for several family members, whereas others only displayed mild signs. There were no accompanying motor or cognitive signs. In this kindred, age of onset ranged from 45 to 50 years and onset was frequently sudden, with symptoms developing within weeks or months. DYT1 was excluded as the cause of dystonia in this kindred. The entire genomic region of THAP1, including non-coding regions, was sequenced. We identified 13 sequence variants in THAP1, although none co-segregated with dystonia. A novel THAP1 variant (c.-237-3G>T/A) was found in 3/84 AA dystonia patient alleles and 3/212 AA control alleles, but not in 5,870 Caucasian alleles. In summary, although previously unreported, familial primary dystonia does occur in African Americans. Genetic analysis of the entire genomic region of THAP1 revealed a novel variant that was specific for African Americans. Therefore, genetic testing for dystonia and future studies of candidate genes must take genetic background into consideration.
Dystonia; Genetics; African American; DYT6; THAP1; Adult-Onset Dystonias; Dystonia, Hereditary; Focal Dystonia
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) has emerged as the most prevalent genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD) among Caucasians. Patients carrying an LRRK2 mutation display significant variability of clinical and pathologic phenotypes across and within affected families.
Herein, we review available clinical and pathologic data on patients with an LRRK2 mutation who have come to autopsy.
Thirty-eight patients have been reported who presented clinically with PD; parkinsonism with resistance to levodopa, supranuclear gaze palsy, or autonomic dysfunction; or tremor and dementia. Pathology showed typical PD-type Lewy body disease (LBD) in most patients, whereas in others there was ‘pure’ nigral degeneration (one with TDP-43-positive inclusions), diffuse LBD, or tau-, α-synuclein- or ubiquitin-positive pathology reminiscent of progressive supranuclear gaze palsy, multisystem atrophy, and frontotemporal dementia with ubiquitin-positive inclusions.
Such clinical and pathologic variability suggests Lrrk2 acts upstream from other proteins implicated in neurodegeneration. Specific mutations may be associated with alternative progressive supranuclear gaze palsy-like or ‘pure’ nigral degeneration phenotypes. A different effect on Lrrk2 kinase activity may play a role in such heterogeneity.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2gene; Parkinson's disease; Lewy body disease; Progressive supranuclear gaze palsy; Nigral degeneration
Perry syndrome is characterized clinically by autosomal dominantly inherited, rapidly progressive parkinsonism, depression, weight loss and hypoventilation. In the seven families reported previously and the two new families presented herein (the Hawaii family and the Fukuoka-4 Japanese family), the mean disease onset age is 48 years (range: 35-61) and the mean disease duration five years (range: 2-10). Histology and immunohistochemistry show severe neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus, with TDP-43-positive pathology in neurons (intranuclear and cytoplasmic inclusions, dystrophic neurites, axonal spheroids) and glial cells (glial cytoplasmic inclusions). Compared with other TDP-43-proteinopathies (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ubiquitin-positive frontotemporal lobar degeneration), the distribution is unique in Perry syndrome with pallidonigral distribution and sparing of the cortex, hippocampus and motor neurons. The genetic cause of Perry syndrome was recently identified with five mutations in the dynactin gene (DCTN1) segregating with disease in eight families. DCTN1 encodes p150glued, the major subunit of the dynactin protein complex, which plays a crucial role in retrograde axonal and cytoplasmic transport of various cargoes. Evidence suggests the Perry mutations alter the binding of p150glued to microtubules. Further studies will examine reasons for the vulnerability of selected neuronal populations in Perry syndrome, and the link between the genetic defect and TDP-43 pathology.
Perry syndrome; parkinsonism; depression; hypoventilation; dynactin; DCTN1; p150glued; TDP-43
Fahr disease; brain calcinosis; idiopathic basal ganglia calcification
Marchiafava-Bignami disease (MBD) is a rare condition mainly associated with alcoholism, although it may be mimicked by several other disorders that cause corpus callosum lesions. Our objective was to identify helpful features for differential diagnosis and assess whether any treatment can be recommended.
We reviewed 122 reports containing data on 153 subjects with confirmed MBD that was associated with either alcoholism or malnutrition and 20 reports with data on 53 subjects with conditions mimicking MBD. All the cases had been verified ante mortem by brain imaging. Unconditional logistic regression was used to demonstrate factors that were associated with the outcome of MBD.
The mimicking conditions were differentiated from MBD by the occurrence of solitary and rapidly disappearing splenial lesions; fewer signs and symptoms with exception of seizures, hemiparesis, and tetraparesis; nystagmus; and rapid, complete recovery. MBD occurred most frequently among alcoholics, but it was also reported in 11 non-alcoholics (7·2% of all the MBD cases). A better outcome was observed among those who were treated within two weeks after onset of symptoms with parenteral thiamine (p=0·033).
As thiamine deficiency is frequently associated with alcoholism, malnutrition and prolonged vomiting, we recommend prompt treatment of MBD with parenteral thiamine in such subjects. Recovery should be followed by repeated neuropsychological and MRI examinations, preferably using diffusion tensor imaging.
Marchiafava-Bignami disease; outcome; treatment; thiamine; differential diagnosis
The best validated susceptibility variants for Parkinson’s disease (PD) are located in the alpha-synuclein (SNCA) and microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) genes. Recently, a protective p.N551K-R1398H-K1423K haplotype in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene was identified, with p.R1398H appearing to be the most likely functional variant. To date, the consistency of the protective effect of LRRK2 p.R1398H across MAPT and SNCA variant genotypes has not been assessed. To address this, we examined four SNCA variants (rs181489, rs356219, rs11931074, rs2583988), the MAPT H1-haplotype defining variant rs1052553, and LRRK2 p.R1398H (rs7133914) in Caucasian (N=10,322) and Asian (N=2,289) series. There was no evidence of an interaction of LRRK2 p.R1398H with MAPT or SNCA variants (all P≥0.10); the protective effect of p.R1398H was observed at similar magnitude across MAPT and SNCA genotypes, and the risk effects of MAPT and SNCA variants were observed consistently for LRRK2 p.R1398H genotypes. Our results indicate that the association of LRRK2 p.R1398H with PD is independent of SNCA and MAPT variants, and vice versa, in Caucasian and Asian populations.
Parkinson disease; LRRK2; SNCA; MAPT; interaction; genetics
OBJECTIVE: To conduct clinical and molecular genetic analyses of the members of an extended family in Central Indiana with a high prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS).
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: From February 1, 2006, through August 31, 2008, we collected data from members of this family, which is of English descent. Genealogical methods were used to expand the family tree, and family members were screened with an RLS questionnaire. Telephone interviews and personal examinations were performed at Mayo Clinic and during a field trip to Central Indiana. Blood samples were collected for molecular genetic analysis. A follow-up telephone interview was conducted 1 year later.
RESULTS: The family tree spans 7 generations with 88 living members, 30 of whom meet the criteria for diagnosis of RLS established by the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group. Three affected family members also have Parkinson disease or essential tremor. The mode of RLS inheritance is compatible with an autosomal dominant pattern. The affected family members do not exhibit linkage to the 5 known RLS loci or mutations in the RLS susceptibility genes MEIS1 and BTBD9.
CONCLUSION: Of 88 members of this single extended family in Central Indiana, 30 were diagnosed as having RLS. Because our analysis shows that the disease is not linked to any of the known RLS loci or risk-associated genes, we postulate that members of this family may carry a gene mutation in a novel genetic locus.
Of 88 members of a single extended family, 30 were diagnosed as having restless legs syndrome; because this analysis shows that the disease is not linked to any of the known restless legs syndrome loci or risk-associated genes, members of this family may carry a gene mutation in a novel genetic locus.
Genetic studies have led to major discoveries in the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases. Ubiquitin-positive familial frontotemporal dementia was recently found to be caused by mutations in the progranulin gene (PGRN), and the major constituent of the inclusions, TDP-43, was subsequently identified. The tau gene (MAPT) causes frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17. In Parkinson disease, LRRK2 mutations have emerged as a major cause of both familial and sporadic forms, adding to the previously known genes SNCA, PRKN, DJ1 and PINK1. Several genes have been implicated in Alzheimer disease, including the APP gene and the PSEN genes. Recently, variants in the sortilin-related receptor 1 gene, SORL1, were associated with Alzheimer disease.
Alzheimer disease; Dementia; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neurodegeneration; Parkinson disease
Background and Objective
Genes encoding RNA-binding proteins, including FUS and TDP43, play a central role in different neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Recently, a mutation located in the nuclear export signal (NES) of the FUS gene has been reported to cause an autosomal dominant form of familial Essential tremor.
Material and Methods
We sequenced the exons coding the NES domains of five RNA-binding proteins (TARDBP, hnRNPA2B1, hnRNPA1, TAF15 and EWSR1) that have been previously implicated in neurodegeneration in a series of 257 essential tremor (ET) cases and 376 healthy controls. We genotyped 404 additional ET subjects and 510 healthy controls to assess the frequency of the EWSR1 p.R471C substitution.
We identified a rare EWSR1 p.R471C substitution, which is highly conserved, in a single subject with familial ET. The pathogenicity of this substitution remains equivocal, as DNA samples from relatives were not available and the genotyping of 404 additional ET subjects did not reveal any further carriers. No other variants were observed with significant allele frequency differences compared to controls in the NES coding regions.
The present study demonstrates that the NES domains of RNA-binding proteins are highly conserved. The role of the EWSR1 p.R471C substitution needs to be further evaluated in future studies.
Loss of function COQ2 mutations results in primary CoQ10 deficiency. Recently, recessive mutations of the COQ2 gene have been identified in two unrelated Japanese families with multiple system atrophy (MSA). It has also been proposed that specific heterozygous variants in the COQ2 gene may confer susceptibility to sporadic MSA. To assess the frequency of COQ2 variants in patients with MSA, we sequenced the entire coding region and investigated all exonic copy number variants of the COQ2 gene in 97 pathologically-confirmed and 58 clinically-diagnosed MSA patients from the United States.
We did not find any homozygous or compound heterozygous pathogenic COQ2 mutations including deletion or multiplication within our series of MSA patients. In two patients, we identified two heterozygous COQ2 variants (p.S54W and c.403 + 10G > T) of unknown significance, which were not observed in 360 control subjects. We also identified one heterozygous carrier of a known loss of function p.S146N substitution in a severe MSA-C pathologically-confirmed patient.
The COQ2 p.S146N substitution has been previously reported as a pathogenic mutation in primary CoQ10 deficiency (including infantile multisystem disorder) in a recessive manner. This variant is the third primary CoQ10 deficiency mutation observed in an MSA case (p.R387X and p.R197H). Therefore it is possible that in the heterozygous state it may increase susceptibility to MSA. Further studies, including reassessing family history in patients of primary CoQ10 deficiency for the possible occurrence of MSA, are now warranted to resolve the role of COQ2 variation in MSA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-44) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
COQ2; Multiple system atrophy; Genetics; CoQ10 deficiency
Mutations in the α-synuclein-encoding gene SNCA are considered as a rare cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). Our objective was to examine the frequency of the SNCA point mutations among PD patients of Polish origin.
Detection of the known SNCA point mutations A30P (c.88G>C), E46K (c.136G>A) and A53T (c.157A>T) was performed either using the Sequenom MassArray iPLEX platform or by direct sequencing of the SNCA exons 2 and 3. As the two novel substitutions A18T (c.52G>A) and A29S (c.85G>T) were identified, their frequency in a control population of Polish origin was assessed and in silico analysis performed to investigate the potential impact on protein structure and function.
We did not observe the previously reported point mutations in the SNCA gene in our 629 PD patients; however, two novel potentially pathogenic substitutions A18T and A29S were identified. Each variant was observed in a single patient presenting with a typical late-onset sporadic PD phenotype. Although neither variant was observed in control subjects and in silico protein analysis predicts a damaging effect for A18T and pA29S substitutions, the lack of family history brings into question the true pathogenicity of these rare variants.
Larger population based studies are needed to determine the pathogenicity of the A18T and A29S substitutions. Our findings highlight the possible role of rare variants contributing to disease risk and may support further screening of the SNCA gene in sporadic PD patients from different populations.
α-synuclein; SNCA gene; Parkinson's disease; Genetic etiology; Missense mutations
Variants within the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene are recognized as the most frequent genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease. Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 variation related to susceptibility to disease displays many features that reflect the nature of complex late-onset sporadic disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s disease consortium recently performed the largest genetic association study for variants in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene across 23 different sites in 15 countries. Herein we detail the allele frequencies for the novel risk factors (p.A419V and p.M1646T) and the protective haplotype (p.N551K-R1398H-K1423K) reported in the original publication. Simple population allele frequencies can not only provide an insight into the clinical relevance of specific variants but also help genetically define patient groups. Establishing individual patient-based genomic susceptibility profiles incorporating both risk and protective factors will determine future diagnostic and treatment strategies.
Parkinson disease; LRRK2; genetics; association study
Hexanucleotide repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) are causative for frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Substantial phenotypic heterogeneity has been described in patients with these expansions. We set out to identify genetic modifiers of disease risk, age at onset, and survival after onset that may contribute to this clinical variability.
We examined a cohort of 330 C9ORF72 expansion carriers and 374 controls. In these individuals, we assessed variants previously implicated in FTD and/or MND; 36 variants were included in our analysis. After adjustment for multiple testing, our analysis revealed three variants significantly associated with age at onset (rs7018487 [UBAP1; p-value = 0.003], rs6052771 [PRNP; p-value = 0.003], and rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.003]), and six variants significantly associated with survival after onset (rs5848 [GRN; p-value = 0.001], rs7403881 [MT-Ie; p-value = 0.001], rs13268953 [ELP3; p-value = 0.003], the epsilon 4 allele [APOE; p-value = 0.004], rs12608932 [UNC13A; p-value = 0.003], and rs1800435 [ALAD; p-value = 0.003]).
Variants identified through this study were previously reported to be involved in FTD and/or MND, but we are the first to describe their effects as potential disease modifiers in the presence of a clear pathogenic mutation (i.e. C9ORF72 repeat expansion). Although validation of our findings is necessary, these variants highlight the importance of protein degradation, antioxidant defense and RNA-processing pathways, and additionally, they are promising targets for the development of therapeutic strategies and prognostic tests.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-38) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
C9ORF72; Frontotemporal dementia; Motor neuron disease; Genetic modifier; Repeat expansion
Mutations in profilin-1 (PFN1) have recently been
identified in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Because of
the considerable overlap between ALS and the common subtype of
frontotemporal dementia, which is characterized by transactive response
DNA-binding protein 43 pathology (FTLD-TDP), we tested cohorts of ALS and
FTLD-TDP patients for PFN1 mutations.
DNA was obtained from 342 ALS patients and 141 FTLD-TDP patients at
our outpatient clinic and brain bank for neurodegenerative diseases at the
Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, USA. We screened these patients for
mutations in coding regions of PFN1 by Sanger sequencing.
Subsequently, we used TaqMan genotyping assays to investigate the identified
variant in 1167 control subjects.
One variant, p.E117G, was detected in 1 ALS patient, 1 FTLD-TDP
patient, and 2 control subjects. The mutation frequency of patients versus
control subjects was not significantly different (p-value
= 0.36). Moreover, PFN1 and TDP-43 staining of autopsy material did
not differ between patients with or without this variant.
The p.E117G variant appears to represent a benign polymorphism.
PFN1 mutations, in general, are rare in ALS and
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; frontotemporal dementia; profilin-1; TDP-43; genetics
Essential Tremor is the most common form of movement disorder. Aggregation in families suggests a strong genetic component to disease. Linkage and association studies have identified several risk loci but the specific causal variants are still unknown. A recent study using whole exome sequencing identified a rare nonsense variant in the FUS gene (p.Q290X) that segregated with Essential Tremor in a large French Canadian family. In addition, two other rare FUS variants were identified (p.R216C and p.P431L) in Essential Tremor patients however co-segregation analysis with disease was not possible. In the present study, we sequenced all 15 exons of FUS in 152 familial probands with Essential Tremor and genotyped three reported FUS variants in 112 sporadic Essential Tremor patients and 716 control subjects recruited at Mayo Clinic Florida. Only known synonymous SNPs unlikely to be pathogenic were detected in our sequencing and not any of the recently identified mutations or novel ones. We conclude that the FUS mutations associated with risk of Essential Tremor are probably a rare occurrence.
Essential tremor; Fused in Sarcoma; Parkinson disease; genetic
The vast majority of patients with primary dystonia are adults with focal or segmental distribution of involuntary movements. Although ∼10% of probands have at least one first- or second-degree relative to dystonia, large families suited for linkage analysis are exceptional. After excluding mutations in known primary dystonia genes (TOR1A, THAP1 and CIZ1), whole-exome sequencing identified a GNAL missense mutation (c.682G>T, p.V228F) in an African-American pedigree with clinical phenotypes that include cervical, laryngeal and hand-forearm dystonia. Screening of 760 subjects with familial and sporadic primary dystonia identified three Caucasian pedigrees with GNAL mutations [c.591dupA (p.R198Tfs*13); c.733C>T (p.R245*); and c.3G>A (p.M1?)]. These mutations show incomplete penetrance. Our findings corroborate those of a recent study which used whole-exome sequencing to identify missense and nonsense GNAL mutations in Caucasian pedigrees of mixed European ancestry with mainly adult-onset cervical and segmental dystonia. GNAL encodes guanine nucleotide-binding protein G(olf), subunit alpha [Gα(olf)]. Gα(olf) plays a role in olfaction, coupling D1 and A2a receptors to adenylyl cyclase, and histone H3 phosphorylation. African-American subjects harboring the p.V228F mutation exhibited microsmia. Lymphoblastoid cell lines from subjects with the p.V228F mutation showed upregulation of genes involved in cell cycle control and development. Consistent with known sites of network pathology in dystonia, immunohistochemical studies indicated that Gα(olf) is highly expressed in the striatum and cerebellar Purkinje cells, and co-localized with corticotropin-releasing hormone receptors in the latter.
Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a relatively common neurodegenerative tauopathy clinically characterized by parkinsonism, axial rigidity, and supranuclear gaze palsy. Pathologic findings of PSP are neuronal loss, gliosis, and neurofibrillary tangles in basal ganglia, diencephalon, and brainstem; there is increasing recognition of clinicopathologic variants of PSP.1