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1.  Genetic spectrum of hereditary neuropathies with onset in the first year of life 
Brain  2011;134(9):2664-2676.
Early onset hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies are rare disorders encompassing congenital hypomyelinating neuropathy with disease onset in the direct post-natal period and Dejerine–Sottas neuropathy starting in infancy. The clinical spectrum, however, reaches beyond the boundaries of these two historically defined disease entities. De novo dominant mutations in PMP22, MPZ and EGR2 are known to be a typical cause of very early onset hereditary neuropathies. In addition, mutations in several other dominant and recessive genes for Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease may lead to similar phenotypes. To estimate mutation frequencies and to gain detailed insights into the genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity of early onset hereditary neuropathies, we selected a heterogeneous cohort of 77 unrelated patients who presented with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy within the first year of life. The majority of these patients were isolated in their family. We performed systematic mutation screening by means of direct sequencing of the coding regions of 11 genes: MFN2, PMP22, MPZ, EGR2, GDAP1, NEFL, FGD4, MTMR2, PRX, SBF2 and SH3TC2. In addition, screening for the Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A duplication on chromosome 17p11.2-12 was performed. In 35 patients (45%), mutations were identified. Mutations in MPZ, PMP22 and EGR2 were found most frequently in patients presenting with early hypotonia and breathing difficulties. The recessive genes FGD4, PRX, MTMR2, SBF2, SH3TC2 and GDAP1 were mutated in patients presenting with early foot deformities and variable delay in motor milestones after an uneventful neonatal period. Several patients displaying congenital foot deformities but an otherwise normal early development carried the Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A duplication. This study clearly illustrates the genetic heterogeneity underlying hereditary neuropathies with infantile onset.
doi:10.1093/brain/awr184
PMCID: PMC3170533  PMID: 21840889
early onset hereditary neuropathies; congenital hypomyelinating neuropathy; Dejerine–Sottas neuropathy; genotype–phenotype correlations; Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease
2.  Dominant mutations in the cation channel gene transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 cause an unusual spectrum of neuropathies 
Brain  2010;133(6):1798-1809.
Hereditary neuropathies form a heterogeneous group of disorders for which over 40 causal genes have been identified to date. Recently, dominant mutations in the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 gene were found to be associated with three distinct neuromuscular phenotypes: hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy 2C, scapuloperoneal spinal muscular atrophy and congenital distal spinal muscular atrophy. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 encodes a cation channel previously implicated in several types of dominantly inherited bone dysplasia syndromes. We performed DNA sequencing of the coding regions of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 in a cohort of 145 patients with various types of hereditary neuropathy and identified five different heterozygous missense mutations in eight unrelated families. One mutation arose de novo in an isolated patient, and the remainder segregated in families. Two of the mutations were recurrent in unrelated families. Four mutations in transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 targeted conserved arginine residues in the ankyrin repeat domain, which is believed to be important in protein–protein interactions. Striking phenotypic variability between and within families was observed. The majority of patients displayed a predominantly, or pure, motor neuropathy with axonal characteristics observed on electrophysiological testing. The age of onset varied widely, ranging from congenital to late adulthood onset. Various combinations of additional features were present in most patients including vocal fold paralysis, scapular weakness, contractures and hearing loss. We identified six asymptomatic mutation carriers, indicating reduced penetrance of the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 defects. This finding is relatively unusual in the context of hereditary neuropathies and has important implications for diagnostic testing and genetic counselling.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq109
PMCID: PMC2912694  PMID: 20460441
transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 gene; hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type 2C; scapuloperoneal spinal muscular atrophy; congenital distal spinal muscular atrophy; skeletal dysplasia
3.  Phenotypic spectrum of dynamin 2 mutations in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 
Brain  2009;132(7):1741-1752.
Dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B is caused by mutations in dynamin 2. We studied the clinical, haematological, electrophysiological and sural nerve biopsy findings in 34 patients belonging to six unrelated dominant intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type B families in whom a dynamin 2 mutation had been identified: Gly358Arg (Spain); Asp551_Glu553del; Lys550fs (North America); Lys558del (Belgium); Lys558Glu (Australia, the Netherlands) and Thr855_Ile856del (Belgium). The Gly358Arg and Thr855_Ile856del mutations were novel, and in contrast to the other Charcot-Marie-Tooth-related mutations in dynamin 2, which are all located in the pleckstrin homology domain, they were situated in the middle domain and proline-rich domain of dynamin 2, respectively. We report the first disease-causing mutation in the proline-rich domain of dynamin 2. Patients with a dynamin 2 mutation presented with a classical Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, which was mild to moderately severe since only 3% of the patients were wheelchair-bound. The mean age at onset was 16 years with a large variability ranging from 2 to 50 years. Interestingly, in the Australian and Belgian families, which carry two different mutations affecting the same amino acid (Lys558), Charcot-Marie-Tooth cosegregated with neutropaenia. In addition, early onset cataracts were observed in one of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth families. Our electrophysiological data indicate intermediate or axonal motor median nerve conduction velocities (NCV) ranging from 26 m/s to normal values in four families, and less pronounced reduction of motor median NCV (41–46 m/s) with normal amplitudes in two families. Sural nerve biopsy in a Dutch patient with Lys558Glu mutation showed diffuse loss of large myelinated fibres, presence of many clusters of regenerating myelinated axons and fibres with focal myelin thickenings—findings very similar to those previously reported in the Australian family. We conclude that dynamin 2 mutations should be screened in the autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy families with intermediate or axonal NCV, and in patients with a classical mild to moderately severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth phenotype, especially when Charcot-Marie-Tooth is associated with neutropaenia or cataracts.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp115
PMCID: PMC2724916  PMID: 19502294
intermediate CMT; dynamin 2; neutropaenia; hereditary neuropathy; cataracts
4.  REEP1 mutation spectrum and genotype/phenotype correlation in hereditary spastic paraplegia type 31 
Brain : a journal of neurology  2008;131(Pt 4):1078-1086.
Mutations in the receptor expression enhancing protein 1 (REEP1) have recently been reported to cause autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) type SPG31. In a large collaborative effort, we screened a sample of 535 unrelated HSP patients for REEP1 mutations and copy number variations. We identified 13 novel and 2 known REEP1 mutations in 16 familial and sporadic patients by direct sequencing analysis. Twelve out of 16 mutations were small insertions, deletions or splice site mutations. These changes would result in shifts of the open-reading-frame followed by premature termination of translation and haploinsufficiency. Interestingly, we identified two disease associated variations in the 3′-UTR of REEP1 that fell into highly conserved micro RNA binding sites. Copy number variation analysis in a subset of 133 HSP index patients revealed a large duplication of REEP1 that involved exons 2–7 in an Irish family. Clinically most SPG31 patients present with a pure spastic paraplegia; rare complicating features were restricted to symptoms or signs of peripheral nerve involvement. Interestingly, the distribution of age at onset suggested a bimodal pattern with the appearance of initial symptoms of disease either before the age of 20 years or after the age of 30 years. The overall mutation rate in our clinically heterogeneous sample was 3.0%; however, in the sub-sample of pure HSP REEP1 mutations accounted for 8.2% of all patients. These results firmly establish REEP1 as a relatively frequent autosomal dominant HSP gene for which genetic testing is warranted. We also establish haploinsufficiency as the main molecular genetic mechanism in SPG31, which should initiate and guide functional studies on REEP1 with a focus on loss-of-function mechanisms. Our results should be valid as a reference for mutation frequency, spectrum of REEP1 mutations, and clinical phenotypes associated with SPG31.
doi:10.1093/brain/awn026
PMCID: PMC2841798  PMID: 18321925
hereditary spastic paraplegia; SPG31; REEP1; haploinsufficiency; micro RNA
5.  Genes for hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies: a genotype–phenotype correlation 
Brain  2009;132(10):2699-2711.
Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies (HSAN) are clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders characterized by axonal atrophy and degeneration, exclusively or predominantly affecting the sensory and autonomic neurons. So far, disease-associated mutations have been identified in seven genes: two genes for autosomal dominant (SPTLC1 and RAB7) and five genes for autosomal recessive forms of HSAN (WNK1/HSN2, NTRK1, NGFB, CCT5 and IKBKAP). We performed a systematic mutation screening of the coding sequences of six of these genes on a cohort of 100 familial and isolated patients diagnosed with HSAN. In addition, we screened the functional candidate gene NGFR (p75/NTR) encoding the nerve growth factor receptor. We identified disease-causing mutations in SPTLC1, RAB7, WNK1/HSN2 and NTRK1 in 19 patients, of which three mutations have not previously been reported. The phenotypes associated with mutations in NTRK1 and WNK1/HSN2 typically consisted of congenital insensitivity to pain and anhidrosis, and early-onset ulcero-mutilating sensory neuropathy, respectively. RAB7 mutations were only found in patients with a Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2B (CMT2B) phenotype, an axonal sensory-motor neuropathy with pronounced ulcero-mutilations. In SPTLC1, we detected a novel mutation (S331F) corresponding to a previously unknown severe and early-onset HSAN phenotype. No mutations were found in NGFB, CCT5 and NGFR. Overall disease-associated mutations were found in 19% of the studied patient group, suggesting that additional genes are associated with HSAN. Our genotype–phenotype correlation study broadens the spectrum of HSAN and provides additional insights for molecular and clinical diagnosis.
doi:10.1093/brain/awp198
PMCID: PMC2759337  PMID: 19651702
HSAN; SPTLC1; RAB7; WNK1/HSN2; NTRK1

Results 1-5 (5)