The genetic basis of many brain and spinal arteriovenous malformations is unclear. Hong et al. reveal a causative role for somatic tumour-related mutations in KRAS/BRAF in the majority of patients tested. This homogeneity supports therapeutic targeting of the RAS/RAF/MAPK pathway without the need for tissue genetic diagnosis.Brain and spinal arteriovenous malformations are congenital lesions causing intracranial haemorrhage or permanent disability especially in young people. We investigated whether the vast majority or all brain and spinal arteriovenous malformations are associated with detectable tumour-related somatic mutations. In a cohort of 31 patients (21 with brain and 10 with spinal arteriovenous malformations), tissue and paired blood samples were analysed with ultradeep next generation sequencing of a panel of 422 common tumour genes to identify the somatic mutations. We used droplet digital polymerase chain reaction to confirm the panel sequenced mutations and identify the additional low variant frequency mutations. The association of mutation variant frequencies and clinical features were analysed. The average sequencing depth was 1077 298. High prevalence (87.1%) of KRAS/BRAF somatic mutations was found in brain and spinal arteriovenous malformations with no other replicated tumour-related mutations. The prevalence of KRAS/BRAF mutation was 81.0% (17 of 21) in brain and 100% (10 of 10) in spinal arteriovenous malformations. We detected activating BRAF mutations and two novel mutations in KRAS (p.G12A and p.S65_A66insDS) in CNS arteriovenous malformations for the first time. The mutation variant frequencies were negatively correlated with nidus volumes of brain (P = 0.038) and spinal (P = 0.028) arteriovenous malformations but not ages. Our findings support a causative role of somatic tumour-related mutations of KRAS/BRAF in the overwhelming majority of brain and spinal arteriovenous malformations. This pathway homogeneity and high prevalence implies the development of targeted therapies with RAS/RAF pathway inhibitors without the necessity of tissue genetic diagnosis.
Ectonucleotidase-mediated ATP catabolism provides a powerful mechanism to control the levels of extracellular adenosine. While increased adenosine A(2A) receptor (A(2A)R) signaling has been well-documented in both Parkinson's disease models and patients, the source of this enhanced adenosine signalling remains unclear. Here, we show that the ecto-5'-nucleotidase (CD73)-mediated adenosine formation provides an important input to activate A(2A)R, and upregulated CD73 and A(2A)R in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced Parkinson's disease models coordinatively contribute to the elevated adenosine signalling. Importantly, we demonstrate that CD73-derived adenosine-A(2A)R signalling modulates microglial immunoresponses and morphological dynamics. CD73 inactivation significantly attenuated lipopolysaccharide-induced pro-inflammatory responses in microglia, but enhanced microglia process extension, movement and morphological transformation in the laser injury and acute MPTP-induced Parkinson's disease models. Limiting CD73-derived adenosine substantially suppressed microglia-mediated neuroinflammation and improved the viability of dopaminergic neurons and motor behaviours in Parkinson's disease models. Moreover, CD73 inactivation suppressed A(2A)R induction and A(2A)R-mediated pro-inflammatory responses, whereas replenishment of adenosine analogues restored these effects, suggesting that CD73 produces a self-regulating feed-forward adenosine formation to activate A(2A)R and promote neuroinflammation. We further provide the first evidence that A(2A) enhanced inflammation by antagonizing dopamine-mediated anti-inflammation, suggesting that the homeostatic balance between adenosine and dopamine signalling is key to microglia immunoresponses. Our study thus reveals a novel role for CD73-mediated nucleotide metabolism in regulating neuroinflammation and provides the proof-of-principle that targeting nucleotide metabolic pathways to limit adenosine production and neuroinflammation in Parkinson's disease might be a promising therapeutic strategy.
The acquisition of temozolomide resistance is a major clinical challenge for glioblastoma treatment. Chemoresistance in glioblastoma is largely attributed to repair of temozolomide-induced DNA lesions by O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). However, some MGMT-deficient glioblastomas are still resistant to temozolomide, and the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. We found that DYNC2H1 (DHC2) was expressed more in MGMT-deficient recurrent glioblastoma specimens and its expression strongly correlated to poor progression-free survival in MGMT promotor methylated glioblastoma patients. Furthermore, silencing DHC2, both in vitro and in vivo, enhanced temozolomide-induced DNA damage and significantly improved the efficiency of temozolomide treatment in MGMT-deficient glioblastoma. Using a combination of subcellular proteomics and in vitro analyses, we showed that DHC2 was involved in nuclear localization of the DNA repair proteins, namely XPC and CBX5, and knockdown of either XPC or CBX5 resulted in increased temozolomide-induced DNA damage. In summary, we identified the nuclear transportation of DNA repair proteins by DHC2 as a critical regulator of acquired temozolomide resistance in MGMT-deficient glioblastoma. Our study offers novel insights for improving therapeutic management of MGMT-deficient glioblastoma.
The natural history of intradural spinal cord arteriovenous shunts is unknown. We performed an observational study in a consecutive patient cohort with symptomatic intradural spinal cord arteriovenous shunts who were admitted to three institutes to investigate the clinical course of this complex disease, which would provide valuable evidence to inform clinical decision-making. The clinical course of patients with symptomatic intradural spinal cord arteriovenous shunts from initial presentation to occurrence of clinical deterioration, initiation of treatment, or last follow-up was analysed. Patients with at least 1 month of observation were included in this study. Clinical onset and deterioration patterns were divided into acute and gradual. Annual and cumulative rates of clinical deterioration as well as their risk factors were analysed using Kaplan-Meier life table analysis and Cox proportional hazards model. To assess risks and benefits of treatment, post-treatment clinical courses were further assessed. Four hundred and sixty-six patients with a mean observational period of 36.9 +/- 58.8 months were included; 56.7% of patients presented with acute onset, of whom 77.3% experienced spontaneous recovery. Age of onset older than 28 years, initial modified Aminoff and Logue scale of 43, mid-thoracic lesions and non-ventral lesions were independent predictors of failure for spontaneous recovery. The annual risk of general, acute and gradual clinical deterioration after onset was 30.7%, 9.9% and 17.7%, respectively. Risk of deterioration was highest in the early period after initial onset. Acute onset was the only independent risk factor [hazard ratio 1.957 (95% confidence interval, CI 1.324-2.894); P = 0.0008] of acute deterioration and gradual onset was the strongest predictor [hazard ratio 2.350 (95% CI 1.711-3.229); P < 0.0001] of the gradual deterioration among all the stratifying factors. After invasive treatment, complete obliteration was achieved in 37.9% of patients (138 of 364) and improved or stable clinical status was noted in 80.8% of patients. Forty-two patients (11.5%) experienced permanent complications. Overall post-treatment deterioration rate was 8.4%/year, and 5.3%/year if permanent complications were excluded. The natural history of symptomatic spinal cord arteriovenous shunts is poor, especially in the early period after onset, and early intervention is thus recommended. Initial onset pattern significantly affects the natural history of the lesion, which prompts a differentiated treatment strategy.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy exhibiting great clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Here, the identification of two heterozygous missense mutations in the C1orf194 gene at 1p21.2-p13.2 with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are reported. Specifically, the p.I122N mutation was the cause of an intermediate form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and the p.K28I missense mutation predominately led to the demyelinating form. Functional studies demonstrated that the p.K28I variant significantly reduced expression of the protein, but the p.I122N variant increased. In addition, the p.I122N mutant protein exhibited the aggregation in neuroblastoma cell lines and the patient's peroneal nerve. Either gain-of-function or partial loss-of-function mutations to C1ORF194 can specify different causal mechanisms responsible for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease with a wide range of clinical severity. Moreover, a knock-in mouse model confirmed that the C1orf194 missense mutation p.I121N led to impairments in motor and neuromuscular functions, and aberrant myelination and axonal phenotypes. The loss of normal C1ORF194 protein altered intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and upregulated Ca2+ handling regulatory proteins. These findings describe a novel protein with vital functions in peripheral nervous systems and broaden the causes of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which open new avenues for the diagnosis and treatment of related neuropathies.
GABRB3 is highly expressed early in the developing brain, and its encoded beta 3 subunit is critical for GABA(A) receptor assembly and trafficking as well as stem cell differentiation in embryonic brain. To date, over 400 mutations or variants have been identified in GABRB3. Mutations in GABRB3 have been increasingly recognized as a major cause for severe paediatric epilepsy syndromes such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome and infantile spasms with intellectual disability as well as relatively mild epilepsy syndromes such as childhood absence epilepsy. There is no plausible molecular pathology for disease phenotypic heterogeneity. Here we used a very high-throughput flow cytometry assay to evaluate the impact of multiple human mutations in GABRB3 on receptor trafficking. In this study we found that surface expression of mutant beta 3 subunits is variable. However, it was consistent that surface expression of partnering gamma 2 subunits was lower when co-expressed with mutant than with wild-type subunits. Because gamma 2 subunits are critical for synaptic GABA(A) receptor clustering, this provides an important clue for understanding the pathophysiology of GABRB3 mutations. To validate our findings further, we obtained an in-depth comparison of two novel mutations [GABRB3 (N328D) and GABRB3 (E357K)] associated with epilepsy with different severities of epilepsy phenotype. GABRB3 (N328D) is associated with the relatively severe Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and GABRB3 (E357K) is associated with the relatively mild juvenile absence epilepsy syndrome. With functional characterizations in both heterologous cells and rodent cortical neurons by patch-clamp recordings, confocal microscopy and immunoblotting, we found that both the GABRB3 (N328D) and GABRB3 (E357K) mutations reduced total subunit expression in neurons but not in HEK293T cells. Both mutant subunits, however, were reduced on the cell surface and in synapses, but the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome mutant beta 3 (N328D) subunit was more reduced than the juvenile absence epilepsy mutant beta 3 (E357K) subunit. Interestingly, both mutant beta 3 subunits impaired postsynaptic clustering of wild-type GABA(A) receptor gamma 2 subunits and prevented gamma 2 subunits from incorporating into GABA(A) receptors at synapses, although by different cellular mechanisms. Importantly, wild-type gamma 2 subunits were reduced and less clustered at inhibitory synapses in Gabrb3(+/-) knockout mice. This suggests that impaired receptor localization to synapses is a common pathophysiological mechanism for GABRB3 mutations, although the extent of impairment may be different among mutant subunits. The study thus identifies the novel mechanism of impaired targeting of receptors containing mutant beta 3 subunits and provides critical insights into understanding how GABRB3 mutations produce severe epilepsy syndromes and epilepsy phenotypic heterogeneity.
N-methyl D-aspartate receptors are ligand-gated ionotropic receptors mediating a slow, calcium-permeable component of excitatory synaptic transmission in the CNS. Variants in genes encoding NMDAR subunits have been associated with a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. Here we report six novel GRIN2D variants and one previously-described disease-associated GRIN2D variant in two patients with developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. GRIN2D encodes for the GluN2D subunit protein; the GluN2D amino acids affected by the variants in this report are located in the pre-M1 helix, transmembrane domain M3, and the intracellular carboxyl terminal domain. Functional analysis in vitro reveals that all six variants decreased receptor surface expression, which may underline some shared clinical symptoms. In addition the GluN2D(Leu670Phe), (Ala675Thr) and (Ala678Asp) substitutions confer significantly enhanced agonist potency, and/or increased channel open probability, while the GluN2D(Ser573Phe), (Ser1271Phe) and (Arg1313Trp) substitutions result in a mild increase of agonist potency, reduced sensitivity to endogenous protons, and decreased channel open probability. The GluN2D(Ser573Phe), (Ala675Thr), and (Ala678Asp) substitutions significantly decrease current amplitude, consistent with reduced surface expression. The GluN2D(Leu670Phe) variant slows current response deactivation time course and increased charge transfer. GluN2D(Ala678Asp) transfection significantly decreased cell viability of rat cultured cortical neurons. In addition, we evaluated a set of FDA-approved NMDAR channel blockers to rescue functional changes of mutant receptors. This work suggests the complexity of the pathological mechanisms of GRIN2D-mediated developmental and epileptic encephalopathy, as well as the potential benefit of precision medicine.
The immunological barrier currently precludes the clinical utilization of allogeneic stem cells. Although glial-restricted progenitors have become attractive candidates to treat a wide variety of neurological diseases, their survival in immunocompetent recipients is limited. In this study, we adopted a short-term, systemically applicable co-stimulation blockade-based strategy using CTLA4-Ig and anti-CD154 antibodies to modulate T-cell activation in the context of allogeneic glial-restricted progenitor transplantation. We found that co-stimulation blockade successfully prevented rejection of allogeneic glial-restricted progenitors from immunocompetent mouse brains. The long-term engrafted glial-restricted progenitors myelinated dysmyelinated adult mouse brains within one month. Furthermore, we identified a set of plasma miRNAs whose levels specifically correlated to the dynamic changes of immunoreactivity and as such could serve as biomarkers for graft rejection or tolerance. We put forward a successful strategy to induce alloantigen-specific hyporesponsiveness towards stem cells in the CNS, which will foster effective therapeutic application of allogeneic stem cells.
Age at onset of Alzheimer's disease is highly variable, and its modifiers (genetic or environmental) could act through epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation at CpG sites. DNA methylation is also linked to ageing-the strongest Alzheimer's disease risk factor. DNA methylation age can be calculated using age-related CpGs and might reflect biological ageing. We conducted a clinical, genetic and epigenetic investigation of a unique Ashkenazi Jewish family with monozygotic triplets, two of whom developed Alzheimer's disease at ages 73 and 76, while the third at age 85 has no cognitive complaints or deficits in daily activities. One of their offspring developed Alzheimer's disease at age 50. Targeted sequencing of 80 genes associated with neurodegeneration revealed that the triplets and the affected offspring are heterozygous carriers of the risk APOE epsilon 4 allele, as well as rare substitutions in APP (p.S198P), NOTCH3 (p.H1235L) and SORL1 (p.W1563C). In addition, we catalogued 52 possibly damaging rare variants detected by NeuroX array in affected individuals. Analysis of family members on a genome-wide DNA methylation chip revealed that the DNA methylation age of the triplets was 6-10 years younger than chronological age, while it was 9 years older in the offspring with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, suggesting accelerated ageing.
BACE1 is the rate-limiting enzyme in amyloid- generation. Zhu et al. report that selective inhibition of matrix metallopeptidase 13 (MMP13) decreases BACE1 levels and amyloid- load, and improves cognitive performance in a mouse model of Alzheimers disease. MMP13 inhibition may have therapeutic potential via translational regulation of BACE1.MMP13 (matrix metallopeptidase 13) plays a key role in bone metabolism and cancer development, but has no known functions in Alzheimers disease. In this study, we used high-throughput small molecule screening in SH-SY5Y cells that stably expressed a luciferase reporter gene driven by the BACE1 (-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1) promoter, which included a portion of the 5 untranslated region (5UTR). We identified that CL82198, a selective inhibitor of MMP13, decreased BACE1 protein levels in cultured neuronal cells. This effect was dependent on PI3K (phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase) signalling, and was unrelated to BACE1 gene transcription and protein degradation. Further, we found that eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4B (eIF4B) played a key role, as the mutation of eIF4B at serine 422 (S422R) or deletion of the BACE1 5UTR attenuated MMP13-mediated BACE1 regulation. In APPswe/PS1E9 mice, an animal model of Alzheimers disease, hippocampal Mmp13 knockdown or intraperitoneal CL82198 administration reduced BACE1 protein levels and the related amyloid- precursor protein processing, amyloid- load and eIF4B phosphorylation, whereas spatial and associative learning and memory performances were improved. Collectively, MMP13 inhibition/CL82198 treatment exhibited therapeutic potential for Alzheimers disease, via the translational regulation of BACE1.
Cognitive deficit is thought to represent, at least in part, genetic mechanisms of risk for schizophrenia, with recent evidence from statistical modelling of twin data suggesting direct causality from the former to the latter. However, earlier evidence was based on inferences from twin not molecular genetic data and it is unclear how much genetic influence passes through' cognition on the way to diagnosis. Thus, we included direct measurements of genetic risk (e.g. schizophrenia polygenic risk scores) in causation models to assess the extent to which cognitive deficit mediates some of the effect of polygenic risk scores on the disorder. Causal models of family data tested relationships among key variables and allowed parsing of genetic variance components. Polygenic risk scores were calculated from summary statistics from the current largest genome-wide association study of schizophrenia and were represented as a latent trait. Cognition was also modelled as a latent trait. Participants were 1313 members of 1078 families: 416 patients with schizophrenia, 290 unaffected siblings, and 607 controls. Modelling supported earlier findings that cognitive deficit has a putatively causal role in schizophrenia. In total, polygenic risk score explained 8.07% [confidence interval (CI) 5.45-10.74%] of schizophrenia risk in our sample. Of this, more than a third (2.71%, CI 2.41-3.85%) of the polygenic risk score influence was mediated through cognition paths, exceeding the direct influence of polygenic risk score on schizophrenia risk (1.43%, CI 0.46-3.08%). The remainder of the polygenic risk score influence (3.93%, CI 2.37-4.48%) reflected reciprocal causation between schizophrenia liability and cognition (e.g. mutual influences in a cyclical manner). Analysis of genetic variance components of schizophrenia liability indicated that 26.87% (CI 21.45-32.57%) was associated with cognition-related pathways not captured by polygenic risk score. The remaining variance in schizophrenia was through pathways other than cognition-related and polygenic risk score. Although our results are based on inference through statistical modelling and do not provide an absolute proof of causality, we find that cognition pathways mediate a significant part of the influence of cumulative genetic risk on schizophrenia. We estimate from our model that 33.51% (CI 27.34-43.82%) of overall genetic risk is mediated through influences on cognition, but this requires further studies and analyses as the genetics of schizophrenia becomes better characterized.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a deleterious neurodegenerative disease without effective treatment options. Recent studies have indicated the involvement of the dysregulation of RNA metabolism in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Among the various RNA regulatory machineries, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a stress responsive cellular surveillance system that degrades selected mRNA substrates to prevent the translation of defective or harmful proteins. Whether this pathway is affected in neurodegenerative diseases is unclear. Here we report the inhibition of NMD by arginine-rich dipeptide repeats derived from C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion, the most common cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Bioinformatic analysis of multiple transcriptome profiles revealed significant overlap of upregulated genes in NMD-defective cells with those in the brain tissues, micro-dissected motor neurons, or induced pluripotent stem cell-derived motor neurons specifically from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients carrying C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion, suggesting the suppression of NMD pathway in these patients. Using Drosophila as a model, we have validated that the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion products could lead to the accumulation of the NMD substrates and identified arginine-rich dipeptide repeats, including poly glycine-arginine and poly proline-arginine, as the main culprits of NMD inhibition. Furthermore, in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and in mouse brains, expression of glycine-arginine with 36 repeats (GR36) was sufficient to cause NMD inhibition. In cells expressing GR36, stress granule accumulation was accompanied by decreased processing body formation, which contributed to the inhibition of NMD. Remarkably, expression of UPF1, a core gene in the NMD pathway, efficiently blocked neurotoxicity caused by arginine-rich dipeptide repeats in both cellular and Drosophila models. Although not as effective as UPF1, expression of another NMD gene UPF2 also ameliorated the degenerative phenotypes in dipeptide repeat-expressing flies, indicating that genetically reactivating the NMD pathway could suppress dipeptide repeat toxicity. Finally, after validating tranilast as an NMD-activating drug, we demonstrated the therapeutic potential of this asthma drug in cellular and Drosophila models of C9orf72 dipeptide repeat neurotoxicity. Therefore, our study has revealed a cellular mechanism whereby arginine-rich C9orf72 dipeptide repeats could inhibit NMD activities by reducing the abundance of processing bodies. Furthermore, our results suggested that activation of the NMD pathway could be a potential therapeutic strategy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with defective RNA metabolism.