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Query Topic: C9ORF72

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familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(41)

Structure of the human C9orf72-SMCR8 complex reveals a multivalent protein interaction architecture.
A major cause of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) spectrum disorder is the hexanucleotide G4C2 repeat expansion in the first intron of the C9orf72 gene. Many underlying mechanisms lead to manifestation of disease that include toxic gain-of-function by repeat G4C2 RNAs, dipeptide repeat proteins, and a reduction of the C9orf72 gene product. The C9orf72 protein interacts with SMCR8 and WDR41 to form a trimeric complex and regulates multiple cellular pathways including autophagy. Here, we report the structure of the C9orf72-SMCR8 complex at 3.8 Å resolution using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The structure reveals 2 distinct dimerization interfaces between C9orf72 and SMCR8 that involves an extensive network of interactions. Homology between C9orf72-SMCR8 and Folliculin-Folliculin Interacting Protein 2 (FLCN-FNIP2), a GTPase activating protein (GAP) complex, enabled identification of a key residue within the active site of SMCR8. Further structural analysis suggested that a coiled-coil region within the uDenn domain of SMCR8 could act as an interaction platform for other coiled-coil proteins, and its deletion reduced the interaction of the C9orf72-SMCR8 complex with FIP200 upon starvation. In summary, this study contributes toward our understanding of the biological function of the C9orf72-SMCR8 complex.
Publication Date: 2021-07-24
Journal: PLoS biology

sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(24)

Nuclear lamina invaginations are not a pathological feature of C9orf72 ALS/FTD.
The most common genetic cause of familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) in the C9orf72 gene. While direct molecular hallmarks of the C9orf72 HRE (repeat RNA foci, dipeptide repeat protein pathology) are well characterized, the mechanisms by which the C9orf72 HRE causes ALS and the related neurodegenerative disease frontotemporal dementia (FTD) remain poorly understood. Recently, alterations to the nuclear pore complex and nucleocytoplasmic transport have been accepted as a prominent pathomechanism underlying C9orf72 ALS/FTD. However, global disruptions to nuclear morphology and the nuclear lamina itself remain controversial. Here, we use a large number of induced pluripotent stem cell derived spinal neurons and postmortem human motor cortex sections to thoroughly examine nuclear morphology and nuclear lamina disruptions with light microscopy. In contrast to previous studies in artificial overexpression model systems, endogenous levels of the C9orf72 HRE do not increase the frequency of nuclear lamina invaginations. In addition, the C9orf72 HRE has no impact on overall nuclear shape and size. Notably, the frequency of nuclear Lamin B1 invaginations increases with cellular aging, independent of the C9orf72 HRE. Together, our data suggest that nuclear morphology is unaltered in C9orf72 ALS/FTD.
Publication Date: 2021-03-21
Journal: Acta neuropathologica communications

c9orf72 repeat expansion carriers(21)

Psychopathology in premanifest C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers.
Publication Date: 2021-09-30
Journal: Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry

common genetic cause(120)

Elucidating the Role of Cerebellar Synaptic Dysfunction in C9orf72-ALS/FTD - a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
A hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with synaptic dysfunction identified as an early pathological hallmark. Although TDP-43 pathology and overt neurodegeneration are largely absent from the cerebellum, the pathological hallmarks of RNA foci and dipeptide repeat protein (DPR) inclusions are most abundant. Here, we present a systematic literature search in the databases of PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science and Science Direct up until March 5, 2021, which yielded 19,515 publications. Following the exclusion criteria, 72 articles were included having referred to C9orf72, synapses and the cerebellum. Meta-analyses were conducted on studies which reported experimental and control groups with means and standard deviations extracted from figures using the online tool PlotDigitizer. This revealed dendritic defects (P = 0.03), reduced C9orf72 in human patients (P = 0.005) and DPR-related neuronal loss (P = 0.0006) but no neuromuscular junction abnormalities (P = 0.29) or cerebellar neuronal loss (P = 0.23). Our results suggest that dendritic arborisation defects, synaptic gene dysregulation and altered synaptic neurotransmission may drive cerebellar synaptic dysfunction in C9-ALS/FTD. In this review, we discuss how the chronological appearance of the different pathological hallmarks alters synaptic integrity which may have profound implications for disease progression. We conclude that a reduction in C9orf72 protein levels combined with the accumulation of RNA foci and DPRs act synergistically to drive C9 synaptopathy in the cerebellum of C9-ALS/FTD patients.
Publication Date: 2021-09-08
Journal: Cerebellum (London, England)

c9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat(113)

NDST3 deacetylates α-tubulin and suppresses V-ATPase assembly and lysosomal acidification.
Lysosomes are key organelles maintaining cellular homeostasis in health and disease. Here, we report the identification of N-deacetylase and N-sulfotransferase 3 (NDST3) as a potent regulator of lysosomal functions through an unbiased genetic screen. NDST3 constitutes a new member of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) family and catalyzes the deacetylation of α-tubulin. Loss of NDST3 promotes assembly of the V-ATPase holoenzyme on the lysosomal membrane and thereby increases the acidification of the organelle. NDST3 is downregulated in tissues and cells from patients carrying the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion linked to the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Deficiency in C9orf72 decreases the level of NDST3, and downregulation of NDST3 exacerbates the proteotoxicity of poly-dipeptides generated from the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeats. These results demonstrate a previously unknown regulatory mechanism through which microtubule acetylation regulates lysosomal activities and suggest that NDST3 could be targeted to modulate microtubule and lysosomal functions in relevant diseases.
Publication Date: 2021-08-27
Journal: The EMBO journal

frontotemporal lobar degeneration(102)

Interactome screening of C9orf72 dipeptide repeats reveals VCP sequestration and functional impairment by polyGA.
Repeat expansions in the C9orf72 gene are a common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, two devastating neurodegenerative disorders. One of the proposed mechanisms of GGGGCC repeat expansion is their translation into non-canonical dipeptide repeats, which can then accumulate as aggregates and contribute to these pathologies. There are five different dipeptide repeat proteins (polyGA, polyGR, polyPR, polyPA and polyGP), some of which are known to be neurotoxic. In the present study, we used BioID2 proximity labelling to identify the interactomes of all five dipeptide repeat proteins consisting of 125 repeats each. We identified 113 interacting partners for polyGR, 90 for polyGA, 106 for polyPR, 25 for polyPA, and 27 for polyGP. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis of the proteomic data revealed that these target interaction partners are involved in a variety of functions, including protein translation, signal transduction pathways, protein catabolic processes, amide metabolic processes, and RNA-binding. Using autopsy brain tissue from patients with C9orf72 expansion complemented with cell culture analysis, we evaluated the interactions between polyGA and valosin-containing protein (VCP). Functional analysis of this interaction revealed sequestration of VCP with polyGA aggregates, altering levels of soluble VCP protein. VCP also functions in autophagy processes, and consistent with this, we observed altered autophagy in cells expressing polyGA. We also observed altered co-localisation of polyGA aggregates and p62 in cells depleted of the VCP protein. Altogether these data suggest that sequestration of VCP with polyGA aggregates contributes to the loss of VCP function, and consequently to alterations in autophagy processes in C9orf72 expansion disorders.
Publication Date: 2021-09-18
Journal: Brain : a journal of neurology

hexanucleotide repeat expansions(62)

Analysis of Heritability Across the Clinical Phenotypes of Frontotemporal Dementia and the Frequency of the C9ORF72 in a Colombian Population.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a highly heritable condition. Up to 40% of FTD is familial and an estimated 15% to 40% is due to single-gene mutations. It has been estimated that the G4C2 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in the C9ORF72 gene can explain up to 37.5% of the familial cases of FTD, especially in populations of Caucasian origin. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate hereditary risk across the clinical phenotypes of FTD and the frequency of the G4C2 expansion in a Colombian cohort diagnosed with FTD.
Publication Date: 2021-09-17
Journal: Frontiers in neurology

ggggcc hexanucleotide repeat(53)

Proline-arginine poly-dipeptide encoded by the C9orf72 repeat expansion inhibits adenosine deaminase acting on RNA.
A GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9orf72 gene is linked to the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) (C9-ALS/FTD). Unconventional translation of the hexanucleotide repeat expansion generates five dipeptide repeat proteins (DPRs). The molecular mechanism underlying the DPR-linked neurotoxicity is under investigation. In this study, using cell-based models, we show that poly-proline-arginine DPR (poly-PR), the most neurotoxic DPR in vitro, binds to adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR)1p110 and ADAR2 and inhibits their RNA editing activity. We further show that poly-PR impairs cellular stress response that is mediated by ADAR1p110. These results together suggest that the poly-PR-mediated inhibition of the ADAR activity contributes to C9-ALS/FTD-linked neurotoxicity.
Publication Date: 2021-06-04
Journal: Journal of neurochemistry

dipeptide repeat proteins(51)

ZNF598 co-translationally titrates poly(GR) protein implicated in the pathogenesis of C9ORF72-associated ALS/FTD.
C9ORF72-derived dipeptide repeat proteins have emerged as the pathogenic cause of neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9-ALS/FTD). However, the mechanisms underlying their expression are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that ZNF598, the rate-limiting factor for ribosome-associated quality control (RQC), co-translationally titrates the expression of C9ORF72-derived poly(GR) protein. A Drosophila genetic screen identified key RQC factors as potent modifiers of poly(GR)-induced neurodegeneration. ZNF598 overexpression in human neuroblastoma cells inhibited the nuclear accumulation of poly(GR) protein and decreased its cytotoxicity, whereas ZNF598 deletion had opposing effects. Poly(GR)-encoding sequences in the reporter RNAs caused translational stalling and generated ribosome-associated translation products, sharing molecular signatures with canonical RQC substrates. Furthermore, ZNF598 and listerin 1, the RQC E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase, promoted poly(GR) degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. An ALS-relevant ZNF598R69C mutant displayed loss-of-function effects on poly(GR) expression, as well as on general RQC. Moreover, RQC function was impaired in C9-ALS patient-derived neurons, whereas lentiviral overexpression of ZNF598 lowered their poly(GR) expression and suppressed proapoptotic caspase-3 activation. Taken together, we propose that an adaptive nature of the RQC-relevant ZNF598 activity allows the co-translational surveillance to cope with the atypical expression of pathogenic poly(GR) protein, thereby acquiring a neuroprotective function in C9-ALS/FTD.
Publication Date: 2021-09-23
Journal: Nucleic acids research

motor neuron disease(42)

Long-read targeted sequencing uncovers clinicopathological associations for C9orf72-linked diseases.
To examine the length of a hexanucleotide expansion in C9orf72, which represents the most frequent genetic cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration and motor neuron disease, we employed a targeted amplification-free long-read sequencing technology: No-Amp sequencing. In our cross-sectional study, we assessed cerebellar tissue from 28 well-characterized C9orf72 expansion carriers. We obtained 3507 on-target circular consensus sequencing reads, of which 814 bridged the C9orf72 repeat expansion (23%). Importantly, we observed a significant correlation between expansion sizes obtained using No-Amp sequencing and Southern blotting (P = 5.0 × 10-4). Interestingly, we also detected a significant survival advantage for individuals with smaller expansions (P = 0.004). Additionally, we uncovered that smaller expansions were significantly associated with higher levels of C9orf72 transcripts containing intron 1b (P = 0.003), poly(GP) proteins (P = 1.3 × 10- 5), and poly(GA) proteins (P = 0.005). Thorough examination of the composition of the expansion revealed that its GC content was extremely high (median: 100%) and that it was mainly composed of GGGGCC repeats (median: 96%), suggesting that expanded C9orf72 repeats are quite pure. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that No-Amp sequencing is a powerful tool that enables the discovery of relevant clinicopathological associations, highlighting the important role played by the cerebellar size of the expanded repeat in C9orf72-linked diseases.
Publication Date: 2021-04-24
Journal: Brain : a journal of neurology

induced pluripotent stem(32)

Human ALS/FTD brain organoid slice cultures display distinct early astrocyte and targetable neuronal pathology.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis overlapping with frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) is a fatal and currently untreatable disease characterized by rapid cognitive decline and paralysis. Elucidating initial cellular pathologies is central to therapeutic target development, but obtaining samples from presymptomatic patients is not feasible. Here, we report the development of a cerebral organoid slice model derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that recapitulates mature cortical architecture and displays early molecular pathology of C9ORF72 ALS/FTD. Using a combination of single-cell RNA sequencing and biological assays, we reveal distinct transcriptional, proteostasis and DNA repair disturbances in astroglia and neurons. We show that astroglia display increased levels of the autophagy signaling protein P62 and that deep layer neurons accumulate dipeptide repeat protein poly(GA), DNA damage and undergo nuclear pyknosis that could be pharmacologically rescued by GSK2606414. Thus, patient-specific iPSC-derived cortical organoid slice cultures are a reproducible translational platform to investigate preclinical ALS/FTD mechanisms as well as novel therapeutic approaches.
Publication Date: 2021-10-23
Journal: Nature neuroscience

c9orf72 mutation carriers(18)

CSF sTREM2 is elevated in a subset in GRN-related frontotemporal dementia.
Excessive microglial activation might be a central pathological process in GRN-related frontotemporal dementia (FTD-GRN). We measured soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (sTREM2), which is shed from disease-associated microglia following cleavage of TREM2, in cerebrospinal fluid of 34 presymptomatic and 35 symptomatic GRN mutation carriers, 6 presymptomatic and 32 symptomatic C9orf72 mutation carriers and 67 healthy noncarriers by ELISA. Although no group differences in sTREM2 levels were observed (GRN: symptomatic (median 5.2 ng/mL, interquartile range [3.9-9.2]) vs. presymptomatic (4.3 ng/mL [2.6-6.1]) vs. noncarriers (4.2 ng/mL [2.6-5.5]): p = 0.059; C9orf72: symptomatic (4.3 [2.9-7.0]) vs. presymptomatic (3.2 [2.2-4.2]) vs. noncarriers: p = 0.294), high levels were seen in a subset of GRN, but not C9orf72, mutation carriers, which might reflect differential TREM2-related microglial activation. Interestingly, 2 presymptomatic carriers with low sTREM2 levels developed symptoms after 1 year, whereas 2 with high levels became symptomatic after >5 years. While sTREM2 is not a promising diagnostic biomarker for FTD-GRN or FTD-C9orf72, further research might elucidate its potential to monitor microglial activity and predict disease progression.
Publication Date: 2021-04-27
Journal: Neurobiology of aging

dementia c9als ftd(10)

Pharmacological prospects of G-quadruplexes for neurological diseases using porphyrins.
Genomic regions with guanine (G)-rich sequences make non-Watson-Crick base pairs, which result in the formation of unique nucleic acid structures called G-quadruplexes (G4s) in cells. Studies have suggested that abnormal G4s are involved in neurological diseases. For example, the formation of G4s caused by expansion of G-rich sequences is implicated in C9orf72-mediated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9ALS/FTD), and fragile X-related tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). In addition, the disruption and/or mutation of G4 binding proteins (G4BPs), such as heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs) and DNA/RNA helicases, is related to neurological diseases. For instance, mutations in a G4BP called ATRX lead to a neurodevelopmental disorder, ATR-X syndrome, which is associated with intellectual disability. We found that porphyrins are potential candidate drugs for treating ATR-X syndrome through their G4 binding ability. Importantly, intracellular porphyrins are produced from 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) in vivo. Oral administration of 5-ALA improved cognitive dysfunction in an ATR-X syndrome model mouse, and language ability in an ATR-X syndrome patient. In this review, we suggest a novel therapeutic strategy targeting G4s using porphyrins in neurological diseases.
Publication Date: 2020-01-26
Journal: Biochemical and biophysical research communications

degeneration ftld(66)

A Novel Genetic Marker for the C9orf72 Repeat Expansion in the Finnish Population.
C9orf72 repeat expansion (C9exp) is the most common genetic cause underlying frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, detection of the C9exp requires elaborative methods. Identification of C9exp carriers from genotyped cohorts could be facilitated by using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as markers for the C9exp. We elucidated the potential of the previously described Finnish risk haplotype, defined by the SNP rs3849942, to identify potential C9exp carriers among 218,792 Finns using the FinnGen database. The haplotype approach was first tested in an idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) patient cohort (European Alzheimer's Disease DNA BioBank) containing C9exp carriers by comparing intermediate (15-30) and full-length (> 60 repeats) C9exp carriers (n = 41) to C9exp negative patients (< 15 repeats, n = 801). In this analysis, rs3849942 was associated with carriership of C9exp (OR 8.44, p < 2×10-15), while the strongest association was found with rs139185008 (OR 39.4, p < 5×10-18). Unbiased analysis of rs139185008 in FinnGen showed the strongest association with FTLD (OR 4.38, 3×10-15) and motor neuron disease ALS (OR 5.19, 3×10-21). rs139185008 was the top SNP in all diseases (iNPH, FTLD, ALS), and further showed a strong association with ALS in the UK Biobank (p = 9.0×10-8). Our findings suggest that rs139185008 is a useful marker to identify potential C9exp carriers in the genotyped cohorts and biobanks originating from Finland.
Publication Date: 2021-08-17
Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD

sporadic als(56)

Transcriptome analysis using patient iPSC-derived skeletal myocytes: Bet1L as a new molecule possibly linked to neuromuscular junction degeneration in ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neuromuscular disease in which patients gradually become paralyzed due to loss of motor function. Many genetically inheritable mutations have been linked to ALS; however, the majority of ALS patients are considered sporadic. Therefore, there is a need for a common therapy that is effective for all ALS patients. Although there is evidence of the disease beginning in the periphery at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), the specific processes involved in skeletal muscle and at the NMJ are still largely unknown. To study common disease mechanisms in ALS skeletal muscle, we performed RNA sequencing of skeletal myocytes differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from familial ALS (with C9ORF72, SOD1, or TARDBP mutations) and sporadic ALS patients. Compared to healthy control lines, the myocytes from all ALS lines showed downregulation of four genes: BET1L, DCX, GPC3, and HNRNPK. We next measured the expression levels of these four genes in hind limb muscle samples from a rat model of familial ALS (SOD1
Publication Date: 2021-07-27
Journal: Experimental neurology

motor neurons(53)

Real-Time Fluorescent Measurement of Synaptic Functions in Models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Before neuronal degeneration, the cause of motor and cognitive deficits in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and/or frontotemporal lobe dementia (FTLD) is dysfunction of communication between neurons and motor neurons and muscle. The underlying process of synaptic transmission involves membrane depolarization-dependent synaptic vesicle fusion and the release of neurotransmitters into the synapse. This process occurs through localized calcium influx into the presynaptic terminals where synaptic vesicles reside. Here, the protocol describes fluorescence-based live-imaging methodologies that reliably report depolarization-mediated synaptic vesicle exocytosis and presynaptic terminal calcium influx dynamics in cultured neurons. Using a styryl dye that is incorporated into synaptic vesicle membranes, the synaptic vesicle release is elucidated. On the other hand, to study calcium entry, Gcamp6m is used, a genetically encoded fluorescent reporter. We employ high potassium chloride-mediated depolarization to mimic neuronal activity. To quantify synaptic vesicle exocytosis unambiguously, we measure the loss of normalized styryl dye fluorescence as a function of time. Under similar stimulation conditions, in the case of calcium influx, Gcamp6m fluorescence increases. Normalization and quantification of this fluorescence change are performed in a similar manner to the styryl dye protocol. These methods can be multiplexed with transfection-based overexpression of fluorescently tagged mutant proteins. These protocols have been extensively used to study synaptic dysfunction in models of FUS-ALS and C9ORF72-ALS, utilizing primary rodent cortical and motor neurons. These protocols easily allow for rapid screening of compounds that may improve neuronal communication. As such, these methods are valuable not only for the study of ALS but for all areas of neurodegenerative and developmental neuroscience research.
Publication Date: 2021-08-03
Journal: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE

rna foci(53)

FTLD Patient-Derived Fibroblasts Show Defective Mitochondrial Function and Accumulation of p62.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a clinically, genetically, and neuropathologically heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative syndromes, leading to progressive cognitive dysfunction and frontal and temporal atrophy. C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion (C9-HRE) is the most common genetic cause of FTLD, but pathogenic mechanisms underlying FTLD are not fully understood. Here, we compared cellular features and functional properties, especially related to protein degradation pathways and mitochondrial function, of FTLD patient-derived skin fibroblasts from C9-HRE carriers and non-carriers and healthy donors. Fibroblasts from C9-HRE carriers were found to produce RNA foci, but no dipeptide repeat proteins, and they showed unchanged levels of C9orf72 mRNA transcripts. The main protein degradation pathways, the ubiquitin-proteasome system and autophagy, did not show alterations between the fibroblasts from C9-HRE-carrying and non-carrying FTLD patients and compared to healthy controls. An increase in the number and size of p62-positive puncta was evident in fibroblasts from both C9-HRE carriers and non-carriers. In addition, several parameters of mitochondrial function, namely, basal and maximal respiration and respiration linked to ATP production, were significantly reduced in the FTLD patient-derived fibroblasts from both C9-HRE carriers and non-carriers. Our findings suggest that FTLD patient-derived fibroblasts, regardless of whether they carry the C9-HRE expansion, show unchanged proteasomal and autophagic function, but significantly impaired mitochondrial function and increased accumulation of p62 when compared to control fibroblasts. These findings suggest the possibility of utilizing FTLD patient-derived fibroblasts as a platform for biomarker discovery and testing of drugs targeted to specific cellular functions, such as mitochondrial respiration.
Publication Date: 2021-07-31
Journal: Molecular neurobiology

neurodegenerative diseases(42)

Proline/arginine dipeptide repeat polymers derail protein folding in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia are two neurodegenerative diseases with overlapping clinical features and the pathological hallmark of cytoplasmic deposits of misfolded proteins. The most frequent cause of familial forms of these diseases is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the non-coding region of the C9ORF72 gene that is translated into dipeptide repeat polymers. Here we show that proline/arginine repeat polymers derail protein folding by sequestering molecular chaperones. We demonstrate that proline/arginine repeat polymers inhibit the folding catalyst activity of PPIA, an abundant molecular chaperone and prolyl isomerase in the brain that is altered in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. NMR spectroscopy reveals that proline/arginine repeat polymers bind to the active site of PPIA. X-ray crystallography determines the atomic structure of a proline/arginine repeat polymer in complex with the prolyl isomerase and defines the molecular basis for the specificity of disease-associated proline/arginine polymer interactions. The combined data establish a toxic mechanism that is specific for proline/arginine dipeptide repeat polymers and leads to derailed protein homeostasis in C9orf72-associated neurodegenerative diseases.
Publication Date: 2021-06-09
Journal: Nature communications

mapt grn(36)

The role of genetics in neurodegenerative dementia: a large cohort study in South China.
Neurodegenerative dementias are a group of diseases with highly heterogeneous pathology and complicated etiology. There exist potential genetic component overlaps between different neurodegenerative dementias. Here, 1795 patients with neurodegenerative dementias from South China were enrolled, including 1592 with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 110 with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and 93 with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Genes targeted sequencing analysis were performed. According to the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) guidelines, 39 pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants were identified in 47 unrelated patients in 14 different genes, including PSEN1, PSEN2, APP, MAPT, GRN, CHCHD10, TBK1, VCP, HTRA1, OPTN, SQSTM1, SIGMAR1, and abnormal repeat expansions in C9orf72 and HTT. Overall, 33.3% (13/39) of the variants were novel, the identified P/LP variants were seen in 2.2% (35/1592) and 10.9% (12/110) of AD and FTD cases, respectively. The overall molecular diagnostic rate was 2.6%. Among them, PSEN1 was the most frequently mutated gene (46.8%, 22/47), followed by PSEN2 and APP. Additionally, the age at onset of patients with P/LP variants (51.4 years), ranging from 30 to 83 years, was ~10 years earlier than those without P/LP variants (p < 0.05). This study sheds insight into the genetic spectrum and clinical manifestations of neurodegenerative dementias in South China, further expands the existing repertoire of P/LP variants involved in known dementia-associated genes. It provides a new perspective for basic research on genetic pathogenesis and novel guiding for clinical practice of neurodegenerative dementia.
Publication Date: 2021-08-15
Journal: NPJ genomic medicine

sod1 tardbp(34)

Small junction, big problems: Neuromuscular junction pathology in mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease with an extremely heterogeneous clinical and genetic phenotype. In our efforts to find therapies for ALS, the scientific community has developed a plethora of mouse models, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The peripheral nervous system, specifically the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), is known to be affected in ALS patients and shows marked dysfunction across mouse models. Evidence of pathology at the NMJ includes denervated NMJs, changes in endplate size and loss of terminal Schwann cells. This review compares the temporal disease progression with severity of disease at the NMJ in mouse models with the most commonly mutated genes in ALS patients (SOD1, C9ORF72, TARDBP and FUS). Despite variability, early NMJ dysfunction seems to be a common factor in models with SOD1, TARDBP and FUS mutations, while C9ORF72 models do not appear to follow the same pattern of pathology. Further work into determining the timing of NMJ pathology, particularly in newer ALS mouse models, will confirm its pivotal role in ALS pathogenesis and therefore highlight the NMJ as a potential therapeutic target.
Publication Date: 2021-06-09
Journal: Journal of anatomy

progranulin grn(28)

Serum neurofilament light chain as a surrogate of cognitive decline in sporadic and familial frontotemporal dementia.
Neurofilament light chain (NfL) has recently been proposed as a promising biomarker in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). We investigated the correlation of both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum NfL with detailed neuropsychological data and cognitive decline in a cohort of sporadic and familial FTD. CSF and serum NfL, as well as conventional CSF Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers (Aβ42, t-Tau, p-Tau181), were determined in 63 FTD patients (30 sporadic-FTD, 20 with progranulin (GRN) mutations [FTD-GRN], 13 with chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 [C9orf72] expansions [C9orf72-FTD]), 37 AD patients, and 31 neurologic controls. Serum NfL was also quantified in 37 healthy individuals. Correlations between baseline CSF and serum NfL levels, standardized neuropsychological tests, and the rate of cognitive decline in FTD patients were assessed. CSF and serum NfL presented with significantly higher levels in FTD than in AD patients and both control groups. Within FTD subtypes, genetic cases, and particularly FTD-GRN, had higher CSF and serum NfL levels. Significant correlations between NfL levels and overall cognitive function, abstract reasoning (CSF and serum), executive functions, memory, and language (serum) were found. A relationship between increased baseline CSF and serum NfL and a decay in cognitive performance over time was also observed. Our findings highlight the potential of serum NfL as a useful surrogate end point of disease severity in upcoming targeted treatments.
Publication Date: 2021-08-11
Journal: European journal of neurology

tardbp fus(24)

Impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skin fibroblasts of SALS and FALS patients is rescued by in vitro treatment with ROS scavengers.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating, rapidly progressive, neurodegenerative disorder affecting upper and lower motor neurons. Approximately 10% of patients suffer from familial ALS (FALS) with mutations in different ubiquitously expressed genes including SOD1, C9ORF72, TARDBP, and FUS. There is compelling evidence for mitochondrial involvement in the pathogenic mechanisms of FALS and sporadic ALS (SALS), which is believed to be relevant for disease. Owing to the ubiquitous expression of relevant disease-associated genes, mitochondrial dysfunction is also detectable in peripheral patient tissue. We here report results of a detailed investigation of the functional impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in cultured skin fibroblasts from 23 SALS and 17 FALS patients, harboring pathogenic mutations in SOD1, C9ORF72, TARDBP and FUS. A considerable functional and structural mitochondrial impairment was detectable in fibroblasts from patients with SALS. Similarly, fibroblasts from patients with FALS, harboring pathogenic mutations in TARDBP, FUS and SOD1, showed mitochondrial defects, while fibroblasts from C9ORF72 associated FALS showed a very mild impairment detectable in mitochondrial ATP production rates only. While we could not detect alterations in the mtDNA copy number in the SALS or FALS fibroblast cultures, the impairment of OXPHOS in SALS fibroblasts and SOD1 or TARDBP FALS could be rescued by in vitro treatments with CoQ
Publication Date: 2021-01-27
Journal: Experimental neurology

ggggcc g4c2(24)

Crystal structure of parallel G-quadruplex formed by the two-repeat ALS- and FTD-related GGGGCC sequence.
The hexanucleotide repeat expansion, GGGGCC (G4C2), within the first intron of the C9orf72 gene is known to be the most common genetic cause of both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The G4C2 repeat expansions, either DNA or RNA, are able to form G-quadruplexes which induce toxicity leading to ALS/FTD. Herein, we report a novel crystal structure of d(G4C2)2 that self-associates to form an eight-layer parallel tetrameric G-quadruplex. Two d(G4C2)2 associate together as a parallel dimeric G-quadruplex which folds into a tetramer via 5'-to-5' arrangements. Each dimer consists of four G-tetrads connected by two CC propeller loops. Especially, the 3'-end cytosines protrude out and form C·C+•C·C+/ C·C•C·C+ quadruple base pair or C•C·C+ triple base pair stacking on the dimeric block. Our work sheds light on the G-quadruplexes adopted by d(G4C2) and yields the invaluable structural details for the development of small molecules to tackle neurodegenerative diseases, ALS and FTD.
Publication Date: 2021-05-29
Journal: Nucleic acids research

tau mapt(23)

Staufen 1 amplifies proapoptotic activation of the unfolded protein response.
Staufen-1 (STAU1) is an RNA-binding protein that becomes highly overabundant in numerous neurodegenerative disease models, including those carrying mutations in presenilin1 (PSEN1), microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT), huntingtin (HTT), TAR DNA-binding protein-43 gene (TARDBP), or C9orf72. We previously reported that elevations in STAU1 determine autophagy defects and its knockdown is protective in models of several neurodegenerative diseases. Additional functional consequences of STAU1 overabundance, however, have not been investigated. We studied the role of STAU1 in the chronic activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), a common feature among neurodegenerative diseases and often directly associated with neuronal death. Here we report that STAU1 is a novel modulator of the UPR, and is required for apoptosis induced by activation of the PERK-CHOP pathway. STAU1 levels increased in response to multiple endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stressors, and exogenous expression of STAU1 was sufficient to cause apoptosis through the PERK-CHOP pathway of the UPR. Cortical neurons and skin fibroblasts derived from Stau1
Publication Date: 2020-05-18
Journal: Cell death and differentiation

c9ftd als(21)

Aberrant deposition of stress granule-resident proteins linked to C9orf72-associated TDP-43 proteinopathy.
A G Intracerebroventricular injections with adeno-associated virus (AAV) encoding 2 or 149 G Relative to control mice, gliosis and neurodegeneration accompanied by cognitive and motor deficits were observed in (G Our in vivo model of c9FTD/ALS is the first to robustly recapitulate hallmark features derived from both sense and antisense C9orf72 repeat-associated transcripts complete with neurodegeneration and behavioral impairments. More importantly, the early appearance of persistent pathological stress granules prior to significant pTDP-43 deposition implicates an aberrant stress granule response as a key disease mechanism driving TDP-43 proteinopathy in c9FTD/ALS.
Publication Date: 2019-02-16
Journal: Molecular neurodegeneration

disease ad(19)

Correlation between C9ORF72 mutation and neurodegenerative diseases: A comprehensive review of the literature.
Chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72) encodes a 54-kDa protein with unknown function that is expressed at high levels in the central nervous system. The C9ORF72 hexanucleotide amplification is one of the most recently discovered repetitive amplification diseases related to neurodegeneration. Its association with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) spectrum diseases has been fully established, although a causative role for C9ORF72 in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) remains to be established. Therefore, in this article, we will review the evidence for C9ORF72 as a causative factor in neurodegenerative diseases, the underlying mechanisms, and the potential for targeting C9ORF72 as a strategy to alleviate neurodegenerative disease progression.
Publication Date: 2021-01-05
Journal: International journal of medical sciences

expansion hre(18)

Expression of C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion leads to formation of RNA foci and dipeptide repeat proteins but does not influence autophagy or proteasomal function in neuronal cells.
C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) is the major genetic cause underpinning frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FLTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). C9orf72 HRE-associated pathogenesis involves both loss-of-function, through reduced C9orf72 levels, and gain-of-function mechanisms, including formation of RNA foci and generation of dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins. In addition, dysfunctional protein degradation pathways, i.e. autophagy and ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), are suggested. Our aim was to study the gain-of-function mechanisms in the context of the function of protein degradation pathways as well as the regulation of the DPR proteins through these pathways. To this end, we expressed the pathological HRE in neuronal N2a cells and mouse primary cortical neurons. Protein degradation pathways were modulated to induce or block autophagy or to inhibit UPS. In addition, proteasomal activity was assessed. The C9orf72 HRE-expressing N2a cells and neurons were confirmed to produce RNA foci and DPR proteins, predominantly the Poly-GP proteins. However, the presence of these pathological hallmarks did not result in alterations in autophagy or proteasomal activity in either of the studied cell types. In N2a cells, Poly-GP proteins appeared in soluble forms and Lactacystin-mediated UPS inhibition increased their levels, indicating proteasomal regulation. Similar effects were not observed in cortical neurons, where the Poly-GP proteins formed also higher molecular weight forms. These results suggest a cell type-specific morphology and regulation of the DPR proteins. Further studies in other model systems may shed additional light onto the effects of the C9orf72 HRE on cellular protein degradation pathways and the regulation of the DPR protein levels.
Publication Date: 2021-03-30
Journal: Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular cell research

poly gp(10)

BET bromodomain inhibitors PFI-1 and JQ1 are identified in an epigenetic compound screen to enhance C9ORF72 gene expression and shown to ameliorate C9ORF72-associated pathological and behavioral abnormalities in a C9ALS/FTD model.
An intronic GGGGCC (G4C2) hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) in the C9ORF72 gene is the most common cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), referred to as C9ALS/FTD. No cure or effective treatment exist for C9ALS/FTD. Three major molecular mechanisms have emerged to explain C9ALS/FTD disease mechanisms: (1) C9ORF72 loss-of-function through haploinsufficiency, (2) dipeptide repeat (DPR) proteins mediated toxicity by the translation of the repeat RNAs, and more controversial, (3) RNA-mediated toxicity by bidirectional transcription of the repeats that form intranuclear RNA foci. Recent studies indicate a double-hit pathogenic mechanism in C9ALS/FTD, where reduced C9ORF72 protein levels lead to impaired clearance of toxic DPRs. Here we explored whether pharmacological compounds can revert these pathological hallmarks in vitro and cognitive impairment in a C9ALS/FTD mouse model (C9BAC). We specifically focused our study on small molecule inhibitors targeting chromatin-regulating proteins (epidrugs) with the goal of increasing C9ORF72 gene expression and reduce toxic DPRs. We generated luciferase reporter cell lines containing 10 (control) or ≥ 90 (mutant) G4C2 HRE located between exon 1a and 1b of the human C9ORF72 gene. In a screen of 14 different epidrugs targeting bromodomains, chromodomains and histone-modifying enzymes, we found that several bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) inhibitors (BETi), including PFI-1 and JQ1, increased luciferase reporter activity. Using primary cortical cultures from C9BAC mice, we further found that PFI-1 treatment increased the expression of V1-V3 transcripts of the human mutant C9ORF72 gene, reduced poly(GP)-DPR inclusions but enhanced intranuclear RNA foci. We also tested whether JQ1, an BETi previously shown to reach the mouse brain by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection, can revert behavioral abnormalities in C9BAC mice. Interestingly, it was found that JQ1 administration (daily i.p. administration for 7 days) rescued hippocampal-dependent cognitive deficits in C9BAC mice. Our findings place BET bromodomain inhibitors as a potential therapy for C9ALS/FTD by ameliorating C9ORF72-associated pathological and behavioral abnormalities. Our finding that PFI-1 increases accumulation of intranuclear RNA foci is in agreement with recent data in flies suggesting that nuclear RNA foci can be neuroprotective by sequestering repeat transcripts that result in toxic DPRs.
Publication Date: 2021-03-18
Journal: Clinical epigenetics

tdp-43 fus(10)

[The role of lipids in the pathogenesis of lateral amyotrophic sclerosis].
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective degeneration of motor neurons of the motor cortex, brain stem and brain stem. Mutations in genes coding for SOD1, C9ORF72, TDP-43, FUS and others are associated with ALS and result in abnormal processing and transport of RNA as well as changes in the dynamics of cytoskeleton. In addition, a sharp change in the metabolism of various lipid classes, including phospholipids, fatty acids, sphingolipids, etc., was detected. This review describes changes in lipid content and activity of enzymes involved in their metabolism in ALS animal models as well as in patients. Changes in the metabolism of fatty acids, phospholipids, cholesterol and its derivatives are reviewed in detail. The prospects of searching for new drugs among modulators of lipid metabolism enzymes are discussed. Боковой амиотрофический склероз (БАС) — неизлечимое нейродегенеративное заболевание, характеризующееся селективной дегенерацией двигательных нейронов моторной коры, ствола головного мозга и спинного мозга. Наиболее распространенные представления о причинах данного заболевания заключаются в наличии мутаций в генах белков SOD1, C9ORF72, TDP-43, FUS и др., в нарушении процессинга и транспорта РНК, изменении динамики цитоскелета. Кроме того, обнаружено выраженное изменение метаболизма различных классов липидов, включая фосфолипиды, жирные кислоты, сфинголипиды и др. В обзоре представлены модели БАС животных и данные литературы об изменении содержания липидов и активности ферментов, участвующих в их метаболизме, у модельных животных и пациентов, страдающих данным заболеванием. Наиболее подробно рассмотрены изменения в метаболизме жирных кислот, фосфолипидов, холестерина и его производных. Обсуждаются перспективы поиска новых лекарственных средств среди модуляторов ферментов липидного метаболизма.
Publication Date: 2020-11-28
Journal: Zhurnal nevrologii i psikhiatrii imeni S.S. Korsakova

95 ci(9)

Cognitive profiles discriminate between genetic variants of behavioral frontotemporal dementia.
Trials to test disease-modifying treatments for frontotemporal dementia are eagerly awaited and sensitive instruments to assess potential treatment effects are increasingly urgent, yet lacking thus far. We aimed to identify gene-specific instruments assessing clinical onset and disease progression by comparing cognitive functioning between bvFTD patients across genetic mutations. We examined differences in 7 cognitive domains between bvFTD patients with GRN (n = 20), MAPT (n = 29) or C9orf72 (n = 31) mutations, and non-carriers (n = 24), and described longitudinal (M = 22.6 months, SD = 16.6) data in a subsample (n = 27). Patients showed overall cognitive impairment, except memory recall, working memory and visuoconstruction. GRN patients performed lower on executive function (mean difference - 2.1; 95%CI - 4.1 to - 0.5) compared to MAPT and lower on attention compared to MAPT (mean difference - 2.5; 95%CI - 4.7 to - 0.3) and C9orf72 (mean difference - 2.4; 95%CI - 4.5 to - 0.3). Only MAPT patients were impaired on delayed recall (mean difference - 1.4; 95%CI - 2.1 to - 0.7). GRN patients declined rapidly on attention and memory, MAPT declined in confrontation naming, whereas C9orf72 patients were globally impaired but remained relatively stable over time on all cognitive domains. This study shows gene-specific cognitive profiles in bvFTD, which underlines the value of neuropsychological tests as outcome measures in upcoming trials for genetic bvFTD.
Publication Date: 2020-02-14
Journal: Journal of neurology

n 3(9)

Eye movement alterations in presymptomatic C9orf72 expansion gene carriers.
The clinical manifestation of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by motor neuron degeneration, whereas frontotemporal dementia (FTD) patients show alterations of behavior and cognition. Both share repeat expansions in C9orf72 as the most prevalent genetic cause. Before disease-defining symptoms onset, structural and functional changes at cortical level may emerge in C9orf72 carriers. Here, we characterized oculomotor parameters and their association to neuropsychological domains in apparently asymptomatic individuals with mutations in ALS/FTD genes. Forty-eight carriers of ALS genes, without any clinical symptoms underwent video-oculographic examination, including 22 subjects with C9orf72 mutation, 17 with SOD1, and 9 with other ALS associated gene mutations (n = 3 KIF5A; n = 3 FUS/FUS + TBK1; n = 1 NEK1; n = 1 SETX; n = 1 TDP43). A total of 17 subjects underwent a follow-up measurement. Data were compared to 54 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Additionally, mutation carriers performed a neuropsychological assessment. In comparison to controls, the presymptomatic subjects performed significantly worse in executive oculomotor tasks such as the ability to perform correct anti-saccades. A gene mutation subgroup analysis showed that dysfunctions in C9orf72 carriers were much more pronounced than in SOD1 carriers. The anti-saccade error rate of ALS mutation carriers was associated with cognitive deficits: this correlation was increased in subjects with C9orf72 mutation, whereas SOD1 carriers showed no associations. In C9orf72 carriers, executive eye movement dysfunctions, especially the increased anti-saccade error rate, were associated with cognitive impairment and unrelated to time. These oculomotor impairments are in support of developmental deficits in these mutations, especially in prefrontal areas.
Publication Date: 2021-03-13
Journal: Journal of neurology

vcp ubqln2(9)

Neuroimaging in genetic frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have a strong clinical, genetic and pathological overlap. This review focuses on the current understanding of structural, functional and molecular neuroimaging signatures of genetic FTD and ALS. We overview quantitative neuroimaging studies on the most common genes associated with FTD (MAPT, GRN), ALS (SOD1), and both (C9orf72), and summarize visual observations of images reported in the rarer genes (CHMP2B, TARDBP, FUS, OPTN, VCP, UBQLN2, SQSTM1, TREM2, CHCHD10, TBK1).
Publication Date: 2020-09-06
Journal: Neurobiology of disease

c9orf72 vcp(6)

[Neuropathologic Subtypes of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration].
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a heterogeneous disease entity encompassing a wide variety of histopathological features and genetic backgrounds. The last two decades have seen the discovery of causative genes and the identification of relevant proteins. The current histopathological classification is based on the major types of protein deposition in the brain, and most FTLD cases can be placed into one of three pathological subgroups: FTLD-tau, FTLD-TDP, and FTLD-FUS. Further sub-classification within each subgroup is based on the morphology of neuronal and glial inclusions and lesion distribution. Affected patients, including some from the same subgroups, show considerable heterogeneity in their clinical presentations, suggesting that the subgroups represent a variety of well-defined clinical syndromes, including variants of frontotemporal dementia (behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, progressive non-fluent aphasia, and semantic dementia) and motor disorders (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, corticobasal syndrome, and supranuclear palsy syndrome). On the other hand, patients with MAPT mutations always show the FTLD-tau phenotype, whereas patients with progranulin, C9orf72, VCP or TARDBP usually present the FTLD-TDP phenotype. In this review, we describe the histopathologic features of the main FTLD subtypes and summarize the clinical presentations and genetic characteristics of affected patients.
Publication Date: 2018-05-16
Journal: Brain and nerve = Shinkei kenkyu no shinpo

mean sd(5)

Rates of Brain Atrophy Across Disease Stages in Familial Frontotemporal Dementia Associated With MAPT, GRN, and C9orf72 Pathogenic Variants.
Several clinical trials are planned for familial forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (f-FTLD). Precise modeling of brain atrophy in f-FTLD could improve the power to detect a treatment effect. To characterize regions and rates of atrophy in the 3 primary f-FTLD genetic groups (MAPT, GRN, and C9orf72) across all disease stages from asymptomatic to dementia. This investigation was a case-control study of participants enrolled in the Advancing Research and Treatment for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration or Longitudinal Evaluation of Familial Frontotemporal Dementia studies. The study took place at 18 North American academic medical centers between January 2009 and September 2018. Participants with f-FTLD (n = 100) with a known pathogenic variant (MAPT [n = 28], GRN [n = 33], or C9orf72 [n = 39]) were grouped according to disease stage (ie, Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] plus National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center [NACC] FTLD module). Included were participants with at least 2 structural magnetic resonance images at presymptomatic (CDR + NACC FTLD = 0 [n = 57]), mild or questionable (CDR + NACC FTLD = 0.5 [n = 15]), or symptomatic (CDR + NACC FTLD = ≥1 [n = 28]) disease stages. The control group included family members of known pathogenic variant carriers who did not carry the pathogenic variant (n = 60). This study fitted bayesian linear mixed-effects models in each voxel of the brain to quantify the rate of atrophy in each of the 3 genes, at each of the 3 disease stages, compared with controls. The study also analyzed rates of clinical decline in each of these groups, as measured by the CDR + NACC FTLD box score. The sample included 100 participants with f-FTLD with a known pathogenic variant (mean [SD] age, 50.48 [13.78] years; 53 [53%] female) and 60 family members of known pathogenic variant carriers who did not carry the pathogenic variant (mean [SD] age, 47.51 [12.43] years; 36 [60%] female). MAPT and GRN pathogenic variants were associated with increased rates of volume loss compared with controls at all stages of disease. In MAPT pathogenic variant carriers, statistically significant regions of accelerated volume loss compared with controls were identified in temporal regions bilaterally in the presymptomatic stage, with global spread in the symptomatic stage. For example, mean [SD] rates of atrophy in the left temporal were -231 [47] mm3 per year during the presymptomatic stage, -381 [208] mm3 per year during the mild stage, and -1485 [1025] mm3 per year during the symptomatic stage (P < .05). GRN pathogenic variant carriers generally had minimal increases in atrophy rates between the presymptomatic and mild stages, with rapid increases in atrophy rates in the symptomatic stages. For example, in the right frontal lobes, annualized volume loss was -267 [81] mm3 per year in the presymptomatic stage and -182 [90] mm3 per year in the mild stage, but -1169 [555] mm3 per year in the symptomatic stage. Compared with the other groups, C9orf72 expansion carriers showed minimal increases in rate of volume loss with disease progression. For example, the mean (SD) annualized rates of atrophy in the right frontal lobe in C9orf72 expansion carriers was -272 (118) mm3 per year in presymptomatic stages, -310 (189) mm3 per year in mildly symptomatic stages, and -251 (145) mm3 per year in symptomatic stages. These findings are relevant to clinical trial planning and suggest that the mechanism by which C9orf72 pathogenic variants lead to symptoms may be fundamentally different from the mechanisms associated with other pathogenic variants.
Publication Date: 2020-10-29
Journal: JAMA network open


Primary progressive aphasias associated with C9orf72 expansions: Another side of the story.
C9orf72 repeat expansions are rarely associated with primary progressive aphasias (PPA). In-depth characterization of the linguistic deficits, and the underlying patterns of grey-matter atrophy in PPA associated with the C9orf72 expansions (PPA-C9orf72) are currently lacking. In this study, we comprehensively analyzed a unique series of 16 patients affected by PPA-C9orf72. Eleven patients were issued from two independent French and Finnish cohorts, and five were identified by means of literature review. Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies were performed on three of them. This study depicts the spectrum of C9orf72-related aphasic phenotypes, and illustrates their linguistic presentation. The non-fluent/agrammatic variant was the most frequent phenotype in our series (9/16 patients, 56%), with apraxia of speech being the main defining feature. Left frontal lobe atrophy was present in these subjects, peaking in inferior frontal gyrus. Three patients (19%) showed the semantic variant, with progression of atrophy in temporo-polar regions, later involving orbitofrontal cortex. Anterior temporal lobe dysfunction was also particularly relevant in two patients (12.5%) with mixed forms of PPA. Lastly, two patients (12.5%) had unclassifiable PPA with predominating word-finding difficulties. No PPA-C9orf72 patients in our series fulfilled the criteria of the logopenic variant. Importantly, this study underlines the role of C9orf72 mutation in the disruption of the most anterior parts of the language network, including prefrontal and temporo-polar areas. It provides guidelines for C9orf72 testing in PPA patients, with important clinical impact as gene-specific therapies are upcoming.
Publication Date: 2021-10-31
Journal: Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior


SLITRK2, an X-linked modifier of the age at onset in C9orf72 frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
The G4C2-repeat expansion in C9orf72 is the most common cause of frontotemporal dementia and of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The variability of age at onset and phenotypic presentations is a hallmark of C9orf72 disease. In this study, we aimed to identify modifying factors of disease onset in C9orf72 carriers using a family-based approach, in pairs of C9orf72 carrier relatives with concordant or discordant age at onset. Linkage and association analyses provided converging evidence for a locus on chromosome Xq27.3. The minor allele A of rs1009776 was associated with an earlier onset (P = 1 × 10-5). The association with onset of dementia was replicated in an independent cohort of unrelated C9orf72 patients (P = 0.009). The protective major allele delayed the onset of dementia from 5 to 13 years on average depending on the cohort considered. The same trend was observed in an independent cohort of C9orf72 patients with extreme deviation of the age at onset (P = 0.055). No association of rs1009776 was detected in GRN patients, suggesting that the effect of rs1009776 was restricted to the onset of dementia due to C9orf72. The minor allele A is associated with a higher SLITRK2 expression based on both expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) databases and in-house expression studies performed on C9orf72 brain tissues. SLITRK2 encodes for a post-synaptic adhesion protein. We further show that synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 and synaptophysin, two synaptic vesicle proteins, were decreased in frontal cortex of C9orf72 patients carrying the minor allele. Upregulation of SLITRK2 might be associated with synaptic dysfunctions and drives adverse effects in C9orf72 patients that could be modulated in those carrying the protective allele. How the modulation of SLITRK2 expression affects synaptic functions and influences the disease onset of dementia in C9orf72 carriers will require further investigations. In summary, this study describes an original approach to detect modifier genes in rare diseases and reinforces rising links between C9orf72 and synaptic dysfunctions that might directly influence the occurrence of first symptoms.
Publication Date: 2021-10-24
Journal: Brain : a journal of neurology


Differential Lipid Mediator Involvement in the Different Forms of Genetic Frontotemporal Dementia: Novel Insights into Neuroinflammation.
The pathophysiology of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is poorly understood but recent studies implicate neuroinflammation as an important factor. However, little is known so far about the role of the resolution pathway, the response to inflammation that allows tissue to return to a homeostatic state. We aimed to measure the concentrations of lipid mediators including specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs) and proinflammatory eicosanoids in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of people with FTD. 15 people with genetic FTD (5 with C9orf72 expansions, 5 with GRN mutations, and 5 with MAPT mutations) were recruited to the study along with 15 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Targeted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry techniques were used to measure the CSF concentrations of lipid mediators in the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), n-3 docosapentaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and arachidonic acid (AA) metabolomes. Only the C9orf72 expansion carriers had higher concentrations of SPMs (DHA-derived maresins and DHA-derived resolvins) compared with controls. In contrast, GRN and MAPT mutation carriers had normal concentrations of SPMs but significantly higher concentrations of the proinflammatory AA-derived leukotrienes and AA-derived thromboxane compared with controls. Additionally, the C9orf72 expansion carriers also had significantly higher concentrations of AA-derived leukotrienes. This initial pilot study of lipid mediators provides a window into a novel biological pathway not previously investigated in FTD, showing differential patterns of alterations between those with C9orf72 expansions (where SPMs are higher) and GRN and MAPT mutations (where only proinflammatory eicosanoids are higher).
Publication Date: 2021-09-21
Journal: Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD


Physical exercise is a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Convergent evidence from Mendelian randomisation, transcriptomics and risk genotypes.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a universally fatal neurodegenerative disease. ALS is determined by gene-environment interactions and improved understanding of these interactions may lead to effective personalised medicine. The role of physical exercise in the development of ALS is currently controversial. First, we dissected the exercise-ALS relationship in a series of two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) experiments. Next we tested for enrichment of ALS genetic risk within exercise-associated transcriptome changes. Finally, we applied a validated physical activity questionnaire in a small cohort of genetically selected ALS patients. We present MR evidence supporting a causal relationship between genetic liability to frequent and strenuous leisure-time exercise and ALS using a liberal instrument (multiplicative random effects IVW, p=0.01). Transcriptomic analysis revealed that genes with altered expression in response to acute exercise are enriched with known ALS risk genes (permutation test, p=0.013) including C9ORF72, and with ALS-associated rare variants of uncertain significance. Questionnaire evidence revealed that age of onset is inversely proportional to historical physical activity for C9ORF72-ALS (Cox proportional hazards model, Wald test p=0.007, likelihood ratio test p=0.01, concordance=74%) but not for non-C9ORF72-ALS. Variability in average physical activity was lower in C9ORF72-ALS compared to both non-C9ORF72-ALS (F-test, p=0.002) and neurologically normal controls (F-test, p=0.049) which is consistent with a homogeneous effect of physical activity in all C9ORF72-ALS patients. Our MR approach suggests a positive causal relationship between ALS and physical exercise. Exercise is likely to cause motor neuron injury only in patients with a risk-genotype. Consistent with this we have shown that ALS risk genes are activated in response to exercise. In particular, we propose that G4C2-repeat expansion of C9ORF72 predisposes to exercise-induced ALS. We acknowledge support from the Wellcome Trust (JCK, 216596/Z/19/Z), NIHR (PJS, NF-SI-0617-10077; IS-BRC-1215-20017) and NIH (MPS, CEGS 5P50HG00773504, 1P50HL083800, 1R01HL101388, 1R01-HL122939, S10OD025212, P30DK116074, and UM1HG009442).
Publication Date: 2021-05-30
Journal: EBioMedicine


Nuclear depletion of RNA-binding protein ELAVL3 (HuC) in sporadic and familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by loss of motor neurons and characterized neuropathologically in almost all cases by nuclear depletion and cytoplasmic aggregation of TDP-43, a nuclear RNA-binding protein (RBP). We identified ELAVL3 as one of the most downregulated genes in our transcriptome profiles of laser captured microdissection of motor neurons from sporadic ALS nervous systems and the most dysregulated of all RBPs. Neuropathological characterizations showed ELAVL3 nuclear depletion in a great percentage of remnant motor neurons, sometimes accompanied by cytoplasmic accumulations. These abnormalities were common in sporadic cases with and without intermediate expansions in ATXN2 and familial cases carrying mutations in C9orf72 and SOD1. Depletion of ELAVL3 occurred at both the RNA and protein levels and a short protein isoform was identified, but it is not related to a TDP-43-dependent cryptic exon in intron 3. Strikingly, ELAVL3 abnormalities were more frequent than TDP-43 abnormalities and occurred in motor neurons still with normal nuclear TDP-43 present, but all neurons with abnormal TDP-43 also had abnormal ELAVL3. In a neuron-like cell culture model using SH-SY5Y cells, ELAVL3 mislocalization occurred weeks before TDP-43 abnormalities were seen. We interrogated genetic databases, but did not identify association of ELAVL3 genetic structure with ALS. Taken together, these findings suggest that ELAVL3 is an important RBP in ALS pathogenesis acquired early and the neuropathological data suggest that it is involved by loss of function rather than cytoplasmic toxicity.
Publication Date: 2021-10-08
Journal: Acta neuropathologica


Mutation analysis of SOD1, C9orf72, TARDBP and FUS genes in ethnically-diverse Malaysian patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Recent studies have identified SOD1, FUS, TARDBP and C9orf72 as major ALS-related genes in both European and Asian populations. However, significant differences exist in the mutation frequencies of these genes between various ancestral backgrounds. This study aims to identify the frequency of mutations in the common causative ALS genes in a multi-ethnic Malaysian cohort. We screened 101 Malaysian ALS patients including 3 familial and 98 sporadic cases for mutations in the coding regions of SOD1, FUS, and TARDBP by Sanger sequencing. The C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion was screened using the repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction assay. Mutations were found in 5.9% (6 of 101) of patients including 3.0% (3 of 101) of patients with the previously reported SOD1 missense mutations (p.V48A and p.N87S) and 3.0% (3 of 101) of patients with the C9orf72 repeat expansion. No mutations were found in the FUS and TARDBP genes. This study is the first to report the mutation frequency in an ethnically diverse Malaysian ALS population and warrants further investigation to reveal novel genes and disease pathways.
Publication Date: 2021-08-19
Journal: Neurobiology of aging


Molecular interactions between C9ORF72 and SMCR8: A local energetic frustration perspective.
The hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9orf72 represents a major cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). C9orf72, together with SMCR8 and WDR41, can form a stable complex that regulates autophagy and membrane trafficking. Very recently, the cryo-EM structure of C9orf72-SMCR8-WDR41 helps in understanding the structure-function relationship of C9orf72. This protein complex is indispensable to several cellular processes and is strongly linked to familial ALS and FTD. Understanding the molecular basis of the C9orf72-SMCR8 protein-protein interaction is thus important to comprehend their function. To establish a basis for understanding the relationships between sequence, structure, and function of the C9orf72, this study reports a local frustration analysis on the C9orf72-SMCR8 complex structure. An analysis of local frustration profiles indicated that (1) the structural domains in C9orf72 are minimally-frustrated and relatively conserved, (2) high frustration patches on the protein-protein interface (3) increased frustration in the C-terminal helices involved in the dimerization of C9orf72 structures.
Publication Date: 2021-07-14
Journal: Biochemical and biophysical research communications


Slowly progressive behavioral frontotemporal dementia syndrome in a family co-segregating the C9orf72 expansion and a Synaptophysin mutation.
Synaptophysin, already related to X-linked intellectual disability, is expressed mainly in the central nervous system. Studies in humans indicate that the downregulation of synaptophysin could be involved in the development of dementia. Our study presents the first familial case of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia associated with the co-occurrence of the repeat expansion in C9orf72 and a pathogenic variant in the SYP gene. Exome sequencing and repeat-primed PCR for C9orf72 were performed for two siblings with clinical and imaging findings suggestive of slowly progressive behavioral frontotemporal dementia. We found that both siblings have the hexanucleotide expansion in C9orf72 and a null variant in the SYP gene. The most affected sibling presents the putative variant in a hemizygous state. With milder symptoms, his sister has the same pathogenic variant in heterozygosis, compatible with X-linked inheritance. Our results strengthened previous suggestive evidence that the phenotypes associated with C9orf72 repeat expansion are variable and probably influenced by additional genetic modifiers. We hypothesized that the pathogenic variant in the SYP gene might have modified the typical phenotype associated with the C9orf72 mutation.
Publication Date: 2021-07-27
Journal: Alzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association


Characterization of C9orf72 haplotypes to evaluate the effects of normal and pathological variations on its expression and splicing.
Expansion of the hexanucleotide repeat (HR) in the first intron of the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in Caucasians. All C9orf72-ALS/FTD patients share a common risk (R) haplotype. To study C9orf72 expression and splicing from the mutant R allele compared to the complementary normal allele in ALS/FTD patients, we initially created a detailed molecular map of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) signature and the HR length of the various C9orf72 haplotypes in Caucasians. We leveraged this map to determine the allelic origin of transcripts per patient, and decipher the effects of pathological and normal HR lengths on C9orf72 expression and splicing. In C9orf72 ALS patients' cells, the HR expanded allele, compared to non-R allele, was associated with decreased levels of a downstream initiated transcript variant and increased levels of transcripts initiated upstream of the HR. HR expanded R alleles correlated with high levels of unspliced intron 1 and activation of cryptic donor splice sites along intron 1. Retention of intron 1 was associated with sequential intron 2 retention. The SNP signature of C9orf72 haplotypes described here enables allele-specific analysis of transcriptional products and may pave the way to allele-specific therapeutic strategies.
Publication Date: 2021-03-30
Journal: PLoS genetics


Genome-wide association study of frontotemporal dementia identifies a C9ORF72 haplotype with a median of 12-G4C2 repeats that predisposes to pathological repeat expansions.
Genetic factors play a major role in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The majority of FTD cannot be genetically explained yet and it is likely that there are still FTD risk loci to be discovered. Common variants have been identified with genome-wide association studies (GWAS), but these studies have not systematically searched for rare variants. To identify rare and new common variant FTD risk loci and provide more insight into the heritability of C9ORF72-related FTD, we performed a GWAS consisting of 354 FTD patients (including and excluding N = 28 pathological repeat carriers) and 4209 control subjects. The Haplotype Reference Consortium was used as reference panel, allowing for the imputation of rare genetic variants. Two rare genetic variants nearby C9ORF72 were strongly associated with FTD in the discovery (rs147211831: OR = 4.8, P = 9.2 × 10
Publication Date: 2021-09-04
Journal: Translational psychiatry


SRSF protein kinase 1 modulates RAN translation and suppresses CGG repeat toxicity.
Transcribed CGG repeat expansions cause neurodegeneration in Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). CGG repeat RNAs sequester RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) into nuclear foci and undergo repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation into toxic peptides. To identify proteins involved in these processes, we employed a CGG repeat RNA-tagging system to capture repeat-associated RBPs by mass spectrometry in mammalian cells. We identified several SR (serine/arginine-rich) proteins that interact selectively with CGG repeats basally and under cellular stress. These proteins modify toxicity in a Drosophila model of FXTAS. Pharmacologic inhibition of serine/arginine protein kinases (SRPKs), which alter SRSF protein phosphorylation, localization, and activity, directly inhibits RAN translation of CGG and GGGGCC repeats (associated with C9orf72 ALS/FTD) and triggers repeat RNA retention in the nucleus. Lowering SRPK expression suppressed toxicity in both FXTAS and C9orf72 ALS/FTD model flies, and SRPK inhibitors suppressed CGG repeat toxicity in rodent neurons. Together, these findings demonstrate roles for CGG repeat RNA binding proteins in RAN translation and repeat toxicity and support further evaluation of SRPK inhibitors in modulating RAN translation associated with repeat expansion disorders.
Publication Date: 2021-09-21
Journal: EMBO molecular medicine


Reduced C9orf72 function leads to defective synaptic vesicle release and neuromuscular dysfunction in zebrafish.
The most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion within the C9orf72 gene. Reduced levels of C9orf72 mRNA and protein have been found in ALS/FTD patients, but the role of this protein in disease pathogenesis is still poorly understood. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a stable C9orf72 loss-of-function (LOF) model in the zebrafish. We show that reduced C9orf72 function leads to motor defects, muscle atrophy, motor neuron loss and mortality in early larval and adult stages. Analysis of the structure and function of the neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) of the larvae, reveal a marked reduction in the number of presynaptic and postsynaptic structures and an impaired release of quantal synaptic vesicles at the NMJ. Strikingly, we demonstrate a downregulation of SV2a upon C9orf72-LOF and a reduced rate of synaptic vesicle cycling. Furthermore, we show a reduced number and size of Rab3a-postive synaptic puncta at NMJs. Altogether, these results reveal a key function for C9orf72 in the control of presynaptic vesicle trafficking and release at the zebrafish larval NMJ. Our study demonstrates an important role for C9orf72 in ALS/FTD pathogenesis, where it regulates synaptic vesicle release and neuromuscular functions.
Publication Date: 2021-06-27
Journal: Communications biology


The Frequency of Genetic Mutations Associated With Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia in Chinese Han Patients.
Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a clinically heterogeneous syndrome with high heredity. However, the frequencies of mutations associated with bvFTD have yet to be determined. The aim of the current study was to investigate the frequency of Chinese Han patients harboring genetic bvFTD variants. A total of 49 bvFTD patients selected from our frontotemporal lobar degeneration database, including 14 familial cases belonging to eight families and 35 sporadic cases were consecutively recruited from July 2014 to December 2019 at Xuanwu Hospital (Beijing, China). Whole-exome sequencing (WES) was performed and repeat-primed PCR was used to test samples for the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion mutation. The frequency of genetic variants and the pathogenicity of the novel variants were analyzed. Ten pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants were identified in 17 bvFTD patients, including C9orf72 repeat expansions, six previously reported mutations and three novel mutations (MAPT p. R5C, p. D54N, GRN p. P451L). Genetic mutations accounted for 27.9% (12/43) of total cases, 87.5% (7/8) of patients with familial bvFTD, and 14.3% (5/35) with sporadic bvFTD. Pathogenic variants mostly occurred in MAPT gene (20.9%, 9/43), followed by C9orf72 repeat expansions (2.3%, 1/43), GRN gene (2.3%, 1/43) and FUS gene (2.3%, 1/43). There was a high prevalence of genetic variants in Chinese bvFTD patients, highlighting the necessity of genetic testing for bvFTD.
Publication Date: 2021-07-27
Journal: Frontiers in aging neuroscience


Viral vector gene delivery of the novel chaperone protein SRCP1 to modify insoluble protein in in vitro and in vivo models of ALS.
Protein misfolding and aggregation are shared features of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and protein quality control disruption contributes to neuronal toxicity. Therefore, reducing protein aggregation could hold therapeutic potential. We previously identified a novel chaperone protein, serine-rich chaperone protein 1 (SRCP1), that effectively prevents protein aggregation in cell culture and zebrafish models of Huntington's disease. Here we tested whether this benefit extends to aggregated proteins found in ALS. We used viral-mediated expression of SRCP1 in in vitro and in vivo models of ALS. We found that SRCP1 reduced insoluble SOD1 protein levels in HEK293T cells overexpressing either the A4V or G93R mutant SOD1. However, the reduction of insoluble protein was not observed in either mutant C9orf72 or SOD1 ALS iPSC-derived motor neurons infected with a lentivirus expressing SRCP1. SOD1-G93A ALS mice injected with AAV-SRCP1 showed a small but significant reduction in insoluble and soluble SOD1 in both the brain and spinal cord, but SRCP1 expression did not improve mouse survival. These data indicate that SRCP1 likely reduces insoluble protein burden in a protein and/or context-dependent manner indicating a need for additional insight into SRCP1 function and therapeutic potential.
Publication Date: 2021-07-10
Journal: Gene therapy


Sequencing of neurofilament genes identified NEFH Ser787Arg as a novel risk variant of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Chinese subjects.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease with neuronal cell inclusions composed of neurofilaments and other abnormal aggregative proteins as pathological hallmarks. Approximately 90% of patients have sporadic cases (sALS), and at least 4 genes, i.e. C9orf72, SOD1, FUS and TARDBP, have been identified as the main causative genes, while many others have been proposed as potential risk genes. However, these mutations could explain only ~ 10% of sALS cases. The neurofilament polypeptides encoded by NEFH, NEFM, and NEFL are promising protein biomarkers for ALS and other degenerative diseases. However, whether the genetic variants of these genes were associated with ALS remain ambiguous. Here, we used PCR-Sanger to sequence the exons of these three genes in a cohort of 371 sALS patients and 711 healthy controls (Phase I) and validated the risk variant in another 300 sALS patients and 1076 controls (Phase II). A total of 92 variants were identified, including 36 rare heterozygous variants in NEFH, 27 in NEFM, and 16 in NEFL, and only rs568759161 (p.Ser787Arg) in NEFH reached nominal statistical power (P = 0.02 at Phase I, P = 0.009 at Phase II) in the case-control comparison. Together, the Phase I and II studies showed the significantly higher frequency of the variant in cases (9/1342, 0.67%) than in controls (2/3574, 0.07%) (OR 12.06; 95% CI 2.60-55.88; P = 0.0003). No variants passed multiple testing in the discovery cohort, but rs568759161 was associated with ALS in a replication cohort. Our results confirmed that NEFH Ser787Arg is a novel sALS risk variant in Chinese subjects, but NEFM and NEFL were not associated with sALS. These data may have implications for genetic counselling and for understanding the pathogenesis of sALS.
Publication Date: 2021-09-14
Journal: BMC medical genomics


Synaptopathy Mechanisms in ALS Caused by C9orf72 Repeat Expansion.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a complex neurodegenerative disease caused by degeneration of motor neurons (MNs). ALS pathogenic features include accumulation of misfolded proteins, glutamate excitotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction at distal axon terminals, and neuronal cytoskeleton changes. Synergies between loss of C9orf72 functions and gain of function by toxic effects of repeat expansions also contribute to C9orf72-mediated pathogenesis. However, the impact of haploinsufficiency of C9orf72 on neurons and in synaptic functions requires further examination. As the motor neurons degenerate, the disease symptoms will lead to neurotransmission deficiencies in the brain, spinal cord, and neuromuscular junction. Altered neuronal excitability, synaptic morphological changes, and C9orf72 protein and DPR localization at the synapses, suggest a potential involvement of C9orf72 at synapses. In this review article, we provide a conceptual framework for assessing the putative involvement of C9orf72 as a synaptopathy, and we explore the underlying and common disease mechanisms with other neurodegenerative diseases. Finally, we reflect on the major challenges of understanding C9orf72-ALS as a synaptopathy focusing on integrating mitochondrial and neuronal cytoskeleton degeneration as biomarkers and potential targets to treat ALS neurodegeneration.
Publication Date: 2021-06-19
Journal: Frontiers in cellular neuroscience


FDG-PET in presymptomatic C9orf72 mutation carriers.
Our aim is to investigate patterns of brain glucose metabolism using fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in presymptomatic carriers of the C9orf72 repeat expansion to better understand the early preclinical stages of frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Structural MRI and FDG-PET were performed on clinically asymptomatic members of families with FTD caused by the C9orf72 repeat expansion (15 presymptomatic mutation carriers, C9orf72+; 20 non-carriers, C9orf72-). Regional glucose metabolism in cerebral and cerebellar gray matter was compared between groups. The mean age of the C9orf72+ and C9orf72- groups were 45.3 ± 10.6 and 56.0 ± 11.0 years respectively, and the mean age of FTD onset in their families was 56 ± 7 years. Compared to non-carrier controls, the C9orf72+ group exhibited regional hypometabolism, primarily involving the cingulate gyrus, frontal and temporal neocortices (left > right) and bilateral thalami. The C9orf72 repeat expansion is associated with changes in brain glucose metabolism that are demonstrable up to 10 years prior to symptom onset and before changes in gray matter volume become significant. These findings indicate that FDG-PET may be a particularly sensitive and useful method for investigating and monitoring the earliest stages of FTD in individuals with this underlying genetic basis.
Publication Date: 2021-05-29
Journal: NeuroImage. Clinical


Estimated Prevalence and Incidence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and SOD1 and C9orf72 Genetic Variants.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by progressive deterioration of motor neurons. Assessment of the size/geographic distribution of the ALS population, including ALS with genetic origin, is needed to understand the burden of the disease and the need for clinical intervention and therapy. The main objective of this study was to estimate the number of prevalent and incident ALS cases overall and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) ALS in 22 countries across Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and UK), North America (USA and Canada), Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay), and Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan). A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify population-based studies reporting ALS prevalence and/or incidence rates. Pooled prevalence and incidence rates were obtained using a meta-analysis approach at the country and regional geographic level. A country-level pooled estimate was used when ≥2 studies were available per country and geographic regional pooled estimates were used otherwise. The proportion of cases with a SOD1 or C9orf72 mutation among sporadic (sALS) and familial (fALS) cases were obtained from a previous systematic review and meta-analysis. Pooled prevalence rates (per 100,000 persons) and incidence rates (per 100,000 person-years) were 6.22 and 2.31 for Europe, 5.20 and 2.35 for North America, 3.41 and 1.25 for Latin America, 3.01 and 0.93 for Asian countries excluding Japan, and 7.96 and 1.76 for Japan, respectively. Significant heterogeneity in reported incidence and prevalence was observed within and between countries/geographic regions. The estimated number of 2020 ALS cases across the 22 countries is 121,028 prevalent and 41,128 incident cases. The total estimated number of prevalent SOD1 cases is 2,876 cases, of which, 1,342 (47%) were fALS and 1,534 (53%) were sALS, and the number of incident SOD1 cases is 946 (434 [46%] fALS and 512 [54%] sALS). The total estimated number of prevalent C9orf72 cases is 4,545 (1,198 [26%] fALS, 3,347 [74%] sALS), and the number of incident C9orf72 cases is 1,706 (450 [26%] fALS and 1,256 [74%] sALS). The estimated number of patients with SOD1 and C9orf72 ALS suggests that although the proportions of SOD1 and C9orf72 are higher among those with fALS, the majority of SOD1 and C9orf72 ALS cases may be found among those with sALS (about 53 and 74%, respectively). These results suggest that classification of fALS based on reported family history does not capture the full picture of ALS of genetic origin.
Publication Date: 2021-07-12
Journal: Neuroepidemiology