251 research outputs found

    Genetic analysis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis identifies contributing pathways and cell types

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    Despite the considerable progress in unraveling the genetic causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we do not fully understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. We analyzed genome-wide data involving 78,500 individuals using a polygenic risk score approach to identify the biological pathways and cell types involved in ALS. This data-driven approach identified multiple aspects of the biology underlying the disease that resolved into broader themes, namely, neuron projection morphogenesis, membrane trafficking, and signal transduction mediated by ribonucleotides. We also found that genomic risk in ALS maps consistently to GABAergic interneurons and oligodendrocytes, as confirmed in human single-nucleus RNA-seq data. Using two-sample Mendelian randomization, we nominated six differentially expressed genes (ATG16L2, ACSL5, MAP1LC3A, MAPKAPK3, PLXNB2, and SCFD1) within the significant pathways as relevant to ALS. We conclude that the disparate genetic etiologies of this fatal neurological disease converge on a smaller number of final common pathways and cell types

    Incidence of visual impairment due to cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma in indigenous Australians within central Australia: the Central Australian Ocular Health Study

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    Author version made available in accordance with the publisher's policy.Background: To estimate the incidence and causes of visual impairment for the purposes of service provision among the indigenous Australian population within central Australia from its most common causes, namely cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma. Design: Clinic-based cohort study. Participants: One thousand eight hundred eighty four individuals aged =20 years living in one of 30 remote communities within the statistical local area of 'Central Australia'. Methods: From those initially recruited, 608 (32%) participants were reviewed again between 6 months and 3 years (median 2 years). Patients underwent Snellen visual acuity testing and subjective refraction. Following this, an assessment of their anterior and posterior segments was made. Baseline results were compared with those who were reviewed. Main Outcome Measures: The annual incidence rates and causes of visual impairment (vision worse than Snellen visual acuity 6/12 in at least one eye). Results: The incidence of visual impairment in at least one eye was 6.6%, 1.2% and 0.7% per year for cataract, diabetic retinopathy and trachoma, respectively (7.9%, 1.5% and 0.7% per year for those aged =40 years). Advancing age was the main risk factor common to all three. Conclusion: It is important to be mindful not only of the prevalence of disease in a community but also of the rate at which new cases are occurring when allocating resources to address the ocular health needs of this region. Compared with historical data, diabetic retinopathy is emerging as a new and increasing threat to vision in this population.Australian National Health & Medical Research Counci

    The prevalence of glaucoma in indigenous Australians within Central Australia: the Central Australian Ocular Health Study

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    Aims To determine the prevalence of glaucoma within the indigenous Australian population living in central Australia. Methods 1884 individuals aged ≥20 years, living in one of 30 remote communities within the statistical local area of ‘Central Australia,’ were recruited for this study. This equated to 36% of those aged ≥20 years and 67% of those aged ≥40 years within this district. Slit-lamp examination of the anterior segment and intraocular pressure measurement, followed by stereoscopic slit-lamp funduscopy of the optic nerve, was performed. Selected patients underwent automated visual-field testing. The diagnosis of glaucoma was based on pre-existing definitions. Glaucoma prevalence data are presented. Results Seventeen individuals had glaucoma (0.90%). Causes of secondary glaucoma were found in four with neovascular glaucoma, two with uveitic glaucoma and four who had developed glaucoma subsequent to trauma or surgery. The remaining seven had no identifiable cause for their glaucoma and were thus classified as open-angle glaucoma equating to a prevalence of 0.52% (95% CI 0.14% to 0.90%) for those aged ≥40 years. Of these, four had an intraocular pressure ≤21 mm Hg, and three had an intraocular pressure >21 mm Hg. Conclusion The prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among indigenous Australians within central Australia was 0.52% for those aged ≥40 years. After adjustment for the age distribution of our sample, this is one-third the prevalence seen among the non-indigenous Australian population and is despite a higher prevalence of ocular parameters considered to be associated with glaucoma

    Targeted Genetic Screen in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Reveals Novel Genetic Variants with Synergistic Effect on Clinical Phenotype

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is underpinned by an oligogenic rare variant architecture. Identified genetic variants of ALS include RNA-binding proteins containing prion-like domains (PrLDs). We hypothesized that screening genes encoding additional similar proteins will yield novel genetic causes of ALS. The most common genetic variant of ALS patients is a G4C2-repeat expansion within C9ORF72. We have shown that G4C2-repeat RNA sequesters RNA-binding proteins. A logical consequence of this is that loss-of-function mutations in G4C2-binding partners might contribute to ALS pathogenesis independently of and/or synergistically with C9ORF72 expansions. Targeted sequencing of genomic DNA encoding either RNA-binding proteins or known ALS genes (n = 274 genes) was performed in ALS patients to identify rare deleterious genetic variants and explore genotype-phenotype relationships. Genomic DNA was extracted from 103 ALS patients including 42 familial ALS patients and 61 young-onset (average age of onset 41 years) sporadic ALS patients; patients were chosen to maximize the probability of identifying genetic causes of ALS. Thirteen patients carried a G4C2-repeat expansion of C9ORF72. We identified 42 patients with rare deleterious variants; 6 patients carried more than one variant. Twelve mutations were discovered in known ALS genes which served as a validation of our strategy. Rare deleterious variants in RNA-binding proteins were significantly enriched in ALS patients compared to control frequencies (p = 5.31E-18). Nineteen patients featured at least one variant in a RNA-binding protein containing a PrLD. The number of variants per patient correlated with rate of disease progression (t-test, p = 0.033). We identified eighteen patients with a single variant in a G4C2-repeat binding protein. Patients with a G4C2-binding protein variant in combination with a C9ORF72 expansion had a significantly faster disease course (t-test, p = 0.025). Our data are consistent with an oligogenic model of ALS. We provide evidence for a number of entirely novel genetic variants of ALS caused by mutations in RNA-binding proteins. Moreover we show that these mutations act synergistically with each other and with C9ORF72 expansions to modify the clinical phenotype of ALS. A key finding is that this synergy is present only between functionally interacting variants. This work has significant implications for ALS therapy development

    Mutations in the Glycosyltransferase Domain of GLT8D1 Are Associated with Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative disorder without effective neuroprotective therapy. Known genetic variants impair pathways, including RNA processing, axonal transport, and protein homeostasis. We report ALS-causing mutations within the gene encoding the glycosyltransferase GLT8D1. Exome sequencing in an autosomal-dominant ALS pedigree identified p.R92C mutations in GLT8D1, which co-segregate with disease. Sequencing of local and international cohorts demonstrated significant ALS association in the same exon, including additional rare deleterious mutations in conserved amino acids. Mutations are associated with the substrate binding site, and both R92C and G78W changes impair GLT8D1 enzyme activity. Mutated GLT8D1 exhibits in vitro cytotoxicity and induces motor deficits in zebrafish consistent with ALS. Relative toxicity of mutations in model systems mirrors clinical severity. In conclusion, we have linked ALS pathophysiology to inherited mutations that diminish the activity of a glycosyltransferase enzyme

    The LRRK2 Variant E193K Prevents Mitochondrial Fission Upon MPP+ Treatment by Altering LRRK2 Binding to DRP1

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    Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 gene (LRRK2) are associated with familial and sporadic Parkinson\u27s disease (PD). LRRK2 is a complex protein that consists of multiple domains, including 13 putative armadillo-type repeats at the N-terminus. In this study, we analyzed the functional and molecular consequences of a novel variant, E193K, identified in an Italian family. E193K substitution does not influence LRRK2 kinase activity. Instead it affects LRRK2 biochemical properties, such as phosphorylation at Ser935 and affinity for 14-3-3epsilon. Primary fibroblasts obtained from an E193K carrier demonstrated increased cellular toxicity and abnormal mitochondrial fission upon 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium treatment. We found that E193K alters LRRK2 binding to DRP1, a crucial mediator of mitochondrial fission. Our data support a role for LRRK2 as a scaffolding protein influencing mitochondrial fission

    ALS-associated missense and nonsense TBK1 mutations can both cause loss of kinase function

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    Mutations in TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK1) have been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Some TBK1 variants are nonsense and are predicted to cause disease through haploinsufficiency; however, many other mutations are missense with unknown functional effects. We exome sequenced 699 familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and identified 16 TBK1 novel or extremely rare protein-changing variants. We characterized a subset of these: p.G217R, p.R357X, and p.C471Y. Here, we show that the p.R357X and p.G217R both abolish the ability of TBK1 to phosphorylate 2 of its kinase targets, IRF3 and optineurin, and to undergo phosphorylation. They both inhibit binding to optineurin and the p.G217R, within the TBK1 kinase domain, reduces homodimerization, essential for TBK1 activation and function. Finally, we show that the proportion of TBK1 that is active (phosphorylated) is reduced in 5 lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from patients harboring heterozygous missense or in-frame deletion TBK1 mutations. We conclude that missense mutations in functional domains of TBK1 impair the binding and phosphorylation of its normal targets, implicating a common loss of function mechanism, analogous to truncation mutations

    Review of the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Indigenous Australians

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    Author version made available in accordance with Publisher copyright policy.The purpose of this review is to compare the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with Diabetes Mellitus (DM). Australian DR prevalence data from 6 Indigenous studies (n = 2865) and 5 non-Indigenous studies (n = 9801) conducted between 1985 and 2013 were included for analysis. Estimated prevalence of any DR among Indigenous Australians with DM was 23.4% compared with 28.9% for non-Indigenous Australians (χ2 = 26.9, P < 0.001). In studies performed after 1990, a significantly higher rate of diabetic macular edema was found in Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous Australians with DM (7.6% versus 4.9%, χ2 = 6.67, P = 0.01). Although there are limitations in comparing these studies, one explanation for the observed data could be a model in which Indigenous Australians are relatively resistant to early stage DR, but with a subset progressing to sight threatening DR due to individual genetic and environmental susceptibility factors coupled with poor glycemic control

    CCNF mutations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are overlapping, fatal neurodegenerative disorders in which the molecular and pathogenic basis remains poorly understood. Ubiquitinated protein aggregates, of which TDP-43 is a major component, are a characteristic pathological feature of most ALS and FTD patients. Here we use genome-wide linkage analysis in a large ALS/FTD kindred to identify a novel disease locus on chromosome 16p13.3. Whole-exome sequencing identified a CCNF missense mutation at this locus. Interrogation of international cohorts identified additional novel CCNF variants in familial and sporadic ALS and FTD. Enrichment of rare protein-altering CCNF variants was evident in a large sporadic ALS replication cohort. CCNF encodes cyclin F, a component of an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase complex (SCF(Cyclin F)). Expression of mutant CCNF in neuronal cells caused abnormal ubiquitination and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, including TDP-43 and a SCF(Cyclin F) substrate. This implicates common mechanisms, linked to protein homeostasis, underlying neuronal degeneration
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