Publications by authors named "Christine Van Broeckhoven"

353 Publications

Family-based exome sequencing identifies RBM45 as a possible candidate gene for frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Neurobiol Dis 2021 Aug 9;156:105421. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium; Institute Born-Bunge, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

Neurodegenerative disorders like frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are pathologically characterized by toxic protein deposition in the cytoplasm or nucleus of affected neurons and glial cells. Many of these aggregated proteins belong to the class of RNA binding proteins (RBP), and, when mutated, account for a significant subset of familial ALS and FTD cases. Here, we present first genetic evidence for the RBP gene RBM45 in the FTD-ALS spectrum. RBM45 shows many parallels with other FTD-ALS associated genes and proteins. Multiple lines of evidence have demonstrated that RBM45 is an RBP that, upon mutation, redistributes to the cytoplasm where it co-aggregates with other RBPs into cytoplasmic stress granules (SG), evolving to persistent toxic TDP-43 immunoreactive inclusions. Exome sequencing in two affected first cousins of a heavily affected early-onset dementia family listed a number of candidate genes. The gene with the highest pathogenicity score was the RBP gene RBM45. In the family, the RBM45 Arg183* nonsense mutation co-segregated in both affected cousins. Validation in an unrelated patient (n = 548) / control (n = 734) cohort identified an additional RBM45 Arg183* carrier with bvFTD on a shared 4 Mb haplotype. Transcript and protein expression analysis demonstrated loss of nuclear RBM45, suggestive of a loss-of-function disease mechanism. Further, two more ultra-rare VUS, one in the nuclear localization signal (NLS, p.Lys456Arg) in an ALS patient and one in the intrinsically disordered homo-oligomer assembly (HOA) domain (p.Arg314Gln) in a patient with nfvPPA were detected. Our findings suggest that the pathomechanisms linking RBM45 with FTD and ALS may be related to its loss of nuclear function as a mediator of mRNA splicing, cytoplasmic retention or its inability to form homo-oligomers, leading to aggregate formation with trapping of other RBPs including TDP-43, which may accumulate into persisted TDP-43 inclusions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2021.105421DOI Listing
August 2021

Common variants in Alzheimer's disease and risk stratification by polygenic risk scores.

Nat Commun 2021 06 7;12(1):3417. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Servei de Neurologia, Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Genetic discoveries of Alzheimer's disease are the drivers of our understanding, and together with polygenetic risk stratification can contribute towards planning of feasible and efficient preventive and curative clinical trials. We first perform a large genetic association study by merging all available case-control datasets and by-proxy study results (discovery n = 409,435 and validation size n = 58,190). Here, we add six variants associated with Alzheimer's disease risk (near APP, CHRNE, PRKD3/NDUFAF7, PLCG2 and two exonic variants in the SHARPIN gene). Assessment of the polygenic risk score and stratifying by APOE reveal a 4 to 5.5 years difference in median age at onset of Alzheimer's disease patients in APOE ɛ4 carriers. Because of this study, the underlying mechanisms of APP can be studied to refine the amyloid cascade and the polygenic risk score provides a tool to select individuals at high risk of Alzheimer's disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22491-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8184987PMC
June 2021

Premature termination codon mutations in ABCA7 contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk in Belgian patients.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 May 2. Epub 2021 May 2.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium; Institute Born-Bunge, Antwerp, Belgium; Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

The ATP-Binding Cassette Subfamily A Member 7 gene (ABCA7) was identified as a risk gene for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in genome-wide association studies of large cohorts of late-onset AD (LOAD) patients. Extended resequencing of the ABCA7 coding regions identified mutations that lead to premature termination codons (PTC) and loss of function of ABCA7. PTC mutations were enriched in LOAD patients and were frequently present in patients with early-onset AD (EOAD). We aimed at assessing the contribution of ABCA7 PTC mutations to AD in the Belgian population by screening the ABCA7 coding region in a Belgian AD cohort of 1376 patients, including LOAD and EOAD patients, and in a Belgian control cohort of 976 individuals. We identified a PTC mutation in 67 AD patients (4.9%) and in 18 control individuals (1.8%) confirming the enrichment of ABCA7 PTC mutations in Belgian AD patients. The patient carriers had a mean onset age of 69.7 ± 9.8 years with a wide onset age range of 42 years (48-90 years). In 77.3% of the families of ABCA7 carriers, there were AD patients present suggestive of a positive family history of disease, but a Mendelian co-segregation of ABCA7 PTC mutations with disease is not clear. Overall, our genetic data predict that PTC mutations in ABCA7 are common in the Belgian population and are present in LOAD and EOAD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.04.023DOI Listing
May 2021

TMEM106B and CPOX are genetic determinants of cerebrospinal fluid Alzheimer's disease biomarker levels.

Alzheimers Dement 2021 May 14. Epub 2021 May 14.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium.

Introduction: Neurofilament light (NfL), chitinase-3-like protein 1 (YKL-40), and neurogranin (Ng) are biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) to monitor axonal damage, astroglial activation, and synaptic degeneration, respectively.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using DNA and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from the EMIF-AD Multimodal Biomarker Discovery study for discovery, and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative study for validation analyses. GWAS were performed for all three CSF biomarkers using linear regression models adjusting for relevant covariates.

Results: We identify novel genome-wide significant associations between DNA variants in TMEM106B and CSF levels of NfL, and between CPOX and YKL-40. We confirm previous work suggesting that YKL-40 levels are associated with DNA variants in CHI3L1.

Discussion: Our study provides important new insights into the genetic architecture underlying interindividual variation in three AD-related CSF biomarkers. In particular, our data shed light on the sequence of events regarding the initiation and progression of neuropathological processes relevant in AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/alz.12330DOI Listing
May 2021

Investigation of the role of matrix metalloproteinases in the genetic etiology of Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 Aug 28;104:105.e1-105.e6. Epub 2021 Mar 28.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium; Institute Born-Bunge, Antwerp, Belgium; Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are a multigene family of proteinases regulating the functions of a large number of signaling and scaffolding molecules that are involved in neuro-inflammation, synaptic dysfunction and neuronal death. MMPs have been associated with neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), through a sudden and massive upregulation of particular members of the MMP family. Evidence for this hypothesis can be found in the clinical observation of increased MMP1 and MMP3 expression levels in plasma of AD patients compared to control individuals and in the pro-amyloidogenic effects that have been described for additional MMP family members like MMP13, MT1-MMP, and MT5-MMP. Consequently, we investigated the role of MMP1, 3, 13, MT1-MMP, and MT5-MMP in the genetic etiology of AD. We performed full exonic resequencing of these 5 MMPs in 1278 AD patients (mean age at onset [AAO]: 74.88 ± 9.10, range: 29-96) and 797 age-matched control individuals (mean age at inclusion [AAI]: 74.92 ± 6.48, range: 65-100) from Flanders-Belgium and identified MMP13 as most promising candidate gene. We identified 6 ultra-rare (≤0.01%) MMP13 missense mutations in 6 patients that were absent from the control cohort. We observed in one control individual a frameshift mutation (p.G269Qfs*2) leading to a premature termination codon. Based on previously described functional evidence, suggesting that MMP13 regulates BACE1 processing, and our genetic findings, we hypothesize a gain-of-function disease mechanism for the missense mutations found in patients. Functional experimental studies remain essential to assess the effect of these mutations on disease related processes and genetic replication studies are needed to corroborate our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2021.03.011DOI Listing
August 2021

Emerging genetic complexity and rare genetic variants in neurodegenerative brain diseases.

Genome Med 2021 Apr 14;13(1):59. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium.

Knowledge of the molecular etiology of neurodegenerative brain diseases (NBD) has substantially increased over the past three decades. Early genetic studies of NBD families identified rare and highly penetrant deleterious mutations in causal genes that segregate with disease. Large genome-wide association studies uncovered common genetic variants that influenced disease risk. Major developments in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies accelerated gene discoveries at an unprecedented rate and revealed novel pathways underlying NBD pathogenesis. NGS technology exposed large numbers of rare genetic variants of uncertain significance (VUS) in coding regions, highlighting the genetic complexity of NBD. Since experimental studies of these coding rare VUS are largely lacking, the potential contributions of VUS to NBD etiology remain unknown. In this review, we summarize novel findings in NBD genetic etiology driven by NGS and the impact of rare VUS on NBD etiology. We consider different mechanisms by which rare VUS can act and influence NBD pathophysiology and discuss why a better understanding of rare VUS is instrumental for deriving novel insights into the molecular complexity and heterogeneity of NBD. New knowledge might open avenues for effective personalized therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00878-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8048219PMC
April 2021

Insight into the genetic etiology of Alzheimer's disease: A comprehensive review of the role of rare variants.

Alzheimers Dement (Amst) 2021 20;13(1):e12155. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases VIB Center for Molecular Neurology Antwerp Belgium.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) is generally known as a dominant disease due to highly penetrant pathogenic mutations in the amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1 and 2. However, they explain only a fraction of EOAD patients (5% to 10%). Furthermore, only 10% to 15% of EOAD families present with clear autosomal dominant inheritance. Studies showed that only 35% to 60% of EOAD patients have at least one affected first-degree relative. Parent-offspring concordance in EOAD was estimated to be <10%, indicating that full penetrant dominant alleles are not the sole players in EOAD. We aim to summarize current knowledge of rare variants underlying familial and seemingly sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Genetic findings indicate that in addition to the amyloid beta pathway, other pathways are of importance in AD pathophysiology. We discuss the difficulties in interpreting the influence of rare variants on disease onset and we underline the value of carefully selected ethnicity-matched cohorts in AD genetic research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896636PMC
February 2021

Hippocampal Sclerosis in Frontotemporal Dementia: When Vascular Pathology Meets Neurodegeneration.

J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2021 Mar;80(4):313-324

Institute Born-Bunge, Neuropathology and Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Behavior, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Hippocampal sclerosis (HS) is a common neuropathological finding and has been associated with advanced age, TDP-43 proteinopathy, and cerebrovascular pathology. We analyzed neuropathological data of an autopsy cohort of early-onset frontotemporal dementia patients. The study aimed to determine whether in this cohort HS was related to TDP-43 proteinopathy and whether additional factors could be identified. We examined the relationship between HS, proteinopathies in frontotemporal cortices and hippocampus, Alzheimer disease, cerebrovascular changes, and age. We confirmed a strong association between HS and hippocampal TDP-43, whereas there was a weaker association between HS and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP). Nearly all of the FTLD-TDP cases had TDP-43 pathology in the hippocampus. HS was present in all FTLD-TDP type D cases, in 50% of the FTLD-TDP A cohort and in 6% of the FTLD-TDP B cohort. Our data also showed a significant association between HS and vascular changes. We reviewed the literature on HS and discuss possible pathophysiological mechanisms between TDP-43 pathology, cerebrovascular disease, and HS. Additionally, we introduced a quantitative neuronal cell count in CA1 to objectify the semiquantitative visual appreciation of HS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nlab010DOI Listing
March 2021

Reply: ATP10B variants in Parkinson's disease-a large cohort study in Chinese mainland population.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 05 18;141(5):807-808. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases, Department of Biomedical Sciences, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02281-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8043888PMC
May 2021

Contribution of rare homozygous and compound heterozygous VPS13C missense mutations to dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 02 12;9(1):25. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are clinically, pathologically and etiologically disorders embedded in the Lewy body disease (LBD) continuum, characterized by neuronal α-synuclein pathology. Rare homozygous and compound heterozygous premature termination codon (PTC) mutations in the Vacuolar Protein Sorting 13 homolog C gene (VPS13C) are associated with early-onset recessive PD. We observed in two siblings with early-onset age (< 45) and autopsy confirmed DLB, compound heterozygous missense mutations in VPS13C, p.Trp395Cys and p.Ala444Pro, inherited from their healthy parents in a recessive manner. In lymphoblast cells of the index patient, the missense mutations reduced VPS13C expression by 90% (p = 0.0002). Subsequent, we performed targeted resequencing of VPS13C in 844 LBD patients and 664 control persons. Using the optimized sequence kernel association test, we obtained a significant association (p = 0.0233) of rare VPS13C genetic variants (minor allele frequency ≤ 1%) with LBD. Among the LBD patients, we identified one patient with homozygous missense mutations and three with compound heterozygous missense mutations in trans position, indicative for recessive inheritance. In four patients with compound heterozygous mutations, we were unable to determine trans position. The frequency of LBD patient carriers of proven recessive compound heterozygous missense mutations is 0.59% (5/844). In autopsy brain tissue of two unrelated LBD patients, the recessive compound heterozygous missense mutations reduced VPS13C expression. Overexpressing of wild type or mutant VPS13C in HeLa or SH-SY5Y cells, demonstrated that the mutations p.Trp395Cys or p.Ala444Pro, abolish the endosomal/lysosomal localization of VPS13C. Overall, our data indicate that rare missense mutations in VPS13C are associated with LBD and recessive compound heterozygous missense mutations might have variable effects on the expression and functioning of VPS13C. We conclude that comparable to the recessive inherited PTC mutations in VPS13C, combinations of rare recessive compound heterozygous missense mutations reduce VPS13C expression and contribute to increased risk of LBD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-021-01121-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7881566PMC
February 2021

Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Other Proteinopathies in Comorbidity.

Front Neurol 2020 30;11:596108. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and Thomayer Hospital, Prague, Czechia.

Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is the most common type of a group of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (prion diseases). The etiology of the sporadic form of CJD is still unclear. sCJD can occur in combination with other neurodegenerative diseases, which further complicates the diagnosis. Alzheimer's disease (AD), e.g., is often seen in conjunction with sCJD. In this study, we performed a systematic analysis of 15 genes related to the most important neurodegenerative diseases - AD, frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, prion disease, and Parkinson's disease - in a cohort of sCJD and sCJD in comorbidity with AD and primary age-related proteinopathy (PART). A total of 30 neuropathologically verified cases of sCJD with and without additional proteinopathies were included in the study. In addition, we compared microtubule-associated protein tau haplotypes between sCJD patients and patients with sCJD and PART or sCJD and AD. Then we studied the interaction between the Apolipoprotein E gene ( and in sCJD patients. We did not find any causal mutations in the neurodegenerative disease genes. We did detect a p.E318G missense variant of uncertain significance (VUS) in in three patients. In , we also found a previously described non-pathogenic insertion (p.P84_Q91Q). Our pilot study failed to find any critical differences between pure sCJD and sCJD in conjunction with other comorbid neurodegenerative diseases. Further investigations are needed to better understand this phenomenon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.596108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7735378PMC
November 2020

Genome-wide association study of Alzheimer's disease CSF biomarkers in the EMIF-AD Multimodal Biomarker Discovery dataset.

Transl Psychiatry 2020 11 22;10(1):403. Epub 2020 Nov 22.

Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder and the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Susceptibility to AD is considerably determined by genetic factors which hitherto were primarily identified using case-control designs. Elucidating the genetic architecture of additional AD-related phenotypic traits, ideally those linked to the underlying disease process, holds great promise in gaining deeper insights into the genetic basis of AD and in developing better clinical prediction models. To this end, we generated genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping data in 931 participants of the European Medical Information Framework Alzheimer's Disease Multimodal Biomarker Discovery (EMIF-AD MBD) sample to search for novel genetic determinants of AD biomarker variability. Specifically, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) analyses on 16 traits, including 14 measures derived from quantifications of five separate amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau-protein species in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In addition to confirming the well-established effects of apolipoprotein E (APOE) on diagnostic outcome and phenotypes related to Aβ42, we detected novel potential signals in the zinc finger homeobox 3 (ZFHX3) for CSF-Aβ38 and CSF-Aβ40 levels, and confirmed the previously described sex-specific association between SNPs in geminin coiled-coil domain containing (GMNC) and CSF-tau. Utilizing the results from independent case-control AD GWAS to construct polygenic risk scores (PRS) revealed that AD risk variants only explain a small fraction of CSF biomarker variability. In conclusion, our study represents a detailed first account of GWAS analyses on CSF-Aβ and -tau-related traits in the EMIF-AD MBD dataset. In subsequent work, we will utilize the genomics data generated here in GWAS of other AD-relevant clinical outcomes ascertained in this unique dataset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-01074-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7680793PMC
November 2020

Contribution of homozygous and compound heterozygous missense mutations in VWA2 to Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 03 12;99:100.e17-100.e23. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium; Institute Born-Bunge, Antwerp, Belgium; Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

Alzheimer's disease is the most frequent diagnosis of neurodegenerative dementia with early (≤65 years) and late (>65 years) onset ages in familial and sporadic patients. Causal mutations in 3 autosomal dominant Alzheimer genes, i.e. amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin 1 (PSEN1) and presenilin 2 (PSEN2), explain only 5%-10% of early-onset patients leaving the majority of patients genetically unresolved. To discover potential missing genetics, we used whole genome sequencing data of 17 early-onset patients with well-documented clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. In the discovery group, the mean onset age was 55.71 ± 6.83 years (range 37-65). Six patients had a brain autopsy and neuropathology confirmed Alzheimer's disease. Analysis of the genetic data identified in one patient a homozygous p.V366M missense mutation in the Von Willebrand factor A domain containing 2 gene (VWA2). Resequencing of the VWA2 coding region in an Alzheimer's disease patient cohort from Flanders-Belgium (n = 1148), including 152 early and 996 late onset patients, identified additional homozygous and compound heterozygous missense mutations in 1 early and 3 late-onset patients. Allele-sharing analysis identified common haplotypes among the compound heterozygous VWA2 mutation carriers, suggesting shared ancestors. Overall, we identified 5 patient carriers of homozygous or compound heterozygous missense mutations (5/1165; 0.43 %), 2 in early (2/169; 1.18 %) and 3 in late-onset (3/996; 0.30 %) patients. The frequencies of the homozygous and compound heterozygous missense mutations in patients are higher than expected from the frequencies calculated based on their combined single alleles. None of the homozygous/compound heterozygous missense mutation carriers had a family history of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease. Our findings suggest that homozygous and compound heterozygous missense mutations in VWA2 might contribute to the risk of Alzheimer's disease in sporadic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.09.009DOI Listing
March 2021

Genetic variation in APOE, GRN, and TP53 are phenotype modifiers in frontotemporal dementia.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 03 2;99:99.e15-99.e22. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit, Hospital Clínic, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a clinical, genetic, and pathologic heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we investigated the role of APOƐ4, rs5848 in GRN, and rs1042522 in TP53 gene as disease risk factors and/or phenotype modifiers in 440 FTD patients, including 175 C9orf72 expansion carriers. We found that the C9orf72 expansion carriers showing an earlier age at onset (p < 0.001). Among the clinical groups, the FTD-MND (motoneuron disease) showed the lowest survival (hazard ratio [HR] = 4.12), and the progressive nonfluent aphasia group showed the highest onset age (p = 0.03). In our cohort, the rs1042522 in TP53 was associated with disease onset (p = 0.02) and survival (HR = 1.73) and rs5848 GRN with a significantly shorter survival in CC homozygous patients (HR = 1.98). The frequency of APOƐ4 carriers was significantly increased in the C9orf72 noncarriers (p = 0.022). Although validation of our findings is necessary, our results suggest that TP53, GRN, and APOE genes may act as phenotype modifiers in FTD and should be considered in future clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.08.018DOI Listing
March 2021

, age at onset, and ancestry help discriminate behavioral from language variants in FTLD cohorts.

Neurology 2020 12 17;95(24):e3288-e3302. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

From the Institute of Neurology (B.C., D.A.K., J.H., P.A.L., R.F.), School of Pharmacy (C.M.), and UCL Movement Disorders Centre (J.H.), University College London; School of Pharmacy (C.M., P.A.L.), University of Reading, Whiteknights; Neurogenetics Laboratory (M.B.-Q., C.W., J.M.P.), National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK; Aptima Clinic (Miquel Aguilar), Terrassa; Memory Disorders Unit, Department of Neurology (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), University Hospital Mutua de Terrassa, Barcelona; Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (V.A., M.M.-G.), Oviedo, Spain; NORMENT (O.A.), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway; Regional Neurogenetic Centre (Maria Anfossi, Livia Bernardi, A.C.B., M.E.C., Chiara Cupidi, F.F., Maura Gallo, R.M., N.S.), ASPCZ, Lamezia Terme; Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (S.B., B.N., I.P., S.S.), University of Florence; Molecular Markers Laboratory (Luisa Benussi, Giuliano Binetti, R.G.), IRCCS Istituto Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy; Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), Department of Neuroscience (D.B.), University of Sheffield, UK; Research Center and Memory Clinic (M.B., I.H., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Fundació ACE, Institut Català de Neurociències Aplicades, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC), Barcelona, Spain; Centre for Neurodegenerative Disorders (B.B., A.P.), Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Italy; Department of Clinical Neurosciences (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neurology (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway; Dept NVS, Division of Neurogeriatrics (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Karolinska Institutet, Bioclinicum Solna, Sweden; Department of Neurology (J.C., O.D.-I., I.I.-G., A.L.), IIB Sant Pau, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic (S.C., G.J.T.H., S.P.) and Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (S.P.), University of Edinburgh, UK; NeuroGenomics and Informatics, Department of Psychiatry (Carlos Cruchaga), Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Cognitive Impairment Center (M.E.D.B., Maurizio Gallucci) and Immunohematology and Transfusional Medicine Service (E.D., A.V.), Local Health Authority n.2 Marca Trevigiana, Treviso, Italy; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (J.D.-S., C.R.), School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Germany; Department of Neurology (D.F., M.G.K.) and Clinical Institute of Medical Genetics (A.M., B.P.), University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia; Dino Ferrari Center (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), University of Milan, Italy; Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Think and Speak Lab (J.H.G.), Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, Chicago, IL; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Murray Grossman, EunRan Suh, J.Q.T., V.M.V.D.), Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; UCL Dementia Research Institute (J.H.), London; Reta Lila Weston Institute (J.H.), UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UK; Institute for Advanced Study (J.H.), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China; Royal Edinburgh Hospital (G.J.T.H.), UK; Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain (E.D.H.), Columbia University, New York, NY; Department of Neurology, Memory and Aging Center (A.K., B.M., J.Y.), University of California, San Francisco; UCL Genomics (M.K., G.K.M., Y.P.), UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Geriatric Center Frullone ASL Napoli 1 Centro (G.M.), Napoli, Italy; Department of Neurology (M.O.M., J.v.R., J.C.V.S.), Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Rona Holdings (P.M.), Silicon Valley, CA; Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource, Institute of Neuroscience (C.M.M.), Newcastle University, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Department of Neurology (C.N.), Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS (V.N.), Rome, Italy; Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology (S.P.-B., A.M.T.R., S.R., J.C.T.), University of Manchester, UK; Amsterdam University Medical Center (Y.A.L.P.), VU University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Cardiovascular Research Unit (A.A.P.), IRCCS Multimedica, Milan; Neurology I, Department of Neuroscience (I.R., Elisa Rubino), University of Torino; NeurOMICS laboratory (G.M., Antonella Rendina, E.V.), Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (IBBC), CNR Napoli, Italy; Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences (A.M.T.R., J.S., J.C.T.), Salford Royal NHS Trust, Manchester, UK; Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Ekaterina Rogaeva), University of Toronto, Canada; Department of Biotechnology (B.R.), Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Division of Neurology V and Neuropathology (G.R., F.T.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; Alzheimer's Disease and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit (R.S.-V.), Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, Spain; Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö (C.N., A.F.S.), and Division of Clinical Sciences Helsingborg, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund (M.L.W.), Lund University, Sweden; Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium; Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (V.E.-P.), Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences and Dementia Research Institute, Cardiff University, UK; Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias (V.A.), Oviedo, Asturias; Fundació per la Recerca Biomèdica i Social Mútua Terrassa (I.A., M.D.-F., P.P.), Barcelona; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED) (M.B., J.C., O.D.-I., I.H., I.I.-G., A.L., S.M.-G., Agustín Ruiz), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Lucy Bowns, T.E.C., J.B.R.), Cambridge University, UK; Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (Geir Bråthen, S.B.S.), Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; Unit for Hereditary Dementias (H.-H.C., C.G., B.K., L.Ö.), Theme Aging, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden; Medical Faculty (D.F., M.G.K.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Fondazione IRCCS Ca'Granda (D.G., Elio Scarpini, M.S.), Ospedale Policlinico, Milan, Italy; Penn Center for Frontotemporal Degeneration (Murray Grossman), Philadelphia, PA; Universidad de Oviedo (M.M.-G.), Asturias, Spain; IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi (B.N., S.S.), Florence; Istituto di Medicina Genomica (V.N.), Università Cattolica del sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; Amsterdam Neuroscience (Y.A.L.P.), the Netherlands; Department of Medicine and Surgery (A.A.P.), University of Salerno, Baronissi (SA), Italy; Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (B.R.), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; Institud d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (R.S.-V.), Barcelona, Spain; Department of Biomedical Sciences (J.V.d.Z., C.V.B.), University of Antwerp, Belgium; and Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (P.A.L.), The Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.

Objective: We sought to characterize expansions in relation to genetic ancestry and age at onset (AAO) and to use these measures to discriminate the behavioral from the language variant syndrome in a large pan-European cohort of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases.

Methods: We evaluated expansions frequency in the entire cohort (n = 1,396; behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia [bvFTD] [n = 800], primary progressive aphasia [PPA] [n = 495], and FTLD-motor neuron disease [MND] [n = 101]). We then focused on the bvFTD and PPA cases and tested for association between expansion status, syndromes, genetic ancestry, and AAO applying statistical tests comprising Fisher exact tests, analysis of variance with Tukey post hoc tests, and logistic and nonlinear mixed-effects model regressions.

Results: We found pathogenic expansions in 4% of all cases (56/1,396). Expansion carriers differently distributed across syndromes: 12/101 FTLD-MND (11.9%), 40/800 bvFTD (5%), and 4/495 PPA (0.8%). While addressing population substructure through principal components analysis (PCA), we defined 2 patients groups with Central/Northern (n = 873) and Southern European (n = 523) ancestry. The proportion of expansion carriers was significantly higher in bvFTD compared to PPA (5% vs 0.8% [ = 2.17 × 10; odds ratio (OR) 6.4; confidence interval (CI) 2.31-24.99]), as well as in individuals with Central/Northern European compared to Southern European ancestry (4.4% vs 1.8% [ = 1.1 × 10; OR 2.5; CI 1.17-5.99]). Pathogenic expansions and Central/Northern European ancestry independently and inversely correlated with AAO. Our prediction model (based on expansions status, genetic ancestry, and AAO) predicted a diagnosis of bvFTD with 64% accuracy.

Conclusions: Our results indicate correlation between pathogenic expansions, AAO, PCA-based Central/Northern European ancestry, and a diagnosis of bvFTD, implying complex genetic risk architectures differently underpinning the behavioral and language variant syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010914DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7836664PMC
December 2020

No association of CpG SNP rs9357140 with onset age in Belgian C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers.

Neurobiol Aging 2021 01 15;97:145.e1-145.e4. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, Antwerp, Belgium; Laboratory of Neurogenetics, Institute Born-Bunge, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

We investigated the impact of the recently described chromosome 6 open reading frame 10 (C6orf10)/LOC101929163 locus as age-at-onset modifier in an extended cohort of Belgian chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) GC repeat expansion carriers. We genotyped the tagging CpG single-nucleotide polymorphism rs9357140 in 224 confirmed C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers, 102 index cases and 122 relatives, and tested association with onset age. The C9orf72 repeat expansion cohort consisted of 131 symptomatic carriers, that is, 78 with dementia only, 13 with frontotemporal dementia (FTD)-amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and 40 ALS only, and 93 presymptomatic carriers. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis failed to identify significant association (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.15, p = 0.3). We further extended our analysis to a Belgian cohort of unrelated, mutation-negative FTD index patients (n = 230), but also found no association (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.96, p = 0.3). Overall, our findings suggest that in the Belgian cohort, the C6orf10/LOC101929163 locus cannot explain the marked variability in age at onset, and other genetic or environmental modifiers must drive the clinical heterogeneity observed among C9orf72 repeat expansion carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.07.021DOI Listing
January 2021

Amyloid-β cerebrospinal fluid levels and the interpretation of APP, PSEN1 and PSEN2 mutations.

Alzheimers Res Ther 2020 09 11;12(1):108. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP) and presenilins (PSENs) could potentially lead to the production of longer amyloidogenic Aβ peptides. Amongst these, Aβ is more prone to aggregation and has higher toxic properties than the long-known Aβ. However, a direct effect on Aβ in biomaterials of individuals carrying genetic mutations in the known AD genes is yet to be determined.

Methods: N = 1431 AD patients (n = 280 early-onset (EO) and n = 1151 late-onset (LO) AD) and 809 control individuals were genetically screened for APP and PSENs. For the first time, Aβ levels were analysed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 38 individuals carrying pathogenic or unclear rare mutations or the common PSEN1 p.E318G variant and compared with Aβ and Aβ CSF levels. The soluble sAPPα and sAPPβ species were also measured for the first time in mutation carriers.

Results: A known pathogenic mutation was identified in 5.7% of EOAD patients (4.6% PSEN1, 1.07% APP) and in 0.3% of LOAD patients. Furthermore, 12 known variants with unclear pathogenicity and 11 novel were identified. Pathogenic and unclear mutation carriers showed a significant reduction in CSF Aβ levels compared to controls (p = 0.037; < 0.001). CSF Aβ levels positively correlated with CSF Aβ in both pathogenic and unclear carriers and controls (all p < 0.001). The p.E318G carriers showed reduced Aβ levels (p < 0.001), though genetic association with AD was not detected. sAPPα and sAPPβ CSF levels were significantly reduced in the group of unclear (p = 0.006; 0.005) and p.E318G carriers (p = 0.004; 0.039), suggesting their possible involvement in AD. Finally, using Aβ and Aβ levels, we could re-classify as "likely pathogenic" 3 of the unclear mutations.

Conclusion: This is the first time that Aβ levels were analysed in CSF of AD patients with genetic mutations in the AD causal genes. The observed reduction of Aβ in APP and PSENs carriers highlights the pathogenic role of longer Aβ peptides in AD pathogenesis. Alterations in Aβ could prove useful in understanding the pathogenicity of unclear APP and PSENs variants, a critical step towards a more efficient genetic counselling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13195-020-00676-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7488767PMC
September 2020

Reply: Segregation of ATP10B variants in families with autosomal recessive Parkinsonism.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 11 5;140(5):787-789. Epub 2020 Sep 5.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp, Campus CDE, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02220-zDOI Listing
November 2020

Age and the association between apolipoprotein E genotype and Alzheimer disease: A cerebrospinal fluid biomarker-based case-control study.

PLoS Med 2020 08 20;17(8):e1003289. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Lariboisière Hospital, APHP, Paris, France.

Background: The ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene and increasing age are two of the most important known risk factors for developing Alzheimer disease (AD). The diagnosis of AD based on clinical symptoms alone is known to have poor specificity; recently developed diagnostic criteria based on biomarkers that reflect underlying AD neuropathology allow better assessment of the strength of the associations of risk factors with AD. Accordingly, we examined the global and age-specific association between APOE genotype and AD by using the A/T/N classification, relying on the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of β-amyloid peptide (A, β-amyloid deposition), phosphorylated tau (T, pathologic tau), and total tau (N, neurodegeneration) to identify patients with AD.

Methods And Findings: This case-control study included 1,593 white AD cases (55.4% women; mean age 72.8 [range = 44-96] years) with abnormal values of CSF biomarkers from nine European memory clinics and the American Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study. A total of 11,723 dementia-free controls (47.1% women; mean age 65.6 [range = 44-94] years) were drawn from two longitudinal cohort studies (Whitehall II and Three-City), in which incident cases of dementia over the follow-up were excluded from the control population. Odds ratio (OR) and population attributable fraction (PAF) for AD associated with APOE genotypes were determined, overall and by 5-year age categories. In total, 63.4% of patients with AD and 22.6% of population controls carried at least one APOE ε4 allele. Compared with non-ε4 carriers, heterozygous ε4 carriers had a 4.6 (95% confidence interval 4.1-5.2; p < 0.001) and ε4/ε4 homozygotes a 25.4 (20.4-31.2; p < 0.001) higher OR of AD in unadjusted analysis. This association was modified by age (p for interaction < 0.001). The PAF associated with carrying at least one ε4 allele was greatest in the 65-70 age group (69.7%) and weaker before 55 years (14.2%) and after 85 years (22.6%). The protective effect of APOE ε2 allele for AD was unaffected by age. Main study limitations are that analyses were based on white individuals and AD cases were drawn from memory centers, which may not be representative of the general population of patients with AD.

Conclusions: In this study, we found that AD diagnosis based on biomarkers was associated with APOE ε4 carrier status, with a higher OR than previously reported from studies based on only clinical AD criteria. This association differs according to age, with the strongest effect at 65-70 years. These findings highlight the need for early interventions for dementia prevention to mitigate the effect of APOE ε4 at the population level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003289DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446786PMC
August 2020

Clinical, neuropathological, and genetic characterization of STUB1 variants in cerebellar ataxias: a frequent cause of predominant cognitive impairment.

Genet Med 2020 11 27;22(11):1851-1862. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Sorbonne Université, Institut du Cerveau-Paris Brain Institute (ICM), AP-HP, INSERM, CNRS, University Hospital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.

Purpose: Pathogenic variants in STUB1 were initially described in autosomal recessive spinocerebellar ataxia type 16 and dominant cerebellar ataxia with cerebellar cognitive dysfunction (SCA48).

Methods: We analyzed a large series of 440 index cerebellar ataxia cases, mostly with dominant inheritance.

Results: STUB1 variants were detected in 50 patients. Age at onset and severity were remarkably variable. Cognitive impairment, predominantly frontal syndrome, was observed in 54% of STUB1 variant carriers, including five families with Huntington or frontotemporal dementia disease-like phenotypes associated with ataxia, while no STUB1 variant was found in 115 patients with frontotemporal dementia. We report neuropathological findings of a STUB1 heterozygous patient, showing massive loss of Purkinje cells in the vermis and major loss in the cerebellar hemispheres without atrophy of the pons, hippocampus, or cerebral cortex. This screening of STUB1 variants revealed new features: (1) the majority of patients were women (70%) and (2) "second hits" in AFG3L2, PRKCG, and TBP were detected in three families suggesting synergic effects.

Conclusion: Our results reveal an unexpectedly frequent (7%) implication of STUB1 among dominantly inherited cerebellar ataxias, and suggest that the penetrance of STUB1 variants could be modulated by other factors, including sex and variants in other ataxia-related genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0899-xDOI Listing
November 2020

IPSC-Derived Neuronal Cultures Carrying the Alzheimer's Disease Associated R47H Variant Enables the Construction of an Aβ-Induced Gene Regulatory Network.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Jun 25;21(12). Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine, Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine University, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

Genes associated with immune response and inflammation have been identified as genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer´s disease (LOAD). The rare R47H variant within triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) has been shown to increase the risk for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) 2-3-fold. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a model of late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) using lymphoblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients carrying the TREM2 R47H mutation, as well as from control individuals without dementia. All iPSCs efficiently differentiated into mature neuronal cultures, however AD neuronal cultures showed a distinct gene expression profile. Furthermore, manipulation of the iPSC-derived neuronal cultures with an Aβ-S8C dimer highlighted metabolic pathways, phagosome and immune response as the most perturbed pathways in AD neuronal cultures. Through the construction of an Aβ-induced gene regulatory network, we were able to identify an Aβ signature linked to protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which emphasized ER-stress, as a potential causal role in LOAD. Overall, this study has shown that our AD-iPSC based model can be used for in-depth studies to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the etiology of LOAD and provides new opportunities for screening of potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21124516DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7350255PMC
June 2020

Reply: ATP10B and the risk for Parkinson's disease.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 09 15;140(3):403-404. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02173-3DOI Listing
September 2020

Genetic perspective on the synergistic connection between vesicular transport, lysosomal and mitochondrial pathways associated with Parkinson's disease pathogenesis.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2020 05 6;8(1):63. Epub 2020 May 6.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp - CDE, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Parkinson's disease (PD) and atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS) are symptomatically characterized by parkinsonism, with the latter presenting additionally a distinctive range of atypical features. Although the majority of patients with PD and APS appear to be sporadic, genetic causes of several rare monogenic disease variants were identified. The knowledge acquired from these genetic factors indicated that defects in vesicular transport pathways, endo-lysosomal dysfunction, impaired autophagy-lysosomal protein and organelle degradation pathways, α-synuclein aggregation and mitochondrial dysfunction play key roles in PD pathogenesis. Moreover, membrane dynamics are increasingly recognized as a key player in the disease pathogenesis due lipid homeostasis alterations, associated with lysosomal dysfunction, caused by mutations in several PD and APS genes. The importance of lysosomal dysfunction and lipid homeostasis is strengthened by both genetic discoveries and clinical epidemiology of the association between parkinsonism and lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs), caused by the disruption of lysosomal biogenesis or function. A synergistic coordination between vesicular trafficking, lysosomal and mitochondria defects exist whereby mutations in PD and APS genes encoding proteins primarily involved one PD pathway are frequently associated with defects in other PD pathways as a secondary effect. Moreover, accumulating clinical and genetic observations suggest more complex inheritance patters of familial PD exist, including oligogenic and polygenic inheritance of genes in the same or interconnected PD pathways, further strengthening their synergistic connection.Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of PD and APS genes with functions in vesicular transport, lysosomal and mitochondrial pathways, and highlight functional and genetic evidence of the synergistic connection between these PD associated pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-020-00935-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7201634PMC
May 2020

Mutated ATP10B increases Parkinson's disease risk by compromising lysosomal glucosylceramide export.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 06 14;139(6):1001-1024. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Center for Molecular Neurology, VIB, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610, Antwerpen, Belgium.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disease presenting with a variety of motor and non-motor symptoms, loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and the occurrence of α-synuclein-positive Lewy bodies in surviving neurons. Here, we performed whole exome sequencing in 52 early-onset PD patients and identified 3 carriers of compound heterozygous mutations in the ATP10B P4-type ATPase gene. Genetic screening of a Belgian PD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) cohort identified 4 additional compound heterozygous mutation carriers (6/617 PD patients, 0.97%; 1/226 DLB patients, 0.44%). We established that ATP10B encodes a late endo-lysosomal lipid flippase that translocates the lipids glucosylceramide (GluCer) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) towards the cytosolic membrane leaflet. The PD associated ATP10B mutants are catalytically inactive and fail to provide cellular protection against the environmental PD risk factors rotenone and manganese. In isolated cortical neurons, loss of ATP10B leads to general lysosomal dysfunction and cell death. Impaired lysosomal functionality and integrity is well known to be implicated in PD pathology and linked to multiple causal PD genes and genetic risk factors. Our results indicate that recessive loss of function mutations in ATP10B increase risk for PD by disturbed lysosomal export of GluCer and PC. Both ATP10B and glucocerebrosidase 1, encoded by the PD risk gene GBA1, reduce lysosomal GluCer levels, emerging lysosomal GluCer accumulation as a potential PD driver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02145-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7244618PMC
June 2020

International view on genetic frontotemporal dementia.

Lancet Neurol 2020 02 3;19(2):106-108. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, Antwerp, Belgium; Laboratory of Neurogenetics, Institute Born-Bunge and Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Antwerp, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(19)30406-5DOI Listing
February 2020

Role for ATXN1, ATXN2, and HTT intermediate repeats in frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Neurobiol Aging 2020 03 1;87:139.e1-139.e7. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

Movement Disorders Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, Madrid, Spain.

We analyzed the frequency of intermediate alleles (IAs) in the ATXN1, ATXN2, and HTT genes in several neurodegenerative diseases. The study included 1126 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 440 patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and 610 patients with Parkinson's disease. In all cohorts, we genotyped ATXN1 and ATXN2 CAG repeats. In addition, in the FTD cohort, we determined the number of HTT CAG repeats. The frequency of HTT IAs was higher in patients with FTD (6.9%) versus controls (2.9%) and in the C9orf72 expansion noncarriers (7.2%) versus controls (2.9%), although the difference was nonsignificant after correction for multiple testing. Compared with controls, progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA) groups showed a significantly higher frequency of HTT IAs (13.6% vs. 2.9% controls). For the ATXN2 gene, we observed an increase in IA frequency in AD cases (AD 4.1% vs. controls 1.8%) and in the behavioral FTD group (4.8% vs. 1.8%). For the ATXN1 gene, we found a significant increase of IAs in patients with PNFA (18.6%) versus controls (6.7%). In conclusion, our work suggests that the HTT and ATXN1 IAS may contribute to PNFA pathogenesis and point to a link between ATXN2 IAS and AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.10.017DOI Listing
March 2020

NanoSatellite: accurate characterization of expanded tandem repeat length and sequence through whole genome long-read sequencing on PromethION.

Genome Biol 2019 11 14;20(1):239. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases Group, VIB Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp-CDE, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610, Antwerp, Belgium.

Technological limitations have hindered the large-scale genetic investigation of tandem repeats in disease. We show that long-read sequencing with a single Oxford Nanopore Technologies PromethION flow cell per individual achieves 30× human genome coverage and enables accurate assessment of tandem repeats including the 10,000-bp Alzheimer's disease-associated ABCA7 VNTR. The Guppy "flip-flop" base caller and tandem-genotypes tandem repeat caller are efficient for large-scale tandem repeat assessment, but base calling and alignment challenges persist. We present NanoSatellite, which analyzes tandem repeats directly on electric current data and improves calling of GC-rich tandem repeats, expanded alleles, and motif interruptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1856-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857246PMC
November 2019