Publications by authors named "Elsa Rossignol"

38 Publications

Reversing frontal disinhibition rescues behavioural deficits in models of CACNA1A-associated neurodevelopment disorders.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Jun 14. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

CHU Ste-Justine Research Center, Montreal, QC, Canada.

CACNA1A deletions cause epilepsy, ataxia, and a range of neurocognitive deficits, including inattention, impulsivity, intellectual deficiency and autism. To investigate the underlying mechanisms, we generated mice carrying a targeted Cacna1a deletion restricted to parvalbumin-expressing (PV) neurons (PV;Cacna1a) or to cortical pyramidal cells (PC) (Emx1;Cacna1a). GABA release from PV-expressing GABAergic interneurons (PV-INs) is reduced in PV;Cacna1a mutants, resulting in impulsivity, cognitive rigidity and inattention. By contrast, the deletion of Cacna1a in PCs does not impact cortical excitability or behaviour in Emx1;Cacna1a mutants. A targeted Cacna1a deletion in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) results in reversal learning deficits while a medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) deletion impairs selective attention. These deficits can be rescued by the selective chemogenetic activation of cortical PV-INs in the OFC or mPFC of PV;Cacna1a mutants. Thus, Cacna1a haploinsufficiency disrupts perisomatic inhibition in frontal cortical circuits, leading to a range of potentially reversible neurocognitive deficits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01175-1DOI Listing
June 2021

FBXO28 causes developmental and epileptic encephalopathy with profound intellectual disability.

Epilepsia 2021 01 6;62(1):e13-e21. Epub 2020 Dec 6.

Epilepsy Research Centre, Department of Medicine, Austin Health, The University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia.

Chromosome 1q41-q42 deletion syndrome is a rare cause of intellectual disability, seizures, dysmorphology, and multiple anomalies. Two genes in the 1q41-q42 microdeletion, WDR26 and FBXO28, have been implicated in monogenic disease. Patients with WDR26 encephalopathy overlap clinically with those with 1q41-q42 deletion syndrome, whereas only one patient with FBXO28 encephalopathy has been described. Seizures are a prominent feature of 1q41-q42 deletion syndrome; therefore, we hypothesized that pathogenic FBXO28 variants cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs). We describe nine new patients with FBXO28 pathogenic variants (four missense, including one recurrent, three nonsense, and one frameshift) and analyze all 10 known cases to delineate the phenotypic spectrum. All patients had epilepsy and 9 of 10 had DEE, including infantile spasms (3) and a progressive myoclonic epilepsy (1). Median age at seizure onset was 22.5 months (range 8 months to 5 years). Nine of 10 patients had intellectual disability, which was profound in six of nine and severe in three of nine. Movement disorders occurred in eight of 10 patients, six of 10 had hypotonia, four of 10 had acquired microcephaly, and five of 10 had dysmorphic features, albeit different to those typically seen in 1q41-q42 deletion syndrome and WDR26 encephalopathy. We distinguish FBXO28 encephalopathy from both of these disorders with more severe intellectual impairment, drug-resistant epilepsy, and hyperkinetic movement disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16784DOI Listing
January 2021

Endocrine and Growth Abnormalities in 4H Leukodystrophy Caused by Variants in POLR3A, POLR3B, and POLR1C.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2021 Jan;106(2):e660-e674

Department of Child Neurology, University Children's Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Context: 4H or POLR3-related leukodystrophy is an autosomal recessive disorder typically characterized by hypomyelination, hypodontia, and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in POLR3A, POLR3B, POLR1C, and POLR3K. The endocrine and growth abnormalities associated with this disorder have not been thoroughly investigated to date.

Objective: To systematically characterize endocrine abnormalities of patients with 4H leukodystrophy.

Design: An international cross-sectional study was performed on 150 patients with genetically confirmed 4H leukodystrophy between 2015 and 2016. Endocrine and growth abnormalities were evaluated, and neurological and other non-neurological features were reviewed. Potential genotype/phenotype associations were also investigated.

Setting: This was a multicenter retrospective study using information collected from 3 predominant centers.

Patients: A total of 150 patients with 4H leukodystrophy and pathogenic variants in POLR3A, POLR3B, or POLR1C were included.

Main Outcome Measures: Variables used to evaluate endocrine and growth abnormalities included pubertal history, hormone levels (estradiol, testosterone, stimulated LH and FSH, stimulated GH, IGF-I, prolactin, ACTH, cortisol, TSH, and T4), and height and head circumference charts.

Results: The most common endocrine abnormalities were delayed puberty (57/74; 77% overall, 64% in males, 89% in females) and short stature (57/93; 61%), when evaluated according to physician assessment. Abnormal thyroid function was reported in 22% (13/59) of patients.

Conclusions: Our results confirm pubertal abnormalities and short stature are the most common endocrine features seen in 4H leukodystrophy. However, we noted that endocrine abnormalities are typically underinvestigated in this patient population. A prospective study is required to formulate evidence-based recommendations for management of the endocrine manifestations of this disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa700DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7823228PMC
January 2021

Both gain-of-function and loss-of-function de novo CACNA1A mutations cause severe developmental epileptic encephalopathies in the spectrum of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Epilepsia 2019 09 29;60(9):1881-1894. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, University of Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

Objective: Developmental epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are genetically heterogeneous severe childhood-onset epilepsies with developmental delay or cognitive deficits. In this study, we explored the pathogenic mechanisms of DEE-associated de novo mutations in the CACNA1A gene.

Methods: We studied the functional impact of four de novo DEE-associated CACNA1A mutations, including the previously described p.A713T variant and three novel variants (p.V1396M, p.G230V, and p.I1357S). Mutant cDNAs were expressed in HEK293 cells, and whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings were conducted to test the impacts on Ca 2.1 channel function. Channel localization and structure were assessed with immunofluorescence microscopy and three-dimensional (3D) modeling.

Results: We find that the G230V and I1357S mutations result in loss-of-function effects with reduced whole-cell current densities and decreased channel expression at the cell membrane. By contrast, the A713T and V1396M variants resulted in gain-of-function effects with increased whole-cell currents and facilitated current activation (hyperpolarized shift). The A713T variant also resulted in slower current decay. 3D modeling predicts conformational changes favoring channel opening for A713T and V1396M.

Significance: Our findings suggest that both gain-of-function and loss-of-function CACNA1A mutations are associated with similarly severe DEEs and that functional validation is required to clarify the underlying molecular mechanisms and to guide therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16316DOI Listing
September 2019

Mutations in PIGB Cause an Inherited GPI Biosynthesis Defect with an Axonal Neuropathy and Metabolic Abnormality in Severe Cases.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 08 27;105(2):384-394. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK.

Proteins anchored to the cell surface via glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) play various key roles in the human body, particularly in development and neurogenesis. As such, many developmental disorders are caused by mutations in genes involved in the GPI biosynthesis and remodeling pathway. We describe ten unrelated families with bi-allelic mutations in PIGB, a gene that encodes phosphatidylinositol glycan class B, which transfers the third mannose to the GPI. Ten different PIGB variants were found in these individuals. Flow cytometric analysis of blood cells and fibroblasts from the affected individuals showed decreased cell surface presence of GPI-anchored proteins. Most of the affected individuals have global developmental and/or intellectual delay, all had seizures, two had polymicrogyria, and four had a peripheral neuropathy. Eight children passed away before four years old. Two of them had a clinical diagnosis of DOORS syndrome (deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, mental retardation, and seizures), a condition that includes sensorineural deafness, shortened terminal phalanges with small finger and toenails, intellectual disability, and seizures; this condition overlaps with the severe phenotypes associated with inherited GPI deficiency. Most individuals tested showed elevated alkaline phosphatase, which is a characteristic of the inherited GPI deficiency but not DOORS syndrome. It is notable that two severely affected individuals showed 2-oxoglutaric aciduria, which can be seen in DOORS syndrome, suggesting that severe cases of inherited GPI deficiency and DOORS syndrome might share some molecular pathway disruptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698938PMC
August 2019

New UPLC-MS/MS assay for the determination of tamoxifen and its metabolites in human plasma, application to patients.

Future Sci OA 2019 Jun 22;5(5):FSO374. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Biopathology Department ICO René Gauducheau, Bd J Monod, 44805 Nantes Saint Herblain Cedex, France.

Aim: A rapid UPLC-MS/MS method for the determination of tamoxifen (TAM), -desmethyltamoxifen, 4-hydroxytamoxifen and endoxifen in human plasma was validated, after a simple protein precipitation.

Materials And Methods: The analysis was achieved on a C analytical column, using a gradient elution with a mobile phase of water and acetonitrile for 4.5 min.

Results: The validated method demonstrated good linearity between 1 and 500 ng/ml for TAM and -desmethyltamoxifen; between 0.2 and 100 ng/ml for endoxifen and between 0.1 and 50 ng/ml for 4-hydroxytamoxifen. The method also provided satisfactory results in terms of within day and between day imprecisions and accuracy, and also in terms of time stability and specificity.

Conclusion: The method is applied routinely for TAM monitoring from patients undergoing therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/fsoa-2018-0113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6554689PMC
June 2019

Mutations in ACTL6B Cause Neurodevelopmental Deficits and Epilepsy and Lead to Loss of Dendrites in Human Neurons.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 05 25;104(5):815-834. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, WC1N 3BG London, UK.

We identified individuals with variations in ACTL6B, a component of the chromatin remodeling machinery including the BAF complex. Ten individuals harbored bi-allelic mutations and presented with global developmental delay, epileptic encephalopathy, and spasticity, and ten individuals with de novo heterozygous mutations displayed intellectual disability, ambulation deficits, severe language impairment, hypotonia, Rett-like stereotypies, and minor facial dysmorphisms (wide mouth, diastema, bulbous nose). Nine of these ten unrelated individuals had the identical de novo c.1027G>A (p.Gly343Arg) mutation. Human-derived neurons were generated that recaptured ACTL6B expression patterns in development from progenitor cell to post-mitotic neuron, validating the use of this model. Engineered knock-out of ACTL6B in wild-type human neurons resulted in profound deficits in dendrite development, a result recapitulated in two individuals with different bi-allelic mutations, and reversed on clonal genetic repair or exogenous expression of ACTL6B. Whole-transcriptome analyses and whole-genomic profiling of the BAF complex in wild-type and bi-allelic mutant ACTL6B neural progenitor cells and neurons revealed increased genomic binding of the BAF complex in ACTL6B mutants, with corresponding transcriptional changes in several genes including TPPP and FSCN1, suggesting that altered regulation of some cytoskeletal genes contribute to altered dendrite development. Assessment of bi-alleic and heterozygous ACTL6B mutations on an ACTL6B knock-out human background demonstrated that bi-allelic mutations mimic engineered deletion deficits while heterozygous mutations do not, suggesting that the former are loss of function and the latter are gain of function. These results reveal a role for ACTL6B in neurodevelopment and implicate another component of chromatin remodeling machinery in brain disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.03.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6507050PMC
May 2019

PHACTRing in actin: actin deregulation in genetic epilepsies.

Brain 2018 11;141(11):3084-3088

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, Montreal, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy272DOI Listing
November 2018

The epilepsy-associated protein TBC1D24 is required for normal development, survival and vesicle trafficking in mammalian neurons.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 02;28(4):584-597

Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, UK.

Mutations in the Tre2/Bub2/Cdc16 (TBC)1 domain family member 24 (TBC1D24) gene are associated with a range of inherited neurological disorders, from drug-refractory lethal epileptic encephalopathy and DOORS syndrome (deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, mental retardation, seizures) to non-syndromic hearing loss. TBC1D24 has been implicated in neuronal transmission and maturation, although the molecular function of the gene and the cause of the apparently complex disease spectrum remain unclear. Importantly, heterozygous TBC1D24 mutation carriers have also been reported with seizures, suggesting that haploinsufficiency for TBC1D24 is significant clinically. Here we have systematically investigated an allelic series of disease-associated mutations in neurons alongside a new mouse model to investigate the consequences of TBC1D24 haploinsufficiency to mammalian neurodevelopment and synaptic physiology. The cellular studies reveal that disease-causing mutations that disrupt either of the conserved protein domains in TBC1D24 are implicated in neuronal development and survival and are likely acting as loss-of-function alleles. We then further investigated TBC1D24 haploinsufficiency in vivo and demonstrate that TBC1D24 is also crucial for normal presynaptic function: genetic disruption of Tbc1d24 expression in the mouse leads to an impairment of endocytosis and an enlarged endosomal compartment in neurons with a decrease in spontaneous neurotransmission. These data reveal the essential role for TBC1D24 at the mammalian synapse and help to define common synaptic mechanisms that could underlie the varied effects of TBC1D24 mutations in neurological disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360273PMC
February 2019

Correction: IQSEC2-related encephalopathy in males and females: a comparative study including 37 novel patients.

Genet Med 2019 Aug;21(8):1897-1898

APHP, Service de genetique medicale, Necker- Enfants Malades Hospital, Imagine Institute, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France.

This Article was originally published under Nature Research's License to Publish, but has now been made available under a CC BY 4.0 license. The PDF and HTML versions of the Article have been modified accordingly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0327-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608434PMC
August 2019

IQSEC2-related encephalopathy in males and females: a comparative study including 37 novel patients.

Genet Med 2019 04 12;21(4):837-849. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

APHP, Service de genetique medicale, Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, Imagine Institute, Paris Descartes University, Paris, France.

Purpose: Variants in IQSEC2, escaping X inactivation, cause X-linked intellectual disability with frequent epilepsy in males and females. We aimed to investigate sex-specific differences.

Methods: We collected the data of 37 unpublished patients (18 males and 19 females) with IQSEC2 pathogenic variants and 5 individuals with variants of unknown significance and reviewed published variants. We compared variant types and phenotypes in males and females and performed an analysis of IQSEC2 isoforms.

Results: IQSEC2 pathogenic variants mainly led to premature truncation and were scattered throughout the longest brain-specific isoform, encoding the synaptic IQSEC2/BRAG1 protein. Variants occurred de novo in females but were either de novo (2/3) or inherited (1/3) in males, with missense variants being predominantly inherited. Developmental delay and intellectual disability were overall more severe in males than in females. Likewise, seizures were more frequently observed and intractable, and started earlier in males than in females. No correlation was observed between the age at seizure onset and severity of intellectual disability or resistance to antiepileptic treatments.

Conclusion: This study provides a comprehensive overview of IQSEC2-related encephalopathy in males and females, and suggests that an accurate dosage of IQSEC2 at the synapse is crucial during normal brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0268-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752297PMC
April 2019

Remodeled cortical inhibition prevents motor seizures in generalized epilepsy.

Ann Neurol 2018 09;84(3):436-451

Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center.

Objective: Deletions of CACNA1A, encoding the α1 subunit of Ca 2.1 channels, cause epilepsy with ataxia in humans. Whereas the deletion of Cacna1a in γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) interneurons (INs) derived from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) impairs cortical inhibition and causes generalized seizures in Nkx2.1 ;Cacna1a mice, the targeted deletion of Cacna1a in somatostatin-expressing INs (SOM-INs), a subset of MGE-derived INs, does not result in seizures, indicating a crucial role of parvalbumin-expressing (PV) INs. Here we identify the cellular and network consequences of Cacna1a deletion specifically in PV-INs.

Methods: We generated PV ;Cacna1a mutant mice carrying a conditional Cacna1a deletion in PV neurons and evaluated the cortical cellular and network outcomes of this mutation by combining immunohistochemical assays, in vitro electrophysiology, 2-photon imaging, and in vivo video-electroencephalographic recordings.

Results: PV ;Cacna1a mice display reduced cortical perisomatic inhibition and frequent absences but only rare motor seizures. Compared to Nkx2.1 ;Cacna1a mice, PV ;Cacna1a mice have a net increase in cortical inhibition, with a gain of dendritic inhibition through sprouting of SOM-IN axons, largely preventing motor seizures. This beneficial compensatory remodeling of cortical GABAergic innervation is mTORC1-dependent and its inhibition with rapamycin leads to a striking increase in motor seizures. Furthermore, we show that a direct chemogenic activation of cortical SOM-INs prevents motor seizures in a model of kainate-induced seizures.

Interpretation: Our findings provide novel evidence suggesting that the remodeling of cortical inhibition, with an mTOR-dependent gain of dendritic inhibition, determines the seizure phenotype in generalized epilepsy and that mTOR inhibition can be detrimental in epilepsies not primarily due to mTOR hyperactivation. Ann Neurol 2018;84:436-451.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25301DOI Listing
September 2018

Health-Related Quality of Life for Patients With Genetically Determined Leukoencephalopathy.

Pediatr Neurol 2018 07 9;84:21-26. Epub 2018 Apr 9.

Department of Medical Genetics, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Child Health and Human Development Program, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: We attempted to characterize the health-related quality of life in patients with genetically determined leukoencephalopathies as it relates to the severity of clinical features and the presence or absence of a precise molecular diagnosis.

Methods: Health-related quality of life was assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory model (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Self- and Proxy-reports) on 59 patients diagnosed with genetically determined leukoencephalopathies. In total, 38 male and 21 female patients ranging from one to 32 years of age (mean nine years), as well as their parents, completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory health-related quality of life measures. In addition, participants completed detailed standardized clinical assessments or questionnaires. The correlation between health-related quality of life results and the severity of the clinical features, as well as the presence or absence of a molecular diagnosis, were analyzed.

Results: Patients with more severe clinical features showed statistically significant lower total Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory scores. More specifically, lower health-related quality of life was noted in children with sialorrhea, gastrostomy, and dystonia and in children who use a wheelchair.

Conclusions: Patients with more severe clinical features experience a lower quality of life. Our study further highlights the importance of addressing both physical and psychosocial issues and discussing perception of quality of life with both parents and children. A larger multicenter prospective study will be needed to further define the burden of these diseases and to identify modifiable factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.03.015DOI Listing
July 2018

Ex Utero Electroporation and Organotypic Slice Cultures of Embryonic Mouse Brains for Live-Imaging of Migrating GABAergic Interneurons.

J Vis Exp 2018 04 20(134). Epub 2018 Apr 20.

Centre de recherche du CHU Sainte-Justine; Department of Neuroscience, Université de Montréal; Department of Pediatrics, Université de Montréal;

GABAergic interneurons (INs) are critical components of neuronal networks that drive cognition and behavior. INs destined to populate the cortex migrate tangentially from their place of origin in the ventral telencephalon (including from the medial and caudal ganglionic eminences (MGE, CGE)) to the dorsal cortical plate in response to a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic cues. Different methodologies have been developed over the years to genetically manipulate specific pathways and investigate how they regulate the dynamic cytoskeletal changes required for proper IN migration. In utero electroporation has been extensively used to study the effect of gene repression or overexpression in specific IN subtypes while assessing the impact on morphology and final position. However, while this approach is readily used to modify radially migrating pyramidal cells, it is more technically challenging when targeting INs. In utero electroporation generates a low yield given the decreased survival rates of pups when electroporation is conducted before e14.5, as is customary when studying MGE-derived INs. In an alternative approach, MGE explants provide easy access to the MGE and facilitate the imaging of genetically modified INs. However, in these explants, INs migrate into an artificial matrix, devoid of endogenous guidance cues and thalamic inputs. This prompted us to optimize a method where INs can migrate in a more naturalistic environment, while circumventing the technical challenges of in utero approaches. In this paper, we describe the combination of ex utero electroporation of embryonic mouse brains followed by organotypic slice cultures to readily track, image and reconstruct genetically modified INs migrating along their natural paths in response to endogenous cues. This approach allows for both the quantification of the dynamic aspects of IN migration with time-lapse confocal imaging, as well as the detailed analysis of various morphological parameters using neuronal reconstructions on fixed immunolabeled tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/57526DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100702PMC
April 2018

Recessive mutations in VPS13D cause childhood onset movement disorders.

Ann Neurol 2018 06 10;83(6):1089-1095. Epub 2018 Apr 10.

Department of Pediatrics, Saint Justine University Hospital Center and University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada.

VPS13 protein family members VPS13A through VPS13C have been associated with various recessive movement disorders. We describe the first disease association of rare recessive VPS13D variants including frameshift, missense, and partial duplication mutations with a novel complex, hyperkinetic neurological disorder. The clinical features include developmental delay, a childhood onset movement disorder (chorea, dystonia, or tremor), and progressive spastic ataxia or paraparesis. Characteristic brain magnetic resonance imaging shows basal ganglia or diffuse white matter T2 hyperintensities as seen in Leigh syndrome and choreoacanthocytosis. Muscle biopsy in 1 case showed mitochondrial aggregates and lipidosis, suggesting mitochondrial dysfunction. These findings underline the importance of the VPS13 complex in neurological diseases and a possible role in mitochondrial function. Ann Neurol 2018;83:1089-1095.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25204DOI Listing
June 2018

FRMPD4 mutations cause X-linked intellectual disability and disrupt dendritic spine morphogenesis.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 02;27(4):589-600

Department of Neuroscience, Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

FRMPD4 (FERM and PDZ Domain Containing 4) is a neural scaffolding protein that interacts with PSD-95 to positively regulate dendritic spine morphogenesis, and with mGluR1/5 and Homer to regulate mGluR1/5 signaling. We report the genetic and functional characterization of 4 FRMPD4 deleterious mutations that cause a new X-linked intellectual disability (ID) syndrome. These mutations were found to be associated with ID in ten affected male patients from four unrelated families, following an apparent X-linked mode of inheritance. Mutations include deletion of an entire coding exon, a nonsense mutation, a frame-shift mutation resulting in premature termination of translation, and a missense mutation involving a highly conserved amino acid residue neighboring FRMPD4-FERM domain. Clinical features of these patients consisted of moderate to severe ID, language delay and seizures alongside with behavioral and/or psychiatric disturbances. In-depth functional studies showed that a frame-shift mutation, FRMPD4p.Cys618ValfsX8, results in a disruption of FRMPD4 binding with PSD-95 and HOMER1, and a failure to increase spine density in transfected hippocampal neurons. Behavioral studies of frmpd4-KO mice identified hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory deficits in Morris Water Maze test. These findings point to an important role of FRMPD4 in normal cognitive development and function in humans and mice, and support the hypothesis that FRMPD4 mutations cause ID by disrupting dendritic spine morphogenesis in glutamatergic neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx426DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5886117PMC
February 2018

High Rate of Recurrent De Novo Mutations in Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Nov;101(5):664-685

Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.

Developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) is a group of conditions characterized by the co-occurrence of epilepsy and intellectual disability (ID), typically with developmental plateauing or regression associated with frequent epileptiform activity. The cause of DEE remains unknown in the majority of cases. We performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in 197 individuals with unexplained DEE and pharmaco-resistant seizures and in their unaffected parents. We focused our attention on de novo mutations (DNMs) and identified candidate genes containing such variants. We sought to identify additional subjects with DNMs in these genes by performing targeted sequencing in another series of individuals with DEE and by mining various sequencing datasets. We also performed meta-analyses to document enrichment of DNMs in candidate genes by leveraging our WGS dataset with those of several DEE and ID series. By combining these strategies, we were able to provide a causal link between DEE and the following genes: NTRK2, GABRB2, CLTC, DHDDS, NUS1, RAB11A, GABBR2, and SNAP25. Overall, we established a molecular diagnosis in 63/197 (32%) individuals in our WGS series. The main cause of DEE in these individuals was de novo point mutations (53/63 solved cases), followed by inherited mutations (6/63 solved cases) and de novo CNVs (4/63 solved cases). De novo missense variants explained a larger proportion of individuals in our series than in other series that were primarily ascertained because of ID. Moreover, these DNMs were more frequently recurrent than those identified in ID series. These observations indicate that the genetic landscape of DEE might be different from that of ID without epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.09.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5673604PMC
November 2017

Optic nerve hypoplasia in a patient with a de novo KIF1A heterozygous mutation.

Can J Ophthalmol 2017 10 3;52(5):e169-e171. Epub 2017 May 3.

Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology, CHU Sainte Justine Hospital, University of Montreal, Montreal, Que. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcjo.2017.02.021DOI Listing
October 2017

Chemical Stability of Morphine, Ropivacaine, and Ziconotide in Combination for Intrathecal Analgesia.

Int J Pharm Compd 2017 Jul-Aug;21(4):347-351

Institute de Cancérologie de l'Ouest Paul Papin, Angers, France.

Pain is the most feared symptom amongst individuals living with cancer. In 15% to 20% of patients, conventional analgesic therapy either fails to relieve pain or induces adverse effects. Intrathecal drug delivery systems may present an effective alternative for pain management. The Cancerology Center Paul Papin protocol includes an admixture of morphine, ropivacaine, and ziconotide in intrathecal preparations. These drugs are administered by a fully implantable or an external pump. Syringes or polyolefin infusion bags are prepared for refill just before use. Few centers in France use the method of intrathecal analgesia. Therefore, for those patients receiving intrathecal preparations, each filling requires that the patients be transported from their local hospital (or their home) to a referral center where the patients are monitored. They sometimes must travel up to a hundred kilometers to have a pump filled. The preparation and the analytical control of the mixture are carried out only by those centers meeting the proper criteria, which includes the proper equipment. To spare the patient this travel, a peripheral center may be subcontracted to manage the patient's pump refill. No data are available concerning the chemical stability of admixtures in syringes or polyolefin infusion bags. The aim of this study was to evaluate, with a new analytical method using ultra high-performance liquid chromatography, the chemical stability of these admixtures in syringes or in polyolefin infusion bags. Ziconotide 1 µg/mL was combined with ropivacaine (7.5 mg/mL) and morphine (3.5 mg/mL) in syringes at 5°C, 21°C, and 31°C, and in polyolefin infusion bags at 21°C. Assays were performed using ultra high-pressure liquid chromatography. In syringes stored at 21°C and 31°C, concentrations after 6 hours were not in the acceptable criterion of 10% variability. When syringes were stored at 5°C, the residual concentration of ziconotide after 3 days was 100.5% +/- 2.6% [92.7% to 108.4%]. In polyolefin infusion bags, the residual concentration of ziconotide after 14 days was 96.9% +/- 2.2% [90.1% to 103.6%]. This study demonstrates the chemical stability of this admixture in syringes stored at 5°C for 3 days and in polyolefin plastibags stored at 21°C for 14 days.
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September 2017

Preface.

Prog Brain Res 2016 ;226:xi-xii

Département de neurosciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0079-6123(16)30073-5DOI Listing
February 2018

Efficacy and safety of lacosamide as an adjunctive therapy for refractory focal epilepsy in paediatric patients: a retrospective single-centre study.

Epileptic Disord 2015 Dec;17(4):436-43

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, Division of Neurology, Department of Neurosciences and Paediatrics, CHU Sainte Justine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Aim: Lacosamide is an antiepileptic drug approved for the treatment of focal epilepsy in adult patients. The aim of this observational study was to review our centre's experience with lacosamide and to characterize its effectiveness and tolerability as an adjunctive antiepileptic drug in a retrospective cohort of children with refractory focal epilepsy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 22 patients who received lacosamide from November 2009 to April 2014 at the CHU Ste-Justine, University of Montreal. Treatment responders were defined as children with a ≥50% reduction in seizure frequency compared to baseline, and this was determined three months after the initiation of treatment and at the last follow-up visit.

Results: We included 14 boys and eight girls with a mean age of 12.9 years (SD: 5.2; range: 5.2-20.7 years) at the initiation of treatment. The average length of follow-up was 11.9 months. Patients had previously received an average of 7.5 antiepileptic drugs. The mean number of concomitant antiepileptic drugs was 2.3. The mean initial and maintenance doses were 2.9 and 8.4 mg/kg/d, respectively. Thirteen (59%) and ten (45%) patients were responders after three months of treatment and at the last follow-up visit, respectively. One became seizure-free. Adverse effects were reported in 11 patients and none were severe. Responders and non-responders were identical with respect to all studied parameters except gender, with the proportion of responders being greater in girls than in boys (75% vs 29%; p=0.035).

Conclusion: Our study adds evidence that lacosamide appears to be a safe and effective adjunctive therapy for children with refractory focal epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2015.0782DOI Listing
December 2015

Bilateral congenital corneal anesthesia in a patient with SCN9A mutation, confirmed primary erythromelalgia, and paroxysmal extreme pain disorder.

J AAPOS 2015 Oct;19(5):478-9

Department of Ophthalmology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Electronic address:

The SCN9A gene codes for the sodium voltage-gated channel NaV 1.7. Gain of function mutations cause pain disorders such as primary erythromelalgia, paroxysmal extreme pain disorder, and small fiber neuropathy. Loss of function mutations lead to congenital insensitivity to pain. We report the case of a 6-year-old girl with a SCN9A mutation who presented with both gain of function and loss of function phenotypes, including congenital corneal anesthesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaapos.2015.05.015DOI Listing
October 2015

A Gain-of-Function Mutation in NALCN in a Child with Intellectual Disability, Ataxia, and Arthrogryposis.

Hum Mutat 2015 Aug 22;36(8):753-7. Epub 2015 Jun 22.

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center, Montreal, Canada.

NALCN and its homologues code for the ion channel responsible for half of background Na(+) -leak conductance in vertebrate and invertebrate neurons. Recessive mutations in human NALCN cause intellectual disability (ID) with hypotonia. Here, we report a de novo heterozygous mutation in NALCN affecting a conserved residue (p.R1181Q) in a girl with ID, episodic and persistent ataxia, and arthrogryposis. Interestingly, her episodes of ataxia were abolished by the administration of acetazolamide, similar to the response observed in episodic ataxia associated with other ion channels. Introducing the analogous mutation in the Caenorhabditis elegans homologue nca-1 induced a coiling locomotion phenotype, identical to that obtained with previously characterized C. elegans gain-of-function nca alleles, suggesting that p.R1181Q confers the same property to NALCN. This observation thus suggests that dominant mutations in NALCN can cause a neurodevelopmental phenotype that overlaps with, while being mostly distinct from that associated with recessive mutations in the same gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.22797DOI Listing
August 2015

Normal Cerebrospinal Fluid Pyridoxal 5'-Phosphate Level in a PNPO-Deficient Patient with Neonatal-Onset Epileptic Encephalopathy.

JIMD Rep 2015 12;22:67-75. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Divisions of Medical Genetics (AL, AML, CBG, GM) and Neurology (PD, ER), Department of Paediatrics, Biochemical Genetics Laboratory (CBG, PA), CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal, 3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3T 1C5.

Unlabelled: Deficiency of pyridox(am)ine 5'-phosphate oxidase (PNPO, OMIM 610090) is a treatable autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism. Neonatal epileptic encephalopathy and a low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pyridoxal 5'-phosphate level are the reported hallmarks of PNPO deficiency, but its clinical and biochemical spectra are not fully known.

Case Presentation: A girl born at 33 3/7 weeks of gestation developed seizures in the first hours of life. Her seizures initially responded to GABAergic agonists, but she subsequently developed a severe epileptic encephalopathy. Brain MRI and infectious and metabolic evaluations at birth, including urinary alpha-aminoadipic semialdehyde (AASA), were normal. Lumbar puncture at age 3 months showed: pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, 52 nmol/L (normal, 23-64); homovanillic acid, 392 nmol/L (normal, 450-1,132); 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, 341 nmol/L (normal, 179-711); and 3-ortho-methyldopa, 30 nmol/L (normal, below 300). The patient was not being treated with pyridoxine nor with pyridoxal 5'-phosphate at the time of the lumbar puncture. She died at age 14 months. A sequencing panel targeting 53 epilepsy-related genes revealed a homozygous missense mutation in PNPO (c.674G>A, p.R225H). Homozygosity was confirmed by parental testing. Expression studies of mutant p.R225H PNPO revealed greatly reduced activity. In conclusion, a normal CSF level of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate does not rule out PNPO deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/8904_2015_413DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486275PMC
July 2015

CACNA1A haploinsufficiency causes cognitive impairment, autism and epileptic encephalopathy with mild cerebellar symptoms.

Eur J Hum Genet 2015 Nov 4;23(11):1505-12. Epub 2015 Mar 4.

Department of Pediatrics, Neurology Service, CHU Ste-Justine, U. de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

CACNA1A loss-of-function mutations classically present as episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2), with brief episodes of ataxia and nystagmus, or with progressive spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA6). A minority of patients carrying CACNA1A mutations develops epilepsy. Non-motor symptoms associated with these mutations are often overlooked. In this study, we report 16 affected individuals from four unrelated families presenting with a spectrum of cognitive impairment including intellectual deficiency, executive dysfunction, ADHD and/or autism, as well as childhood-onset epileptic encephalopathy with refractory absence epilepsy, febrile seizures, downbeat nystagmus and episodic ataxia. Sequencing revealed one CACNA1A gene deletion, two deleterious CACNA1A point mutations including one known stop-gain and one new frameshift variant and a new splice-site variant. This report illustrates the phenotypic heterogeneity of CACNA1A loss-of-function mutations and stresses the cognitive and epileptic manifestations caused by the loss of CaV2.1 channels function, presumably affecting cerebellar, cortical and limbic networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2015.21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4613477PMC
November 2015

De novo mutations in the motor domain of KIF1A cause cognitive impairment, spastic paraparesis, axonal neuropathy, and cerebellar atrophy.

Hum Mutat 2015 Jan 27;36(1):69-78. Epub 2014 Nov 27.

Biomedical Proteomics Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon, Korea.

KIF1A is a neuron-specific motor protein that plays important roles in cargo transport along neurites. Recessive mutations in KIF1A were previously described in families with spastic paraparesis or sensory and autonomic neuropathy type-2. Here, we report 11 heterozygous de novo missense mutations (p.S58L, p.T99M, p.G102D, p.V144F, p.R167C, p.A202P, p.S215R, p.R216P, p.L249Q, p.E253K, and p.R316W) in KIF1A in 14 individuals, including two monozygotic twins. Two mutations (p.T99M and p.E253K) were recurrent, each being found in unrelated cases. All these de novo mutations are located in the motor domain (MD) of KIF1A. Structural modeling revealed that they alter conserved residues that are critical for the structure and function of the MD. Transfection studies suggested that at least five of these mutations affect the transport of the MD along axons. Individuals with de novo mutations in KIF1A display a phenotype characterized by cognitive impairment and variable presence of cerebellar atrophy, spastic paraparesis, optic nerve atrophy, peripheral neuropathy, and epilepsy. Our findings thus indicate that de novo missense mutations in the MD of KIF1A cause a phenotype that overlaps with, while being more severe, than that associated with recessive mutations in the same gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.22709DOI Listing
January 2015

Vanishing white matter disease in French-Canadian patients from Quebec.

Pediatr Neurol 2014 Aug 14;51(2):225-32. Epub 2014 May 14.

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Pediatric Neurology, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Vanishing white matter disease is an autosomal recessive leukodystrophy caused by mutations in any of the five genes encoding the subunits of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B. Most of the reported patients are of North American and European ancestry.

Objective: The objective of the study was to review the clinical, radiological, and molecular characteristics of vanishing white matter disease in a cohort of French-Canadian patients.

Methods: Between 2004 and March 2012, five French-Canadian (non-Cree) patients from Quebec were clinically and genetically diagnosed with vanishing white matter disease within three Montreal Neurogenetics and Leukodystrophy clinics. Their clinical presentation and evolution, demographic characteristics, genetic mutations, and imaging were reviewed and compared with what is known in the literature.

Results: Sequencing of the exons and intronic boundaries of the EIF2B1-5 genes revealed a rare 260C>T (A87V) missense mutation in EIF2B3 in two homozygous patients and one compound heterozygous patient. This mutation was previously reported in only one patient in the literature. The carrier frequency is unknown. Also, three of five Quebec patients had an extremely rare vanishing white matter disease presentation of migraines with transient neurological abnormalities.

Conclusion: The 260C>T (A87V) mutation in exon 3 of the EIF2B3 gene is likely a founder mutation for vanishing white matter disease in Quebec. Transient hemiparesthesia and hemiparesis episodes accompanied by headaches as presenting abnormalities of vanishing white matter disease are usually rare but seemed to be more frequent among the French-Canadian Quebec patients. They seemed to be preceded by periods of stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2014.05.006DOI Listing
August 2014

WONOEP appraisal: new genetic approaches to study epilepsy.

Epilepsia 2014 Aug 25;55(8):1170-86. Epub 2014 Jun 25.

Pediatric & Neuroscience Department & Brain Disease Research Group, CHU Ste-Justine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

New genetic investigation techniques, including next-generation sequencing, epigenetic profiling, cell lineage mapping, targeted genetic manipulation of specific neuronal cell types, stem cell reprogramming, and optogenetic manipulations within epileptic networks are progressively unraveling the mysteries of epileptogenesis and ictogenesis. These techniques have opened new avenues to discover the molecular basis of epileptogenesis and to study the physiologic effects of mutations in epilepsy-associated genes on a multilayer level, from cells to circuits. This manuscript reviews recently published applications of these new genetic technologies in the study of epilepsy, as well as work presented by the authors at the genetic session of the XII Workshop on the Neurobiology of Epilepsy (WONOEP 2013) in Quebec, Canada. Next-generation sequencing is providing investigators with an unbiased means to assess the molecular causes of sporadic forms of epilepsy and has revealed the complexity and genetic heterogeneity of sporadic epilepsy disorders. To assess the functional impact of mutations in these newly identified genes on specific neuronal cell types during brain development, new modeling strategies in animals, including conditional genetics in mice and in utero knock-down approaches, are enabling functional validation with exquisite cell-type and temporal specificity. In addition, optogenetics, using cell-type-specific Cre recombinase driver lines, is enabling investigators to dissect networks involved in epilepsy. In addition, genetically encoded cell-type labeling is providing new means to assess the role of the nonneuronal components of epileptic networks such as glial cells. Furthermore, beyond its role in revealing coding variants involved in epileptogenesis, next-generation sequencing can be used to assess the epigenetic modifications that lead to sustained network hyperexcitability in epilepsy, including methylation changes in gene promoters and noncoding ribonucleic acid (RNA) involved in modifying gene expression following seizures. In addition, genetically based bioluminescent reporters are providing new opportunities to assess neuronal activity and neurotransmitter levels both in vitro and in vivo in the context of epilepsy. Finally, genetically rederived neurons generated from patient induced pluripotent stem cells and genetically modified zebrafish have become high-throughput means to investigate disease mechanisms and potential new therapies. Genetics has changed the field of epilepsy research considerably, and is paving the way for better diagnosis and therapies for patients with epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.12692DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126888PMC
August 2014

Mutations in DOCK7 in individuals with epileptic encephalopathy and cortical blindness.

Am J Hum Genet 2014 Jun 8;94(6):891-7. Epub 2014 May 8.

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine Research Center, Montreal H3T 1C5, Canada. Electronic address:

Epileptic encephalopathies are increasingly thought to be of genetic origin, although the exact etiology remains uncertain in many cases. We describe here three girls from two nonconsanguineous families affected by a clinical entity characterized by dysmorphic features, early-onset intractable epilepsy, intellectual disability, and cortical blindness. In individuals from each family, brain imaging also showed specific changes, including an abnormally marked pontobulbar sulcus and abnormal signals (T2 hyperintensities) and atrophy in the occipital lobe. Exome sequencing performed in the first family did not reveal any gene with rare homozygous variants shared by both affected siblings. It did, however, show one gene, DOCK7, with two rare heterozygous variants (c.2510delA [p.Asp837Alafs(∗)48] and c.3709C>T [p.Arg1237(∗)]) found in both affected sisters. Exome sequencing performed in the proband of the second family also showed the presence of two rare heterozygous variants (c.983C>G [p.Ser328(∗)] and c.6232G>T [p.Glu2078(∗)]) in DOCK7. Sanger sequencing confirmed that all three individuals are compound heterozygotes for these truncating mutations in DOCK7. These mutations have not been observed in public SNP databases and are predicted to abolish domains critical for DOCK7 function. DOCK7 codes for a Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor that has been implicated in the genesis and polarization of newborn pyramidal neurons and in the morphological differentiation of GABAergic interneurons in the developing cortex. All together, these observations suggest that loss of DOCK7 function causes a syndromic form of epileptic encephalopathy by affecting multiple neuronal processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.04.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121477PMC
June 2014

The genetic landscape of infantile spasms.

Hum Mol Genet 2014 Sep 29;23(18):4846-58. Epub 2014 Apr 29.

Department of Pediatrics and Department of Neurosciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada, CHU Ste-Justine Research Center, Montréal, QC, Canada,

Infantile spasms (IS) is an early-onset epileptic encephalopathy of unknown etiology in ∼40% of patients. We hypothesized that unexplained IS cases represent a large collection of rare single-gene disorders. We investigated 44 children with unexplained IS using comparative genomic hybridisation arrays (aCGH) (n = 44) followed by targeted sequencing of 35 known epilepsy genes (n = 8) or whole-exome sequencing (WES) of familial trios (n = 18) to search for rare inherited or de novo mutations. aCGH analysis revealed de novo variants in 7% of patients (n = 3/44), including a distal 16p11.2 duplication, a 15q11.1q13.1 tetrasomy and a 2q21.3-q22.2 deletion. Furthermore, it identified a pathogenic maternally inherited Xp11.2 duplication. Targeted sequencing was informative for ARX (n = 1/14) and STXBP1 (n = 1/8). In contrast, sequencing of a panel of 35 known epileptic encephalopathy genes (n = 8) did not identify further mutations. Finally, WES (n = 18) was very informative, with an excess of de novo mutations identified in genes predicted to be involved in neurodevelopmental processes and/or known to be intolerant to functional variations. Several pathogenic mutations were identified, including de novo mutations in STXBP1, CASK and ALG13, as well as recessive mutations in PNPO and ADSL, together explaining 28% of cases (5/18). In addition, WES identified 1-3 de novo variants in 64% of remaining probands, pointing to several interesting candidate genes. Our results indicate that IS are genetically heterogeneous with a major contribution of de novo mutations and that WES is significantly superior to targeted re-sequencing in identifying detrimental genetic variants involved in IS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddu199DOI Listing
September 2014