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.