Mutation of the ?-tubulin Tuba1a leads to straighter microtubules and perturbs neuronal migration.
ABSTRACT: Brain development involves extensive migration of neurons. Microtubules (MTs) are key cellular effectors of neuronal displacement that are assembled from ?/?-tubulin heterodimers. Mutation of the ?-tubulin isotype TUBA1A is associated with cortical malformations in humans. In this study, we provide detailed in vivo and in vitro analyses of Tuba1a mutants. In mice carrying a Tuba1a missense mutation (S140G), neurons accumulate, and glial cells are dispersed along the rostral migratory stream in postnatal and adult brains. Live imaging of Tuba1a-mutant neurons revealed slowed migration and increased neuronal branching, which correlated with directionality alterations and perturbed nucleus-centrosome (N-C) coupling. Tuba1a mutation led to increased straightness of newly polymerized MTs, and structural modeling data suggest a conformational change in the ?/?-tubulin heterodimer. We show that Tuba8, another ?-tubulin isotype previously associated with cortical malformations, has altered function compared with Tuba1a. Our work shows that Tuba1a plays an essential, noncompensated role in neuronal saltatory migration in vivo and highlights the importance of MT flexibility in N-C coupling and neuronal-branching regulation during neuronal migration.
Project description:Microtubules are dynamic cytoskeletal polymers that mediate numerous, essential functions such as axon and dendrite growth and neuron migration throughout brain development. In recent years, sequencing has revealed dominant mutations that disrupt the tubulin protein building blocks of microtubules. These tubulin mutations lead to a spectrum of devastating brain malformations, complex neurological and physical phenotypes, and even fatality. The most common tubulin gene mutated is the ?-tubulin gene TUBA1A, which is the most prevalent ?-tubulin gene expressed in post-mitotic neurons. The normal role of TUBA1A during neuronal maturation, and how mutations alter its function to produce the phenotypes observed in patients, remains unclear. This review synthesizes current knowledge of TUBA1A function and expression during brain development, and the brain malformations caused by mutations in TUBA1A.
Project description:A spectrum of neurological disorders characterized by abnormal neuronal migration, differentiation, and axon guidance and maintenance have recently been attributed to missense and splice-site mutations in the genes that encode ?-tubulin and ?-tubulin isotypes TUBA1A, TUBA8, TUBB2B, and TUBB3, all of which putatively coassemble into neuronal microtubules. The resulting nervous system malformations can include different types of cortical malformations, defects in commissural fiber tracts, and degeneration of motor and sensory axons. Many clinical phenotypes and brain malformations are shared among the various mutations regardless of structural location and/or isotype, while others segregate with distinct amino acids or functional domains within tubulin. Collectively, these disorders provide novel paradigms for understanding the biological functions of microtubules and their core components in normal health and disease.
Project description:Mutations in the TUBB3 gene, encoding ?-tubulin isotype III, were recently shown to be associated with various neurological syndromes which all have in common the ocular motility disorder, congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscle type 3 (CFEOM3). Surprisingly and in contrast to previously described TUBA1A and TUBB2B phenotypes, no evidence of dysfunctional neuronal migration and cortical organization was reported. In our study, we report the discovery of six novel missense mutations in the TUBB3 gene, including one fetal case and one homozygous variation, in nine patients that all share cortical disorganization, axonal abnormalities associated with pontocerebellar hypoplasia, but with no ocular motility defects, CFEOM3. These new findings demonstrate that the spectrum of TUBB3-related phenotype is broader than previously described and includes malformations of cortical development (MCD) associated with neuronal migration and differentiation defects, axonal guidance and tract organization impairment. Complementary functional studies revealed that the mutated ?III-tubulin causing the MCD phenotype results in a reduction of heterodimer formation, yet produce correctly formed microtubules (MTs) in mammalian cells. Further to this, we investigated the properties of the MT network in patients' fibroblasts and revealed that MCD mutations can alter the resistance of MTs to depolymerization. Interestingly, this finding contrasts with the increased MT stability observed in the case of CFEOM3-related mutations. These results led us to hypothesize that either MT dynamics or their interactions with various MT-interacting proteins could be differently affected by TUBB3 variations, thus resulting in distinct alteration of downstream processes and therefore explaining the phenotypic diversity of the TUBB3-related spectrum.
Project description:The microtubule cytoskeleton supports diverse cellular morphogenesis and migration processes during brain development. Mutations in tubulin genes are associated with severe human brain malformations known as 'tubulinopathies'; however, it is not understood how molecular-level changes in microtubule subunits lead to brain malformations. In this study, we demonstrate that missense mutations affecting arginine at position 402 (R402) of TUBA1A ?-tubulin selectively impair dynein motor activity and severely and dominantly disrupt cortical neuronal migration. TUBA1A is the most commonly affected tubulin gene in tubulinopathy patients, and mutations altering R402 account for 30% of all reported TUBA1A mutations. We show for the first time that ectopic expression of TUBA1A-R402C and TUBA1A-R402H patient alleles is sufficient to dominantly disrupt cortical neuronal migration in the developing mouse brain, strongly supporting a causal role in the pathology of brain malformation. To isolate the precise molecular impact of R402 mutations, we generated analogous R402C and R402H mutations in budding yeast ?-tubulin, which exhibit a simplified microtubule cytoskeleton. We find that R402 mutant tubulins assemble into microtubules that support normal kinesin motor activity but fail to support the activity of dynein motors. Importantly, the level of dynein impairment scales with the expression level of the mutant in the cell, suggesting a 'poisoning' mechanism in which R402 mutant ?-tubulin acts dominantly by populating microtubules with defective binding sites for dynein. Based on our results, we propose a new model for the molecular pathology of tubulinopathies that may also extend to other tubulin-related neuropathies.
Project description:Malformations of the cerebral cortex are an important cause of developmental disabilities and epilepsy. Neurological disorders caused by abnormal neuronal migration have been observed to occur with mutations in tubulin genes. The ?- and ?-tubulin genes encode cytoskeletal proteins, which play a role in the developing brain. TUBA1A mutations are associated with a wide spectrum of neurological problems, which are characterized by peculiar clinical details and neuroradiologic patterns. This manuscript describes the case of a nine-year-old girl with microcephaly, mild facial dysmorphisms, epileptic seizures, and severe developmental delay, with a de novo heterozygous c.320A>G [p.(His 107 Arg)] mutation in TUBA1A gene, and the clinical aspects and neuroimaging features of "lissencephaly syndrome" are summarized. This case shows that TUBA1A mutations lead to a variety of brain malformations ranging from lissencephaly with perisylvian pachygyria to diffuse posteriorly predominant pachygyria, combined with internal capsule dysgenesis, cerebellar dysplasia, and callosal hypotrophy. This peculiar neuroradiological pattern, in combination with the usually severe clinical presentation, suggests the need for future molecular studies to address the mechanisms of TUBA1A mutation-induced neuropathology.
Project description:Malformations of cortical development are characteristic of a plethora of diseases that includes polymicrogyria, periventricular and subcortical heterotopia and lissencephaly. Mutations in TUBA1A and TUBB2B, each a member of the multigene families that encode alpha- and beta-tubulins, have recently been implicated in these diseases. Here we examine the defects that result from nine disease-causing mutations (I188L, I238V, P263T, L286F, V303G, L397P, R402C, 402H, S419L) in TUBA1A. We show that the expression of all the mutant proteins in vitro results in the generation of tubulin heterodimers in varying yield and that these can co-polymerize with microtubules in vitro. We identify several kinds of defects that result from these mutations. Among these are various defects in the chaperone-dependent pathway leading to de novo tubulin heterodimer formation. These include a defective interaction with the chaperone prefoldin, a reduced efficiency in the generation of productive folding intermediates as a result of inefficient interaction with the cytosolic chaperonin, CCT, and, in several cases, a failure to stably interact with TBCB, one of five tubulin-specific chaperones that act downstream of CCT in the tubulin heterodimer assembly pathway. Other defects include structural instability in vitro, diminished stability in vivo, a compromised ability to co-assemble with microtubules in vivo and a suppression of microtubule growth rate in the neurites (but not the soma) of cultured neurons. Our data are consistent with the notion that some mutations in TUBA1A result in tubulin deficit, whereas others reflect compromised interactions with one or more MAPs that are essential to proper neuronal migration.
Project description:De novo mutations in the TUBA1A gene are responsible for a wide spectrum of neuronal migration disorders, ranging from lissencephaly to perisylvian pachygyria. Recently, one family with polymicrogyria (PMG) and mutation in TUBA1A was reported. Hence, the purpose of our study was to determine the frequency of TUBA1A mutations in patients with PMG and better define clinical and imaging characteristics for TUBA1A-related PMG. We collected 95 sporadic patients with non-syndromic bilateral PMG, including 54 with perisylvian PMG and 30 PMG with additional brain abnormalities. Mutation analysis of the TUBA1A gene was performed by sequencing of PCR fragments corresponding to TUBA1A-coding sequences. Three de novo missense TUBA1A mutations were identified in three unrelated patients with PMG representing 3.1% of PMG and 10% of PMGs with complex cerebral malformations. These patients had bilateral perisylvian asymmetrical PMG with dysmorphic basal ganglia cerebellar vermian dysplasia and pontine hypoplasia. These mutations (p.Tyr161His; p.Val235Leu; p.Arg390Cys) appear distributed throughout the primary structure of the alpha-tubulin polypeptide, but their localization within the tertiary structure suggests that PMG-related mutations are likely to impact microtubule dynamics, stability and/or local interactions with partner proteins. These findings broaden the phenotypic spectrum associated with TUBA1A mutations to PMG and further emphasize that additional brain abnormalities, that is, dysmorphic basal ganglia, hypoplastic pons and cerebellar dysplasia are key features for the diagnosis of TUBA1A-related PMG.
Project description:Mutations in tubulin genes are responsible for a large spectrum of brain malformations secondary to abnormal neuronal migration, organization, differentiation and axon guidance and maintenance. Motor impairment, intellectual disability and epilepsy are the main clinical symptoms. In the present study 15 patients from a personal cohort and 75 from 21 published studies carrying mutations in TUBA1A, TUBB2B and TUBB3 tubulin genes were evaluated with the aim to define a clinical and electrophysiological associated pattern. Epilepsy shows a wide range of severity without a specific pattern. Mutations in TUBA1A (60%) and TUBB2B (74%) and TUBB3 (25%) genes are associated with epilepsy. The accurate analysis of the Electroencephalogram (EEG) pattern in wakefulness and sleep in our series allows us to detect significant abnormalities of the background activity in 100% of patients. The involvement of white matter and of the inter-hemispheric connection structures typically observed in tubulinopathies is evidenced by the high percentage of asynchronisms in the organization of sleep activity recorded. In addition to asymmetries of the background activity, excess of slowing, low amplitude and Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging confirm the presence of extensive brain malformations involving subcortical and midline structures. In conclusion, epilepsy in tubulinopathies when present has a favorable evolution over time suggesting a not particularly aggressive therapeutic approach.
Project description:The TUBA1A gene encodes tubulin alpha-1A, a protein that is highly expressed in the fetal brain. Alpha- and beta-tubulin subunits form dimers, which then co-assemble into microtubule polymers: dynamic, scaffold-like structures that perform key functions during neurogenesis, neuronal migration, and cortical organisation. Mutations in TUBA1A have been reported to cause a range of brain malformations. We describe four unrelated patients with the same de novo missense mutation in TUBA1A, c.5G>A, p.(Arg2His), as found by next generation sequencing. Detailed comparison revealed similar brain phenotypes with mild variability. Shared features included developmental delay, microcephaly, hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis, dysplasia or thinning of the corpus callosum, small pons, and dysmorphic basal ganglia. Two of the patients had bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria. We examined the effects of the p.(Arg2His) mutation by computer-based protein structure modelling and heterologous expression in HEK-293 cells. The results suggest the mutation subtly impairs microtubule function, potentially by affecting inter-dimer interaction. Based on its sequence context, c.5G>A is likely to be a common recurrent mutation. We propose that the subtle functional effects of p.(Arg2His) may allow for other factors (such as genetic background or environmental conditions) to influence phenotypic outcome, thus explaining the mild variability in clinical manifestations.
Project description:Background and aim:The number of reports on the role of tubulin gene mutations (TUBA1A, TUBB2B, and TUBB3) in etiology of malformations of cortical development has peaked in recent years. We aimed to determine tubulin gene defects on a patient population with simple and complex malformations of cortical development, and investigate the relationship between tubulin gene mutations and disease phenotype. Materials and methods:We evaluated 47 patients with simple or complex malformations of cortical development, as determined by radiological examination, for demographic features, clinical findings and mutations on TUBA1A, TUBB2B, and TUBB3 genes. Results:According to the magnetic resonance imaging findings, 19 patients (40.5%) had simple malformations of cortical development and 28 (59.5%) patients had complex malformations of cortical development. Focal cortical dysplasia was the most common simple malformation, lissencephaly was the most common coexisting cortical malformation, and corpus callosum anomalies were the most common coexisting extracortical neurodevelopmental abnormalities. None of the patients had genetic alterations on TUBA1A, TUBB2B, and TUBB3 genes causing protein dysfunction. On the other hand, the frequencies of some polymorphisms were higher when compared to the literature. Conclusion:It is crucial to identify the etiology in patients with malformations of cortical development in order to provide appropriate genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis. We consider that multicenter studies with higher patient numbers and also including other malformations of cortical development-related genes are required to determine underlying etiological factors of malformations of cortical development patients.