Investigation of the most common clinical and imaging findings and the role of tubulin genes in the etiology of malformations of cortical development
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Mutations in alpha- and beta-tubulins are increasingly recognized as a major cause of malformations of cortical development (MCD), typically lissencephaly, pachygyria and polymicrogyria; however, sequencing tubulin genes in large cohorts of MCD patients has detected tubulin mutations in only 1-13%. We identified patients with a highly characteristic cerebellar dysplasia but without lissencephaly, pachygyria and polymicrogyria typically associated with tubulin mutations. Remarkably, in seven of nine patients (78%), targeted sequencing revealed mutations in three different tubulin genes (TUBA1A, TUBB2B and TUBB3), occurring de novo or inherited from a mosaic parent. Careful re-review of the cortical phenotype on brain imaging revealed only an irregular pattern of gyri and sulci, for which we propose the term tubulinopathy-related dysgyria. Basal ganglia (100%) and brainstem dysplasia (80%) were common features. On the basis of in silico structural predictions, the mutations affect amino acids in diverse regions of the alpha-/beta-tubulin heterodimer, including the nucleotide binding pocket. Cell-based assays of tubulin dynamics reveal various effects of the mutations on incorporation into microtubules: TUBB3 p.Glu288Lys and p.Pro357Leu do not incorporate into microtubules at all, whereas TUBB2B p.Gly13Ala shows reduced incorporation and TUBA1A p.Arg214His incorporates fully, but at a slower rate than wild-type. The broad range of effects on microtubule incorporation is at odds with the highly stereotypical clinical phenotype, supporting differential roles for the three tubulin genes involved. Identifying this highly characteristic phenotype is important due to the low recurrence risk compared with the other (recessive) cerebellar dysplasias and the apparent lack of non-neurological medical issues.
Project description:Complex cortical malformations associated with mutations in tubulin genes are commonly referred to as "Tubulinopathies". To further characterize the mutation frequency and phenotypes associated with tubulin mutations, we studied a cohort of 60 foetal cases. Twenty-six tubulin mutations were identified, of which TUBA1A mutations were the most prevalent (19 cases), followed by TUBB2B (6 cases) and TUBB3 (one case). Three subtypes clearly emerged. The most frequent (n?=?13) was microlissencephaly with corpus callosum agenesis, severely hypoplastic brainstem and cerebellum. The cortical plate was either absent (6/13), with a 2-3 layered pattern (5/13) or less frequently thickened (2/13), often associated with neuroglial overmigration (4/13). All cases had voluminous germinal zones and ganglionic eminences. The second subtype was lissencephaly (n?=?7), either classical (4/7) or associated with cerebellar hypoplasia (3/7) with corpus callosum agenesis (6/7). All foetuses with lissencephaly and cerebellar hypoplasia carried distinct TUBA1A mutations, while those with classical lissencephaly harbored recurrent mutations in TUBA1A (3 cases) or TUBB2B (1 case). The third group was polymicrogyria-like cortical dysplasia (n?=?6), consisting of asymmetric multifocal or generalized polymicrogyria with inconstant corpus callosum agenesis (4/6) and hypoplastic brainstem and cerebellum (3/6). Polymicrogyria was either unlayered or 4-layered with neuronal heterotopias (5/6) and occasional focal neuroglial overmigration (2/6). Three had TUBA1A mutations and 3 TUBB2B mutations. Foetal TUBA1A tubulinopathies most often consist in microlissencephaly or classical lissencephaly with corpus callosum agenesis, but polymicrogyria may also occur. Conversely, TUBB2B mutations are responsible for either polymicrogyria (4/6) or microlissencephaly (2/6).
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 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: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:Tubulin genes encode a series of homologous proteins used to construct microtubules which are essential for multiple cellular processes. Neural development is particularly reliant on functional microtubule structures. Tubulin genes comprise a large family of genes with very high sequence similarity between multiple family members. Human genetics has demonstrated that a large spectrum of cortical malformations are associated with de novo heterozygous mutations in tubulin genes. However, the absolute requirement for many of these genes in development and disease has not been previously tested in genetic loss of function models. Here we directly test the requirement for Tuba1a, Tubb2a and Tubb2b in the mouse by deleting each gene individually using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. We show that loss of Tubb2a or Tubb2b does not impair survival but does lead to relatively mild cortical malformation phenotypes. In contrast, loss of Tuba1a is perinatal lethal and leads to significant forebrain dysmorphology. We also present a novel mouse ENU allele of Tuba1a with phenotypes similar to the null allele. This demonstrates the requirements for each of the tubulin genes and levels of functional redundancy are quite different throughout the gene family. The ability of the mouse to survive in the absence of some tubulin genes known to cause disease in humans suggests future intervention strategies for these devastating tubulinopathy diseases.
Project description:A number of recent studies have described malformations of cortical development with mutations of components of microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins. Despite examinations of a large number of MRIs, good phenotype-genotype correlations have been elusive. Additionally, most of these studies focused exclusively on cerebral cortical findings. The purpose of this study was to characterize imaging findings associated with disorders of microtubule function.MRIs from 18 patients with confirmed tubulin mutations (8 TUBA1A, 5 TUBB2B, and 5 TUBB3) and 15 patients with known mutations of the genes encoding microtubule-associated proteins (5 LIS1, 4 DCX, and 6 DYNC1H1) were carefully visually analyzed and compared. Specific note was made of the cortical gyral pattern, basal ganglia, and white matter to assess internal capsular size, cortical thickness, ventricular and cisternal size, and the size and contours of the brain stem, cerebellar hemispheres and vermis, and the corpus callosum of patients with tubulin and microtubule-associated protein gene mutations. Results were determined by unanimous consensus of the authors.All patients had abnormal findings on MR imaging. A large number of patients with tubulin gene mutations were found to have multiple cortical and subcortical abnormalities, including microcephaly, ventriculomegaly, abnormal gyral and sulcal patterns (termed "dysgyria"), a small or absent corpus callosum, and a small pons. All patients with microtubule-associated protein mutations also had abnormal cerebral cortices (predominantly pachygyria and agyria), but fewer subcortical abnormalities were noted.Comparison of MRIs from patients with known mutations of tubulin genes and microtubule-associated proteins allows the establishment of some early correlations of phenotype with genotype and may assist in identification and diagnosis of these rare disorders.
Project description:The formation of the mammalian cortex requires the generation, migration, and differentiation of neurons. The vital role that the microtubule cytoskeleton plays in these cellular processes is reflected by the discovery that mutations in various tubulin isotypes cause different neurodevelopmental diseases, including lissencephaly (TUBA1A), polymicrogyria (TUBA1A, TUBB2B, TUBB3), and an ocular motility disorder (TUBB3). Here, we show that Tubb5 is expressed in neurogenic progenitors in the mouse and that its depletion in vivo perturbs the cell cycle of progenitors and alters the position of migrating neurons. We report the occurrence of three microcephalic patients with structural brain abnormalities harboring de novo mutations in TUBB5 (M299V, V353I, and E401K). These mutant proteins, which affect the chaperone-dependent assembly of tubulin heterodimers in different ways, disrupt neurogenic division and/or migration in vivo. Our results provide insight into the functional repertoire of the tubulin gene family, specifically implicating TUBB5 in embryonic neurogenesis and microcephaly.
Project description:The purpose of the study is to explore the causative role of TUBB2B gene mutations in patients with different malformations of cortical development. We collected and evaluated clinical and MRI data of a cohort of 128 consecutive patients (61 females and 67 males) in whom brain MRI had detected a spectrum of malformations of cortical development including polymicrogyria or pachygyria, who were mutation-negative to other possible causative genes. Mutation analysis of the TUBB2B gene was performed. We identified three new TUBB2B mutations in three unrelated patients (3 out of 128; 2.3%) with a diffuse and rather symmetrical cortical abnormality, including diffuse polymicrogyria in two and bilateral regional pachygyria in one. One patient harbored a p.Asp417Asn amino-acid substitution in the C-terminal domain of the protein; one patient a p.Asn256Ser amino-acid substitution in the intermediate domain and one patient a p.Leu117Pro amino-acid substitution in the N-terminal domain. The localization of each mutation within the secondary structure of the ?2-tubulin polypeptide suggests that these mutations might alter the proper functions of microtubules. The phenotypic spectrum associated with TUBB2B mutations is wider than previously reported and includes diffuse, symmetric malformations of cortical development.
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.