Journal Article

Mutations in the neuronal β-tubulin subunit TUBB3 result in malformation of cortical development and neuronal migration defects

Karine Poirier, Yoann Saillour, Nadia Bahi-Buisson, Xavier H. Jaglin, Catherine Fallet-Bianco, Rima Nabbout, Laetitia Castelnau-Ptakhine, Agathe Roubertie, Tania Attie-Bitach, Isabelle Desguerre, David Genevieve, Christine Barnerias, Boris Keren, Nicolas Lebrun, Nathalie Boddaert, Féréchté Encha-Razavi and Jamel Chelly

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 19, issue 22, pages 4462-4473
Published in print November 2010 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddq377
Mutations in the neuronal β-tubulin subunit TUBB3 result in malformation of cortical development and neuronal migration defects

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Mutations in the TUBB3 gene, encoding β-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 βIII-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.

Journal Article.  5764 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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