Author(s): Tonelli A, DAngelo MG, Salati R, Villa L, Germinasi C,
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Abstract Mutations in the brain-specific P/Q type Ca2+ channel alpha1 subunit gene, CACNA1A, have been identified in three clinically distinct disorders, spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6), episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2), and familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1). SCA6 is associated with small expansions of a CAG repeat at the 3' end of the gene, while point mutations are mostly responsible for its two allelic disorders, FHMI and EA2. From the electrophysiological point of view, while FHMI mutations lead to a gain of function [Tottene A, Fellin T, Pagnutti S, Luvisetto S, Striessnig J, Fletcher C, et al. Familial hemiplegic migraine mutations increase Ca2+ influx through single human CaV2.1 channels and decrease maximal CaV2.1 current density in neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci 99 (20) (2002) 13284-13289.], EA2 mutations usually generate a loss of channel function [Guida S, Trettel F, Pagnutti S, Mantuano E, Tottene A, Veneziano L, et al. Complete loss of P/Q calcium channel activity caused by a CACNA1A missense mutation carried by patients with episodic ataxia type 2. Am J Hum Genet 68 (3) (2001) 759-764, Wappl E, Koschak A, Poteser M, Sinnegger MJ, Walter D, Eberhart A, et al. Functional consequences of P/Q-type Ca2+ channel Cav2.1 missense mutations associated with episodic ataxia type 2 and progressive ataxia. J Biol Chem 277 (9) (2002) 6960-6966.]. In the present study, we describe a child affected by permanent non-fluctuating limb and trunk ataxia with a quite early age of onset. Interestingly, the size of the CACNA1A triplet repeat region in the patient is within the normal range while he carries a novel de novo missense mutation in this gene, p.R1664Q. Although functional data are not available, based on the literature data indicating that severe reductions in P/Q-type channel activity favour episodic and/or progressive ataxic symptoms [Wappl E, Koschak A, Poteser M, Sinnegger MJ, Walter D, Eberhart A, et al. Functional consequences of P/Q-type Ca2+ channel Cav2.1 missense mutations associated with episodic ataxia type 2 and progressive ataxia. J Biol Chem 2002;277(9):6960-6966.], we hypothesize that the functional consequence of the mutation here identified is a partial loss of the Ca channel function. In conclusion, the clinical and molecular findings reported here suggest the opportunity to screen for point mutation in this gene, even patients with a clinical phenotype for some aspects slightly different from the typical picture more commonly associated to SCA6, EA2 or FHM1 diseases.
This article was published in J Neurol Sci
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation