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The GGC repeat expansion in NOTCH2NLC is associated with oculopharyngodistal myopathy type 3


Date: 9th March 2021 | Source: Brain a Journal of Neurology

Authors: Jiaxi Yu, Jianwen Deng, Xueyu Guo, Jingli Shan, Xinghua Luan, Li Cao, Juan Zhao, Meng Yu, Wei Zhang, He Lv, Zhiying Xie, LingChao Meng, Yiming Zheng, Yawen Zhao, Qiang Gang, Qingqing Wang, Jing Liu, Min Zhu, Binbin Zhou, Pidong Li, Yinzhe Liu, Yang Wang, Chuanzhu Yan, Daojun Hong, Yun Yuan, Zhaoxia Wang.

Oculopharyngodistal myopathy (OPDM) is an adult-onset neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive ocular, facial, pharyngeal and distal limb muscle involvement. Trinucleotide repeat expansions in LRP12 or GIPC1 were recently reported to be associated with OPDM. However, a significant portion of OPDM patients have unknown genetic causes. In this study long-read whole-genome sequencing and repeat-primed polymerase chain reaction were performed and we identified GGC repeat expansions in the NOTCH2NLC gene in 16.7% (4/24) of a cohort of Chinese OPDM patients, designated as OPDM type 3 (OPDM3).

Methylation analysis indicated that methylation levels of the NOTCH2NLC gene were unaltered in OPDM3 patients, but increased significantly in asymptomatic carriers. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis indicated that NOTCH2NLC mRNA levels were increased in muscle but not in blood of OPDM3 patients. Immunofluorescence on OPDM muscle samples and expressing mutant NOTCH2NLC with (GGC)69 repeat expansions in HEK293 cells indicated that mutant NOTCH2NLC-polyGlycine protein might be a major component of intranuclear inclusions, and contribute to toxicity in cultured cells.

In addition, two RNA-binding proteins, hnRNP A/B and MBNL1, were both co-localized with p62 in intranuclear inclusions in OPDM muscle samples. These results indicated that a toxic protein gain-of-function mechanism and RNA gain-of-function mechanism may both play a vital role in the pathogenic processes of OPDM3. This study extended the spectrum of NOTCH2NLC repeat expansion related diseases to a predominant myopathy phenotype presenting as OPDM, and provided evidence for possible pathogenesis of these diseases.

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