Cryptic amyloidogenic elements in mutant NEFH causing Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2 trigger aggresome formation and neuronal death

Acta Neuropathologica Communications
Arnaud JacquierPhilippe Latour


Neurofilament heavy chain (NEFH) gene was recently identified to cause autosomal dominant axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT2cc). However, the clinical spectrum of this condition and the physio-pathological pathway remain to be delineated. We report 12 patients from two French families with axonal dominantly inherited form of CMT caused by two new mutations in the NEFH gene. A remarkable feature was the early involvement of proximal muscles of the lower limbs associated with pyramidal signs in some patients. Nerve conduction velocity studies indicated a predominantly motor axonal neuropathy. Unique deletions of two nucleotides causing frameshifts near the end of the NEFH coding sequence were identified: in family 1, c.3008_3009del (p.Lys1003Argfs*59), and in family 2 c.3043_3044del (p.Lys1015Glyfs*47). Both frameshifts lead to 40 additional amino acids translation encoding a cryptic amyloidogenic element. Consistently, we show that these mutations cause protein aggregation which are recognised by the autophagic pathway in motoneurons and triggered caspase 3 activation leading to apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. Using electroporation of chick embryo spinal cord, we confirm that NEFH mutants form aggregates in vivo and trig...Continue Reading


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