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Hum Mutat. 2008 Jun;29(6):E1-12. doi: 10.1002/humu.20737.

Lafora disease in the Indian population: EPM2A and NHLRC1 gene mutations and their impact on subcellular localization of laforin and malin.

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Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India.


Lafora disease (LD) is a fatal form of teenage-onset autosomal recessive progressive myoclonus epilepsy. LD is more common among geographic isolates and in populations with a higher rate of consanguinity. Mutations in two genes, EPM2A encoding laforin phosphatase, and NHLRC1 encoding malin ubiquitin ligase, have been shown to cause the LD. We describe here a systematic analysis of the EPM2A and the NHLRC1 gene sequences in 20 LD families from the Indian population. We identified 12 distinct mutations in 15 LD families. The identified novel mutations include 4 missense mutations (K140N, L310W, N148Y, and E210 K) and a deletion of exon 3 for EPM2A, and 4 missense mutations (S22R, L279P, L279P, and L126P) and a single base-pair insertional mutation (612insT) for NHLRC1. The EPM2A gene is known to encode two laforin isoforms having distinct carboxyl termini; a major isoform localized in the cytoplasm, and a minor isoform that targeted the nucleus. We show here that the effect of the EPM2A gene mutation L310W was limited to the cytoplasmic isoform of laforin, and altered its subcellular localization. We have also analyzed the impact of NHLRC1 mutations on the subcellular localization of malin. Of the 6 distinct mutants tested, three targeted the nucleus, one formed perinuclear aggregates, and two did not show any significant difference in the subcellular localization as compared to the wild-type malin. Our results suggest that the altered subcellular localization of mutant proteins of the EPM2A and NHLRC1 genes could be one of the molecular bases of the LD phenotype.

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