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Neurobiol Aging. 2013 May;34(5):1516.e9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.09.007. Epub 2012 Oct 10.

A novel optineurin truncating mutation and three glaucoma-associated missense variants in patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in Germany.

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Department of Neurology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.


Mutations in the optineurin (OPTN) gene have been associated with normal tension glaucoma and with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we screened German familial ALS cases for OPTN mutations to gain additional insight into the spectrum and pathogenic relevance of this gene for ALS. One hundred familial German ALS cases and 148 control subjects were screened for OPTN mutations by sequence analysis of the complete OPTN coding sequence, and phenotypes of OPTN mutant patients were described. We identified a novel heterozygous truncating OPTN mutation p.Lys440Asnfs*8 in 1 ALS family with an aggressive ALS disease phenotype. This mutation abolishes protein domains crucial for nuclear factor κB signaling. Moreover, we detected 3 different nonsynonymous sequence variants, which have been described previously as risk factors for primary retinal ganglion cell degeneration in normal tension glaucoma. Two of them were detected on the same allele in a family that also carries a p.Asn352Ser disease mutation in the ALS gene TARDBP. All OPTN mutant patients presented with typical spinal onset ALS. Taken together, we detected a novel truncating OPTN mutation associated with an aggressive form of ALS and confirmed that OPTN mutations are a rare cause of ALS. In addition our data suggest that in some cases plausibly more than 1 mutation in OPTN or another ALS gene might be needed to cause ALS. Finally, our findings show that motoneurons and retinal ganglion cells, which are both projecting central nervous system neurons, might share common susceptibility factors.

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