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Neurobiol Dis. 2017 Feb;98:52-65. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.11.003. Epub 2016 Nov 24.

Role of major and brain-specific Sgce isoforms in the pathogenesis of myoclonus-dystonia syndrome.

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Department of Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ, Great Britain, United Kingdom.
Department of Physiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA; Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA. Electronic address:


Loss-of-function mutations in SGCE, which encodes ε-sarcoglycan (ε-SG), cause myoclonus-dystonia syndrome (OMIM159900, DYT11). A "major" ε-SG protein derived from CCDS5637.1 (NM_003919.2) and a "brain-specific" protein, that includes sequence derived from alternative exon 11b (CCDS47642.1, NM_001099400.1), are reportedly localized in post- and pre-synaptic membrane fractions, respectively. Moreover, deficiency of the "brain-specific" isoform and other isoforms derived from exon 11b may be central to the pathogenesis of DYT11. However, no animal model supports this hypothesis. Gene-trapped ES cells (CMHD-GT_148G1-3, intron 9 of NM_011360) were used to generate a novel Sgce mouse model (C57BL/6J background) with markedly reduced expression of isoforms derived from exons 3' to exon 9 of NM_011360. Among those brain regions analyzed in adult (2month-old) wild-type (WT) mice, cerebellum showed the highest relative expression of isoforms incorporating exon 11b. Homozygotes (SgceGt(148G1)Cmhd/Gt(148G1)Cmhd or SgceGt/Gt) and paternal heterozygotes (Sgcem+/pGt, m-maternal, p-paternal) showed 60 to 70% reductions in expression of total Sgce. Although expression of the major (NM_011360) and brain-specific (NM_001130189) isoforms was markedly reduced, expression of short isoforms was preserved and relatively small amounts of chimeric ε-SG/β-galactosidase fusion protein was produced by the Sgce gene-trap locus. Immunoaffinity purification followed by mass spectrometry assessments of Sgcem+/pGt mouse brain using pan- or brain-specific ε-SG antibodies revealed significant reductions of ε-SG and other interacting sarcoglycans. Genome-wide gene-expression data using RNA derived from adult Sgcem+/pGt mouse cerebellum showed that the top up-regulated genes were involved in cell cycle, cellular development, cell death and survival, while the top down-regulated genes were associated with protein synthesis, cellular development, and cell death and survival. In comparison to WT littermates, Sgcem+/pGt mice exhibited "tiptoe" gait and stimulus-induced appendicular posturing between Postnatal Days 14 to 16. Abnormalities noted in older Sgcem+/pGt mice included reduced body weight, altered gait dynamics, and reduced open-field activity. Overt spontaneous or stimulus-sensitive myoclonus was not apparent on the C57BL/6J background or mixed C57BL/6J-BALB/c and C57BL/6J-129S2 backgrounds. Our data confirm that mouse Sgce is a maternally imprinted gene and suggests that short Sgce isoforms may compensate, in part, for deficiency of major and brain-specific Sgce isoforms.


Dystonia; Gene trap; Myoclonus; Sarcoglycans; Sgce

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