A novel 16p locus associated with BSCL2 hereditary motor neuronopathy: a genetic modifier?
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We describe the neurological, electrophysiological, and genetic features of autosomal dominant distal hereditary motor neuronopathy (HMN) in a three-generation Dutch family, including 12 patients with distal muscle weakness and atrophy. The severity of disease ranged from disabling muscle weakness to a subclinical phenotype. Neurologic exams of nine patients and nerve conduction studies (NCS) and myography in five endorsed the variable presentations of HMN in this family, including patients with only lower (four), upper (one), or both upper and lower extremities involvement (four). Asymmetrical or strictly unilateral disease was noted in three patients. Three also showed pyramidal features. A genome-wide search combining SNP arrays (250K) with parametric linkage analysis identified a novel locus on chromosome 16p (mLOD = 3.28) spanning 6 Mb (rs6500882-rs7192086). Direct sequencing excluded mutations in the SIMPLE/LITAF gene (mapping to the 16p locus) and identified a pathogenic mutation (p.N88S) in BCLS2 (11q12-q14). All 12 affected relatives had the BSCL2 mutation and the chromosome 16p haplotype and showed features of motor neuron degeneration. One patient had a very mild phenotype with bilateral pes cavus, normal concentric needle electromyography but signs of motor neuron involvement at electrophysiological muscle scan (EMS). Similar EMS abnormalities in addition to abnormal NCS and myography were observed in a clinically unaffected person (carrying only the 16p haplotype). These results expand the clinical spectrum of HMN and suggest a digenic inheritance of HMN in this family with a BSCL2 mutation and a chromosome 16 locus likely contributing to the phenotype.