Loss-of-function mutations in PAK3 contribute to non-syndromic X-linked intellectual disability (NS-XLID) by affecting dendritic spine density and morphology. Linkage analysis in a three-generation family with affected males showing ID, agenesis of corpus callosum, cerebellar hypoplasia, microcephaly and ichthyosis, revealed a candidate disease locus in Xq21.33q24 encompassing over 280 genes. Subsequent to sequencing all coding exons of the X chromosome, we identified a single novel variant within the linkage region, affecting a conserved codon of PAK3. Biochemical studies showed that, similar to previous NS-XLID-associated lesions, the predicted amino acid substitution (Lys389Asn) abolished the kinase activity of PAK3. In addition, the introduced residue conferred a dominant-negative function to the protein that drives the syndromic phenotype. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo studies in zebrafish embryos,weshow that PAK3N389 escapes its physiologic degradation and is able to perturb MAPK signaling via an uncontrolled kinase-independent function, which in turn leads to alterations of cerebral and craniofacial structures in vivo. Our data expand the spectrum of phenotypes associated with PAK3 mutations, characterize a novel mechanism resulting in a dual molecular effect of the same mutation with a complex PAK3 functional deregulation and provide evidence for a direct functional impact of aberrant PAK3 function on MAPK signaling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology