H-ABC syndrome and DYT4: Variable expressivity or pleiotropy of TUBB4 mutations?

Roberto Erro, Joshua Hersheson, Christos Ganos, Niccoló E. Mencacci, Maria Stamelou, Amit Batla, Stefanie Catherine Thust, Jose M. Bras, Rita J. Guerreiro, John Hardy, Niall P. Quinn, Henry Houlden, Kailash P. Bhatia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, mutations in the TUBB4A gene have been found to underlie hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum (H-ABC) syndrome, a rare neurodegenerative disorder of infancy and childhood. TUBB4A mutations also have been described as causative of DYT4 ("hereditary whispering dysphonia"). However, in DYT4, brain imaging has been reported to be normal and, therefore, H-ABC syndrome and DYT4 have been construed to be different disorders, despite some phenotypic overlap. Hence, the question of whether these disorders reflect variable expressivity or pleiotropy of TUBB4A mutations has been raised. We report four unrelated patients with imaging findings either partially or totally consistent with H-ABC syndrome, who were found to have TUBB4A mutations. All four subjects had a relatively homogenous phenotype characterized by severe generalized dystonia with superimposed pyramidal and cerebellar signs, and also bulbar involvement leading to complete aphonia and swallowing difficulties, even though one of the cases had an intermediate phenotype between H-ABC syndrome and DYT4. Genetic analysis of the TUBB4A gene showed one previously described and two novel mutations (c.941C>T; p.Ala314Val and c.900G>T; p.Met300Ile) in the exon 4 of the gene. While expanding the genetic spectrum of H-ABC syndrome, we confirm its radiological heterogeneity and demonstrate that phenotypic overlap with DYT4. Moreover, reappraisal of previously reported cases would also argue against pleiotropy of TUBB4A mutations. We therefore suggest that H-ABC and DYT4 belong to a continuous phenotypic spectrum associated with TUBB4A mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-833
Number of pages6
JournalMovement Disorders
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Beta-tubulin
  • DYT4
  • Hypomyelination with atrophy of basal ganglia and cerebellum
  • Mutations
  • TUBB4A
  • Whispering dystonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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