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Homozygous ARHGEF2 mutation causes intellectual disability and midbrain-hindbrain malformation


Abstract

Mid-hindbrain malformations can occur during embryogenesis through a disturbance of transient and localized gene expression patterns within these distinct brain structures. Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (ARHGEF) family members are key for controlling the spatiotemporal activation of Rho GTPase, to modulate cytoskeleton dynamics, cell division, and cell migration. We identified, by means of whole exome sequencing, a homozygous frameshift mutation in the ARHGEF2 as a cause of intellectual disability, a midbrain-hindbrain malformation, and mild microcephaly in a consanguineous pedigree of Kurdish-Turkish descent. We show that loss of ARHGEF2 perturbs progenitor cell differentiation and that this is associated with a shift of mitotic spindle plane orientation, putatively favoring more symmetric divisions. The ARHGEF2 mutation leads to reduction in the activation of the RhoA/ROCK/MLC pathway crucial for cell migration. We demonstrate that the human brain malformation is recapitulated in Arhgef2 mutant mice and identify an aberrant migration of distinct components of the precerebellar system as a pathomechanism underlying the midbrain-hindbrain phenotype. Our results highlight the crucial function of ARHGEF2 in human brain development and identify a mutation in ARHGEF2 as novel cause of a neurodevelopmental disorder.

Abstract

Mid-hindbrain malformations can occur during embryogenesis through a disturbance of transient and localized gene expression patterns within these distinct brain structures. Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (ARHGEF) family members are key for controlling the spatiotemporal activation of Rho GTPase, to modulate cytoskeleton dynamics, cell division, and cell migration. We identified, by means of whole exome sequencing, a homozygous frameshift mutation in the ARHGEF2 as a cause of intellectual disability, a midbrain-hindbrain malformation, and mild microcephaly in a consanguineous pedigree of Kurdish-Turkish descent. We show that loss of ARHGEF2 perturbs progenitor cell differentiation and that this is associated with a shift of mitotic spindle plane orientation, putatively favoring more symmetric divisions. The ARHGEF2 mutation leads to reduction in the activation of the RhoA/ROCK/MLC pathway crucial for cell migration. We demonstrate that the human brain malformation is recapitulated in Arhgef2 mutant mice and identify an aberrant migration of distinct components of the precerebellar system as a pathomechanism underlying the midbrain-hindbrain phenotype. Our results highlight the crucial function of ARHGEF2 in human brain development and identify a mutation in ARHGEF2 as novel cause of a neurodevelopmental disorder.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:April 2017
Deposited On:31 Jan 2018 13:56
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:53
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1553-7390
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006746
PubMed ID:28453519

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