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Developmental Consequences of Defective ATG7-Mediated Autophagy in Humans


Collier, Jack J; Guissart, Claire; Oláhová, Monika; Sasorith, Souphatta; Piron-Prunier, Florence; et al; Bahr, Angela; Azzarello-Burri, Silvia; Rauch, Anita (2021). Developmental Consequences of Defective ATG7-Mediated Autophagy in Humans. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(25):2406-2417.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Autophagy is the major intracellular degradation route in mammalian cells. Systemic ablation of core autophagy-related (ATG) genes in mice leads to embryonic or perinatal lethality, and conditional models show neurodegeneration. Impaired autophagy has been associated with a range of complex human diseases, yet congenital autophagy disorders are rare.

METHODS

We performed a genetic, clinical, and neuroimaging analysis involving five families. Mechanistic investigations were conducted with the use of patient-derived fibroblasts, skeletal muscle-biopsy specimens, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and yeast.

RESULTS

We found deleterious, recessive variants in human ATG7, a core autophagy-related gene encoding a protein that is indispensable to classical degradative autophagy. Twelve patients from five families with distinct ATG7 variants had complex neurodevelopmental disorders with brain, muscle, and endocrine involvement. Patients had abnormalities of the cerebellum and corpus callosum and various degrees of facial dysmorphism. These patients have survived with impaired autophagic flux arising from a diminishment or absence of ATG7 protein. Although autophagic sequestration was markedly reduced, evidence of basal autophagy was readily identified in fibroblasts and skeletal muscle with loss of ATG7. Complementation of different model systems by deleterious ATG7 variants resulted in poor or absent autophagic function as compared with the reintroduction of wild-type ATG7.

CONCLUSIONS

We identified several patients with a neurodevelopmental disorder who have survived with a severe loss or complete absence of ATG7, an essential effector enzyme for autophagy without a known functional paralogue. (Funded by the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and others.).

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Autophagy is the major intracellular degradation route in mammalian cells. Systemic ablation of core autophagy-related (ATG) genes in mice leads to embryonic or perinatal lethality, and conditional models show neurodegeneration. Impaired autophagy has been associated with a range of complex human diseases, yet congenital autophagy disorders are rare.

METHODS

We performed a genetic, clinical, and neuroimaging analysis involving five families. Mechanistic investigations were conducted with the use of patient-derived fibroblasts, skeletal muscle-biopsy specimens, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and yeast.

RESULTS

We found deleterious, recessive variants in human ATG7, a core autophagy-related gene encoding a protein that is indispensable to classical degradative autophagy. Twelve patients from five families with distinct ATG7 variants had complex neurodevelopmental disorders with brain, muscle, and endocrine involvement. Patients had abnormalities of the cerebellum and corpus callosum and various degrees of facial dysmorphism. These patients have survived with impaired autophagic flux arising from a diminishment or absence of ATG7 protein. Although autophagic sequestration was markedly reduced, evidence of basal autophagy was readily identified in fibroblasts and skeletal muscle with loss of ATG7. Complementation of different model systems by deleterious ATG7 variants resulted in poor or absent autophagic function as compared with the reintroduction of wild-type ATG7.

CONCLUSIONS

We identified several patients with a neurodevelopmental disorder who have survived with a severe loss or complete absence of ATG7, an essential effector enzyme for autophagy without a known functional paralogue. (Funded by the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and others.).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Genetics
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > General Medicine
Language:English
Date:24 June 2021
Deposited On:07 Jul 2021 12:13
Last Modified:25 Apr 2024 01:37
Publisher:Massachusetts Medical Society
ISSN:0028-4793
OA Status:Green
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1915722
PubMed ID:34161705
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English