Intellectual disabilityGene: UGP2
22 individuals from 15 families reported with the same homozygous missense variant in this gene, chr2:64083454A > G, which causes a disruption of the start codon in the shorter isoform, which is expressed in brain.
Created: 2 Mar 2020, 4:57 a.m. | Last Modified: 2 Mar 2020, 4:57 a.m.
Panel Version: 3.3
Mode of inheritance
BIALLELIC, autosomal or pseudoautosomal
Epileptic encephalopathy; intellectual disability; microcephaly
Perenthaler et al. (2019 - PMID: 31820119) provide evidence that homozygosity for a variant abolishing the start codon of the UGP2 transcript (NM_001001521.1) encoding the predominant (short) protein isoform in brain, leads to a severe epileptic encephalopathy.
This variant (chr2:64083454A>G / NM_001001521.1:c.1A>G - p.?) is also predicted to result in a substitution of a methionine at position 12 by a valine of the longer UGP2 transcript (NM_006759.3:c.34A>G - p.Met12Val).
The 2 isoforms differ only by 11 amino acids at the N-terminal and are otherwise expected to be functionally equivalent.
The authors provide details on 22 individuals from 15 families (some of which consanguineous).
Features included intractable seizures (in all), absence of developmental milestones (in all), progressive microcephaly, visual impairment. The authors reported also presence of somewhat similar facial features. Some of these individuals passed away early.
Previous work-up in several of them (incl. SNP-array, gene panel testing and metabolic investigations) had not revealed any abnormality, apart from ROH in some individuals. In all cases, the homozygous UGP2 SNV was the only P/LP variant for the neurodevelopmental phenotype following exome/genome sequencing. Segregation studies in affected/unaffected family members were compatible.
Families came from the Netherlands (but mostly from) India, Pakistan and Iran. Presence of a region of homozygosity shared between individuals from different families suggested that the variant might represent a mutation that originated several generations ago (in the area of Balochistan). The variant is present 15x in gnomAD, only in heterozygous state (in Asian mostly, reported once in Ashkenazi Jewish or Europeans) [ https://gnomad.broadinstitute.org/variant/2-64083454-A-G ].
UGP2 encodes UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase which is an essential enzyme in sugar metabolism, catalyzing conversion of glucose-1-phosphate to UDP-glucose. UDP-glucose, in turn, serves as precursor for production of glycogen by glycogen synthase.
The authors provide several lines of evidence for a the role of the gene in the CNS as well as for the deleterious effect of the specific variant :
- In patient fibroblasts total UGP2 levels were not signifficantly different compared to parent / control fibroblasts, the longer isoform being upregulated (and stable) when the shorter is missing. Immunocytochemistry demonstrated similar localization of UGP2 in the case of mutant or wt cells. Enzymatic activity (/capacity to produce UDP-glucose) was similar between homozygous mut, heterozygous and wt fibroblasts.
- In H9-derived neural stem cells, Western Blot, RT-PCR and qRT-PCR suggested that the short isoform is the predominant one. (In embryonic stem cells, or fibroblasts the ratio between short and long isoform was lower).
- Analysis of RNA-seq data from human fetal tissues suggested that the short isoform is the predominant in brain.
- UGP2 was detected upon immunohistochemistry in fetal brain tissues from first to third trimester of pregnancy while Western Blot confirmed preferential expression of the shorter isoform.
- Homozygous embryonic (ESC) or neural stem cells (NSC) for the variant (knock-in/KI) or for a frameshift variant (knock-out/KO) were generated. Study of NSCs demonstrated reduced total UGP2 protein expression upon Western Blot in the case of KI cells and depleted in KO ones. Transcriptome analysis did not show major transcriptome alterations in KI/KO ESCs compared to wt. In NSC KI/KO cells transcriptome alterations were observed compared to wt with upregulation among others of genes for synaptic processes and genes implicated in epilepsy.
- The absence of UGP2 was shown to result in reduced ability of KO/KI NSCs to produce UDP-glucose, reduced capacity to synthesize glycogen under hypoxia (rescued in the case of KO cells by overexpression of wt or long isoform), defects of protein glycosylation as well as in increased unfolded protein response (/susceptibility to ER stress). These alterations are commented to be possibly implicated in pathogenesis of epilepsy, progressive microcephaly, etc.
- A CRISPR-Cas9 zebrafish model leading with loss of ugp2a and hypomorphic ugp2b (the zebrafish homologs of UGP2) demonstrated abnormal behavior, reduced eye movements and increased frequency/duration of movements upon stimulation with a potent convulsant (suggestive of increased seizure susceptibility).
- UGP knockout in drosophila is lethal while flies compound heterozygous for hypomorphic alleles are viable but show a movement defects due to altered synaptogenesis secondary to glycosylation defects (cited PMID: 27466186).
- The authors make speculations as for the occurrence of a single variant (and not others) eg. absence of UGP2 (in the case of LoF variants affecting both isoforms) would possibly be incompatible with life, Met12Val being tolerable for the long transcript not affecting stability/enzymatic activity (which may not be the case for other substitutions affecting Met12), etc.
Created: 22 Dec 2019, 7:56 p.m.
Mode of inheritance
BIALLELIC, autosomal or pseudoautosomal
Seizures; Global developmental delay; Intellectual disability; Feeding difficulties; Abnormality of vision; Abnormality of the face
gene: UGP2 was added gene: UGP2 was added to Intellectual disability. Sources: Literature Mode of inheritance for gene: UGP2 was set to BIALLELIC, autosomal or pseudoautosomal Publications for gene: UGP2 were set to 31820119 Phenotypes for gene: UGP2 were set to Seizures; Global developmental delay; Intellectual disability; Feeding difficulties; Abnormality of vision; Abnormality of the face Penetrance for gene: UGP2 were set to Complete Review for gene: UGP2 was set to GREEN