The EAAT2 (GLT-1) gene in motor neuron disease: absence of mutations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and a point mutation in patients with hereditary spastic paraplegia

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Abstract

Objectives

To investigate if sequence alterations of the excitatory amino acid transporter gene EAAT2 (GLT-1) may be a contributory factor to the pathogenesis of motor system degeneration. EAAT2 serves as a candidate gene as its reduced expression was reported in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Furthermore, neurolathyrism, a motor neuron disease clinically related to hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), has been associated with an exogenous excitotoxin.

Methods

Sequence alterations were screened for in the coding region of EAAT2 in 55 patients with ALS and one family with autosomal dominant HSP (AD-HSP).

Results

In ALS, no sequence alteration in the EAAT2 gene have been found. Interestingly, a heterozygous A79G mutation of the EAAT2 gene was detected in two of seven affected patients with AD-HSP in the same kindred. The absence of cosegregation with the familial disease showed that the detected variant was not the cause of disease. The A79G sequence variant was not found in 55 patients with ALS or in 50 non-neurological controls.

Conclusion

The allelic variant of the EAAT2 gene in conjunction with the primary gene defect may be a modifying factor for the highly variable AD-HSP phenotype.

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