Monday, October 22, 2018

GNAO1 mutations

Inspired by the Movement Disorders Special Interest group session at the 2018 Child Neurology Society meeting.

Koy A, Cirak S, Gonzalez V, Becker K, Roujeau T, Milesi C, Baleine J, Cambonie G, Boularan A, Greco F, Perrigault PF, Cances C, Dorison N, Doummar D, Roubertie A, Beroud C, Körber F, Stüve B, Waltz S, Mignot C, Nava C, Maarouf M, Coubes P, Cif L. Deep brain stimulation is effective in pediatric patients with GNAO1 associated severe hyperkinesia. J Neurol Sci. 2018 Aug 15;391:31-39.


Exacerbation of hyperkinesia is a life-threatening complication of dyskinetic movement disorders, which can lead to multi-organ failure and even to death. GNAO1 has been recently identified to be involved in the pathogenesis of early infantile epileptic encephalopathy and movement disorders. Patients with GNAO1 mutations can present with a severe, progressive hyperkinetic movement disorder with prolonged life-threatening exacerbations, which are refractory to most anti-dystonic medication.

The objective was to investigate the evolution of symptoms and the response to deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus internus (GPi-DBS) in patients with different GNAO1 mutations.

We report six patients presenting with global motor retardation, reduced muscle tone and recurrent episodes of severe, life-threatening hyperkinesia with dystonia, choreoathetosis, and ballism since early childhood. Five of them underwent GPi-DBS.

The genetic workup revealed mutations in GNAO1 for all six patients. These encompass a new splice site mutation (c.723+1G>T) in patient 1, a new missense mutation (c.610G>C; p.Gly204Arg) in patient 2, a heterozygous mutation (c.625>T; p.Arg209Cys) in patients 3 and 4, and a heterozygous mutation (c.709G>A; p.Glu237Lys) in patients 5 and 6. By intervention with GPi-DBS the severe paroxysmal hyperkinetic exacerbations could be stopped in five patients. One patient is still under evaluation for neuromodulation.

In complex movement disorders of unsolved etiology clinical WES can rapidly streamline pathogenic genes. We identified two novel GNAO1 mutations. GPi-DBS can be an effective and life-saving treatment option for patients with GNAO1 mutations and has to be considered early.

Gerald B, Ramsey K, Belnap N, Szelinger S, Siniard AL, Balak C, Russell M, Richholt R, De Both M, Claasen AM, Schrauwen I, Huentelman MJ, Craig DW, Rangasamy S, Narayanan V. Neonatal epileptic encephalopathy caused by de novo GNAO1 mutation misdiagnosed as atypical Rett syndrome: Cautions in interpretation of genomic test results. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2018 Jul;26:28-32.


Epileptic encephalopathies are childhood brain disorders characterized by a variety of severe epilepsy syndromes that differ by the age of onset and seizure type. Until recently, the cause of many epileptic encephalopathies was unknown. Whole exome or whole genome sequencing has led to the identification of several causal genes in individuals with epileptic encephalopathy, and the list of genes has now expanded greatly. Genetic testing with epilepsy gene panels is now done quite early in the evaluation of children with epilepsy, following brain imaging, electroencephalogram, and metabolic profile. Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE1; OMIM #308350) is the earliest of these age-dependent encephalopathies, manifesting as tonic spasms, myoclonic seizures, or partial seizures, with severely abnormal electroencephalogram, often showing a suppression-burst pattern. In this case study, we describe a 33-month-old female child with severe, neonatal onset epileptic encephalopathy. An infantile epilepsy gene panel test revealed 2 novel heterozygous variants in the MECP2 gene; a 70-bp deletion resulting in a frameshift and truncation (p.Lys377ProfsX9) thought to be pathogenic, and a 6-bp in-frame deletion (p.His371_372del), designated as a variant of unknown significance. Based on this test result, the diagnosis of atypical Rett syndrome (RTT) was made. Family-based targeted testing and segregation analysis, however, raised questions about the pathogenicity of these specific MECP2 variants. Whole exome sequencing was performed in this family trio, leading to the discovery of a rare, de novo, missense mutation in GNAO1 (p. Leu284Ser). De novo, heterozygous mutations in GNAO1 have been reported to cause early infantile epileptic encephalopathy-17 (EIEE17; OMIM 615473). The child's severe phenotype, the family history and segregation analysis of variants and prior reports of GNAO1-linked disease allowed us to conclude that the GNAO1 mutation, and not the MECP2 variants, was the cause of this child's neurological disease. With the increased use of genetic panels and whole exome sequencing, we will be confronted with lists of gene variants suspected to be pathogenic or of unknown significance. It is important to integrate clinical information, genetic testing that includes family members and correlates this with the published clinical and scientific literature, to help one arrive at the correct genetic diagnosis.

Okumura A, Maruyama K, Shibata M, Kurahashi H, Ishii A, Numoto S, Hirose S, Kawai T, Iso M, Kataoka S, Okuno Y, Muramatsu H, Kojima S. A patient with a GNAO1 mutation with decreased spontaneous movements, hypotonia, and dystonic features. Brain Dev. 2018 Nov;40(10):926-930.


We report on a 4-year-old girl with a de novo GNAO1 mutation who had neurological findings, including decreased spontaneous movements, hypotonia, and dystonic features. She was referred to our hospital because of delayed psychomotor development. She showed hypotonia and decreased spontaneous movements. Voluntary movements of the limbs were more frequent in the lower extremities than in the upper extremities. Occasional dyskinetic features, such as awkward hand/foot posturing and grimacing, were seen during the voluntary movements. Serum metabolic screening, head magnetic resonance imaging, and electroencephalography were unremarkable. Whole-exome sequencing revealed a de novo mutation in the patient's GNAO1 gene, c.709 G > A (p.E237K). We calculated the free-energy change using the FoldX Suite to evaluate the impact of the E237K mutation. The FoldX calculations showed an increased free-energy change in the active state of the GNAO1 protein, indicating that the E237K mutation destabilizes the active state complexes. No seizures, chorea, tremor, or myoclonia, which are frequently reported in patients with GNAO1 mutations, were observed as of the last follow up. Our patient will improve the understanding of early neurological features in patients with GNAO1 mutations.

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