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Dystonia genes functionally converge in specific neurons and share neurobiology with psychiatric disorders

Mencacci, NE; Reynolds, R; Ruiz, SG; Vandrovcova, J; Forabosco, P; Sánchez-Ferrer, A; Volpato, V; ... Ryten, M; + view all (2020) Dystonia genes functionally converge in specific neurons and share neurobiology with psychiatric disorders. Brain , Article awaa217. 10.1093/brain/awaa217. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal movements and postures, often occurring in absence of any structural brain abnormality. Psychiatric comorbidities, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia, are frequent in patients with dystonia. While mutations in a fast-growing number of genes have been linked to Mendelian forms of dystonia, the cellular, anatomical, and molecular basis remains unknown for most genetic forms of dystonia, as does its genetic and biological relationship to neuropsychiatric disorders. Here we applied an unbiased systems-biology approach to explore the cellular specificity of all currently known dystonia-associated genes, predict their functional relationships, and test whether dystonia and neuropsychiatric disorders share a genetic relationship. To determine the cellular specificity of dystonia-associated genes in the brain, single-nuclear transcriptomic data derived from mouse brain was used together with expression-weighted cell-type enrichment. To identify functional relationships among dystonia-associated genes, we determined the enrichment of these genes in co-expression networks constructed from 10 human brain regions. Stratified linkage-disequilibrium score regression was used to test whether co-expression modules enriched for dystonia-associated genes significantly contribute to the heritability of anxiety, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s disease. Dystonia-associated genes were significantly enriched in adult nigral dopaminergic neurons and striatal medium spiny neurons. Furthermore, 4 of 220 gene co-expression modules tested were significantly enriched for the dystonia-associated genes. The identified modules were derived from the substantia nigra, putamen, frontal cortex, and white matter, and were all significantly enriched for genes associated with synaptic function. Finally, we demonstrate significant enrichments of the heritability of major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia within the putamen and white matter modules, and a significant enrichment of the heritability of Parkinson’s disease within the substantia nigra module. In conclusion, multiple dystonia-associated genes interact and contribute to pathogenesis likely through dysregulation of synaptic signalling in striatal medium spiny neurons, adult nigral dopaminergic neurons and frontal cortical neurons. Furthermore, the enrichment of the heritability of psychiatric disorders in the co-expression modules enriched for dystonia-associated genes indicates that psychiatric symptoms associated with dystonia are likely to be intrinsic to its pathophysiology.

Type: Article
Title: Dystonia genes functionally converge in specific neurons and share neurobiology with psychiatric disorders
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awaa217
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa217
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: dystonia, medium-spiny neurons, network analysis, synaptic transmission, transcriptomic analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharmacology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Pre-clinical and Fundamental Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Genetics and Genomic Medicine Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109621
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