Unraveling cellular phenotypes of novel TorsinA/TOR1A mutations

Franca Vulinovic, Katja Lohmann, Aleksandar Rakovic, Philipp Capetian, Daniel Alvarez-Fischer, Alexander Schmidt, Anne Weißbach, Alev Erogullari, Frank J. Kaiser, Karin Wiegers, Andreas Ferbert, Arndt Rolfs, Christine Klein*, Philip Seibler

*Corresponding author for this work
13 Citations (Scopus)


A three-nucleotide (GAG) deletion (ΔE) in TorsinA (TOR1A) has been identified as the most common cause of dominantly inherited early-onset torsion dystonia (DYT1). TOR1A encodes a chaperone-like AAA+-protein localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Currently, only three additional, likely mutations have been reported in single dystonia patients. Here, we report two new, putative TOR1A mutations (p.A14_P15del and p.E121K) that we examined functionally in comparison with wild-type (WT) protein and two known mutations (ΔE and p.R288Q). While inclusion formation is a characteristic feature for ΔE TOR1A, elevated levels of aggregates for other mutations were not observed when compared with WT TOR1A. WT and mutant TOR1A showed preferred degradation through the autophagy-lysosome pathway, which is most pronounced for p.A14_P15del, p.R288Q, and ΔE TOR1A. Notably, blocking of the autophagy pathway with bafilomycin resulted in a significant increase in inclusion formation in p.E121K TOR1A. In addition, all variants had an influence on protein stability. Although the p.A14_P15del mutation affects the proposed oligomerization domain of TOR1A, this mutation did not disturb the ability to dimerize. Our findings demonstrate functional changes for all four mutations on different levels. Thus, both diagnostic and research genetic screening of dystonia patients should not be limited to testing for the {increment}E mutation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Mutation
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1114-1122
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2014


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