American journal of human genetics

Mutation in TECPR2 reveals a role for autophagy in hereditary spastic paraparesis.

PMID 23176824


We studied five individuals from three Jewish Bukharian families affected by an apparently autosomal-recessive form of hereditary spastic paraparesis accompanied by severe intellectual disability, fluctuating central hypoventilation, gastresophageal reflux disease, wake apnea, areflexia, and unique dysmorphic features. Exome sequencing identified one homozygous variant shared among all affected individuals and absent in controls: a 1 bp frameshift TECPR2 deletion leading to a premature stop codon and predicting significant degradation of the protein. TECPR2 has been reported as a positive regulator of autophagy. We thus examined the autophagy-related fate of two key autophagic proteins, SQSTM1 (p62) and MAP1LC3B (LC3), in skin fibroblasts of an affected individual, as compared to a healthy control, and found that both protein levels were decreased and that there was a more pronounced decrease in the lipidated form of LC3 (LC3II). siRNA knockdown of TECPR2 showed similar changes, consistent with aberrant autophagy. Our results are strengthened by the fact that autophagy dysfunction has been implicated in a number of other neurodegenerative diseases. The discovered TECPR2 mutation implicates autophagy, a central intracellular mechanism, in spastic paraparesis.