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Increasingly, repeat expansions are being identified as part of the complex genetic architecture of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. To date, several repeat expansions have been genetically associated with the disease: intronic repeat expansions in C9orf72, polyglutamine expansions in ATXN2 and polyalanine expansions in NIPA1. Together with previously published data, the identification of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient with a family history of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, caused by polyglutamine expansions in ATXN1, suggested a similar disease association for the repeat expansion in ATXN1. We, therefore, performed a large-scale international study in 11 700 individuals, in which we showed a significant association between intermediate ATXN1 repeat expansions and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (P = 3.33 × 10-7). Subsequent functional experiments have shown that ATXN1 reduces the nucleocytoplasmic ratio of TDP-43 and enhances amyotrophic lateral sclerosis phenotypes in Drosophila, further emphasizing the role of polyglutamine repeat expansions in the pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/braincomms/fcaa064

Type

Journal article

Journal

Brain Commun

Publication Date

2020

Volume

2

Keywords

DNA repeat expansion, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, genetic association study, trinucleotide repeat expansions