Departments of Neurology and Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Boston Children’s Hospital Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Address correspondence to: Matthew P. Anderson, Center for Life Science, 330 Brookline Ave, E/CLS-645, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA. Phone: 617.735.3202; Email: Matthew_Anderson@bidmc.harvard.edu.
First published April 30, 2018 - More info
DEP domain–containing 5 protein (DEPDC5) is a repressor of the recently recognized amino acid–sensing branch of the mTORC1 pathway. So far, its function in the brain remains largely unknown. Germline loss-of-function mutations in DEPDC5 have emerged as a major cause of familial refractory focal epilepsies, with case reports of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Remarkably, a fraction of patients also develop focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), a neurodevelopmental cortical malformation. We therefore hypothesized that a somatic second-hit mutation arising during brain development may support the focal nature of the dysplasia. Here, using postoperative human tissue, we provide the proof of concept that a biallelic 2-hit — brain somatic and germline — mutational mechanism in DEPDC5 causes focal epilepsy with FCD. We discovered a mutation gradient with a higher rate of mosaicism in the seizure-onset zone than in the surrounding epileptogenic zone. Furthermore, we demonstrate the causality of a Depdc5 brain mosaic inactivation using CRISPR-Cas9 editing and in utero electroporation in a mouse model recapitulating focal epilepsy with FCD and SUDEP-like events. We further unveil a key role of Depdc5 in shaping dendrite and spine morphology of excitatory neurons. This study reveals promising therapeutic avenues for treating drug-resistant focal epilepsies with mTORC1-targeting molecules.
Théo Ribierre, Charlotte Deleuze, Alexandre Bacq, Sara Baldassari, Elise Marsan, Mathilde Chipaux, Giuseppe Muraca, Delphine Roussel, Vincent Navarro, Eric Leguern, Richard Miles, Stéphanie Baulac
Loss-of-function mutations in a single allele of the gene encoding DEP domain–containing 5 protein (DEPDC5) are commonly linked to familial focal epilepsy with variable foci; however, a subset of patients presents with focal cortical dysplasia that is proposed to result from a second-hit somatic mutation. In this issue of the JCI, Ribierre and colleagues provide several lines of evidence to support second-hit DEPDC5 mutations in this disorder. Moreover, the authors use in vivo, in utero electroporation combined with CRISPR-Cas9 technology to generate a murine model of the disease that recapitulates human manifestations, including cortical dysplasia–like changes, focal seizures, and sudden unexpected death. This study provides important insights into familial focal epilepsy and provides a preclinical model for evaluating potential therapies.
A subscription is required for you to read this article in full. If you are a subscriber, you may sign in to continue reading.
Click here to sign into your account.
Please select one of the subscription options, which includes a low-cost option just for this article.
If you are at an institution or library and believe you should have access, please check with your librarian or administrator (more information).
Please try these troubleshooting tips.