Inclusion body myopathy with Paget disease of the bone and frontotemporal dementia (IBMPFD) is a multisystem degenerative disorder caused by mutations in the valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene. How missense mutations in this abundant, ubiquitously expressed, multifunctional protein lead to the degeneration of disparate tissues is unclear. VCP participates in diverse cellular functions by associating with an expanding collection of substrates and cofactors that dictate its functionality. In this issue of the JCI, Wang and colleagues have further expanded the VCP interactome by identifying neurofibromin-1 (NF1) as a novel VCP interactor in the CNS. IBMPFD-associated mutations disrupt binding of VCP to NF1, resulting in reduced synaptogenesis. Thus, aberrant interactions between VCP and NF1 may explain the dementia phenotype and cognitive delay observed in patients with IBMPFD and neurofibromatosis type 1.
Conrad C. Weihl