Uner Tan syndrome caused by a homozygous TUBB2B mutation affecting microtubule stability

Breuss M. W. , Thai Nguyen T. N. , Srivatsan A., Leca I., Tian G., Fritz T., ...More

HUMAN MOLECULAR GENETICS, vol.26, no.2, pp.258-269, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/hmg/ddw383
  • Page Numbers: pp.258-269


The integrity and dynamic properties of the microtubule cytoskeleton are indispensable for the development of the mammalian brain. Consequently, mutations in the genes that encode the structural component (the alpha/beta-tubulin heterodimer) can give rise to severe, sporadic neurodevelopmental disorders. These are commonly referred to as the tubulinopathies. Here we report the addition of recessive quadrupedalism, also known as Uner Tan syndrome (UTS), to the growing list of diseases caused by tubulin variants. Analysis of a consanguineous UTS family identified a biallelic TUBB2B mutation, resulting in a p.R390Q amino acid substitution. In addition to the identifying quadrupedal locomotion, all three patients showed severe cerebellar hypoplasia. None, however, displayed the basal ganglia malformations typically associated with TUBB2B mutations. Functional analysis of the R390Q substitution revealed that it did not affect the ability of beta-tubulin to fold or become assembled into the alpha/beta-heterodimer, nor did it influence the incorporation of mutant-containing heterodimers into microtubule polymers. The 390Q mutation in S. cerevisiae TUB2 did not affect growth under basal conditions, but did result in increased sensitivity to microtubule-depolymerizing drugs, indicative of a mild impact of this mutation on microtubule function. The TUBB2B mutation described here represents an unusual recessive mode of inheritance for missense-mediated tubulinopathies and reinforces the sensitivity of the developing cerebellum to microtubule defects.