Loss of phosphatase activity in myotubularin-related protein 2 is associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4B1

Hum Mol Genet. 2002 Jun 15;11(13):1569-79. doi: 10.1093/hmg/11.13.1569.


Mutations in the gene encoding myotubularin-related protein 2 (MTMR2) are responsible for autosomal recessive Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4B1 (CMT4B1), a severe hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy characterized by focally folded myelin sheaths and demyelination. MTMR2 belongs to the myotubularin family, which is characterized by the presence of a phosphatase domain. Myotubularin (MTM), the archetype member of this family, is mutated in X-linked myotubular myopathy. Although MTMR2 and MTM are closely related, they are likely to have different functions. Recent studies revealed that MTM dephosphorylates specifically phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate. Here we analyze the biochemical properties of the mouse Mtmr2 protein, which shares 97% amino acid identity with human MTMR2. We show that phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate is also a substrate for Mtmr2, but, unlike myotubularin, Mtmr2 dephosphorylates phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate with high efficiency and peak activity at neutral pH. We demonstrate that the known disease-associated MTMR2 mutations lead to dramatically reduced phosphatase activity, suggesting that the MTMR2 phosphatase activity is crucial for the proper function of peripheral nerves in CMT4B1. Expression analysis of Mtmr2 suggests particularly high levels in neurons. Thus, the demyelinating neuropathy CMT4B1 might be triggered by the malfunction of neural membrane recycling, membrane trafficking, and/or endocytic or exocytotic processes, combined with altered axon-Schwann cell interactions. Furthermore, the different biochemical properties of MTM and MTMR2 offer a potential explanation for the different human diseases caused by mutations in their respective genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / enzymology*
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / genetics
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Non-Receptor
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Mtmr2 protein, mouse
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Non-Receptor
  • myotubularin