Background: Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy with agenesis of the corpus callosum (HMSN/ACC) is a severe and progressive autosomal recessive polyneuropathy. Mutations in the potassium-chloride cotransporter 3 gene (KCC3) were identified as responsible for HMSN/ACC in the French Canadian (FC) population. In the present study, the authors were interested in finding new mutations in non-FC populations, assessing the activity of mutant proteins and refining genotype-phenotype correlations.
Methods: The authors screened KCC3 for mutations using direct sequencing in six non-FC HMSN/ACC families. They then assessed the functionality of the most common mutant protein using a flux assay in Xenopus laevis oocytes.
Results: The authors identified mutations in exon 22 of KCC3: a novel mutation (del + 2994-3003; E1015X) in one family, as well as a known mutation (3031C-->T; R1011X) found in five unrelated families and associated with two different haplotypes. The function of the cotransporter was abolished, although a limited amount of mutant proteins were correctly localized at the membrane.
Conclusions: KCC3 mutations in exon 22 constitute a recurrent mutation site for hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy with agenesis of the corpus callosum (HMSN/ACC), regardless of ethnic origin, and are the most common cause of HMSN/ACC in the non-French Canadian (FC) families analyzed so far. Therefore, for genetic analysis, exon 22 screening should be prioritized in non-FC populations. Finally, the R1011X mutation leads to the abrogation of KCC3's function in Xenopus laevis oocytes, likely due to impaired transit of the cotransporter.