The molecular dysfunction in X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism is not completely understood. Thus far, only noncoding alterations have been found in genetic analyses, located in or nearby the TATA-box binding protein-associated factor 1 (TAF1) gene. Given that this gene is ubiquitously expressed and is a critical component of the cellular transcription machinery, we sought to study differential gene expression in peripheral models by performing microarray-based expression profiling in blood and fibroblasts, and comparing gene expression in affected individuals vs. ethnically matched controls. Validation was performed via quantitative polymerase chain reaction in discovery and independent replication sets. We observed consistent downregulation of common TAF1 transcripts in samples from affected individuals in gene-level and high-throughput experiments. This signal was accompanied by a downstream effect in the microarray, reflected by the dysregulation of 307 genes in the disease group. Gene Ontology and network analyses revealed enrichment of genes involved in RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription, a pathway relevant to TAF1 function. Thus, the results converge on TAF1 dysfunction in peripheral models of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism, and provide evidence of altered expression of a canonical gene in this disease. Furthermore, our study illustrates a link between the previously described genetic alterations and TAF1 dysfunction at the transcriptome level.
Keywords: Expression profiling; Microarray; Neurodegeneration; Transcriptional dysregulation; Transcriptomics.