Mouse model of rare TOR1A variant found in sporadic focal dystonia impairs domains affected in DYT1 dystonia patients and animal models

Neurobiol Dis. 2016 Sep:93:137-45. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 May 7.


Rare de novo mutations in genes associated with inherited Mendelian disorders are potential contributors to sporadic disease. DYT1 dystonia is an autosomal dominant, early-onset, generalized dystonia associated with an in-frame, trinucleotide deletion (n. delGAG, p. ΔE 302/303) in the Tor1a gene. Here we examine the significance of a rare missense variant in the Tor1a gene (c. 613T>A, p. F205I), previously identified in a patient with sporadic late-onset focal dystonia, by modeling it in mice. Homozygous F205I mice have motor impairment, reduced steady-state levels of TorsinA, altered corticostriatal synaptic plasticity, and prominent brain imaging abnormalities in areas associated with motor function. Thus, the F205I variant causes abnormalities in domains affected in people and/or mouse models with the DYT1 Tor1a mutation (ΔE). Our findings establish the pathological significance of the F205I Tor1a variant and provide a model with both etiological and phenotypic relevance to further investigate dystonia mechanisms.

Keywords: Behavior; DYT1 dystonia; Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging; Long-term depression; TorsinA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dystonia / genetics
  • Dystonic Disorders / genetics*
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*


  • Dyt1 protein, mouse
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • TOR1A protein, human