Rare missense mutations in P2RY11 in narcolepsy with cataplexy

Brain. 2017 Jun 1;140(6):1657-1668. doi: 10.1093/brain/awx093.


The sleep disorder narcolepsy with cataplexy is characterized by a highly specific loss of hypocretin (orexin) neurons, leading to the hypothesis that the condition is caused by an immune or autoimmune mechanism. All genetic variants associated with narcolepsy are immune-related. Among these are single nucleotide polymorphisms in the P2RY11-EIF3G locus. It is unknown how these genetic variants affect narcolepsy pathogenesis and whether the effect is directly related to P2Y11 signalling or EIF3G function. Exome sequencing in 18 families with at least two affected narcolepsy with cataplexy subjects revealed non-synonymous mutations in the second exon of P2RY11 in two families, and P2RY11 re-sequencing in 250 non-familial cases and 135 healthy control subjects revealed further six different non-synonymous mutations in the second exon of P2RY11 in seven patients. No mutations were found in healthy controls. Six of the eight narcolepsy-associated P2Y11 mutations resulted in significant functional deficits in P2Y11 signalling through both Ca2+ and cAMP signalling pathways. In conclusion, our data show that decreased P2Y11 signalling plays an important role in the development of narcolepsy with cataplexy.

Keywords: hypersomnias, genetics, inflammation; narcolepsy; whole-exome sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cataplexy / genetics
  • Cataplexy / physiopathology
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Narcolepsy / genetics*
  • Narcolepsy / physiopathology*
  • Pedigree
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • P2RY11 protein, human
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2