Genetic, Structural, and Functional Evidence Link TMEM175 to Synucleinopathies

Ann Neurol. 2020 Jan;87(1):139-153. doi: 10.1002/ana.25629. Epub 2019 Nov 18.


Objective: The TMEM175/GAK/DGKQ locus is the 3rd strongest risk locus in genome-wide association studies of Parkinson disease (PD). We aimed to identify the specific disease-associated variants in this locus, and their potential implications.

Methods: Full sequencing of TMEM175/GAK/DGKQ followed by genotyping of specific associated variants was performed in PD (n = 1,575) and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) patients (n = 533) and in controls (n = 1,583). Adjusted regression models and a meta-analysis were performed. Association between variants and glucocerebrosidase (GCase) activity was analyzed in 715 individuals with available data. Homology modeling, molecular dynamics simulations, and lysosomal localization experiments were performed on TMEM175 variants to determine their potential effects on structure and function.

Results: Two coding variants, TMEM175 p.M393T (odds ratio [OR] = 1.37, p = 0.0003) and p.Q65P (OR = 0.72, p = 0.005), were associated with PD, and p.M393T was also associated with RBD (OR = 1.59, p = 0.001). TMEM175 p.M393T was associated with reduced GCase activity. Homology modeling and normal mode analysis demonstrated that TMEM175 p.M393T creates a polar side-chain in the hydrophobic core of the transmembrane, which could destabilize the domain and thus impair either its assembly, maturation, or trafficking. Molecular dynamics simulations demonstrated that the p.Q65P variant may increase stability and ion conductance of the transmembrane protein, and lysosomal localization was not affected by these variants.

Interpretation: Coding variants in TMEM175 are likely to be responsible for the association in the TMEM175/GAK/DGKQ locus, which could be mediated by affecting GCase activity. ANN NEUROL 2020;87:139-153.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Glucosylceramidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / genetics*
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / genetics
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder / physiopathology
  • Synucleinopathies / genetics*
  • Synucleinopathies / physiopathology


  • Potassium Channels
  • TMEM175 protein, human
  • Glucosylceramidase