AB variant is the rarest form of GM2 gangliosidosis, neurodegenerative diseases caused by lysosomal accumulation of GM2 gangliosides. Less than thirty cases are referenced in the literature, and to date, no late-onset form has been described. Our proband is a 22-year-old male with spinocerebellar ataxia and lower limbs motor deficiency. His symptoms started at the age of 10. A genetic analysis revealed two mutations in the GM2A gene encoding the GM2 activator protein (GM2-AP), an essential co-factor of hexosaminidase A. Both mutations, GM2A:c.79A > T:p.Lys27* and GM2A:c.415C > T:p.Pro139Ser, were inherited respectively from his father and his mother. The nonsense mutation was predicted to be likely pathogenic, but the missense mutation was of unknown significance. To establish the pathogenicity of this variant, we studied GM2 accumulation and GM2A gene expression. Electron microscopy and immunofluorescence performed on patient's fibroblasts did not reveal any lysosomal accumulation of GM2. There was also no difference in GM2A gene expression using RT-qPCR, and both mutations were found on cDNA Sanger sequencing. Measurement of plasma gangliosides by liquid-phase chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry showed an accumulation of GM2 in our patient's plasma at 83.5 nmol/L, and a GM2/GM3 ratio at 0.066 (median of negative control at 30.2 nmol/L [19.7-46.8] and 0.019 respectively). Therefore, the association of both p.Lys27* and p.Pro169Ser mutations leads to a GM2-AP functional deficiency. Whereas the first mutation is more likely to be linked with infantile form of GM2 gangliosidosis, the hypomorphic p.Pro169Ser variant may be the first associated with a late-onset form of AB variant.
Keywords: AB Variant; GM2 gangliosidosis; GM2-AP; GM2A; Late-onset form.
© 2022. Fondazione Società Italiana di Neurologia.