Functional and Molecular Properties of DYT-SGCE Myoclonus-Dystonia Patient-Derived Striatal Medium Spiny Neurons.
Myoclonus-dystonia (DYT-SGCE, formerly DYT11) is characterized by alcohol-sensitive, myoclonic-like appearance of fast dystonic movements. It is caused by mutations in the SGCE gene encoding ε-sarcoglycan leading to a dysfunction of this transmembrane protein, alterations in the cerebello-thalamic pathway and impaired striatal plasticity. To elucidate underlying pathogenic mechanisms, we investigated induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived striatal medium spiny neurons (MSNs) from two myoclonus-dystonia patients carrying a heterozygous mutation in the SGCE gene (c.298T>G and c.304C>T with protein changes W100G and R102X) in comparison to two matched healthy control lines. Calcium imaging showed significantly elevated basal intracellular Ca2+ content and lower frequency of spontaneous Ca2+ signals in SGCE MSNs. Blocking of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels by verapamil was less efficient in suppressing KCl-induced Ca2+ peaks of SGCE MSNs. Ca2+ amplitudes upon glycine and acetylcholine applications were increased in SGCE MSNs, but not after GABA or glutamate applications. Expression of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and most ionotropic receptor subunits was not altered. SGCE MSNs showed significantly reduced GABAergic synaptic density. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings displayed elevated amplitudes of miniature postsynaptic currents and action potentials in SGCE MSNs. Our data contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiology and the development of novel therapeutic strategies for myoclonus-dystonia.