Autosomal Recessive Cerebellar Atrophy and Spastic Ataxia in Patients With Pathogenic Biallelic Variants in GEMIN5

Deepa S. Rajan, Sukhleen Kour, Tyler R. Fortuna, Margot A. Cousin, Sarah S. Barnett, Zhiyv Niu, Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Eric W. Klee, Brian Kirmse, Micheil Innes, Siri Lynne Rydning, Kaja K. Selmer, Magnus Dehli Vigeland, Anne Kjersti Erichsen, Andrea H. Nemeth, Francisca Millan, Catherine DeVile, Katherine Fawcett, Adrien Legendre, David SimsRicardo Parolin Schnekenberg, Lydie Burglen, Sandra Mercier, Somayeh Bakhtiari, Encarnacion Martinez-Salas, Kristen Wigby, Jerica Lenberg, Jennifer R. Friedman, Michael C. Kruer, Udai Bhan Pandey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hereditary ataxias are a heterogenous group of disorders with an increasing number of causative genes being described. Due to the clinical and genetic heterogeneity seen in these conditions, the majority of such individuals endure a diagnostic odyssey or remain undiagnosed. Defining the molecular etiology can bring insights into the responsible molecular pathways and eventually the identification of therapeutic targets. Here, we describe the identification of biallelic variants in the GEMIN5 gene among seven unrelated families with nine affected individuals presenting with spastic ataxia and cerebellar atrophy. GEMIN5, an RNA-binding protein, has been shown to regulate transcription and translation machinery. GEMIN5 is a component of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) complexes and helps in the assembly of the spliceosome complexes. We found that biallelic GEMIN5 variants cause structural abnormalities in the encoded protein and reduce expression of snRNP complex proteins in patient cells compared with unaffected controls. Finally, knocking out endogenous Gemin5 in mice caused early embryonic lethality, suggesting that Gemin5 expression is crucial for normal development. Our work further expands on the phenotypic spectrum associated with GEMIN5-related disease and implicates the role of GEMIN5 among patients with spastic ataxia, cerebellar atrophy, and motor predominant developmental delay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number783762
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Feb 28 2022


  • Gemin5
  • ataxia
  • cell death
  • cerebellar atrophy
  • development
  • developmental delay
  • neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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