Mutant SNAP25B causes myasthenia, cortical hyperexcitability, ataxia, and intellectual disability

Xin Ming Shen, Duygu Selcen, Joan Brengman, Andrew G. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify and characterize the molecular basis of a syndrome associated with myasthenia, cortical hyperexcitability, cerebellar ataxia, and intellectual disability. Methods: We performed in vitro microelectrode studies of neuromuscular transmission, performed exome and Sanger sequencing, and analyzed functional consequences of the identified mutation in expression studies. Results: Neuromuscular transmission at patient endplates was compromised by reduced evoked quantal release. Exome sequencing identified a dominant de novo variant, p.Ile67Asn, in SNAP25B, a SNARE protein essential for exocytosis of synaptic vesicles from nerve terminals and of dense-core vesicles from endocrine cells. Ca2+-triggered exocytosis is initiated when synaptobrevin attached to synaptic vesicles (v-SNARE) assembles with SNAP25B and syntaxin anchored in the presynaptic membrane (t-SNAREs) into an a-helical coiled-coil held together by hydrophobic interactions. Pathogenicity of the Ile67Asn mutation was confirmed by 2 measures. First, the Ca21 triggered fusion of liposomes incorporating v-SNARE with liposomes containing t-SNAREs was hindered when t-SNAREs harbored the mutant SNAP25B moiety. Second, depolarization of bovine chromaffin cells transfected with mutant SNAP25B or with mutant plus wildtype SNAP25B markedly reduced depolarization-evoked exocytosis compared with wild-type transfected cells. Conclusion: Ile67Asn variant in SNAP25B is pathogenic because it inhibits synaptic vesicle exocytosis. We attribute the deleterious effects of the mutation to disruption of the hydrophobic a-helical coiled-coil structure of the SNARE complex by replacement of a highly hydrophobic isoleucine by a strongly hydrophilic asparagine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2255
Number of pages9
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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