Presynaptic PRRT2 Deficiency Causes Cerebellar Dysfunction and Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia


PRRT2 loss-of-function mutations have been associated with familial paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD), infantile convulsions and choreoathetosis, and benign familial infantile seizures. Dystonia is the foremost involuntary movement disorder manifest by patients with PKD. Using a lacZ reporter and quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR, we mapped the temporal and spatial distribution of Prrt2 in mouse brain and showed the highest levels of expression in cerebellar cortex. Further investigation into PRRT2 localization within the cerebellar cortex revealed that Prrt2 transcripts reside in granule cells but not Purkinje cells or interneurons within cerebellar cortex, and PRRT2 is presynaptically localized in the molecular layer. Analysis of synapses in the cerebellar molecular layer via electron microscopy showed that Prrt2−/− mice have increased numbers of docked vesicles but decreased vesicle numbers overall. In addition to impaired performance on several motor tasks, approximately 5% of Prrt2−/− mice exhibited overt PKD with clear face validity manifest as dystonia. In Prrt2 mutants, we found reduced parallel fiber facilitation at parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapses, reduced Purkinje cell excitability, and normal cerebellar nuclear excitability, establishing a potential mechanism by which altered cerebellar activity promotes disinhibition of the cerebellar nuclei, driving motor abnormalities in PKD. Overall, our findings replicate, refine, and expand upon previous work with PRRT2 mouse models, contribute to understanding of paroxysmal disorders of the nervous system, and provide mechanistic insight into the role of cerebellar cortical dysfunction in dystonia.

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