, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 428-433
Date: 12 Sep 2007

Advances in Lafora progressive myoclonus epilepsy

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Lafora progressive myoclonus epilepsy is an autosomal recessive, fatal, generalized polyglucosan storage disorder that occurs in childhood or adolescence with stimulus sensitive epilepsy (resting and action myoclonias, grand mal, and absence), dementia, ataxia and rapid neurologic deterioration. Mutations in EPM2A/laforin cause 58% of cases and mutations in EPM2B/malin cause 35% of cases. Accumulating evidence points to Lafora disease as primarily a disorder of cell death with impaired clearance of misfolded proteins, as shown by ubiquitin-positive aggresomes in HeLa cells transfected with mutated laforin, ubiquitin-positive polyglucosan inclusion bodies, and malin/E3 ubiquitin ligase polyubiquitination of laforin. How polyglucosan inclusion bodies accumulate is still a mystery. Polyglucosan accumulates hypothetically because of an overactive polyglucosan biosynthetic pathway or a breakdown in polyglucosan degradation. Five separate laboratories are looking for the biochemical pathways that connect laforin and malin to polyglucosan synthesis or degradation. A curative therapy for human Lafora disease with laforin replacement therapy using neutral pegylated immunoliposomes is being investigated.