PARK20 caused by SYNJ1 homozygous Arg258Gln mutation in a new Italian family


SYNJ1 has been recently identified by two independent groups as the gene defective in a novel form of autosomal recessive, early-onset atypical parkinsonism (PARK20). Two consanguineous families were initially reported (one of Sicilian and one of Iranian origins), with the same SYNJ1 homozygous mutation (c.773G > A, p.Arg258Gln) segregating with a similar phenotype of early-onset parkinsonism and additional atypical features. Here, we report the identification of the same SYNJ1 homozygous mutation in two affected siblings of a third pedigree. Both siblings had mild developmental psychomotor delay, followed, during the third decade of life, by progressive parkinsonism, dystonia, and mild cognitive impairment. One sibling suffered one episode of generalized seizures. Neuroimaging studies revealed severe nigrostriatal dopaminergic defects, mild striatal and very mild cortical hypometabolism. Treatment with dopamine agonists and anticholinergics resulted in partial improvements. Genetic analyses revealed in both siblings the SYNJ1 homozygous c.773G > A (p.Arg258Gln) mutation. Haplotype analysis suggests that the mutation has arisen independently in this family and the Sicilian PARK20 family previously described by us, in keeping with the hypothesis of a mutational hot spot. This is the third reported family with autosomal recessive, early-onset parkinsonism associated with the SYNJ1 p.Arg258Gln mutation. This work contributes to the definition of the genetic and clinical aspects of PARK20. This newly recognized form must be considered in the diagnostic work-up of patients with early-onset atypical parkinsonism. The presence of seizures might represent a red flag to suspect PARK20.

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This study was supported by grants from the Stichting ParkinsonFonds (The Netherlands) to V.B. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. All experiments performed in this study comply with the current laws of the countries in which they were performed.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe De Michele or Vincenzo Bonifati.

Additional information

Simone Olgiati and Anna De Rosa contributed equally to this work and should be considered as joint first authors.

Giuseppe De Michele and Vincenzo Bonifati contributed equally to this work and should be considered as joint senior authors.

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The male patient from the Naples family with SYNJ1 mutation (NAPO-41) (MPG 10,980 kb)

The female patient from the Naples family with SYNJ1 mutation (NAPO-42) (MPG 7,690 kb)


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The male patient from the Naples family with SYNJ1 mutation (NAPO-41) (MPG 10,980 kb)

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The female patient from the Naples family with SYNJ1 mutation (NAPO-42) (MPG 7,690 kb)

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Olgiati, S., De Rosa, A., Quadri, M. et al. PARK20 caused by SYNJ1 homozygous Arg258Gln mutation in a new Italian family. Neurogenetics 15, 183–188 (2014).

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  • PARK20
  • SYNJ1
  • Synaptojanin 1
  • Parkinsonism
  • Mutation
  • Parkinson’s disease