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Ataxia with Ocular Apraxia Type 1 (AOA1) (APTX, W279* Mutation): Neurological, Neuropsychological, and Molecular Outlining of a Heterogenous Phenotype in Four Colombian Siblings

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A Correction to this article was published on 19 May 2022

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Hereditary ataxias are a group of devastating neurological disorders that affect coordination of gait and are often associated with poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements. Ataxia with ocular apraxia type 1 (AOA1) (OMIM: 606,350.0006) is characterized by slowly progressive symptoms of childhood-onset and pathogenic mutations in APTX; the only known cause underpinning AOA1. APTX encodes the protein aprataxin, composed of three domains sharing homology with proteins involved in DNA damage, signaling, and repair. We present four siblings from an endogamic family in a rural, isolated town of Colombia with ataxia and ocular apraxia of childhood-onset and confirmed molecular diagnosis of AOA1, homozygous for the W279* p.Trp279Ter mutation. We predicted the mutated APTX with AlphaFold to demonstrate the effects of this stop-gain mutation that deletes three beta helices encoded by amino acid 270 to 339 rescinding the C2H2-type zinc fingers (Znf) (C2H2 Znf) DNA-binding, the DNA-repair domain, and the whole 3D structure of APTX. All siblings exhibited different ages of onset (4, 6, 8, and 11 years old) and heterogeneous patterns of dysarthria (ranging from absence to mild-moderate dysarthria). Neuropsychological evaluation showed no neurocognitive impairment in three siblings, but one sibling showed temporospatial disorientation, semantic and phonologic fluency impairment, episodic memory affection, constructional apraxia, moderate anomia, low executive function, and symptoms of depression. To our knowledge, this report represents the most extensive series of siblings affected with AOA1 in Latin America, and the genetic analysis completed adds important knowledge to outline this family’s disease and general complex phenotype of hereditary ataxias.

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Aguillon, D., Vasquez, D., Madrigal, L. et al. Ataxia with Ocular Apraxia Type 1 (AOA1) (APTX, W279* Mutation): Neurological, Neuropsychological, and Molecular Outlining of a Heterogenous Phenotype in Four Colombian Siblings. Mol Neurobiol 59, 3845–3858 (2022).

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