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Impairment of ceramide synthesis causes a novel progressive myoclonus epilepsy

Authors


Abstract

Objective

Alterations of sphingolipid metabolism are implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders.

Methods

We identified a homozygous nonsynonymous mutation in CERS1, the gene encoding ceramide synthase 1, in 4 siblings affected by a progressive disorder with myoclonic epilepsy and dementia. CerS1, a transmembrane protein of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), catalyzes the biosynthesis of C18-ceramides.

Results

We demonstrated that the mutation decreases C18-ceramide levels. In addition, we showed that downregulation of CerS1 in a neuroblastoma cell line triggers ER stress response and induces proapoptotic pathways.

Interpretation

This study demonstrates that impairment of ceramide biosynthesis underlies neurodegeneration in humans. Ann Neurol 2014;76:206–212

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