GFPT1 deficiency in muscle leads to myasthenia and myopathy in mice
Author(s): Yasmin Issop, Denisa Hathazi, Muzamil Majid Khan, Rüdiger Rudolf, Joachim Weis 6 , Sally Spendiff 1 , Clarke R. Slater 7 , Andreas Roos 1,2 and Hanns Lochmüller
Published: June 14, 2018
Journal: Human Molecular Genetics
Glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate transaminase 1 (GFPT1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway which yields precursors required for protein and lipid glycosylation. Mutations in GFPT1 and other genes downstream of this pathway cause congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) characterized by fatigable muscle weakness owing to impaired neurotransmission. The precise pathomechanisms at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) owing to a deficiency in GFPT1 is yet to be discovered. One of the challenges we face is the viability of Gfpt1-/- knockout mice. In this study, we use Cre/LoxP technology to generate a muscle-specific GFPT1 knockout mouse model, Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d, characteristic of the human CMS phenotype. Our data suggest a critical role for muscle derived GFPT1 in the development of the NMJ, neurotransmission, skeletal muscle integrity and highlight that a deficiency in skeletal muscle alone is sufficient to cause morphological postsynaptic NMJ changes that are accompanied by presynaptic alterations despite the conservation of neuronal GFPT1 expression. In addition to the conventional morphological NMJ changes and fatigable muscle weakness, Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d mice display a progressive myopathic phenotype with the presence of tubular aggregates in muscle, characteristic of the GFPT1-CMS phenotype. We further identify an upregulation of skeletal muscle proteins glypican-1, farnesyltransferase/geranylgeranyltransferase type-1 subunit α and muscle-specific kinase, which are known to be involved in the differentiation and maintenance of the NMJ. The Gfpt1tm1d/tm1d model allows for further investigation of pathophysiological consequences on genes and pathways downstream of GFPT1 likely to involve misglycosylation or hypoglycosylation of NMJs and muscle targets.