Nuclear import receptors of the KPNA family recognize the nuclear localization signal in proteins and together with importin-β mediate translocation into the nucleus. Accordingly, KPNA family members have a highly conserved architecture with domains that contact the nuclear localization signal and bind to importin-β. Here, we describe autosomal recessive mutations in KPNA7 found by whole exome sequencing in a sibling pair with severe developmental disability, infantile spasms, subsequent intractable epilepsy consistent with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, partial agenesis of the corpus callosum, and cerebellar vermis hypoplasia. The mutations mapped to exon 7 in KPNA7 result in two amino-acid substitutions, Pro339Ala and Glu344Gln. On the basis of the crystal structure of the paralog KPNA2 bound to a bipartite nuclear localization signal from the retinoblastoma protein, the amino-acid substitutions in the affected subjects were predicted to occur within the seventh armadillo repeat that forms one of the two nuclear localization signal-binding sites in KPNA family members. Glu344 is conserved in all seven KPNA proteins, and we found that the Glu354Gln mutation in KPNA2 is sufficient to reduce binding to the retinoblastoma nuclear localization signal to approximately one-half that of wild-type protein. Our data show that compound heterozygous mutations in KPNA7 are associated with a human neurodevelopmental disease, and provide the first example of a human disease associated with mutation of a nuclear transport receptor.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the families of our research subjects for sharing details of their children’s condition with us. ARP is supported by K08NS078054, WBD is supported by R01NS058721, and BMP is supported by R01AG040162.
- Lennox Gastaut syndrome
- cerebellar vermis hypoplasia
- infantile spasms
- whole exome sequencing