Genetic and epigenetic disease modifiers in an Italian C9orf72 family expressing ALS, FTD or PD clinical phenotypes

Antonia Ratti, Silvia Peverelli, Elisabetta D'Adda, Claudia Colombrita, Michele Gennuso, Alessandro Prelle, Vincenzo Silani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The presence of the hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) in C9orf72 gene is associated to the ALS/FTD spectrum, but also to parkinsonisms. We here describe an Italian family with the father diagnosed with Parkinson disease (PD) at the age of 67 and the two daughters developing FTD and ALS at 45 years of age. We searched for C9orf72 HRE with possible genetic and epigenetic modifiers to account for the intrafamilial phenotypic variability. Methods: C9orf72 mutational analysis was performed by fragment length analysis, Repeat-primed PCR and Southern blot. Targeted next generation sequencing was used to analyze 48 genes associated to neurodegenerative diseases. Promoter methylation was analyzed by bisulfite sequencing. Results: Genetic analysis identified C9orf72 HRE in all the affected members with a similar repeat expansion size. Both the father and the FTD daughter also carried the heterozygous p.Ile946Phe variant in ATP13A2 gene, associated to PD. In addition, the father also showed a heterozygous EIF4G1 variant (p.Ala13Pro), that might increase his susceptibility to develop PD. The DNA methylation analysis showed that all the 26 CpG sites within C9orf72 promoter were unmethylated in all family members. Conclusions: Neither C9orf72 HRE size nor promoter methylation act as disease modifiers within this family, at least in blood, not excluding HRE mosaicism and a different methylation pattern in the brain. However, the presence of rare genetic variants in PD genes suggests that they may influence the clinical manifestation in the father. Other genetic and/or epigenetic modifiers must be responsible for disease variability in this C9orf72 family case.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • C9orf72
  • DNA methylation
  • genetic modifiers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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