Pelorosso C - Watrin F - Conti V - Buhler E - Gelot A - Yang X - Mei D - McEvoy-Venneri J - Manent JB - Cetica V - Ball LL - Buccoliero AM - Vinck A - Barba C - Gleeson JG - Guerrini R - Represa A
Human molecular genetics
Single germline or somatic activating mutations of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway genes are emerging as a major cause of type II focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), hemimegalencephaly (HME) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). A double-hit mechanism, based on a primary germline mutation in one allele and a secondary somatic hit affecting the other allele of the same gene in a small number of cells, has been documented in some patients with TSC or FCD. In a patient with HME, severe intellectual disability, intractable seizures and hypochromic skin patches, we identified the ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6) p.R232H variant, present as somatic mosaicism at ~15.1% in dysplastic brain tissue and ~11% in blood, and the MTOR p.S2215F variant, detected as ~8.8% mosaicism in brain tissue, but not in blood. Overexpressing the two variants independently in animal models, we demonstrated that MTOR p.S2215F caused neuronal migration delay and cytomegaly, while RPS6 p.R232H prompted increased cell proliferation. Double mutants exhibited a more severe phenotype, with increased proliferation and migration defects at embryonic stage and, at postnatal stage, cytomegalic cells exhibiting eccentric nuclei and binucleation, which are typical features of balloon cells. These findings suggest a synergistic effect of the two variants. This study indicates that, in addition to single activating mutations and double-hit inactivating mutations in mTOR pathway genes, severe forms of cortical dysplasia can also result from activating mutations affecting different genes in this pathway. RPS6 is a potential novel disease-related gene.