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CLN3 deficiency leads to neurological and metabolic perturbations during early development

Heins-Marroquin U, Singh RR, Perathoner S, Gavotto F, Ruiz CM, Patraskaki M, Gomez-Giro G, Borgmann FK, Meyer M, Carpentier A, Warmoes MO, Jaeger C, Mittelbronn M, Schwamborn JC, Cordero-Maldonado ML, Crawford AD, Schymanski EL, Linster CL
bioRxiv. 2023;[preprint] doi:10.1101/2023.03.17.533107
Juvenile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (or Batten disease) is an autosomal recessive, rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects mainly children above the age of 5 years and is most commonly caused by mutations in the highly conserved CLN3 gene. Here, we generated cln3 morphants and stable mutant lines in zebrafish. Although neither morphant nor mutant cln3 larvae showed any obvious developmental or morphological defects, behavioral phenotyping of the mutant larvae revealed higher basal activity, hyposensitivity to abrupt light changes and hypersensitivity to pro-convulsive drugs. Importantly, in-depth metabolomics and lipidomics analyses revealed significant accumulation of several glycerophosphodiesters (GPDs) and a global decrease of bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP) species, two classes of molecules previously proposed as potential biomarkers for CLN3 disease based on independent studies in other organisms. We could also demonstrate GPD accumulation in human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cerebral organoids carrying a pathogenic variant for CLN3. Our models revealed that GPDs accumulate at very early stages of life in the absence of functional CLN3 and highlight glycerophosphoinositol and BMP as promising biomarker candidates for pre-symptomatic CLN3 disease.
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