Polymicrogyria is a common malformation of cortical development whose etiology remains elusive. We conducted whole-exome sequencing for 124 patients with polymicrogyria and identified de novo ATP1A3 variants in eight patients. Mutated ATP1A3 causes functional brain diseases, including alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC), rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism (RDP), and cerebellar ataxia, areflexia, pes cavus, optic nerve atrophy, and sensorineural deafness (CAPOS). However, our patients showed no clinical features of AHC, RDP, or CAPOS and had a completely different phenotype: a severe form of polymicrogyria with epilepsy and developmental delay. Detected variants had different locations in ATP1A3 and different functional properties compared with AHC-, RDP-, or CAPOS-associated variants. In the developing cerebral cortex of mice, radial neuronal migration was impaired in neurons overexpressing the ATP1A3 variant of the most severe patients, suggesting that this variant is involved in cortical malformation pathogenesis. We propose a previously unidentified category of polymicrogyria associated with ATP1A3 abnormalities.
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