Mutations in the Golgi SNARE protein Membrin (encoded by the GOSR2 gene) cause progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME). Membrin is a ubiquitous and essential protein mediating ER-to-Golgi membrane fusion. Thus, it is unclear how mutations in Membrin result in a disorder restricted to the nervous system. Here we use a multi-layered strategy to elucidate the consequences of Membrin mutations from protein to neuron. We show that the pathogenic mutations cause partial reductions in SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. Importantly, these alterations were sufficient to profoundly impair dendritic growth in Drosophila models of GOSR2-PME. Furthermore, we show that Membrin mutations cause fragmentation of the presynaptic cytoskeleton coupled with trans-synaptic instability and hyperactive neurotransmission. Our study highlights how dendritic growth is vulnerable even to subtle secretory pathway deficits, uncovers a previously uncharacterized role for Membrin in synaptic function, and provides a comprehensive explanatory basis for genotype-phenotype relationships in GOSR2-PME.
- progressive myoclonus epilepsy
- dendrite growth
- synaptic integrity