Biallelic loss-of-function variations in PRDX3 cause cerebellar ataxia

PREPARE network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peroxiredoxin 3 (PRDX3) belongs to a superfamily of peroxidases that function as protective antioxidant enzymes. Among the six isoforms (PRDX1-PRDX6), PRDX3 is the only protein exclusively localized to the mitochondria, which are the main source of reactive oxygen species. Excessive levels of reactive oxygen species are harmful to cells, inducing mitochondrial dysfunction, DNA damage, lipid and protein oxidation and ultimately apoptosis. Neuronal cell damage induced by oxidative stress has been associated with numerous neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Leveraging the large aggregation of genomic ataxia datasets from the PREPARE (Preparing for Therapies in Autosomal Recessive Ataxias) network, we identified recessive mutations in PRDX3 as the genetic cause of cerebellar ataxia in five unrelated families, providing further evidence for oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration. The clinical presentation of individuals with PRDX3 mutations consists of mild-to-moderate progressive cerebellar ataxia with concomitant hyper- and hypokinetic movement disorders, severe early-onset cerebellar atrophy, and in part olivary and brainstem degeneration. Patient fibroblasts showed a lack of PRDX3 protein, resulting in decreased glutathione peroxidase activity and decreased mitochondrial maximal respiratory capacity. Moreover, PRDX3 knockdown in cerebellar medulloblastoma cells resulted in significantly decreased cell viability, increased H2O2 levels and increased susceptibility to apoptosis triggered by reactive oxygen species. Pan-neuronal and pan-glial in vivo models of Drosophila revealed aberrant locomotor phenotypes and reduced survival times upon exposure to oxidative stress. Our findings reveal a central role for mitochondria and the implication of oxidative stress in PRDX3 disease pathogenesis and cerebellar vulnerability and suggest targets for future therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1481
Number of pages15
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • ataxia
  • PRDX3
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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