Rare variants in TP73 in a frontotemporal dementia cohort link this gene with primary progressive aphasia phenotypes

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: TP73 was recently reported to cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are considered to form part of a continuum. We aimed to investigate whether TP73 variants may be associated with FTD.
METHODS: We studied a thoroughly investigated cohort of 65 Portuguese patients with frontotemporal dementia using whole-exome sequencing. The patients had no other known genetic cause for their disease (C9orf72 expansion was also excluded).
RESULTS: Of the 65 patients studied, two had rare variants in TP73 (p.Gly605Ser and p.Arg347Trp). Both variants had minor allele frequency <0.001 and were predicted to be pathogenic in silico. The two patients displayed a phenotype that included predominant language impairment, suggestive of non-fluent progressive aphasia.
CONCLUSION: We show that two thoroughly studied patients without other known genetic changes harbored TP73 rare variants, which are pathogenic in silico. This adds evidence to support the role of TP73 in the ALS-FTD spectrum, especially in primary progressive aphasia cases.