Scientific Publications

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14 Results


Improved attention linked to sustained phenylalanine reduction in adults with early-treated phenylketonuria

Bilder DA, Arnold GL, Dimmock D, Grant ML, Janzen D, Longo N, Nguyen-Driver M, Jurecki E, Merilainen M, Amato G, Waisbren S

Am J Med Genet A. 2021 Nov 26. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.62574. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Pegvaliase is approved to reduce phenylalanine (Phe) levels for people with phenylketonuria (PKU). PRISM-1 (NCT01819727) and PRISM-2 (NCT01889862) data were analyzed to evaluate the relationship between Phe and inattention in adult participants with PKU. In the modified-intent-to-treat population (N = 156), baseline mean (SE) plasma Phe was 1263 (29) μmol/L and the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale-IV Inattentive (IA) symptoms score was 9.8 (0.5). Mean (SE) IA scores fell 9.0 (1.1) in Quartile 1 (Phe reduction between 1166 and 2229 μmol/L) versus 4.3 (0.7) in Quartile 4 (Phe reduction of 139 μmol/L to increase of 934 μmol/L), p = 0.004. Least squares mean (SE) change from baseline IA score was -7.9 (0.7) for participants with final Phe ≤ 360 μmol/L and -4.5 (0.7) for final Phe > 360 μmol/L, p < 0.001. In the inattention subgroup, IA scores fell 13.3 (1.5) in Quartile 1 (Phe reduction between 1288 and 2229 μmol/L) versus 6.2 (1.3) in Quartile 4 (Phe reduction of 247 to increase of 934 μmol/L), p = 0.009. Inattention symptoms improved among those whose Phe levels decreased, particularly those with high baseline IA scores. IA improvements were larger among participants with the greatest plasma Phe reductions, supporting this value as a therapeutic goal. PMID:34826353 | DOI:10.1002/ajmg.a.62574

December 2, 2021
Gene Discovery

Expanding the phenotypic spectrum of BCS1L-related mitochondrial disease

Hikmat O, Isohanni P, Keshavan N, Ferla MP, Fassone E, Abbott MA, Bellusci M, Darin N, Dimmock D, Ghezzi D, Houlden H, Invernizzi F, Kamarus Jaman NB, Kurian MA, Morava E, Naess K, Ortigoza-Escobar JD, Parikh S, Pennisi A, Barcia G, Tylleskär KB, Brackman D, Wortmann SB, Taylor JC, Bindoff LA, Fellman V, Rahman S.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2021 Oct 18. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51470. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To delineate the full phenotypic spectrum of BCS1L-related disease, provide better understanding of the genotype-phenotype correlations and identify reliable prognostic disease markers. METHODS: We performed a retrospective multinational cohort study of previously unpublished patients followed in 15 centres from 10 countries. Patients with confirmed biallelic pathogenic BCS1L variants were considered eligible. Clinical, laboratory, neuroimaging and genetic data were analysed. Patients were stratified into different groups based on the age of disease onset, whether homozygous or compound heterozygous for the c.232A>G (p.Ser78Gly) variant, and those with other pathogenic BCS1L variants. RESULTS: Thirty-three patients were included. We found that growth failure, lactic acidosis, tubulopathy, hepatopathy and early death were more frequent in those with disease onset within the first month of life. In those with onset after 1 month, neurological features including movement disorders and seizures were more frequent. Novel phenotypes, particularly involving movement disorder, were identified in this group. The presence of the c.232A>G (p.Ser78Gly) variant was associated with significantly worse survival and exclusively found in those with disease onset within the first month of life, whilst other pathogenic BCS1L variants were more frequent in those with later symptom onset. INTERPRETATION: The phenotypic spectrum of BCS1L-related disease comprises a continuum of clinical features rather than a set of separate syndromic clinical identities. Age of onset defines BCS1L-related disease clinically and early presentation is associated with poor prognosis. Genotype correlates with phenotype in the presence of the c.232A>G (p.Ser78Gly) variant. PMID:34662929 | DOI:10.1002/acn3.51470

October 19, 2021
Gene Discovery

YY1: A New Gene for Childhood Onset Dystonia with Prominent Oromandibular-Laryngeal Involvement?

Ferng A, Thulin P, Walsh E, Weissbrod PA, Friedman J.

Mov Disord. 2021 Oct 7. doi: 10.1002/mds.28813. Online ahead of print. NO ABSTRACT PMID:34618373 | DOI:10.1002/mds.28813

October 8, 2021
Gene DiscoveryNeurogenomics

Integrative genetic, genomic and transcriptomic analysis of heat shock protein and nuclear hormone receptor gene associations with spontaneous preterm birth

Huusko JM, Tiensuu H, Haapalainen AM, Pasanen A, Tissarinen P, Karjalainen MK, Zhang G, Christensen K, Ryckman KK, Jacobsson B, Murray JC, Kingsmore SF, Hallman M, Muglia LJ, Rämet M.

Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 24;11(1):17115. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-96374-9. ABSTRACT Heat shock proteins are involved in the response to stress including activation of the immune response. Elevated circulating heat shock proteins are associated with spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB). Intracellular heat shock proteins act as multifunctional molecular chaperones that regulate activity of nuclear hormone receptors. Since SPTB has a significant genetic predisposition, our objective was to identify genetic and transcriptomic evidence of heat shock proteins and nuclear hormone receptors that may affect risk for SPTB. We investigated all 97 genes encoding members of the heat shock protein families and all 49 genes encoding nuclear hormone receptors for their potential role in SPTB susceptibility. We used multiple genetic and genomic datasets including genome-wide association studies (GWASs), whole-exome sequencing (WES), and placental transcriptomics to identify SPTB predisposing factors from the mother, infant, and placenta. There were multiple associations of heat shock protein and nuclear hormone receptor genes with SPTB. Several orthogonal datasets supported roles for SEC63, HSPA1L, SACS, RORA, and AR in susceptibility to SPTB. We propose that suppression of specific heat shock proteins promotes maintenance of pregnancy, whereas activation of specific heat shock protein mediated signaling may disturb maternal-fetal tolerance and promote labor. PMID:34429451 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-96374-9

August 26, 2021
Gene Discovery

Detecting methylation quantitative trait loci using a methylation random field method

Lyu C, Huang M, Liu N, Chen Z, Lupo PJ, Tycko B, Witte JS, Hobbs CA, Li M.

Brief Bioinform. 2021 Aug 19:bbab323. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbab323. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT DNA methylation may be regulated by genetic variants within a genomic region, referred to as methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTLs). The changes of methylation levels can further lead to alterations of gene expression, and influence the risk of various complex human diseases. Detecting mQTLs may provide insights into the underlying mechanism of how genotypic variations may influence the disease risk. In this article, we propose a methylation random field (MRF) method to detect mQTLs by testing the association between the methylation level of a CpG site and a set of genetic variants within a genomic region. The proposed MRF has two major advantages over existing approaches. First, it uses a beta distribution to characterize the bimodal and interval properties of the methylation trait at a CpG site. Second, it considers multiple common and rare genetic variants within a genomic region to identify mQTLs. Through simulations, we demonstrated that the MRF had improved power over other existing methods in detecting rare variants of relatively large effect, especially when the sample size is small. We further applied our method to a study of congenital heart defects with 83 cardiac tissue samples and identified two mQTL regions, MRPS10 and PSORS1C1, which were colocalized with expression QTL in cardiac tissue. In conclusion, the proposed MRF is a useful tool to identify novel mQTLs, especially for studies with limited sample sizes. PMID:34414410 | DOI:10.1093/bib/bbab323

August 24, 2021
Gene Discovery

Exome sequencing of child-parent trios with bladder exstrophy: Findings in 26 children

Pitsava G, Feldkamp ML, Pankratz N, Lane J, Kay DM, Conway KM, Shaw GM, Reefhuis J, Jenkins MM, Almli LM, Olshan AF, Pangilinan F, Brody LC, Sicko RJ, Hobbs CA, Bamshad M, McGoldrick D, Nickerson DA, Finnell RH, Mullikin J, Romitti PA, Mills JL

Am J Med Genet A. 2021 Aug 5. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.62439. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Bladder exstrophy (BE) is a rare, lower ventral midline defect with the bladder and part of the urethra exposed. The etiology of BE is unknown but thought to be influenced by genetic variation with more recent studies suggesting a role for rare variants. As such, we conducted paired-end exome sequencing in 26 child/mother/father trios. Three children had rare (allele frequency ≤ 0.0001 in several public databases) inherited variants in TSPAN4, one with a loss-of-function variant and two with missense variants. Two children had loss-of-function variants in TUBE1. Four children had rare missense or nonsense variants (one per child) in WNT3, CRKL, MYH9, or LZTR1, genes previously associated with BE. We detected 17 de novo missense variants in 13 children and three de novo loss-of-function variants (AKR1C2, PRRX1, PPM1D) in three children (one per child). We also detected rare compound heterozygous loss-of-function variants in PLCH2 and CLEC4M and rare inherited missense or loss-of-function variants in additional genes applying autosomal recessive (three genes) and X-linked recessive inheritance models (13 genes). Variants in two genes identified may implicate disruption in cell migration (TUBE1) and adhesion (TSPAN4) processes, mechanisms proposed for BE, and provide additional evidence for rare variants in the development of this defect. PMID:34355505 | DOI:10.1002/ajmg.a.62439

August 9, 2021
Gene DiscoveryRare Disease

Functional and structural analyses of novel Smith-Kingsmore Syndrome-Associated MTOR variants reveal potential new mechanisms and predictors of pathogenicity

Besterman AD, Althoff T, Elfferich P, Gutierrez-Mejia I, Sadik J, Bernstein JA, van Ierland Y, Kattentidt-Mouravieva AA, Nellist M, Abramson J, Martinez-Agosto JA.

PLoS Genet. 2021 Jul 1;17(7):e1009651. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009651. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Smith-Kingsmore syndrome (SKS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by macrocephaly/megalencephaly, developmental delay, intellectual disability, hypotonia, and seizures. It is caused by dominant missense mutations in MTOR. The pathogenicity of novel variants in MTOR in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders can be difficult to determine and the mechanism by which variants cause disease remains poorly understood. We report 7 patients with SKS with 4 novel MTOR variants and describe their phenotypes. We perform in vitro functional analyses to confirm MTOR activation and interrogate disease mechanisms. We complete structural analyses to understand the 3D properties of pathogenic variants. We examine the accuracy of relative accessible surface area, a quantitative measure of amino acid side-chain accessibility, as a predictor of MTOR variant pathogenicity. We describe novel clinical features of patients with SKS. We confirm MTOR Complex 1 activation and identify MTOR Complex 2 activation as a new potential mechanism of disease in SKS. We find that pathogenic MTOR variants disproportionately cluster in hotspots in the core of the protein, where they disrupt alpha helix packing due to the insertion of bulky amino acid side chains. We find that relative accessible surface area is significantly lower for SKS-associated variants compared to benign variants. We expand the phenotype of SKS and demonstrate that additional pathways of activation may contribute to disease. Incorporating 3D properties of MTOR variants may help in pathogenicity classification. We hope these findings may contribute to improving the precision of care and therapeutic development for individuals with SKS. PMID:34197453 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009651

July 9, 2021
Gene Discovery

Rare deleterious mutations of HNRNP genes result in shared neurodevelopmental disorders

Gillentine MA, Wang T, Hoekzema K, Rosenfeld J, Liu P, Guo H, Kim CN, De Vries BBA, Vissers LELM, Nordenskjold M, Kvarnung M, Lindstrand A, Nordgren A, Gecz J, Iascone M, Cereda A, Scatigno A, Maitz S, Zanni G, Bertini E, Zweier C, Schuhmann S, Wiesener A, Pepper M, Panjwani H, Torti E, Abid F, Anselm I, Srivastava S, Atwal P, Bacino CA, Bhat G, Cobian K, Bird LM, Friedman J, Wright MS, Callewaert B, Petit F, Mathieu S, Afenjar A, Christensen CK, White KM, Elpeleg O, Berger I, Espineli EJ, Fagerberg C, Brasch-Andersen C, Hansen LK, Feyma T, Hughes S, Thiffault I, Sullivan B, Yan S, Keller K, Keren B, Mignot C, Kooy F, Meuwissen M, Basinger A, Kukolich M, Philips M, Ortega L, Drummond-Borg M, Lauridsen M, Sorensen K, Lehman A; CAUSES Study, Lopez-Rangel E, Levy P, Lessel D, Lotze T, Madan-Khetarpal S, Sebastian J, Vento J, Vats D, Benman LM, Mckee S, Mirzaa GM, Muss C, Pappas J, Peeters H, Romano C, Elia M, Galesi O, Simon MEH, van Gassen KLI, Simpson K, Stratton R, Syed S, Thevenon J, Palafoll IV, Vitobello A, Bournez M, Faivre L, Xia K; SPARK Consortium, Earl RK, Nowakowski T, Bernier RA, Eichler EE.

Madelyn A Gillentine Genome Med. 2021 Apr 19;13(1):63. doi: 10.1186/s13073-021-00870-6. ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: With the increasing number of genomic sequencing studies, hundreds of genes have been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). The rate of gene discovery far outpaces our understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, with clinical characterization remaining a bottleneck for understanding NDDs. Most disease-associated Mendelian genes are members of gene families, and we hypothesize that those with related molecular function share clinical presentations. METHODS: We tested our hypothesis by considering gene families that have multiple members with an enrichment of de novo variants among NDDs, as determined by previous meta-analyses. One of these gene families is the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), which has 33 members, five of which have been recently identified as NDD genes (HNRNPK, HNRNPU, HNRNPH1, HNRNPH2, and HNRNPR) and two of which have significant enrichment in our previous meta-analysis of probands with NDDs (HNRNPU and SYNCRIP). Utilizing protein homology, mutation analyses, gene expression analyses, and phenotypic characterization, we provide evidence for variation in 12 HNRNP genes as candidates for NDDs. Seven are potentially novel while the remaining genes in the family likely do not significantly contribute to NDD risk. RESULTS: We report 119 new NDD cases (64 de novo variants) through sequencing and international collaborations and combined with published clinical case reports. We consider 235 cases with gene-disruptive single-nucleotide variants or indels and 15 cases with small copy number variants. Three hnRNP-encoding genes reach nominal or exome-wide significance for de novo variant enrichment, while nine are candidates for pathogenic mutations. Comparison of HNRNP gene expression shows a pattern consistent with a role in cerebral cortical development with enriched expression among radial glial progenitors. Clinical assessment of probands (n = 188-221) expands the phenotypes associated with HNRNP rare variants, and phenotypes associated with variation in the HNRNP genes distinguishes them as a subgroup of NDDs. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our novel approach of exploiting gene families in NDDs identifies new HNRNP-related disorders, expands the phenotypes of known HNRNP-related disorders, strongly implicates disruption of the hnRNPs as a whole in NDDs, and supports that NDD subtypes likely have shared molecular pathogenesis. To date, this is the first study to identify novel genetic disorders based on the presence of disorders in related genes. We also perform the first phenotypic analyses focusing on related genes. Finally, we show that radial glial expression of these genes is likely critical during neurodevelopment. This is important for diagnostics, as well as developing strategies to best study these genes for the development of therapeutics. PMID:33874999   DOI:10.1186/s13073-021-00870-6

April 20, 2021
Gene DiscoveryGenetic Neurologic DiseaseNeurogenomics


Diagnosis of cytomegalovirus infection from clinical whole genome sequencing

Ramchandar N, Ding Y, Farnaes L, Dimmock D, Hobbs C, Kingsmore SF, Bainbridge M. 

Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 3;10(1):11020. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-67656-5. ABSTRACT Rapid whole genome sequencing (rWGS) of peripheral blood has been used to detect microbial DNA in acute infections. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a herpesvirus capable of causing severe disease in neonates and immunocompromised patients. We identified CMV in patients undergoing diagnostic rWGS by matching reads that did not align to the human reference genome to a database of microbial genomes. rWGS was conducted on peripheral blood obtained from ill pediatric patients (age 1 day to 18 years). Reads not aligning to the human genome were analyzed using an in-house pipeline to identify DNA consistent with CMV infection. Of 669 patients who received rWGS from July 2016 through July 2019, we identified 28 patients (4.2%) with reads that aligned to the CMV reference genome. Six of these patients had clinical findings consistent with symptomatic CMV infection. Positive results were highly correlated (R2 > 0.99, p < 0.001) to a CMV-qPCR assay conducted on DNA isolated from whole blood samples. In acutely ill children receiving rWGS for diagnosis of genetic disease, we propose analysis of patient genetic data to identify CMV, which could impact treatment of up to 4% of children in the intensive care unit. PMID:32620939 | PMC:PMC7335102 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-67656-5

July 5, 2020
Gene DiscoveryrWGS


Elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of glioma: integrated germline and somatic profiling of a familial glioma case series.

Jacobs DI, Fukumura K, Bainbridge MN, Armstrong GN, Tsavachidis S, Gu X, Doddapaneni HV, Hu J, Jayaseelan JC, Muzny DM, Huse JT, Bondy ML.

Neuro Oncol. 2018 Nov 12;20(12):1625-1633. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noy119. PMID: 30165405; PMCID: PMC6231201. Abstract Key points: 1. Familial and sporadic gliomas display highly comparable molecular landscapes. 2. Germline and somatic molecular events target common core pathways involved in gliomagenesis. 3. Carriage of germline glioma risk variants is not associated with somatic events in the same gene. PMID: 30165405 | PMCID: PMC6231201 | DOI: 10.1093/neuonc/noy119

November 12, 2018
Gene Discovery

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