- The Genetic Landscape of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 21
- Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare bone marrow failure disorder that affects 7 out of 1,000,000 live births and has been associated with mutations in components of the ribosome. In order to char...
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare bone marrow failure disorder that affects 7 out of 1,000,000 live births and has been associated with mutations in components of the ribosome. In order to characterize the genetic landscape of this heterogeneous disorder, we recruited a cohort of 472 individuals with a clinical diagnosis of DBA and performed whole-exome sequencing (WES). We identified relevant rare and predicted damaging mutations for 78% of individuals. The majority of mutations were singletons, absent from population databases, predicted to cause loss of function, and located in 1 of 19 previously reported ribosomal protein (RP)-encoding genes. Using exon coverage estimates, we identified and validated 31 deletions in RP genes. We also observed an enrichment for extended splice site mutations and validated their diverse effects using RNA sequencing in cell lines obtained from individuals with DBA. Leveraging the size of our cohort, we observed robust genotype-phenotype associations with congenital abnormalities and treatment outcomes. We further identified rare mutations in seven previously unreported RP genes that may cause DBA, as well as several distinct disorders that appear to phenocopy DBA, including nine individuals with biallelic CECR1 mutations that result in deficiency of ADA2. However, no new genes were identified at exome-wide significance, suggesting that there are no unidentified genes containing mutations readily identified by WES that explain >5% of DBA-affected case subjects. Overall, this report should inform not only clinical practice for DBA-affected individuals, but also the design and analysis of rare variant studies for heterogeneous Mendelian disorders.
- Parkinson-Associated SNCA Enhancer Variants Revealed by Open Chromatin in Mouse Dopamine Neurons. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 29
- The progressive loss of midbrain (MB) dopaminergic (DA) neurons defines the motor features of Parkinson disease (PD), and modulation of risk by common variants in PD has been well established through...
The progressive loss of midbrain (MB) dopaminergic (DA) neurons defines the motor features of Parkinson disease (PD), and modulation of risk by common variants in PD has been well established through genome-wide association studies (GWASs). We acquired open chromatin signatures of purified embryonic mouse MB DA neurons because we anticipated that a fraction of PD-associated genetic variation might mediate the variants' effects within this neuronal population. Correlation with >2,300 putative enhancers assayed in mice revealed enrichment for MB cis-regulatory elements (CREs), and these data were reinforced by transgenic analyses of six additional sequences in zebrafish and mice. One CRE, within intron 4 of the familial PD gene SNCA, directed reporter expression in catecholaminergic neurons from transgenic mice and zebrafish. Sequencing of this CRE in 986 individuals with PD and 992 controls revealed two common variants associated with elevated PD risk. To assess potential mechanisms of action, we screened >16,000 proteins for DNA binding capacity and identified a subset whose binding is impacted by these enhancer variants. Additional genotyping across the SNCA locus identified a single PD-associated haplotype, containing the minor alleles of both of the aforementioned PD-risk variants. Our work posits a model for how common variation at SNCA might modulate PD risk and highlights the value of cell-context-dependent guided searches for functional non-coding variation.
- OUTRIDER: A Statistical Method for Detecting Aberrantly Expressed Genes in RNA Sequencing Data. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 21
- RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is gaining popularity as a complementary assay to genome sequencing for precisely identifying the molecular causes of rare disorders. A powerful approach is to identify aberr...
RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is gaining popularity as a complementary assay to genome sequencing for precisely identifying the molecular causes of rare disorders. A powerful approach is to identify aberrant gene expression levels as potential pathogenic events. However, existing methods for detecting aberrant read counts in RNA-seq data either lack assessments of statistical significance, so that establishing cutoffs is arbitrary, or rely on subjective manual corrections for confounders. Here, we describe OUTRIDER (Outlier in RNA-Seq Finder), an algorithm developed to address these issues. The algorithm uses an autoencoder to model read-count expectations according to the gene covariation resulting from technical, environmental, or common genetic variations. Given these expectations, the RNA-seq read counts are assumed to follow a negative binomial distribution with a gene-specific dispersion. Outliers are then identified as read counts that significantly deviate from this distribution. The model is automatically fitted to achieve the best recall of artificially corrupted data. Precision-recall analyses using simulated outlier read counts demonstrated the importance of controlling for covariation and significance-based thresholds. OUTRIDER is open source and includes functions for filtering out genes not expressed in a dataset, for identifying outlier samples with too many aberrantly expressed genes, and for detecting aberrant gene expression on the basis of false-discovery-rate-adjusted p values. Overall, OUTRIDER provides an end-to-end solution for identifying aberrantly expressed genes and is suitable for use by rare-disease diagnostic platforms.
- DNA Polymerase Epsilon Deficiency Causes IMAGe Syndrome with Variable Immunodeficiency. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 23
- During genome replication, polymerase epsilon (Pol ε) acts as the major leading-strand DNA polymerase. Here we report the identification of biallelic mutations in POLE, encoding the Pol ε catalytic s...
During genome replication, polymerase epsilon (Pol ε) acts as the major leading-strand DNA polymerase. Here we report the identification of biallelic mutations in POLE, encoding the Pol ε catalytic subunit POLE1, in 15 individuals from 12 families. Phenotypically, these individuals had clinical features closely resembling IMAGe syndrome (intrauterine growth restriction [IUGR], metaphyseal dysplasia, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, and genitourinary anomalies in males), a disorder previously associated with gain-of-function mutations in CDKN1C. POLE1-deficient individuals also exhibited distinctive facial features and variable immune dysfunction with evidence of lymphocyte deficiency. All subjects shared the same intronic variant (c.1686+32C>G) as part of a common haplotype, in combination with different loss-of-function variants in trans. The intronic variant alters splicing, and together the biallelic mutations lead to cellular deficiency of Pol ε and delayed S-phase progression. In summary, we establish POLE as a second gene in which mutations cause IMAGe syndrome. These findings add to a growing list of disorders due to mutations in DNA replication genes that manifest growth restriction alongside adrenal dysfunction and/or immunodeficiency, consolidating these as replisome phenotypes and highlighting a need for future studies to understand the tissue-specific development roles of the encoded proteins.
- Pathogenic Variants in Fucokinase Cause a Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 21
- FUK encodes fucokinase, the only enzyme capable of converting L-fucose to fucose-1-phosphate, which will ultimately be used for synthesizing GDP-fucose, the donor substrate for all fucosyltransferase...
FUK encodes fucokinase, the only enzyme capable of converting L-fucose to fucose-1-phosphate, which will ultimately be used for synthesizing GDP-fucose, the donor substrate for all fucosyltransferases. Although it is essential for fucose salvage, this pathway is thought to make only a minor contribution to the total amount of GDP-fucose. A second pathway, the major de novo pathway, involves conversion of GDP-mannose to GDP-fucose. Here we describe two unrelated individuals who have pathogenic variants in FUK and who presented with severe developmental delays, encephalopathy, intractable seizures, and hypotonia. The first individual was compound heterozygous for c.667T>C (p.Ser223Pro) and c.2047C>T (p.Arg683Cys), and the second individual was homozygous for c.2980A>C (p.Lys994Gln). Skin fibroblasts from the first individual confirmed the variants as loss of function and showed significant decreases in total GDP-[3H] fucose and [3H] fucose-1-phosphate. There was also a decrease in the incorporation of [5,6-3H]-fucose into fucosylated glycoproteins. Lys994 has previously been shown to be an important site for ubiquitin conjugation. Here, we show that loss-of-function variants in FUK cause a congenital glycosylation disorder characterized by a defective fucose-salvage pathway.
- Detecting Expansions of Tandem Repeats in Cohorts Sequenced with Short-Read Sequencing Data. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 20
- Repeat expansions cause more than 30 inherited disorders, predominantly neurogenetic. These can present with overlapping clinical phenotypes, making molecular diagnosis challenging. Single-gene or sm...
Repeat expansions cause more than 30 inherited disorders, predominantly neurogenetic. These can present with overlapping clinical phenotypes, making molecular diagnosis challenging. Single-gene or small-panel PCR-based methods can help to identify the precise genetic cause, but they can be slow and costly and often yield no result. Researchers are increasingly performing genomic analysis via whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing (WES and WGS) to diagnose genetic disorders. However, until recently, analysis protocols could not identify repeat expansions in these datasets. We developed exSTRa (expanded short tandem repeat algorithm), a method that uses either WES or WGS to identify repeat expansions. Performance of exSTRa was assessed in a simulation study. In addition, four retrospective cohorts of individuals with eleven different known repeat-expansion disorders were analyzed with exSTRa. We assessed results by comparing the findings to known disease status. Performance was also compared to three other analysis methods (ExpansionHunter, STRetch, and TREDPARSE), which were developed specifically for WGS data. Expansions in the assessed STR loci were successfully identified in WES and WGS datasets by all four methods with high specificity and sensitivity. Overall, exSTRa demonstrated more robust and superior performance for WES data than did the other three methods. We demonstrate that exSTRa can be effectively utilized as a screening tool for detecting repeat expansions in WES and WGS data, although the best performance would be produced by consensus calling, wherein at least two out of the four currently available screening methods call an expansion.
- Recessive DNAH9 Loss-of-Function Mutations Cause Laterality Defects and Subtle Respiratory Ciliary-Beating Defects. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 19
- Dysfunction of motile monocilia, altering the leftward flow at the embryonic node essential for determination of left-right body asymmetry, is a major cause of laterality defects. Laterality defects ...
Dysfunction of motile monocilia, altering the leftward flow at the embryonic node essential for determination of left-right body asymmetry, is a major cause of laterality defects. Laterality defects are also often associated with reduced mucociliary clearance caused by defective multiple motile cilia of the airway and are responsible for destructive airway disease. Outer dynein arms (ODAs) are essential for ciliary beat generation, and human respiratory cilia contain different ODA heavy chains (HCs): the panaxonemally distributed γ-HC DNAH5, proximally located β-HC DNAH11 (defining ODA type 1), and the distally localized β-HC DNAH9 (defining ODA type 2). Here we report loss-of-function mutations in DNAH9 in five independent families causing situs abnormalities associated with subtle respiratory ciliary dysfunction. Consistent with the observed subtle respiratory phenotype, high-speed video microscopy demonstrates distally impaired ciliary bending in DNAH9 mutant respiratory cilia. DNAH9-deficient cilia also lack other ODA components such as DNAH5, DNAI1, and DNAI2 from the distal axonemal compartment, demonstrating an essential role of DNAH9 for distal axonemal assembly of ODAs type 2. Yeast two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation analyses indicate interaction of DNAH9 with the ODA components DNAH5 and DNAI2 as well as the ODA-docking complex component CCDC114. We further show that during ciliogenesis of respiratory cilia, first proximally located DNAH11 and then distally located DNAH9 is assembled in the axoneme. We propose that the β-HC paralogs DNAH9 and DNAH11 achieved specific functional roles for the distinct axonemal compartments during evolution with human DNAH9 function matching that of ancient β-HCs such as that of the unicellular Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
- Mutations in Outer Dynein Arm Heavy Chain DNAH9 Cause Motile Cilia Defects and Situs Inversus. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 20
- Motile cilia move body fluids and gametes and the beating of cilia lining the airway epithelial surfaces ensures that they are kept clear and protected from inhaled pathogens and consequent respirato...
Motile cilia move body fluids and gametes and the beating of cilia lining the airway epithelial surfaces ensures that they are kept clear and protected from inhaled pathogens and consequent respiratory infections. Dynein motor proteins provide mechanical force for cilia beating. Dynein mutations are a common cause of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), an inherited condition characterized by deficient mucociliary clearance and chronic respiratory disease coupled with laterality disturbances and subfertility. Using next-generation sequencing, we detected mutations in the ciliary outer dynein arm (ODA) heavy chain gene DNAH9 in individuals from PCD clinics with situs inversus and in one case male infertility. DNAH9 and its partner heavy chain DNAH5 localize to type 2 ODAs of the distal cilium and in DNAH9-mutated nasal respiratory epithelial cilia we found a loss of DNAH9/DNAH5-containing type 2 ODAs that was restricted to the distal cilia region. This confers a reduced beating frequency with a subtle beating pattern defect affecting the motility of the distal cilia portion. 3D electron tomography ultrastructural studies confirmed regional loss of ODAs from the distal cilium, manifesting as either loss of whole ODA or partial loss of ODA volume. Paramecium DNAH9 knockdown confirms an evolutionarily conserved function for DNAH9 in cilia motility and ODA stability. We find that DNAH9 is widely expressed in the airways, despite DNAH9 mutations appearing to confer symptoms restricted to the upper respiratory tract. In summary, DNAH9 mutations reduce cilia function but some respiratory mucociliary clearance potential may be retained, widening the PCD disease spectrum.
- MACF1 Mutations Encoding Highly Conserved Zinc-Binding Residues of the GAR Domain Cause Defects in Neuronal Migration and Axon Guidance. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 19
- To date, mutations in 15 actin- or microtubule-associated genes have been associated with the cortical malformation lissencephaly and variable brainstem hypoplasia. During a multicenter review, we re...
To date, mutations in 15 actin- or microtubule-associated genes have been associated with the cortical malformation lissencephaly and variable brainstem hypoplasia. During a multicenter review, we recognized a rare lissencephaly variant with a complex brainstem malformation in three unrelated children. We searched our large brain-malformation databases and found another five children with this malformation (as well as one with a less severe variant), analyzed available whole-exome or -genome sequencing data, and tested ciliogenesis in two affected individuals. The brain malformation comprised posterior predominant lissencephaly and midline crossing defects consisting of absent anterior commissure and a striking W-shaped brainstem malformation caused by small or absent pontine crossing fibers. We discovered heterozygous de novo missense variants or an in-frame deletion involving highly conserved zinc-binding residues within the GAR domain of MACF1 in the first eight subjects. We studied cilium formation and found a higher proportion of mutant cells with short cilia than of control cells with short cilia. A ninth child had similar lissencephaly but only subtle brainstem dysplasia associated with a heterozygous de novo missense variant in the spectrin repeat domain of MACF1. Thus, we report variants of the microtubule-binding GAR domain of MACF1 as the cause of a distinctive and most likely pathognomonic brain malformation. A gain-of-function or dominant-negative mechanism appears likely given that many heterozygous mutations leading to protein truncation are included in the ExAC Browser. However, three de novo variants in MACF1 have been observed in large schizophrenia cohorts.
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- Recurrent, Activating Variants in the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase DDR2 Cause Warburg-Cinotti Syndrome. [Journal Article]
- AJAm J Hum Genet 2018 Nov 08
- We have investigated a distinct disorder with progressive corneal neovascularization, keloid formation, chronic skin ulcers, wasting of subcutaneous tissue, flexion contractures of the fingers, and a...
We have investigated a distinct disorder with progressive corneal neovascularization, keloid formation, chronic skin ulcers, wasting of subcutaneous tissue, flexion contractures of the fingers, and acro-osteolysis. In six affected individuals from four families, we found one of two recurrent variants in discoidin domain receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (DDR2): c.1829T>C (p.Leu610Pro) or c.2219A>G (p.Tyr740Cys). DDR2 encodes a collagen-responsive receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates connective-tissue formation. In three of the families, affected individuals comprise singleton adult individuals, and parental samples were not available for verification of the de novo occurrence of the DDR2 variants. In the fourth family, a mother and two of her children were affected, and the c.2219A>G missense variant was proven to be de novo in the mother. Phosphorylation of DDR2 was increased in fibroblasts from affected individuals, suggesting reduced receptor autoinhibition and ligand-independent kinase activation. Evidence for activation of other growth-regulatory signaling pathways was not found. Finally, we found that the protein kinase inhibitor dasatinib prevented DDR2 autophosphorylation in fibroblasts, suggesting an approach to treatment. We propose this progressive, fibrotic condition should be designated as Warburg-Cinotti syndrome.