Publications by authors named "Amber Begtrup"

55 Publications

Bi-allelic variants in SPATA5L1 lead to intellectual disability, spastic-dystonic cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and hearing loss.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 10;108(10):2006-2016

Institute of Human Genetics, Klinikum rechts der Isar, School of Medicine, Technical University of Munich, 81675 Munich, Germany.

Spermatogenesis-associated 5 like 1 (SPATA5L1) represents an orphan gene encoding a protein of unknown function. We report 28 bi-allelic variants in SPATA5L1 associated with sensorineural hearing loss in 47 individuals from 28 (26 unrelated) families. In addition, 25/47 affected individuals (53%) presented with microcephaly, developmental delay/intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and/or epilepsy. Modeling indicated damaging effect of variants on the protein, largely via destabilizing effects on protein domains. Brain imaging revealed diminished cerebral volume, thin corpus callosum, and periventricular leukomalacia, and quantitative volumetry demonstrated significantly diminished white matter volumes in several individuals. Immunofluorescent imaging in rat hippocampal neurons revealed localization of Spata5l1 in neuronal and glial cell nuclei and more prominent expression in neurons. In the rodent inner ear, Spata5l1 is expressed in the neurosensory hair cells and inner ear supporting cells. Transcriptomic analysis performed with fibroblasts from affected individuals was able to distinguish affected from controls by principal components. Analysis of differentially expressed genes and networks suggested a role for SPATA5L1 in cell surface adhesion receptor function, intracellular focal adhesions, and DNA replication and mitosis. Collectively, our results indicate that bi-allelic SPATA5L1 variants lead to a human disease characterized by sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) with or without a nonprogressive mixed neurodevelopmental phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.08.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8546233PMC
October 2021

Hematologically important mutations: The autosomal forms of chronic granulomatous disease (third update).

Blood Cells Mol Dis 2021 Jul 28;92:102596. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Dept of Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an immunodeficiency disorder affecting about 1 in 250,000 individuals. CGD patients suffer from severe, recurrent bacterial and fungal infections. The disease is caused by mutations in the genes encoding the components of the leukocyte NADPH oxidase. This enzyme produces superoxide, which is subsequently metabolized to hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species (ROS). These products are essential for intracellular killing of pathogens by phagocytic leukocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes and macrophages). The leukocyte NADPH oxidase is composed of five subunits, four of which are encoded by autosomal genes. These are CYBA, encoding p22, NCF1, encoding p47, NCF2, encoding p67 and NCF4, encoding p40. This article lists all mutations identified in these genes in CGD patients. In addition, cytochrome b chaperone-1 (CYBC1), recently recognized as an essential chaperone protein for the expression of the X-linked NADPH oxidase component gp91 (also called Nox2), is encoded by the autosomal gene CYBC1. Mutations in this gene also lead to CGD. Finally, RAC2, a small GTPase of the Rho family, is needed for activation of the NADPH oxidase, and mutations in the RAC2 gene therefore also induce CGD-like symptoms. Mutations in these last two genes are also listed in this article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcmd.2021.102596DOI Listing
July 2021

TNPO2 variants associate with human developmental delays, neurologic deficits, and dysmorphic features and alter TNPO2 activity in Drosophila.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 09 26;108(9):1669-1691. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ 85016, USA; Department of Child Health, University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA.

Transportin-2 (TNPO2) mediates multiple pathways including non-classical nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of >60 cargoes, such as developmental and neuronal proteins. We identified 15 individuals carrying de novo coding variants in TNPO2 who presented with global developmental delay (GDD), dysmorphic features, ophthalmologic abnormalities, and neurological features. To assess the nature of these variants, functional studies were performed in Drosophila. We found that fly dTnpo (orthologous to TNPO2) is expressed in a subset of neurons. dTnpo is critical for neuronal maintenance and function as downregulating dTnpo in mature neurons using RNAi disrupts neuronal activity and survival. Altering the activity and expression of dTnpo using mutant alleles or RNAi causes developmental defects, including eye and wing deformities and lethality. These effects are dosage dependent as more severe phenotypes are associated with stronger dTnpo loss. Interestingly, similar phenotypes are observed with dTnpo upregulation and ectopic expression of TNPO2, showing that loss and gain of Transportin activity causes developmental defects. Further, proband-associated variants can cause more or less severe developmental abnormalities compared to wild-type TNPO2 when ectopically expressed. The impact of the variants tested seems to correlate with their position within the protein. Specifically, those that fall within the RAN binding domain cause more severe toxicity and those in the acidic loop are less toxic. Variants within the cargo binding domain show tissue-dependent effects. In summary, dTnpo is an essential gene in flies during development and in neurons. Further, proband-associated de novo variants within TNPO2 disrupt the function of the encoded protein. Hence, TNPO2 variants are causative for neurodevelopmental abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.06.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8456166PMC
September 2021

Hematologically important mutations: X-linked chronic granulomatous disease (fourth update).

Blood Cells Mol Dis 2021 09 2;90:102587. Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Dept of Pediatrics and Laboratory for Leukocyte Function, Meir Medical Centre, Kfar Saba, Israel.

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is an immunodeficiency disorder affecting about 1 in 250,000 individuals. CGD patients suffer from severe bacterial and fungal infections. The disease is caused by a lack of superoxide production by the leukocyte enzyme NADPH oxidase. Superoxide and subsequently formed other reactive oxygen species (ROS) are instrumental in killing phagocytosed micro-organisms in neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes and macrophages. The leukocyte NADPH oxidase is composed of five subunits, of which the enzymatic component is gp91, also called Nox2. This protein is encoded by the CYBB gene on the X chromosome. Mutations in this gene are found in about 70% of all CGD patients in Europe and in about 20% in countries with a high ratio of parental consanguinity. This article lists all mutations identified in CYBB and should therefore help in genetic counseling of X-CGD patients' families. Moreover, apparently benign polymorphisms in CYBB are also given, which should facilitate the recognition of disease-causing mutations. In addition, we also include some mutations in G6PD, the gene on the X chromosome that encodes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, because inactivity of this enzyme may lead to shortage of NADPH and thus to insufficient activity of NADPH oxidase. Severe G6PD deficiency can induce CGD-like symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcmd.2021.102587DOI Listing
September 2021

Deep-Phenotyping the Less Severe Spectrum of Deficiency and Linking the Gene to Myoclonic Atonic Seizures.

Front Genet 2021 11;12:663643. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Epilepsy Genetics and Personalized Medicine, Danish Epilepsy Centre, Dianalund, Denmark.

The two aims of this study were (i) to describe and expand the phenotypic spectrum of deficiency in affected individuals harboring the c.1582G>A; p.Val528Met or the c.1580A > G; p.Asn527Ser variant in either homozygous or compound heterozygous state, and (ii) to identify potential genotype-phenotype correlations and any differences in disease severity among individuals with and without the variants. The existing literature was searched to identify individuals with and without the two variants. A detailed phenotypic assessment was performed of 25 individuals (both novel and previously published) with the two variants. We compared severity of disease between individuals with and without these variants. Twenty-four individuals carried the variant Val528Met in either homozygous or compound heterozygous state, and one individual displayed the Asn527Ser variant in a compound heterozygous state. Disease severity in the individual with the Asn527Ser variant was compatible with that in the individuals harboring the Val528Met variant. While individuals without the Asn527Ser or Val528Met variant had focal epilepsy, profound developmental delay (DD), and risk of premature death, those with either of the two variants had moderate to severe DD and later onset of epilepsy with both focal and generalized seizures. Individuals homozygous for the Val528Met variant generally became seizure-free on monotherapy with antiepileptic drugs, compared to other individuals who were pharmaco-resistant. Two patients were diagnosed with myoclonic-atonic seizures, and a single patient was diagnosed with eyelid myoclonia. Our comprehensive analysis of this large cohort of previously published and novel individuals with variants broadens the phenotypical spectrum and shows that both Asn527Ser and Val528Met are associated with a milder phenotype and less severe outcome. Our data show that is a new candidate gene for myoclonic atonic epilepsy. Our genotype-phenotype correlation will be useful for future genetic counseling. Natural history studies of this mild spectrum of related disorder may shed light on hitherto unknown aspects of this rare disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.663643DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8148046PMC
May 2021

Bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in BCAS3 cause a syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 06 21;108(6):1069-1082. Epub 2021 May 21.

Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Health Innovation Manchester, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.

BCAS3 microtubule-associated cell migration factor (BCAS3) is a large, highly conserved cytoskeletal protein previously proposed to be critical in angiogenesis and implicated in human embryogenesis and tumorigenesis. Here, we established BCAS3 loss-of-function variants as causative for a neurodevelopmental disorder. We report 15 individuals from eight unrelated families with germline bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in BCAS3. All probands share a global developmental delay accompanied by pyramidal tract involvement, microcephaly, short stature, strabismus, dysmorphic facial features, and seizures. The human phenotype is less severe compared with the Bcas3 knockout mouse model and cannot be explained by angiogenic defects alone. Consistent with being loss-of-function alleles, we observed absence of BCAS3 in probands' primary fibroblasts. By comparing the transcriptomic and proteomic data based on probands' fibroblasts with those of the knockout mouse model, we identified similar dysregulated pathways resulting from over-representation analysis, while the dysregulation of some proposed key interactors could not be confirmed. Together with the results from a tissue-specific Drosophila loss-of-function model, we demonstrate a vital role for BCAS3 in neural tissue development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206390PMC
June 2021

A human importin-β-related disorder: Syndromic thoracic aortic aneurysm caused by bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in IPO8.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 06 18;108(6):1115-1125. Epub 2021 May 18.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol BS2 8BJ, UK.

Importin 8, encoded by IPO8, is a ubiquitously expressed member of the importin-β protein family that translocates cargo molecules such as proteins, RNAs, and ribonucleoprotein complexes into the nucleus in a RanGTP-dependent manner. Current knowledge of the cargoes of importin 8 is limited, but TGF-β signaling components such as SMAD1-4 have been suggested to be among them. Here, we report that bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in IPO8 cause a syndromic form of thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) with clinical overlap with Loeys-Dietz and Shprintzen-Goldberg syndromes. Seven individuals from six unrelated families showed a consistent phenotype with early-onset TAA, motor developmental delay, connective tissue findings, and craniofacial dysmorphic features. A C57BL/6N Ipo8 knockout mouse model recapitulates TAA development from 8-12 weeks onward in both sexes but most prominently shows ascending aorta dilatation with a propensity for dissection in males. Compliance assays suggest augmented passive stiffness of the ascending aorta in male Ipo8 mice throughout life. Immunohistological investigation of mutant aortic walls reveals elastic fiber disorganization and fragmentation along with a signature of increased TGF-β signaling, as evidenced by nuclear pSmad2 accumulation. RT-qPCR assays of the aortic wall in male Ipo8 mice demonstrate decreased Smad6/7 and increased Mmp2 and Ccn2 (Ctgf) expression, reinforcing a role for dysregulation of the TGF-β signaling pathway in TAA development. Because importin 8 is the most downstream TGF-β-related effector implicated in TAA pathogenesis so far, it offers opportunities for future mechanistic studies and represents a candidate drug target for TAA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206384PMC
June 2021

Loss of function mutations in GEMIN5 cause a neurodevelopmental disorder.

Nat Commun 2021 05 7;12(1):2558. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Pediatric Neurophysiology AP-HP, Necker Enfants Malades Hospital, Paris University, Paris, France.

GEMIN5, an RNA-binding protein is essential for assembly of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein complex and facilitates the formation of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), the building blocks of spliceosomes. Here, we have identified 30 affected individuals from 22 unrelated families presenting with developmental delay, hypotonia, and cerebellar ataxia harboring biallelic variants in the GEMIN5 gene. Mutations in GEMIN5 perturb the subcellular distribution, stability, and expression of GEMIN5 protein and its interacting partners in patient iPSC-derived neurons, suggesting a potential loss-of-function mechanism. GEMIN5 mutations result in disruption of snRNP complex assembly formation in patient iPSC neurons. Furthermore, knock down of rigor mortis, the fly homolog of human GEMIN5, leads to developmental defects, motor dysfunction, and a reduced lifespan. Interestingly, we observed that GEMIN5 variants disrupt a distinct set of transcripts and pathways as compared to SMA patient neurons, suggesting different molecular pathomechanisms. These findings collectively provide evidence that pathogenic variants in GEMIN5 perturb physiological functions and result in a neurodevelopmental delay and ataxia syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22627-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105379PMC
May 2021

An autosomal dominant neurological disorder caused by de novo variants in FAR1 resulting in uncontrolled synthesis of ether lipids.

Genet Med 2021 04 26;23(4):740-750. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, Office of the Clinical Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Purpose: In this study we investigate the disease etiology in 12 patients with de novo variants in FAR1 all resulting in an amino acid change at position 480 (p.Arg480Cys/His/Leu).

Methods: Following next-generation sequencing and clinical phenotyping, functional characterization was performed in patients' fibroblasts using FAR1 enzyme analysis, FAR1 immunoblotting/immunofluorescence, and lipidomics.

Results: All patients had spastic paraparesis and bilateral congenital/juvenile cataracts, in most combined with speech and gross motor developmental delay and truncal hypotonia. FAR1 deficiency caused by biallelic variants results in defective ether lipid synthesis and plasmalogen deficiency. In contrast, patients' fibroblasts with the de novo FAR1 variants showed elevated plasmalogen levels. Further functional studies in fibroblasts showed that these variants cause a disruption of the plasmalogen-dependent feedback regulation of FAR1 protein levels leading to uncontrolled ether lipid production.

Conclusion: Heterozygous de novo variants affecting the Arg480 residue of FAR1 lead to an autosomal dominant disorder with a different disease mechanism than that of recessive FAR1 deficiency and a diametrically opposed biochemical phenotype. Our findings show that for patients with spastic paraparesis and bilateral cataracts, FAR1 should be considered as a candidate gene and added to gene panels for hereditary spastic paraplegia, cerebral palsy, and juvenile cataracts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01027-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026396PMC
April 2021

Defining the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of X-linked MSL3-related disorder.

Genet Med 2021 02 11;23(2):384-395. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Genetics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA.

Purpose: We sought to delineate the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of female and male individuals with X-linked, MSL3-related disorder (Basilicata-Akhtar syndrome).

Methods: Twenty-five individuals (15 males, 10 females) with causative variants in MSL3 were ascertained through exome or genome sequencing at ten different sequencing centers.

Results: We identified multiple variant types in MSL3 (ten nonsense, six frameshift, four splice site, three missense, one in-frame-deletion, one multi-exon deletion), most proven to be de novo, and clustering in the terminal eight exons suggesting that truncating variants in the first five exons might be compensated by an alternative MSL3 transcript. Three-dimensional modeling of missense and splice variants indicated that these have a deleterious effect. The main clinical findings comprised developmental delay and intellectual disability ranging from mild to severe. Autism spectrum disorder, muscle tone abnormalities, and macrocephaly were common as well as hearing impairment and gastrointestinal problems. Hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis emerged as a consistent magnetic resonance image (MRI) finding. Females and males were equally affected. Using facial analysis technology, a recognizable facial gestalt was determined.

Conclusion: Our aggregated data illustrate the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of X-linked, MSL3-related disorder (Basilicata-Akhtar syndrome). Our cohort improves the understanding of disease related morbidity and allows us to propose detailed surveillance guidelines for affected individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00993-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862064PMC
February 2021

NCKAP1 Disruptive Variants Lead to a Neurodevelopmental Disorder with Core Features of Autism.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 11;107(5):963-976

Service of Endocrinology, Diabetology, and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland.

NCKAP1/NAP1 regulates neuronal cytoskeletal dynamics and is essential for neuronal differentiation in the developing brain. Deleterious variants in NCKAP1 have been identified in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability; however, its clinical significance remains unclear. To determine its significance, we assemble genotype and phenotype data for 21 affected individuals from 20 unrelated families with predicted deleterious variants in NCKAP1. This includes 16 individuals with de novo (n = 8), transmitted (n = 6), or inheritance unknown (n = 2) truncating variants, two individuals with structural variants, and three with potentially disruptive de novo missense variants. We report a de novo and ultra-rare deleterious variant burden of NCKAP1 in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders which needs further replication. ASD or autistic features, language and motor delay, and variable expression of intellectual or learning disability are common clinical features. Among inherited cases, there is evidence of deleterious variants segregating with neuropsychiatric disorders. Based on available human brain transcriptomic data, we show that NCKAP1 is broadly and highly expressed in both prenatal and postnatal periods and demostrate enriched expression in excitatory neurons and radial glias but depleted expression in inhibitory neurons. Mouse in utero electroporation experiments reveal that Nckap1 loss of function promotes neuronal migration during early cortical development. Combined, these data support a role for disruptive NCKAP1 variants in neurodevelopmental delay/autism, possibly by interfering with neuronal migration early in cortical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.10.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7674997PMC
November 2020

New insights into the clinical and molecular spectrum of the novel CYFIP2-related neurodevelopmental disorder and impairment of the WRC-mediated actin dynamics.

Genet Med 2021 03 5;23(3):543-554. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Department of Medical Genetics, Lyon University Hospital, Lyon, France.

Purpose: A few de novo missense variants in the cytoplasmic FMRP-interacting protein 2 (CYFIP2) gene have recently been described as a novel cause of severe intellectual disability, seizures, and hypotonia in 18 individuals, with p.Arg87 substitutions in the majority.

Methods: We assembled data from 19 newly identified and all 18 previously published individuals with CYFIP2 variants. By structural modeling and investigation of WAVE-regulatory complex (WRC)-mediated actin polymerization in six patient fibroblast lines we assessed the impact of CYFIP2 variants on the WRC.

Results: Sixteen of 19 individuals harbor two previously described and 11 novel (likely) disease-associated missense variants. We report p.Asp724 as second mutational hotspot (4/19 cases). Genotype-phenotype correlation confirms a consistently severe phenotype in p.Arg87 patients but a more variable phenotype in p.Asp724 and other substitutions. Three individuals with milder phenotypes carry putative loss-of-function variants, which remain of unclear pathogenicity. Structural modeling predicted missense variants to disturb interactions within the WRC or impair CYFIP2 stability. Consistent with its role in WRC-mediated actin polymerization we substantiate aberrant regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in patient fibroblasts.

Conclusion: Our study expands the clinical and molecular spectrum of CYFIP2-related neurodevelopmental disorder and provides evidence for aberrant WRC-mediated actin dynamics as contributing cellular pathomechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01011-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7935717PMC
March 2021

A relatively common homozygous TRAPPC4 splicing variant is associated with an early-infantile neurodegenerative syndrome.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 02 8;29(2):271-279. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Department of Pediatrics, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.

Trafficking protein particle (TRAPP) complexes, which include the TRAPPC4 protein, regulate membrane trafficking between lipid organelles in a process termed vesicular tethering. TRAPPC4 was recently implicated in a recessive neurodevelopmental condition in four unrelated families due to a shared c.454+3A>G splice variant. Here, we report 23 patients from 17 independent families with an early-infantile-onset neurodegenerative presentation, where we also identified the homozygous variant hg38:11:119020256 A>G (NM_016146.5:c.454+3A>G) in TRAPPC4 through exome or genome sequencing. No other clinically relevant TRAPPC4 variants were identified among any of over 10,000 patients with neurodevelopmental conditions. We found the carrier frequency of TRAPPC4 c.454+3A>G was 2.4-5.4 per 10,000 healthy individuals. Affected individuals with the homozygous TRAPPC4 c.454+3A>G variant showed profound psychomotor delay, developmental regression, early-onset epilepsy, microcephaly and progressive spastic tetraplegia. Based upon RNA sequencing, the variant resulted in partial exon 3 skipping and generation of an aberrant transcript owing to use of a downstream cryptic splice donor site, predicting a premature stop codon and nonsense mediated decay. These data confirm the pathogenicity of the TRAPPC4 c.454+3A>G variant, and refine the clinical presentation of TRAPPC4-related encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-00717-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7868361PMC
February 2021

De Novo Variants in CNOT1, a Central Component of the CCR4-NOT Complex Involved in Gene Expression and RNA and Protein Stability, Cause Neurodevelopmental Delay.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 07 17;107(1):164-172. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.

CNOT1 is a member of the CCR4-NOT complex, which is a master regulator, orchestrating gene expression, RNA deadenylation, and protein ubiquitination. We report on 39 individuals with heterozygous de novo CNOT1 variants, including missense, splice site, and nonsense variants, who present with a clinical spectrum of intellectual disability, motor delay, speech delay, seizures, hypotonia, and behavioral problems. To link CNOT1 dysfunction to the neurodevelopmental phenotype observed, we generated variant-specific Drosophila models, which showed learning and memory defects upon CNOT1 knockdown. Introduction of human wild-type CNOT1 was able to rescue this phenotype, whereas mutants could not or only partially, supporting our hypothesis that CNOT1 impairment results in neurodevelopmental delay. Furthermore, the genetic interaction with autism-spectrum genes, such as ASH1L, DYRK1A, MED13, and SHANK3, was impaired in our Drosophila models. Molecular characterization of CNOT1 variants revealed normal CNOT1 expression levels, with both mutant and wild-type alleles expressed at similar levels. Analysis of protein-protein interactions with other members indicated that the CCR4-NOT complex remained intact. An integrated omics approach of patient-derived genomics and transcriptomics data suggested only minimal effects on endonucleolytic nonsense-mediated mRNA decay components, suggesting that de novo CNOT1 variants are likely haploinsufficient hypomorph or neomorph, rather than dominant negative. In summary, we provide strong evidence that de novo CNOT1 variants cause neurodevelopmental delay with a wide range of additional co-morbidities. Whereas the underlying pathophysiological mechanism warrants further analysis, our data demonstrate an essential and central role of the CCR4-NOT complex in human brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.05.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7332645PMC
July 2020

De Novo SOX6 Variants Cause a Neurodevelopmental Syndrome Associated with ADHD, Craniosynostosis, and Osteochondromas.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 06 21;106(6):830-845. Epub 2020 May 21.

Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center, Division of Human Genetics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

SOX6 belongs to a family of 20 SRY-related HMG-box-containing (SOX) genes that encode transcription factors controlling cell fate and differentiation in many developmental and adult processes. For SOX6, these processes include, but are not limited to, neurogenesis and skeletogenesis. Variants in half of the SOX genes have been shown to cause severe developmental and adult syndromes, referred to as SOXopathies. We here provide evidence that SOX6 variants also cause a SOXopathy. Using clinical and genetic data, we identify 19 individuals harboring various types of SOX6 alterations and exhibiting developmental delay and/or intellectual disability; the individuals are from 17 unrelated families. Additional, inconstant features include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, mild facial dysmorphism, craniosynostosis, and multiple osteochondromas. All variants are heterozygous. Fourteen are de novo, one is inherited from a mosaic father, and four offspring from two families have a paternally inherited variant. Intragenic microdeletions, balanced structural rearrangements, frameshifts, and nonsense variants are predicted to inactivate the SOX6 variant allele. Four missense variants occur in residues and protein regions highly conserved evolutionarily. These variants are not detected in the gnomAD control cohort, and the amino acid substitutions are predicted to be damaging. Two of these variants are located in the HMG domain and abolish SOX6 transcriptional activity in vitro. No clear genotype-phenotype correlations are found. Taken together, these findings concur that SOX6 haploinsufficiency leads to a neurodevelopmental SOXopathy that often includes ADHD and abnormal skeletal and other features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.04.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273536PMC
June 2020

Bi-allelic JAM2 Variants Lead to Early-Onset Recessive Primary Familial Brain Calcification.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 03;106(3):412-421

GeneDx, 207 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, USA.

Primary familial brain calcification (PFBC) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a combination of neurological, psychiatric, and cognitive decline associated with calcium deposition on brain imaging. To date, mutations in five genes have been linked to PFBC. However, more than 50% of individuals affected by PFBC have no molecular diagnosis. We report four unrelated families presenting with initial learning difficulties and seizures and later psychiatric symptoms, cerebellar ataxia, extrapyramidal signs, and extensive calcifications on brain imaging. Through a combination of homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we mapped this phenotype to chromosome 21q21.3 and identified bi-allelic variants in JAM2. JAM2 encodes for the junctional-adhesion-molecule-2, a key tight-junction protein in blood-brain-barrier permeability. We show that JAM2 variants lead to reduction of JAM2 mRNA expression and absence of JAM2 protein in patient's fibroblasts, consistent with a loss-of-function mechanism. We show that the human phenotype is replicated in the jam2 complete knockout mouse (jam2 KO). Furthermore, neuropathology of jam2 KO mouse showed prominent vacuolation in the cerebral cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum and particularly widespread vacuolation in the midbrain with reactive astrogliosis and neuronal density reduction. The regions of the human brain affected on neuroimaging are similar to the affected brain areas in the myorg PFBC null mouse. Along with JAM3 and OCLN, JAM2 is the third tight-junction gene in which bi-allelic variants are associated with brain calcification, suggesting that defective cell-to-cell adhesion and dysfunction of the movement of solutes through the paracellular spaces in the neurovascular unit is a key mechanism in CNS calcification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.02.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058839PMC
March 2020

De Novo Variants in SPOP Cause Two Clinically Distinct Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 03 27;106(3):405-411. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Medical Center, 6525 GA Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Recurrent somatic variants in SPOP are cancer specific; endometrial and prostate cancers result from gain-of-function and dominant-negative effects toward BET proteins, respectively. By using clinical exome sequencing, we identified six de novo pathogenic missense variants in SPOP in seven individuals with developmental delay and/or intellectual disability, facial dysmorphisms, and congenital anomalies. Two individuals shared craniofacial dysmorphisms, including congenital microcephaly, that were strikingly different from those of the other five individuals, who had (relative) macrocephaly and hypertelorism. We measured the effect of SPOP variants on BET protein amounts in human Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells and patient-derived cell lines because we hypothesized that variants would lead to functional divergent effects on BET proteins. The de novo variants c.362G>A (p.Arg121Gln) and c. 430G>A (p.Asp144Asn), identified in the first two individuals, resulted in a gain of function, and conversely, the c.73A>G (p.Thr25Ala), c.248A>G (p.Tyr83Cys), c.395G>T (p.Gly132Val), and c.412C>T (p.Arg138Cys) variants resulted in a dominant-negative effect. Our findings suggest that these opposite functional effects caused by the variants in SPOP result in two distinct and clinically recognizable syndromic forms of intellectual disability with contrasting craniofacial dysmorphisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.02.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058825PMC
March 2020

Loss-of-function mutations in UDP-Glucose 6-Dehydrogenase cause recessive developmental epileptic encephalopathy.

Nat Commun 2020 01 30;11(1):595. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Department of Neurology, & the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Developmental epileptic encephalopathies are devastating disorders characterized by intractable epileptic seizures and developmental delay. Here, we report an allelic series of germline recessive mutations in UGDH in 36 cases from 25 families presenting with epileptic encephalopathy with developmental delay and hypotonia. UGDH encodes an oxidoreductase that converts UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronic acid, a key component of specific proteoglycans and glycolipids. Consistent with being loss-of-function alleles, we show using patients' primary fibroblasts and biochemical assays, that these mutations either impair UGDH stability, oligomerization, or enzymatic activity. In vitro, patient-derived cerebral organoids are smaller with a reduced number of proliferating neuronal progenitors while mutant ugdh zebrafish do not phenocopy the human disease. Our study defines UGDH as a key player for the production of extracellular matrix components that are essential for human brain development. Based on the incidence of variants observed, UGDH mutations are likely to be a frequent cause of recessive epileptic encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14360-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992768PMC
January 2020

Loss of UGP2 in brain leads to a severe epileptic encephalopathy, emphasizing that bi-allelic isoform-specific start-loss mutations of essential genes can cause genetic diseases.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 03 9;139(3):415-442. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

Developmental and/or epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are a group of devastating genetic disorders, resulting in early-onset, therapy-resistant seizures and developmental delay. Here we report on 22 individuals from 15 families presenting with a severe form of intractable epilepsy, severe developmental delay, progressive microcephaly, visual disturbance and similar minor dysmorphisms. Whole exome sequencing identified a recurrent, homozygous variant (chr2:64083454A > G) in the essential UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGP2) gene in all probands. This rare variant results in a tolerable Met12Val missense change of the longer UGP2 protein isoform but causes a disruption of the start codon of the shorter isoform, which is predominant in brain. We show that the absence of the shorter isoform leads to a reduction of functional UGP2 enzyme in neural stem cells, leading to altered glycogen metabolism, upregulated unfolded protein response and premature neuronal differentiation, as modeled during pluripotent stem cell differentiation in vitro. In contrast, the complete lack of all UGP2 isoforms leads to differentiation defects in multiple lineages in human cells. Reduced expression of Ugp2a/Ugp2b in vivo in zebrafish mimics visual disturbance and mutant animals show a behavioral phenotype. Our study identifies a recurrent start codon mutation in UGP2 as a cause of a novel autosomal recessive DEE syndrome. Importantly, it also shows that isoform-specific start-loss mutations causing expression loss of a tissue-relevant isoform of an essential protein can cause a genetic disease, even when an organism-wide protein absence is incompatible with life. We provide additional examples where a similar disease mechanism applies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02109-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7035241PMC
March 2020

Missense variants in TAF1 and developmental phenotypes: challenges of determining pathogenicity.

Hum Mutat 2019 Oct 23. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Center for Medical Genetics Dr. Jacinto de Magalhães, Hospital and University Center of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

We recently described a new neurodevelopmental syndrome (TAF1/MRXS33 intellectual disability syndrome) (MIM# 300966) caused by pathogenic variants involving the X-linked gene TAF1, which participates in RNA polymerase II transcription. The initial study reported eleven families, and the syndrome was defined as presenting early in life with hypotonia, facial dysmorphia, and developmental delay that evolved into intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We have now identified an additional 27 families through a genotype-first approach. Familial segregation analysis, clinical phenotyping, and bioinformatics were capitalized on to assess potential variant pathogenicity, and molecular modelling was performed for those variants falling within structurally characterized domains of TAF1. A novel phenotypic clustering approach was also applied, in which the phenotypes of affected individuals were classified using 51 standardized Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) terms. Phenotypes associated with TAF1 variants show considerable pleiotropy and clinical variability, but prominent among previously unreported effects were brain morphological abnormalities, seizures, hearing loss, and heart malformations. Our allelic series broadens the phenotypic spectrum of TAF1/MRXS33 intellectual disability syndrome and the range of TAF1 molecular defects in humans. It also illustrates the challenges for determining the pathogenicity of inherited missense variants, particularly for genes mapping to chromosome X. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23936DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7187541PMC
October 2019

De Novo Pathogenic Variants in N-cadherin Cause a Syndromic Neurodevelopmental Disorder with Corpus Collosum, Axon, Cardiac, Ocular, and Genital Defects.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 10;105(4):854-868

Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, H3A 2B4, Montreal, QC, Canada; Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, H3A 2B4, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Cadherins constitute a family of transmembrane proteins that mediate calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion. The extracellular domain of cadherins consists of extracellular cadherin (EC) domains, separated by calcium binding sites. The EC interacts with other cadherin molecules in cis and in trans to mechanically hold apposing cell surfaces together. CDH2 encodes N-cadherin, whose essential roles in neural development include neuronal migration and axon pathfinding. However, CDH2 has not yet been linked to a Mendelian neurodevelopmental disorder. Here, we report de novo heterozygous pathogenic variants (seven missense, two frameshift) in CDH2 in nine individuals with a syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by global developmental delay and/or intellectual disability, variable axon pathfinding defects (corpus callosum agenesis or hypoplasia, mirror movements, Duane anomaly), and ocular, cardiac, and genital anomalies. All seven missense variants (c.1057G>A [p.Asp353Asn]; c.1789G>A [p.Asp597Asn]; c.1789G>T [p.Asp597Tyr]; c.1802A>C [p.Asn601Thr]; c.1839C>G [p.Cys613Trp]; c.1880A>G [p.Asp627Gly]; c.2027A>G [p.Tyr676Cys]) result in substitution of highly conserved residues, and six of seven cluster within EC domains 4 and 5. Four of the substitutions affect the calcium-binding site in the EC4-EC5 interdomain. We show that cells expressing these variants in the EC4-EC5 domains have a defect in cell-cell adhesion; this defect includes impaired binding in trans with N-cadherin-WT expressed on apposing cells. The two frameshift variants (c.2563_2564delCT [p.Leu855Valfs4]; c.2564_2567dupTGTT [p.Leu856Phefs5]) are predicted to lead to a truncated cytoplasmic domain. Our study demonstrates that de novo heterozygous variants in CDH2 impair the adhesive activity of N-cadherin, resulting in a multisystemic developmental disorder, that could be named ACOG syndrome (agenesis of corpus callosum, axon pathfinding, cardiac, ocular, and genital defects).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.09.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6817525PMC
October 2019

Aberrant Function of the C-Terminal Tail of HIST1H1E Accelerates Cellular Senescence and Causes Premature Aging.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 09 22;105(3):493-508. Epub 2019 Aug 22.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, Weskoppies Hospital, Pretoria, 0001 South Africa.

Histones mediate dynamic packaging of nuclear DNA in chromatin, a process that is precisely controlled to guarantee efficient compaction of the genome and proper chromosomal segregation during cell division and to accomplish DNA replication, transcription, and repair. Due to the important structural and regulatory roles played by histones, it is not surprising that histone functional dysregulation or aberrant levels of histones can have severe consequences for multiple cellular processes and ultimately might affect development or contribute to cell transformation. Recently, germline frameshift mutations involving the C-terminal tail of HIST1H1E, which is a widely expressed member of the linker histone family and facilitates higher-order chromatin folding, have been causally linked to an as-yet poorly defined syndrome that includes intellectual disability. We report that these mutations result in stable proteins that reside in the nucleus, bind to chromatin, disrupt proper compaction of DNA, and are associated with a specific methylation pattern. Cells expressing these mutant proteins have a dramatically reduced proliferation rate and competence, hardly enter into the S phase, and undergo accelerated senescence. Remarkably, clinical assessment of a relatively large cohort of subjects sharing these mutations revealed a premature aging phenotype as a previously unrecognized feature of the disorder. Our findings identify a direct link between aberrant chromatin remodeling, cellular senescence, and accelerated aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.07.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6731364PMC
September 2019

Pathogenic WDFY3 variants cause neurodevelopmental disorders and opposing effects on brain size.

Brain 2019 09;142(9):2617-2630

GeneDx, Clinical Genomics, 207 Perry Parkway Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

The underpinnings of mild to moderate neurodevelopmental delay remain elusive, often leading to late diagnosis and interventions. Here, we present data on exome and genome sequencing as well as array analysis of 13 individuals that point to pathogenic, heterozygous, mostly de novo variants in WDFY3 (significant de novo enrichment P = 0.003) as a monogenic cause of mild and non-specific neurodevelopmental delay. Nine variants were protein-truncating and four missense. Overlapping symptoms included neurodevelopmental delay, intellectual disability, macrocephaly, and psychiatric disorders (autism spectrum disorders/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). One proband presented with an opposing phenotype of microcephaly and the only missense-variant located in the PH-domain of WDFY3. Findings of this case are supported by previously published data, demonstrating that pathogenic PH-domain variants can lead to microcephaly via canonical Wnt-pathway upregulation. In a separate study, we reported that the autophagy scaffolding protein WDFY3 is required for cerebral cortical size regulation in mice, by controlling proper division of neural progenitors. Here, we show that proliferating cortical neural progenitors of human embryonic brains highly express WDFY3, further supporting a role for this molecule in the regulation of prenatal neurogenesis. We present data on Wnt-pathway dysregulation in Wdfy3-haploinsufficient mice, which display macrocephaly and deficits in motor coordination and associative learning, recapitulating the human phenotype. Consequently, we propose that in humans WDFY3 loss-of-function variants lead to macrocephaly via downregulation of the Wnt pathway. In summary, we present WDFY3 as a novel gene linked to mild to moderate neurodevelopmental delay and intellectual disability and conclude that variants putatively causing haploinsufficiency lead to macrocephaly, while an opposing pathomechanism due to variants in the PH-domain of WDFY3 leads to microcephaly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awz198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6736092PMC
September 2019

Mutations in ACTL6B Cause Neurodevelopmental Deficits and Epilepsy and Lead to Loss of Dendrites in Human Neurons.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 05 25;104(5):815-834. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, WC1N 3BG London, UK.

We identified individuals with variations in ACTL6B, a component of the chromatin remodeling machinery including the BAF complex. Ten individuals harbored bi-allelic mutations and presented with global developmental delay, epileptic encephalopathy, and spasticity, and ten individuals with de novo heterozygous mutations displayed intellectual disability, ambulation deficits, severe language impairment, hypotonia, Rett-like stereotypies, and minor facial dysmorphisms (wide mouth, diastema, bulbous nose). Nine of these ten unrelated individuals had the identical de novo c.1027G>A (p.Gly343Arg) mutation. Human-derived neurons were generated that recaptured ACTL6B expression patterns in development from progenitor cell to post-mitotic neuron, validating the use of this model. Engineered knock-out of ACTL6B in wild-type human neurons resulted in profound deficits in dendrite development, a result recapitulated in two individuals with different bi-allelic mutations, and reversed on clonal genetic repair or exogenous expression of ACTL6B. Whole-transcriptome analyses and whole-genomic profiling of the BAF complex in wild-type and bi-allelic mutant ACTL6B neural progenitor cells and neurons revealed increased genomic binding of the BAF complex in ACTL6B mutants, with corresponding transcriptional changes in several genes including TPPP and FSCN1, suggesting that altered regulation of some cytoskeletal genes contribute to altered dendrite development. Assessment of bi-alleic and heterozygous ACTL6B mutations on an ACTL6B knock-out human background demonstrated that bi-allelic mutations mimic engineered deletion deficits while heterozygous mutations do not, suggesting that the former are loss of function and the latter are gain of function. These results reveal a role for ACTL6B in neurodevelopment and implicate another component of chromatin remodeling machinery in brain disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.03.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6507050PMC
May 2019

De Novo Variants Disrupting the HX Repeat Motif of ATN1 Cause a Recognizable Non-Progressive Neurocognitive Syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 03 28;104(3):542-552. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Fundación para la Lucha contra las Enfermedades Neurológicas de la Infancia, Montañeses, Buenos Aires 2325, Argentina.

Polyglutamine expansions in the transcriptional co-repressor Atrophin-1, encoded by ATN1, cause the neurodegenerative condition dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) via a proposed novel toxic gain of function. We present detailed phenotypic information on eight unrelated individuals who have de novo missense and insertion variants within a conserved 16-amino-acid "HX repeat" motif of ATN1. Each of the affected individuals has severe cognitive impairment and hypotonia, a recognizable facial gestalt, and variable congenital anomalies. However, they lack the progressive symptoms typical of DRPLA neurodegeneration. To distinguish this subset of affected individuals from the DRPLA diagnosis, we suggest using the term CHEDDA (congenital hypotonia, epilepsy, developmental delay, digit abnormalities) to classify the condition. CHEDDA-related variants alter the particular structural features of the HX repeat motif, suggesting that CHEDDA results from perturbation of the structural and functional integrity of the HX repeat. We found several non-homologous human genes containing similar motifs of eight to 10 HX repeat sequences, including RERE, where disruptive variants in this motif have also been linked to a separate condition that causes neurocognitive and congenital anomalies. These findings suggest that perturbation of the HX motif might explain other Mendelian human conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.01.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407605PMC
March 2019

Missense Variants in the Histone Acetyltransferase Complex Component Gene TRRAP Cause Autism and Syndromic Intellectual Disability.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 03 28;104(3):530-541. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital, 17176 Stockholm, Sweden.

Acetylation of the lysine residues in histones and other DNA-binding proteins plays a major role in regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. This process is controlled by histone acetyltransferases (HATs/KATs) found in multiprotein complexes that are recruited to chromatin by the scaffolding subunit transformation/transcription domain-associated protein (TRRAP). TRRAP is evolutionarily conserved and is among the top five genes intolerant to missense variation. Through an international collaboration, 17 distinct de novo or apparently de novo variants were identified in TRRAP in 24 individuals. A strong genotype-phenotype correlation was observed with two distinct clinical spectra. The first is a complex, multi-systemic syndrome associated with various malformations of the brain, heart, kidneys, and genitourinary system and characterized by a wide range of intellectual functioning; a number of affected individuals have intellectual disability (ID) and markedly impaired basic life functions. Individuals with this phenotype had missense variants clustering around the c.3127G>A p.(Ala1043Thr) variant identified in five individuals. The second spectrum manifested with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or ID and epilepsy. Facial dysmorphism was seen in both groups and included upslanted palpebral fissures, epicanthus, telecanthus, a wide nasal bridge and ridge, a broad and smooth philtrum, and a thin upper lip. RNA sequencing analysis of skin fibroblasts derived from affected individuals skin fibroblasts showed significant changes in the expression of several genes implicated in neuronal function and ion transport. Thus, we describe here the clinical spectrum associated with TRRAP pathogenic missense variants, and we suggest a genotype-phenotype correlation useful for clinical evaluation of the pathogenicity of the variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.01.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6407527PMC
March 2019
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