Publications by authors named "Andrea Ciolfi"

70 Publications

Novel diagnostic DNA methylation episignatures expand and refine the epigenetic landscapes of Mendelian disorders.

HGG Adv 2022 Jan 3;3(1):100075. Epub 2021 Dec 3.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Overlapping clinical phenotypes and an expanding breadth and complexity of genomic associations are a growing challenge in the diagnosis and clinical management of Mendelian disorders. The functional consequences and clinical impacts of genomic variation may involve unique, disorder-specific, genomic DNA methylation episignatures. In this study, we describe 19 novel episignature disorders and compare the findings alongside 38 previously established episignatures for a total of 57 episignatures associated with 65 genetic syndromes. We demonstrate increasing resolution and specificity ranging from protein complex, gene, sub-gene, protein domain, and even single nucleotide-level Mendelian episignatures. We show the power of multiclass modeling to develop highly accurate and disease-specific diagnostic classifiers. This study significantly expands the number and spectrum of disorders with detectable DNA methylation episignatures, improves the clinical diagnostic capabilities through the resolution of unsolved cases and the reclassification of variants of unknown clinical significance, and provides further insight into the molecular etiology of Mendelian conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xhgg.2021.100075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8756545PMC
January 2022

Neonatal Manifestations of Chronic Granulomatous Disease: MAS/HLH and Necrotizing Pneumonia as Unusual Phenotypes and Review of the Literature.

J Clin Immunol 2021 Oct 31. Epub 2021 Oct 31.

Maternal and Child Health Department, Padua University, Via Giustiniani 3, 35128, Padua, Italy.

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a rare inborn error of immunity (IEI), characterized by a deficient phagocyte killing due to the inability of NADPH oxidase to produce reactive oxygen species in the phagosome. Patients with CGD suffer from severe and recurrent infections and chronic inflammatory disorders. Onset of CGD has been rarely reported in neonates and only as single case reports or small case series. We report here the cases of three newborns from two different kindreds, presenting with novel infectious and inflammatory phenotypes associated with CGD. A girl with CYBA deficiency presented with necrotizing pneumonia, requiring a prolonged antibiotic treatment and resulting in fibrotic pulmonary changes. From the second kindred, the first of two brothers developed a fatal Burkholderia multivorans sepsis and died at 24 days of life. His younger brother had a diagnosis of CYBB deficiency and presented with Macrophage Activation Syndrome/Hemophagocytic Lympho-Histiocytosis (MAS/HLH) without any infection, that could be controlled with steroids. We further report the findings of a review of the literature and show that the spectrum of microorganisms causing infections in neonates with CGD is similar to that of older patients, but the clinical manifestations are more diverse, especially those related to the inflammatory syndromes. Our findings extend the spectrum of the clinical presentation of CGD to include unusual neonatal phenotypes. The recognition of the very early, potentially life-threatening manifestations of CGD is crucial for a prompt diagnosis, improvement of survival and reduction of the risk of long-term sequelae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-021-01159-4DOI Listing
October 2021

SPRED2 loss-of-function causes a recessive Noonan syndrome-like phenotype.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 11 8;108(11):2112-2129. Epub 2021 Oct 8.

Institute of Physiology, University of Wuerzburg, 97070 Wuerzburg, Germany.

Upregulated signal flow through RAS and the mitogen-associated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade is the unifying mechanistic theme of the RASopathies, a family of disorders affecting development and growth. Pathogenic variants in more than 20 genes have been causally linked to RASopathies, the majority having a dominant role in promoting enhanced signaling. Here, we report that SPRED2 loss of function is causally linked to a recessive phenotype evocative of Noonan syndrome. Homozygosity for three different variants-c.187C>T (p.Arg63), c.299T>C (p.Leu100Pro), and c.1142_1143delTT (p.Leu381Hisfs95)-were identified in four subjects from three families. All variants severely affected protein stability, causing accelerated degradation, and variably perturbed SPRED2 functional behavior. When overexpressed in cells, all variants were unable to negatively modulate EGF-promoted RAF1, MEK, and ERK phosphorylation, and time-course experiments in primary fibroblasts (p.Leu100Pro and p.Leu381Hisfs95) documented an increased and prolonged activation of the MAPK cascade in response to EGF stimulation. Morpholino-mediated knockdown of spred2a and spred2b in zebrafish induced defects in convergence and extension cell movements indicating upregulated RAS-MAPK signaling, which were rescued by expressing wild-type SPRED2 but not the SPRED2 protein. The clinical phenotype of the four affected individuals included developmental delay, intellectual disability, cardiac defects, short stature, skeletal anomalies, and a typical facial gestalt as major features, without the occurrence of the distinctive skin signs characterizing Legius syndrome. These features, in part, characterize the phenotype of Spred2 mice. Our findings identify the second recessive form of Noonan syndrome and document pleiotropic consequences of SPRED2 loss of function in development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.09.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8595899PMC
November 2021

A Rare Case of Brachyolmia with Amelogenesis Imperfecta Caused by a New Pathogenic Splicing Variant in .

Genes (Basel) 2021 09 12;12(9). Epub 2021 Sep 12.

Medical Genetics Unit, University and Hospital of Perugia, 06129 Perugia, Italy.

In recent years, a rare form of autosomal recessive brachyolmia associated with amelogenesis imperfecta (AI) has been described as a novel nosologic entity. This disorder is characterized by skeletal dysplasia (e.g., platyspondyly, short trunk, scoliosis, broad ilia, elongated femoral necks with coxa valga) and severe enamel and dental anomalies. Pathogenic variants in the latent transforming growth factor-β binding protein 3 () gene have been found implicated in the pathogenesis of this disorder. So far, biallelic pathogenic variants have been identified in less than 10 families. We here report a young boy born from consanguineous parents with a complex phenotype including skeletal dysplasia associated with aortic stenosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hypodontia and amelogenesis imperfecta caused by a previously unreported homozygous splice site variant. We also compare the genotypes and phenotypes of patients reported to date. This work provides further evidence that brachyolmia with amelogenesis imperfecta is a distinct nosologic entity and that variations in are involved in its pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes12091406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470690PMC
September 2021

Childhood-onset dystonia-causing KMT2B variants result in a distinctive genomic hypermethylation profile.

Clin Epigenetics 2021 08 11;13(1):157. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.

Background: Dystonia is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous movement disorder characterized by sustained or intermittent muscle contractions causing abnormal, often repetitive, movements and/or postures. Heterozygous variants in lysine methyltransferase 2B (KMT2B), encoding a histone H3 methyltransferase, have been associated with a childhood-onset, progressive and complex form of dystonia (dystonia 28, DYT28). Since 2016, more than one hundred rare KMT2B variants have been reported, including frameshift, nonsense, splice site, missense and other in-frame changes, many having an uncertain clinical impact.

Results: We characterize the genome-wide peripheral blood DNA methylation profiles of a cohort of 18 patients with pathogenic and unclassified KMT2B variants. We resolve the "episignature" associated with KMT2B haploinsufficiency, proving that this approach is robust in diagnosing clinically unsolved cases, properly classifying them with respect to other partially overlapping dystonic phenotypes, other rare neurodevelopmental disorders and healthy controls. Notably, defective KMT2B function in DYT28 causes a non-random DNA hypermethylation across the genome, selectively involving promoters and other regulatory regions positively controlling gene expression.

Conclusions: We demonstrate a distinctive DNA hypermethylation pattern associated with DYT28, provide an epigenetic signature for this disorder enabling accurate diagnosis and reclassification of ambiguous genetic findings and suggest potential therapeutic approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-021-01145-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8359374PMC
August 2021

DICER1-associated malignancies mimicking germ cell neoplasms: Report of two cases and review of the literature.

Pathol Res Pract 2021 Sep 16;225:153553. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Pathology Unit, Department of Laboratories, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy 00165. Electronic address:

DICER1 syndrome is characterized by a unique combination of features and a growing list of associated rare tumors. Traditionally, gonadal or extra-gonadal teratomas have not been considered part of this spectrum, with only rare DICER1-related teratoid neoplasms recently reported. Besides, their methylation profiles remain elusive. We report two DICER1-associated malignancies involving the lumbar spine of a 22-year-old man (case 1) and the pelvic cavity of a 14-year-old girl (case 2). Both tumors exhibited teratoma-like features with a high-grade malignant somatic component, including rhabdomyosarcomatous elements for case 1 and a malignant neuroectodermal neoplasm with features of an embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) for case 2. Both tumors showed strong SALL4 expression and H3K27me3 loss by immunohistochemistry. Next-generation sequencing studies confirmed biallelic DICER1 mutations with additional pathogenic missense mutations in KRAS (case 1) and CTNNB1 (case 2). The methylation profile of case 1 clustered with DICER1-associated sarcomas, whereas case 2 classified as an ETMR (albeit low raw and calibrated score). In conclusion, we report two DICER1-related malignancies with teratoma-like features, further expanding their morphologic spectrum and highlighting the multipotentiality of their presumed cell of origin. Notably, we describe the first ETMR identified outside the CNS with a documented DICER1 biallelic inactivation. Our findings also highlight the potential role of other molecular alterations such as KRAS and CTNNB1 mutations in defining the phenotype of embryonal and primitive DICER1-associated neoplasms, a notion that deserves further studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prp.2021.153553DOI Listing
September 2021

Broadening the phenotypic spectrum of Beta3GalT6-associated phenotypes.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 10 23;185(10):3153-3160. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Center for Rare Diseases and Birth Defects, Department of Woman and Child Health and Public Health, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Biallelic mutations in B3GALT6, coding for a galactosyltransferase involved in the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), have been associated with various clinical conditions, causing spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia with joint laxity type 1 (SEMDJL1 or SEMDJL Beighton type), Al-Gazali syndrome (ALGAZ), and a severe progeroid form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDSSPD2). In the 2017 Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) classification, Beta3GalT6-related disorders were grouped in the spondylodysplastic EDSs together with spondylodysplastic EDSs due to B4GALT7 and SLC39A13 mutations. Herein, we describe a patient with a previously unreported homozygous pathogenic B3GALT6 variant resulting in a complex phenotype more severe than spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia with joint laxity type 1, and having dural ectasia and aortic dilation as additionally associated features, further broadening the phenotypic spectrum of the Beta3GalT6-related syndromes. We also document the utility of repeating sequencing in patients with uninformative exomes, particularly when performed by using "first generations" enrichment capture methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62399DOI Listing
October 2021

Establishment and Characterization of a Cell Line (S-RMS1) Derived from an Infantile Spindle Cell Rhabdomyosarcoma with Fusion Transcript.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 May 22;22(11). Epub 2021 May 22.

Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Cell and Gene Therapy, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy.

: Spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma (S-RMS) is a rare tumor that was previously considered as an uncommon variant of embryonal RMS (ERMS) and recently reclassified as a distinct RMS subtype with NCOA2, NCOA1, and VGLL2 fusion genes. In this study, we established a cell line (S-RMS1) derived from a four-month-old boy with infantile spindle cell RMS harboring gene fusion. : Morphological and molecular characteristics of S-RMS1 were analyzed and compared with two RMS cell lines, RH30 and RD18. Whole genome sequencing of S-RMS1 and clinical exome sequencing of genomic DNA were performed. : S-RMS1 showed cells small in size, with a fibroblast-like morphology and positivity for MyoD-1, myogenin, desmin, and smooth muscle actin. The population doubling time was 3.7 days. Whole genome sequencing demonstrated that S-RMS1 retained the same genetic profile of the tumor at diagnosis. A Western blot analysis showed downregulation of AKT-p and YAP-p while RT-qPCR showed upregulation of endoglin and GATA6 as well as downregulation of TGFßR1 and Mef2C transcripts. : This is the first report of the establishment of a cell line from an infantile spindle cell RMS with SRF-NCOA2 gene fusion. S-RMS1 should represent a useful tool for the molecular characterization of this rare and almost unknown tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22115484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8196948PMC
May 2021

Biallelic mutations in RNF220 cause laminopathies featuring leukodystrophy, ataxia and deafness.

Brain 2021 11;144(10):3020-3035

Genetics and Rare Diseases Research Division, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, 00146 Rome, Italy.

Leukodystrophies are a heterogeneous group of rare inherited disorders that mostly involve the white matter of the CNS. These conditions are characterized by primary glial cell and myelin sheath pathology of variable aetiology, which causes secondary axonal degeneration, generally emerging with disease progression. Whole exome sequencing performed in five large consanguineous nuclear families allowed us to identify homozygosity for two recurrent missense variants affecting highly conserved residues of RNF220 as the causative event underlying a novel form of leukodystrophy with ataxia and sensorineural deafness. We report these two homozygous missense variants (p.R363Q and p.R365Q) in the ubiquitin E3 ligase RNF220 as the underlying cause of this novel form of leukodystrophy with ataxia and sensorineural deafness that includes fibrotic cardiomyopathy and hepatopathy as associated features in seven consanguineous families. Mass spectrometry analysis identified lamin B1 as the RNF220 binding protein and co-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated reduced binding of both RNF220 mutants to lamin B1. We demonstrate that RNF220 silencing in Drosophila melanogaster specifically affects proper localization of lamin Dm0, the fly lamin B1 orthologue, promotes its aggregation and causes a neurodegenerative phenotype, strongly supporting the functional link between RNF220 and lamin B1. Finally, we demonstrate that RNF220 plays a crucial role in the maintenance of nuclear morphology; mutations in primary skin fibroblasts determine nuclear abnormalities such as blebs, herniations and invaginations, which are typically observed in cells of patients affected by laminopathies. Overall, our data identify RNF220 as a gene implicated in leukodystrophy with ataxia and sensorineural deafness and document a critical role of RNF220 in the regulation of nuclear lamina. Our findings provide further evidence on the direct link between nuclear lamina dysfunction and neurodegeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab185DOI Listing
November 2021

SPEN haploinsufficiency causes a neurodevelopmental disorder overlapping proximal 1p36 deletion syndrome with an episignature of X chromosomes in females.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 03 16;108(3):502-516. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA.

Deletion 1p36 (del1p36) syndrome is the most common human disorder resulting from a terminal autosomal deletion. This condition is molecularly and clinically heterogeneous. Deletions involving two non-overlapping regions, known as the distal (telomeric) and proximal (centromeric) critical regions, are sufficient to cause the majority of the recurrent clinical features, although with different facial features and dysmorphisms. SPEN encodes a transcriptional repressor commonly deleted in proximal del1p36 syndrome and is located centromeric to the proximal 1p36 critical region. Here, we used clinical data from 34 individuals with truncating variants in SPEN to define a neurodevelopmental disorder presenting with features that overlap considerably with those of proximal del1p36 syndrome. The clinical profile of this disease includes developmental delay/intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, aggressive behavior, attention deficit disorder, hypotonia, brain and spine anomalies, congenital heart defects, high/narrow palate, facial dysmorphisms, and obesity/increased BMI, especially in females. SPEN also emerges as a relevant gene for del1p36 syndrome by co-expression analyses. Finally, we show that haploinsufficiency of SPEN is associated with a distinctive DNA methylation episignature of the X chromosome in affected females, providing further evidence of a specific contribution of the protein to the epigenetic control of this chromosome, and a paradigm of an X chromosome-specific episignature that classifies syndromic traits. We conclude that SPEN is required for multiple developmental processes and SPEN haploinsufficiency is a major contributor to a disorder associated with deletions centromeric to the previously established 1p36 critical regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8008487PMC
March 2021

Melanotic Neuroectodermal Tumor of Infancy (MNTI) and Pineal Anlage Tumor (PAT) Harbor A Medulloblastoma Signature by DNA Methylation Profiling.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb 9;13(4). Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Pediatric Onco-Hematology and Cell and Gene Therapy, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy.

MNTI is a rare tumor of indeterminate histogenesis and molecular signature. We performed methylation and copy number variation (CNV) profiles in patients with MNTI ( = 7) and PAT ( = 1) compared to the methylation brain tumor classifier v11b4 (BT-C) and the medulloblastoma (MB) classifier group 3/4 v1.0 (MB3/4-C). The patients' mean age was 8 months (range: 4-48). The BT-C classified five MNTIs and one PAT (relapse) as class family MB-G3/G4, subclass group 3 (score: >0.9). The remaining two MNTIs and PAT (primary) were classified as class family plexus tumor, subclass pediatric (scores: >0.45). The MB3/4-C classified all MNTIs as high-risk MB-G3, Subtype II (score: >0.45). The primary PAT was classified as subtype III (score: 0.99) and its relapse as subtype II/III. MNTI and PAT clustered close to MB-G3. CNV analysis showed multiple rearrangements in one PAT and two MNTIs. The median follow-up was 54 months (four MNTIs in remission, one PAT died). In conclusion, we demonstrated that MNTI shares a homogenous methylation profile with MB-G3, and possibly with PAT. The role of a multipotent progenitor cell (i.e., early cranial neural crest cell) in their histogenesis and the influence of the anatomical site, tumor microenvironment, and other cytogenetic events in their divergent biologic behavior deserve further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040706DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916108PMC
February 2021

Expanding the spectrum of EWSR1-PATZ1 rearranged CNS tumors: An infantile case with leptomeningeal dissemination.

Brain Pathol 2021 05 15;31(3):e12934. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Pathology Unit, Department of Laboratories, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

We report on a case of EWSR1-PATZ1 rearranged brain tumor occurring in a 17 month-old child, originally interpreted as an infantile glioblastoma. Our case shows important analogies with the 2 previously reported cases, including the intraventricular location, the histologic appearance (pushing borders, oligodendrocyte-like morphology, rich vascular network) and the glioneural immunophenotype, supporting the role of these features as relevant clues to the diagnosis. On the other hand, our case displays unique characteristics, i.e. the onset in an infant, the presence of a focal high-grade component and the leptomeningeal dissemination, pointing to the importance of considering this entity in the differential diagnosis of an infantile glial/glioneural tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bpa.12934DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8412111PMC
May 2021

Functional analysis of variants and their proximal interactomes implicates impaired kinase activity and chromatin maintenance defects in their pathogenesis.

J Med Genet 2022 Feb 15;59(2):170-179. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Torino, Italy

Introduction: The Tousled-like kinases 1 and 2 (TLK1 and TLK2) are involved in many fundamental processes, including DNA replication, cell cycle checkpoint recovery and chromatin remodelling. Mutations in were recently associated with 'Mental Retardation Autosomal Dominant 57' (MRD57, MIM# 618050), a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by a highly variable phenotype, including mild-to-moderate intellectual disability, behavioural abnormalities, facial dysmorphisms, microcephaly, epilepsy and skeletal anomalies.

Methods: We re-evaluate whole exome sequencing and array-CGH data from a large cohort of patients affected by neurodevelopmental disorders. Using spatial proteomics (BioID) and single-cell gel electrophoresis, we investigated the proximity interaction landscape of and analysed the effects of p.(Asp551Gly) and a previously reported missense variant (c.1850C>T; p.(Ser617Leu)) on TLK2 interactions, localisation and activity.

Results: We identified three new unrelated MRD57 families. Two were sporadic and caused by a missense change (c.1652A>G; p.(Asp551Gly)) or a 39 kb deletion encompassing , and one was familial with three affected siblings who inherited a nonsense change from an affected mother (c.1423G>T; p.(Glu475Ter)). The clinical phenotypes were consistent with those of previously reported cases. The tested mutations strongly impaired kinase activity. Proximal interactions between TLK2 and other factors implicated in neurological disorders, including CHD7, CHD8, BRD4 and NACC1, were identified. Finally, we demonstrated a more relaxed chromatin state in lymphoblastoid cells harbouring the p.(Asp551Gly) variant compared with control cells, conferring susceptibility to DNA damage.

Conclusion: Our study identified novel pathogenic variants, confirming and further expanding the MRD57-related phenotype. The molecular characterisation of missense variants increases our knowledge about TLK2 function and provides new insights into its role in neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2020-107281DOI Listing
February 2022

SCUBE3 loss-of-function causes a recognizable recessive developmental disorder due to defective bone morphogenetic protein signaling.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 01 11;108(1):115-133. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Sheba Cancer Research Center, Sheba Medical Center, 52621 Tel-Hashomer, Israel; Wohl Institute for Translational Medicine, Sheba Medical Center, 52621 Tel-Hashomer, Israel.

Signal peptide-CUB-EGF domain-containing protein 3 (SCUBE3) is a member of a small family of multifunctional cell surface-anchored glycoproteins functioning as co-receptors for a variety of growth factors. Here we report that bi-allelic inactivating variants in SCUBE3 have pleiotropic consequences on development and cause a previously unrecognized syndromic disorder. Eighteen affected individuals from nine unrelated families showed a consistent phenotype characterized by reduced growth, skeletal features, distinctive craniofacial appearance, and dental anomalies. In vitro functional validation studies demonstrated a variable impact of disease-causing variants on transcript processing, protein secretion and function, and their dysregulating effect on bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. We show that SCUBE3 acts as a BMP2/BMP4 co-receptor, recruits the BMP receptor complexes into raft microdomains, and positively modulates signaling possibly by augmenting the specific interactions between BMPs and BMP type I receptors. Scube3 mice showed craniofacial and dental defects, reduced body size, and defective endochondral bone growth due to impaired BMP-mediated chondrogenesis and osteogenesis, recapitulating the human disorder. Our findings identify a human disease caused by defective function of a member of the SCUBE family, and link SCUBE3 to processes controlling growth, morphogenesis, and bone and teeth development through modulation of BMP signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.11.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820739PMC
January 2021

A Recurrent Gain-of-Function Mutation in CLCN6, Encoding the ClC-6 Cl/H-Exchanger, Causes Early-Onset Neurodegeneration.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 12 19;107(6):1062-1077. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), 13125 Berlin, Germany; Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC), 13125 Berlin, Germany; NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence, Charité Universitätsmedizin, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:

Dysfunction of the endolysosomal system is often associated with neurodegenerative disease because postmitotic neurons are particularly reliant on the elimination of intracellular aggregates. Adequate function of endosomes and lysosomes requires finely tuned luminal ion homeostasis and transmembrane ion fluxes. Endolysosomal CLC Cl/H exchangers function as electric shunts for proton pumping and in luminal Cl accumulation. We now report three unrelated children with severe neurodegenerative disease, who carry the same de novo c.1658A>G (p.Tyr553Cys) mutation in CLCN6, encoding the late endosomal Cl/H-exchanger ClC-6. Whereas Clcn6 mice have only mild neuronal lysosomal storage abnormalities, the affected individuals displayed severe developmental delay with pronounced generalized hypotonia, respiratory insufficiency, and variable neurodegeneration and diffusion restriction in cerebral peduncles, midbrain, and/or brainstem in MRI scans. The p.Tyr553Cys amino acid substitution strongly slowed ClC-6 gating and increased current amplitudes, particularly at the acidic pH of late endosomes. Transfection of ClC-6, but not ClC-6, generated giant LAMP1-positive vacuoles that were poorly acidified. Their generation strictly required ClC-6 ion transport, as shown by transport-deficient double mutants, and depended on Cl/H exchange, as revealed by combination with the uncoupling p.Glu200Ala substitution. Transfection of either ClC-6 or ClC-6 generated slightly enlarged vesicles, suggesting that p.Glu200Ala, previously associated with infantile spasms and microcephaly, is also pathogenic. Bafilomycin treatment abrogated vacuole generation, indicating that H-driven Cl accumulation osmotically drives vesicle enlargement. Our work establishes mutations in CLCN6 associated with neurological diseases, whose spectrum of clinical features depends on the differential impact of the allele on ClC-6 function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.11.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820737PMC
December 2020

De Novo VPS4A Mutations Cause Multisystem Disease with Abnormal Neurodevelopment.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 12 12;107(6):1129-1148. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0XY, UK; Department of Medical Genetics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK. Electronic address:

The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRTs) are essential for multiple membrane modeling and membrane-independent cellular processes. Here we describe six unrelated individuals with de novo missense variants affecting the ATPase domain of VPS4A, a critical enzyme regulating ESCRT function. Probands had structural brain abnormalities, severe neurodevelopmental delay, cataracts, growth impairment, and anemia. In cultured cells, overexpression of VPS4A mutants caused enlarged endosomal vacuoles resembling those induced by expression of known dominant-negative ATPase-defective forms of VPS4A. Proband-derived fibroblasts had enlarged endosomal structures with abnormal accumulation of the ESCRT protein IST1 on the limiting membrane. VPS4A function was also required for normal endosomal morphology and IST1 localization in iPSC-derived human neurons. Mutations affected other ESCRT-dependent cellular processes, including regulation of centrosome number, primary cilium morphology, nuclear membrane morphology, chromosome segregation, mitotic spindle formation, and cell cycle progression. We thus characterize a distinct multisystem disorder caused by mutations affecting VPS4A and demonstrate that its normal function is required for multiple human developmental and cellular processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.10.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820634PMC
December 2020

Enhanced MAPK1 Function Causes a Neurodevelopmental Disorder within the RASopathy Clinical Spectrum.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 27;107(3):499-513. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Hospital Magdeburg, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.

Signal transduction through the RAF-MEK-ERK pathway, the first described mitogen-associated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, mediates multiple cellular processes and participates in early and late developmental programs. Aberrant signaling through this cascade contributes to oncogenesis and underlies the RASopathies, a family of cancer-prone disorders. Here, we report that de novo missense variants in MAPK1, encoding the mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (i.e., extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 2, ERK2), cause a neurodevelopmental disease within the RASopathy phenotypic spectrum, reminiscent of Noonan syndrome in some subjects. Pathogenic variants promote increased phosphorylation of the kinase, which enhances translocation to the nucleus and boosts MAPK signaling in vitro and in vivo. Two variant classes are identified, one of which directly disrupts binding to MKP3, a dual-specificity protein phosphatase negatively regulating ERK function. Importantly, signal dysregulation driven by pathogenic MAPK1 variants is stimulus reliant and retains dependence on MEK activity. Our data support a model in which the identified pathogenic variants operate with counteracting effects on MAPK1 function by differentially impacting the ability of the kinase to interact with regulators and substrates, which likely explains the minor role of these variants as driver events contributing to oncogenesis. After nearly 20 years from the discovery of the first gene implicated in Noonan syndrome, PTPN11, the last tier of the MAPK cascade joins the group of genes mutated in RASopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.06.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477014PMC
September 2020

ACE2 gene variants may underlie interindividual variability and susceptibility to COVID-19 in the Italian population.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 11 17;28(11):1602-1614. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Genetica Medica, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Siena, Italy.

In December 2019, an initial cluster of interstitial bilateral pneumonia emerged in Wuhan, China. A human-to-human transmission was assumed and a previously unrecognized entity, termed coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) due to a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was described. The infection has rapidly spread out all over the world and Italy has been the first European country experiencing the endemic wave with unexpected clinical severity in comparison with Asian countries. It has been shown that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as host receptor and host proteases for cell surface binding and internalization. Thus, a predisposing genetic background can give reason for interindividual disease susceptibility and/or severity. Taking advantage of the Network of Italian Genomes (NIG), here we mined whole-exome sequencing data of 6930 Italian control individuals from five different centers looking for ACE2 variants. A number of variants with a potential impact on protein stability were identified. Among these, three more common missense changes, p.(Asn720Asp), p.(Lys26Arg), and p.(Gly211Arg) were predicted to interfere with protein structure and stabilization. Rare variants likely interfering with the internalization process, namely p.(Leu351Val) and p.(Pro389His), predicted to interfere with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding, were also observed. Comparison of ACE2 WES data between a cohort of 131 patients and 258 controls allowed identifying a statistically significant (P value < 0.029) higher allelic variability in controls compared with patients. These findings suggest that a predisposing genetic background may contribute to the observed interindividual clinical variability associated with COVID-19, allowing an evidence-based risk assessment leading to personalized preventive measures and therapeutic options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0691-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7366459PMC
November 2020

Refinement of the clinical and mutational spectrum of UBE2A deficiency syndrome.

Clin Genet 2020 08 3;98(2):172-178. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Genetics and Rare Diseases Research Division, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCSS, Rome, Italy.

UBE2A deficiency, that is, intellectual disability (ID) Nascimento type (MIM 300860), is an X-linked syndrome characterized by developmental delay, moderate to severe ID, seizures, dysmorphisms, skin anomalies, and urogenital malformations. Forty affected subjects have been reported thus far, with 31 cases having intragenic UBE2A variants. Here, we report on additional eight affected subjects from seven unrelated families who were found to be hemizygous for previously unreported UBE2A missense variants (p.Glu62Lys, p.Arg95Cys, p.Thr99Ala, and p.Arg135Trp) or small in-frame deletions (p.Val81_Ala83del, and p.Asp101del). A wide phenotypic spectrum was documented in these subjects, ranging from moderate ID associated with mild dysmorphisms to severe features including congenital heart defects (CHD), severe cognitive impairment, and pineal gland tumors. Four variants affected residues (Glu62, Arg95, Thr99 and Asp101) that contribute to stabilizing the structure of the E3 binding domain. The three-residue in-frame deletion, p.Val81_Ala83del, resulted from aberrant processing of the transcript. This variant and p.Arg135Trp mapped to regions of the protein located far from the E3 binding region, and caused variably accelerated protein degradation. By reviewing available clinical information, we revise the clinical and molecular profile of the disorder and document genotype-phenotype correlations. Pineal gland cysts/tumors, CHD and hypogammaglobulinemia emerge as recurrent features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cge.13775DOI Listing
August 2020

Developmental and epileptic encephalopathy due to SZT2 genomic variants: Emerging features of a syndromic condition.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 07 11;108:107097. Epub 2020 May 11.

Rare and Complex Epilepsy Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy; Member of European Reference Network EpiCARE. Electronic address:

Seizure threshold 2 (SZT2) gene mutations have been associated with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs). Following a literature review, we collected 22 patients and identified the main clinical features related to SZT2 variants that are epilepsy with onset within the first years of life, intellectual disability (ID), macrocephaly with dysmorphic facial features, corpus callosum (CC) shape abnormalities, and cortical migration disorders. Moreover, we identified the c.7825T>G homozygous missense variant in SZT2 in two female siblings presenting with focal seizures, mild-moderate ID, behavioral disturbances, and facial dysmorphisms. Interictal Electroencephalogram (EEG) and ictal EEG were both informative and revealed, respectively, temporal bilateral asynchronous slow and epileptiform abnormalities and a focal onset in both of them. Neuroimaging study revealed a thick and abnormally shaped CC. Seizure threshold 2 has been identified as a component of the KICSTOR complex, a newly recognized protein complex involved in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. mTOR signaling dysregulation represents common pathogenetic mechanisms that can explain the presence of both epileptogenesis and ID. Even if few cases had been reported, a new clinical phenotype is emerging, and recent hypothesis of hyperactivation of mTORC1 signaling might also open to targeted treatments, challenging an early diagnosis as of paramount importance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107097DOI Listing
July 2020

CD28.OX40 co-stimulatory combination is associated with long in vivo persistence and high activity of CAR.CD30 T-cells.

Haematologica 2021 04 1;106(4):987-999. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Dept Onco-Haematology, Cell and Gene Therapy, Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, Rome, Italy.

The prognosis of many patients with chemotherapy-refractory or multiply relapsed CD30+ non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) or Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) still remains poor, and novel therapeutic approaches are warranted to address this unmet clinical need. In light of this consideration, we designed and pre-clinically validated a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) construct characterized by a novel anti-CD30 single-chain variable-fragment cassette, linked to CD3ζ by the signaling domains of two costimulatory molecules, namely either CD28.4-1BB or CD28.OX40. We found that CAR.CD30 T-cells exhibit remarkable cytolytic activity in vitro against HL and NHL cell lines, with sustained proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production, even after multiple and sequential lymphoma cell challenges. CAR.CD30 T-cells also demonstrated anti-lymphoma activity in two in vivo xenograft immune-deficient mouse models of metastatic HL and NHL. We observed that administration of CAR.CD30 T-cells, incorporating the CD28.OX40 costimulatory domains and manufactured in the presence of IL7 and IL15, were associated with the best overall survival in the treated mice, along with the establishment of a long-term immunological memory, able to protect mice from further tumor re-challenge. Our data indicate that, in the context of in vivo systemic metastatic xenograft mouse models, the costimulatory machinery of CD28.OX40 is crucial for improving persistence, in vivo expansion and proliferation of CAR.CD30 T-cells upon tumor encounter. CD28.OX40 costimulatory combination is ultimately responsible for the antitumor efficacy of the approach, paving the way to translate this therapeutic strategy in patients with CD30+ HL and NHL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.231183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8018158PMC
April 2021

Bi-allelic Variants in the GPI Transamidase Subunit PIGK Cause a Neurodevelopmental Syndrome with Hypotonia, Cerebellar Atrophy, and Epilepsy.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 04 26;106(4):484-495. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

CHU-Sainte Justine Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3T1C5.

Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are critical for embryogenesis, neurogenesis, and cell signaling. Variants in several genes participating in GPI biosynthesis and processing lead to decreased cell surface presence of GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs) and cause inherited GPI deficiency disorders (IGDs). In this report, we describe 12 individuals from nine unrelated families with 10 different bi-allelic PIGK variants. PIGK encodes a component of the GPI transamidase complex, which attaches the GPI anchor to proteins. Clinical features found in most individuals include global developmental delay and/or intellectual disability, hypotonia, cerebellar ataxia, cerebellar atrophy, and facial dysmorphisms. The majority of the individuals have epilepsy. Two individuals have slightly decreased levels of serum alkaline phosphatase, while eight do not. Flow cytometric analysis of blood and fibroblasts from affected individuals showed decreased cell surface presence of GPI-APs. The overexpression of wild-type (WT) PIGK in fibroblasts rescued the levels of cell surface GPI-APs. In a knockout cell line, transfection with WT PIGK also rescued the GPI-AP levels, but transfection with the two tested mutant variants did not. Our study not only expands the clinical and known genetic spectrum of IGDs, but it also expands the genetic differential diagnosis for cerebellar atrophy. Given the fact that cerebellar atrophy is seen in other IGDs, flow cytometry for GPI-APs should be considered in the work-ups of individuals presenting this feature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.03.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7118585PMC
April 2020

Co-occurrence of mutations in KIF7 and KIAA0556 in Joubert syndrome with ocular coloboma, pituitary malformation and growth hormone deficiency: a case report and literature review.

BMC Pediatr 2020 03 12;20(1):120. Epub 2020 Mar 12.

Genetics and Rare Diseases Research Division, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, Viale di San Paolo 15, 00146, Rome, Italy.

Background: Joubert syndrome is a recessive neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Clinical hallmarks include hypotonia, ataxia, facial dysmorphism, abnormal eye movement, irregular breathing pattern cognitive impairment and, the molar tooth sign is the pathognomonic midbrain-hindbrain malformation on magnetic resonance imaging. The disorder is predominantly caused by biallelic mutations in more than 30 genes encoding proteins with a pivotal role in morphology and function of the primary cilium. Oligogenic inheritance or occurrence of genetic modifiers has been suggested to contribute to the variability of the clinical phenotype. We report on a family with peculiar clinical spectrum Joubert syndrome molecularly and clinically dissecting a complex phenotype, in which hypogonadism, pituitary malformation and growth hormone deficiency occur as major features.

Case Presentation: A 7 year-old male was enrolled in a dedicated "Undiagnosed Patients Program" for a peculiar form of Joubert syndrome complicated by iris and retinochoroidal coloboma, hypogonadism pituitary malformation, and growth hormone deficiency. The molecular basis of the complex phenotype was investigated by whole exome sequencing. The concomitant occurrence of homozygosity for mutations in KIF7 and KIAA0556 was identified, and the assessment of major clinical features associated with mutations in these two genes provided evidence that these two independent events represent the cause underlying the complexity of the present clinical phenotype.

Conclusion: Beside the clinical variability of Joubert syndrome, co-occurrence of mutations in ciliopathy-associated genes may contribute to increase the clinical complexity of the trait.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-2019-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7066839PMC
March 2020

DNA Methylation Profiling for Diagnosing Undifferentiated Sarcoma with Capicua Transcriptional Receptor () Alterations.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Mar 6;21(5). Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Department of Pediatric Onco-Hematology and Cell and Gene Therapy, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, 00165 Rome, Italy.

Undifferentiated soft tissue sarcomas are a group of diagnostically challenging tumors in the pediatric population. Molecular techniques are instrumental for the categorization and differential diagnosis of these tumors. A subgroup of recently identified soft tissue sarcomas with undifferentiated round cell morphology was characterized by Capicua transcriptional receptor () rearrangements. Recently, an array-based DNA methylation analysis of undifferentiated tumors with small blue round cell histology was shown to provide a highly robust and reproducible approach for precisely classifying this diagnostically challenging group of tumors. We describe the case of an undifferentiated sarcoma of the abdominal wall in a 12-year-old girl. The patient presented with a voluminous mass of the abdominal wall, and multiple micro-nodules in the right lung. The tumor was unclassifiable with current immunohistochemical and molecular approaches. However, DNA methylation profiling allowed us to classify this neoplasia as small blue round cell tumor with alterations. The patient was treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by complete surgical resection and adjuvant chemotherapy. After 22 months, the patient is disease-free and in good clinical condition. To put our experience in context, we conducted a literature review, analyzing current knowledge and state-of-the-art diagnosis, prognosis, and clinical management of rearranged sarcomas. Our findings further support the use of DNA methylation profiling as an important tool to improve diagnosis of non-Ewing small round cell tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051818DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084764PMC
March 2020

Co-occurring WARS2 and CHRNA6 mutations in a child with a severe form of infantile parkinsonism.

Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2020 03 15;72:75-79. Epub 2020 Feb 15.

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, IS, Italy.

Objective: To investigate the molecular cause(s) underlying a severe form of infantile-onset parkinsonism and characterize functionally the identified variants.

Methods: A trio-based whole exome sequencing (WES) approach was used to identify the candidate variants underlying the disorder. In silico modeling, and in vitro and in vivo studies were performed to explore the impact of these variants on protein function and relevant cellular processes.

Results: WES analysis identified biallelic variants in WARS2, encoding the mitochondrial tryptophanyl tRNA synthetase (mtTrpRS), a gene whose mutations have recently been associated with multiple neurological phenotypes, including childhood-onset, levodopa-responsive or unresponsive parkinsonism in a few patients. A substantial reduction of mtTrpRS levels in mitochondria and reduced OXPHOS function was demonstrated, supporting their pathogenicity. Based on the infantile-onset and severity of the phenotype, additional variants were considered as possible genetic modifiers. Functional assessment of a selected panel of candidates pointed to a de novo missense mutation in CHRNA6, encoding the α6 subunit of neuronal nicotinic receptors, which are involved in the cholinergic modulation of dopamine release in the striatum, as a second event likely contributing to the phenotype. In silico, in vitro (Xenopus oocytes and GH4C1 cells) and in vivo (C. elegans) analyses demonstrated the disruptive effects of the mutation on acetylcholine receptor structure and function.

Conclusion: Our findings consolidate the association between biallelic WARS2 mutations and movement disorders, and suggest CHRNA6 as a genetic modifier of the phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.parkreldis.2020.02.003DOI Listing
March 2020

Evaluation of DNA Methylation Episignatures for Diagnosis and Phenotype Correlations in 42 Mendelian Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 03 27;106(3):356-370. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Université de Paris, Epigénétique et Destin Cellulaire, CNRS, 75013 Paris, France.

Genetic syndromes frequently present with overlapping clinical features and inconclusive or ambiguous genetic findings which can confound accurate diagnosis and clinical management. An expanding number of genetic syndromes have been shown to have unique genomic DNA methylation patterns (called "episignatures"). Peripheral blood episignatures can be used for diagnostic testing as well as for the interpretation of ambiguous genetic test results. We present here an approach to episignature mapping in 42 genetic syndromes, which has allowed the identification of 34 robust disease-specific episignatures. We examine emerging patterns of overlap, as well as similarities and hierarchical relationships across these episignatures, to highlight their key features as they are related to genetic heterogeneity, dosage effect, unaffected carrier status, and incomplete penetrance. We demonstrate the necessity of multiclass modeling for accurate genetic variant classification and show how disease classification using a single episignature at a time can sometimes lead to classification errors in closely related episignatures. We demonstrate the utility of this tool in resolving ambiguous clinical cases and identification of previously undiagnosed cases through mass screening of a large cohort of subjects with developmental delays and congenital anomalies. This study more than doubles the number of published syndromes with DNA methylation episignatures and, most significantly, opens new avenues for accurate diagnosis and clinical assessment in individuals affected by these disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.01.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058829PMC
March 2020

Modeling medulloblastoma in vivo and with human cerebellar organoids.

Nat Commun 2020 Jan 29;11(1):583. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Armenise-Harvard Laboratory of Brain Cancer, Department CIBIO, University of Trento, Via Sommarive 9, 38123, Trento, Italy.

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children and among the subtypes, Group 3 MB has the worst outcome. Here, we perform an in vivo, patient-specific screen leading to the identification of Otx2 and c-MYC as strong Group 3 MB inducers. We validated our findings in human cerebellar organoids where Otx2/c-MYC give rise to MB-like organoids harboring a DNA methylation signature that clusters with human Group 3 tumors. Furthermore, we show that SMARCA4 is able to reduce Otx2/c-MYC tumorigenic activity in vivo and in human cerebellar organoids while SMARCA4 T910M, a mutant form found in human MB patients, inhibits the wild-type protein function. Finally, treatment with Tazemetostat, a EZH2-specific inhibitor, reduces Otx2/c-MYC tumorigenesis in ex vivo culture and human cerebellar organoids. In conclusion, human cerebellar organoids can be efficiently used to understand the role of genes found altered in cancer patients and represent a reliable tool for developing personalized therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13989-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6989674PMC
January 2020

Frameshift mutations at the C-terminus of HIST1H1E result in a specific DNA hypomethylation signature.

Clin Epigenetics 2020 01 7;12(1). Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Genetics and Rare Diseases Research Division, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, 00146, Rome, Italy.

Background: We previously associated HIST1H1E mutations causing Rahman syndrome with a specific genome-wide methylation pattern.

Results: Methylome analysis from peripheral blood samples of six affected subjects led us to identify a specific hypomethylated profile. This "episignature" was enriched for genes involved in neuronal system development and function. A computational classifier yielded full sensitivity and specificity in detecting subjects with Rahman syndrome. Applying this model to a cohort of undiagnosed probands allowed us to reach diagnosis in one subject.

Conclusions: We demonstrate an epigenetic signature in subjects with Rahman syndrome that can be used to reach molecular diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-019-0804-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947958PMC
January 2020

Infantile-Onset Syndromic Cerebellar Ataxia and CACNA1G Mutations.

Pediatr Neurol 2020 03 19;104:40-45. Epub 2019 Oct 19.

Genetics and Rare Diseases Research Division, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Background: Congenital ataxias associated with cerebellar atrophy are clinically heterogeneous conditions with a variable age of onset and a diverse molecular basis. The hypothesis-free approach of genomic sequencing has led to the discovery of new genes implicated in these disorders and the identification of unexpected genotype-phenotype correlations. Although a recurrent heterozygous mutation (p.Arg1715His) in CACNA1G is known to cause adult-onset spinocerebellar ataxia 42 (SCA42*616795), gain-of-function mutations in this gene have recently been identified by whole exome sequencing (WES) in four children with cerebellar atrophy and ataxia, psychomotor delay, and other variable features.

Methods: We describe four children from unrelated families with cerebellar anomalies on magnetic resonance imaging (atrophy or hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis), hypertonia, psychomotor and speech delay, severe intellectual disability, ophthalmologic features and peculiar dysmorphic traits. All patients underwent a trio-based WES analysis. Clinical records were used to characterize the clinical profile of this newly recognized disorder.

Results: Two previously reported de novo disease-causing mutations in CACNA1G (c.2881G>A, p.Ala961Thr and c.4591A>G, p.Met1531Val) were identified in these patients, providing further evidence of the specific impact of these variants. All four patients exhibit distinctive dysmorphic and ectodermal features which overlap those of the previously reported patients, allowing us to define the major features characterizing this homogeneous neurodevelopmental syndromic disorder associated with upregulated CACNA1G function.

Conclusion: Our findings confirm the specific association between a narrow spectrum of missense mutations in CACNA1G and a novel syndrome with infantile-onset cerebellar ataxiaand provide a dysmorphologic delineation of this novel neurodevelopmental trait.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2019.09.005DOI Listing
March 2020
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