Publications by authors named "Elena Perenthaler"

9 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

BICRA, a SWI/SNF Complex Member, Is Associated with BAF-Disorder Related Phenotypes in Humans and Model Organisms.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 12 23;107(6):1096-1112. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA; Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Electronic address:

SWI/SNF-related intellectual disability disorders (SSRIDDs) are rare neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by developmental disability, coarse facial features, and fifth digit/nail hypoplasia that are caused by pathogenic variants in genes that encode for members of the SWI/SNF (or BAF) family of chromatin remodeling complexes. We have identified 12 individuals with rare variants (10 loss-of-function, 2 missense) in the BICRA (BRD4 interacting chromatin remodeling complex-associated protein) gene, also known as GLTSCR1, which encodes a subunit of the non-canonical BAF (ncBAF) complex. These individuals exhibited neurodevelopmental phenotypes that include developmental delay, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and behavioral abnormalities as well as dysmorphic features. Notably, the majority of individuals lack the fifth digit/nail hypoplasia phenotype, a hallmark of most SSRIDDs. To confirm the role of BICRA in the development of these phenotypes, we performed functional characterization of the zebrafish and Drosophila orthologs of BICRA. In zebrafish, a mutation of bicra that mimics one of the loss-of-function variants leads to craniofacial defects possibly akin to the dysmorphic facial features seen in individuals harboring putatively pathogenic BICRA variants. We further show that Bicra physically binds to other non-canonical ncBAF complex members, including the BRD9/7 ortholog, CG7154, and is the defining member of the ncBAF complex in flies. Like other SWI/SNF complex members, loss of Bicra function in flies acts as a dominant enhancer of position effect variegation but in a more context-specific manner. We conclude that haploinsufficiency of BICRA leads to a unique SSRIDD in humans whose phenotypes overlap with those previously reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.11.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820627PMC
December 2020

The Why of YY1: Mechanisms of Transcriptional Regulation by Yin Yang 1.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 30;8:592164. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

First described in 1991, Yin Yang 1 (YY1) is a transcription factor that is ubiquitously expressed throughout mammalian cells. It regulates both transcriptional activation and repression, in a seemingly context-dependent manner. YY1 has a well-established role in the development of the central nervous system, where it is involved in neurogenesis and maintenance of homeostasis in the developing brain. In neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disease, the crucial role of YY1 in cellular processes in the central nervous system is further underscored. In this mini-review, we discuss the various mechanisms leading to the transcriptional activating and repressing roles of YY1, including its role as a traditional transcription factor, its interactions with cofactors and chromatin modifiers, the role of YY1 in the non-coding genome and 3D chromatin organization and the possible implications of the phase-separation mechanism on YY1 function. We provide examples on how these processes can be involved in normal development and how alterations can lead to various diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.592164DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7554316PMC
September 2020

SMN-primed ribosomes modulate the translation of transcripts related to spinal muscular atrophy.

Nat Cell Biol 2020 10 21;22(10):1239-1251. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

Institute of Biophysics, CNR Unit at Trento, Trento, Italy.

The contribution of ribosome heterogeneity and ribosome-associated proteins to the molecular control of proteomes in health and disease remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that survival motor neuron (SMN) protein-the loss of which causes the neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)-binds to ribosomes and that this interaction is tissue-dependent. SMN-primed ribosomes are preferentially positioned within the first five codons of a set of mRNAs that are enriched for translational enhancer sequences in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) and rare codons at the beginning of their coding sequence. These SMN-specific mRNAs are associated with neurogenesis, lipid metabolism, ubiquitination, chromatin regulation and translation. Loss of SMN induces ribosome depletion, especially at the beginning of the coding sequence of SMN-specific mRNAs, leading to impairment of proteins that are involved in motor neuron function and stability, including acetylcholinesterase. Thus, SMN plays a crucial role in the regulation of ribosome fluxes along mRNAs encoding proteins that are relevant to SMA pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41556-020-00577-7DOI Listing
October 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 Clinical Genetics, Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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

Beyond the Exome: The Non-coding Genome and Enhancers in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Malformations of Cortical Development.

Front Cell Neurosci 2019 31;13:352. Epub 2019 Jul 31.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus MC - University Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The development of the human cerebral cortex is a complex and dynamic process, in which neural stem cell proliferation, neuronal migration, and post-migratory neuronal organization need to occur in a well-organized fashion. Alterations at any of these crucial stages can result in malformations of cortical development (MCDs), a group of genetically heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders that present with developmental delay, intellectual disability and epilepsy. Recent progress in genetic technologies, such as next generation sequencing, most often focusing on all protein-coding exons (e.g., whole exome sequencing), allowed the discovery of more than a 100 genes associated with various types of MCDs. Although this has considerably increased the diagnostic yield, most MCD cases remain unexplained. As Whole Exome Sequencing investigates only a minor part of the human genome (1-2%), it is likely that patients, in which no disease-causing mutation has been identified, could harbor mutations in genomic regions beyond the exome. Even though functional annotation of non-coding regions is still lagging behind that of protein-coding genes, tremendous progress has been made in the field of gene regulation. One group of non-coding regulatory regions are enhancers, which can be distantly located upstream or downstream of genes and which can mediate temporal and tissue-specific transcriptional control via long-distance interactions with promoter regions. Although some examples exist in literature that link alterations of enhancers to genetic disorders, a widespread appreciation of the putative roles of these sequences in MCDs is still lacking. Here, we summarize the current state of knowledge on -regulatory regions and discuss novel technologies such as massively-parallel reporter assay systems, CRISPR-Cas9-based screens and computational approaches that help to further elucidate the emerging role of the non-coding genome in disease. Moreover, we discuss existing literature on mutations or copy number alterations of regulatory regions involved in brain development. We foresee that the future implementation of the knowledge obtained through ongoing gene regulation studies will benefit patients and will provide an explanation to part of the missing heritability of MCDs and other genetic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2019.00352DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6685065PMC
July 2019

Active Ribosome Profiling with RiboLace.

Cell Rep 2018 10;25(4):1097-1108.e5

Institute of Biophysics, CNR Unit at Trento, Via Sommarive, 18 Povo, Italy. Electronic address:

Ribosome profiling, or Ribo-seq, is based on large-scale sequencing of RNA fragments protected from nuclease digestion by ribosomes. Thanks to its unique ability to provide positional information about ribosomes flowing along transcripts, this method can be used to shed light on mechanistic aspects of translation. However, current Ribo-seq approaches lack the ability to distinguish between fragments protected by either ribosomes in active translation or inactive ribosomes. To overcome this possible limitation, we developed RiboLace, a method based on an original puromycin-containing molecule capable of isolating active ribosomes by means of an antibody-free and tag-free pull-down approach. RiboLace is fast, works reliably with low amounts of input material, and can be easily and rapidly applied both in vitro and in vivo, thereby generating a global snapshot of active ribosome footprints at single nucleotide resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2018.09.084DOI Listing
October 2018

Functional Dissection of the Enhancer Repertoire in Human Embryonic Stem Cells.

Cell Stem Cell 2018 Aug 19;23(2):276-288.e8. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Institute for Stem Cell Research, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH16 4UU, UK. Electronic address:

Enhancers are genetic elements that regulate spatiotemporal gene expression. Enhancer function requires transcription factor (TF) binding and correlates with histone modifications. However, the extent to which TF binding and histone modifications functionally define active enhancers remains unclear. Here, we combine chromatin immunoprecipitation with a massively parallel reporter assay (ChIP-STARR-seq) to identify functional enhancers in human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) genome-wide in a quantitative unbiased manner. Although active enhancers associate with TFs, only a minority of regions marked by NANOG, OCT4, H3K27ac, and H3K4me1 function as enhancers, with activity markedly changing under naive versus primed culture conditions. We identify an enhancer set associated with functions extending to non-ESC-specific processes. Moreover, although transposable elements associate with putative enhancers, only some exhibit activity. Similarly, within super-enhancers, large tracts are non-functional, with activity restricted to small sub-domains. This catalog of validated enhancers provides a valuable resource for further functional dissection of the regulatory genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2018.06.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084406PMC
August 2018

Temporal and tissue-specific variability of SMN protein levels in mouse models of spinal muscular atrophy.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 08;27(16):2851-2862

Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a progressive motor neuron disease caused by deleterious variants in SMN1 that lead to a marked decrease in survival motor neuron (SMN) protein expression. Humans have a second SMN gene (SMN2) that is almost identical to SMN1. However, due to alternative splicing the majority of SMN2 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) is translated into a truncated, unstable protein that is quickly degraded. Because the presence of SMN2 provides a unique opportunity for therapy development in SMA patients, the mechanisms that regulate SMN2 splicing and mRNA expression have been elucidated in great detail. In contrast, how much SMN protein is produced at different developmental time points and in different tissues remains under-characterized. In this study, we addressed this issue by determining SMN protein expression levels at three developmental time points across six different mouse tissues and in two distinct mouse models of SMA ('severe' Taiwanese and 'intermediate' Smn2B/- mice). We found that, in healthy control mice, SMN protein expression was significantly influenced by both age and tissue type. When comparing mouse models of SMA, we found that, despite being transcribed from genetically different alleles, control SMN levels were relatively similar. In contrast, the degree of SMN depletion between tissues in SMA varied substantially over time and between the two models. These findings offer an explanation for the differential vulnerability of tissues and organs observed in SMA and further our understanding of the systemic and temporal requirements for SMN with direct relevance for developing effective therapies for SMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6077828PMC
August 2018

In Vivo Translatome Profiling in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Reveals a Role for SMN Protein in Ribosome Biology.

Cell Rep 2017 Oct;21(4):953-965

Institute of Biophysics, CNR Unit at Trento, Via Sommarive 18, 38123 Povo (Trento), Italy. Electronic address:

Genetic alterations impacting ubiquitously expressed proteins involved in RNA metabolism often result in neurodegenerative conditions, with increasing evidence suggesting that translation defects can contribute to disease. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease caused by low levels of SMN protein, whose role in pathogenesis remains unclear. Here, we identified in vivo and in vitro translation defects that are cell autonomous and SMN dependent. By determining in parallel the in vivo transcriptome and translatome in SMA mice, we observed a robust decrease in translation efficiency arising during early stages of disease. We provide a catalogue of RNAs with altered translation efficiency, identifying ribosome biology and translation as central processes affected by SMN depletion. This was further supported by a decrease in the number of ribosomes in SMA motor neurons in vivo. Overall, our findings suggest ribosome biology as an important, yet largely overlooked, factor in motor neuron degeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5668566PMC
October 2017