Publications by authors named "Katrin Õunap"

122 Publications

Artificial intelligence enables comprehensive genome interpretation and nomination of candidate diagnoses for rare genetic diseases.

Genome Med 2021 Oct 14;13(1):153. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine, San Diego, CA, USA.

Background: Clinical interpretation of genetic variants in the context of the patient's phenotype is becoming the largest component of cost and time expenditure for genome-based diagnosis of rare genetic diseases. Artificial intelligence (AI) holds promise to greatly simplify and speed genome interpretation by integrating predictive methods with the growing knowledge of genetic disease. Here we assess the diagnostic performance of Fabric GEM, a new, AI-based, clinical decision support tool for expediting genome interpretation.

Methods: We benchmarked GEM in a retrospective cohort of 119 probands, mostly NICU infants, diagnosed with rare genetic diseases, who received whole-genome or whole-exome sequencing (WGS, WES). We replicated our analyses in a separate cohort of 60 cases collected from five academic medical centers. For comparison, we also analyzed these cases with current state-of-the-art variant prioritization tools. Included in the comparisons were trio, duo, and singleton cases. Variants underpinning diagnoses spanned diverse modes of inheritance and types, including structural variants (SVs). Patient phenotypes were extracted from clinical notes by two means: manually and using an automated clinical natural language processing (CNLP) tool. Finally, 14 previously unsolved cases were reanalyzed.

Results: GEM ranked over 90% of the causal genes among the top or second candidate and prioritized for review a median of 3 candidate genes per case, using either manually curated or CNLP-derived phenotype descriptions. Ranking of trios and duos was unchanged when analyzed as singletons. In 17 of 20 cases with diagnostic SVs, GEM identified the causal SVs as the top candidate and in 19/20 within the top five, irrespective of whether SV calls were provided or inferred ab initio by GEM using its own internal SV detection algorithm. GEM showed similar performance in absence of parental genotypes. Analysis of 14 previously unsolved cases resulted in a novel finding for one case, candidates ultimately not advanced upon manual review for 3 cases, and no new findings for 10 cases.

Conclusions: GEM enabled diagnostic interpretation inclusive of all variant types through automated nomination of a very short list of candidate genes and disorders for final review and reporting. In combination with deep phenotyping by CNLP, GEM enables substantial automation of genetic disease diagnosis, potentially decreasing cost and expediting case review.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00965-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8515723PMC
October 2021

A two-year prospective study assessing the performance of fetal chromosomal microarray analysis and next-generation sequencing in high-risk pregnancies.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2021 Sep 6:e1787. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Background: Introduction of cell-free fetal DNA (cff-DNA) testing in maternal blood opened possibilities to improve the performance of combined first-trimester screening (cFTS) in terms of better detection of trisomies and lowering invasive testing rate. The use of new molecular methods, such as chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) and next-generation sequencing (NGS), has shown benefits in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal and genetic diseases, which are not detectable with cff-DNA screening, but require an invasive procedure.

Methods: The objective of this study was to evaluate prospectively during two years performance of CMA and NGS in high-risk pregnancies. Initially, we investigated 14,566 singleton pregnancies with cFTS. A total of 334 high-risk pregnancies were selected for CMA diagnostic performance evaluation and 28 cases of highly dysmorphic fetuses for NGS analysis. CMA study group was divided into two groups based on the indications for testing; group A patients with high-risk for trisomies after cFTS, but normal ultrasound and group B patients who met criteria for CMA as a first-tier diagnostic test.

Results: The diagnostic yield of CMA was overall 3.6% (1.6% in Group A and 6.0% in Group B). In NGS analysis group, we report diagnostic yield of 17.9%.

Conclusion: The use of CMA in high-risk pregnancies is justified and provides relevant clinical information in 3.6% of the cases. NGS analysis in fetuses with multiple anomalies shows promising results, but more investigations are needed for a better understanding of practical applications of this molecular diagnosis method in prenatal settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.1787DOI Listing
September 2021

The Estimated Prevalence of N-Linked Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation Across Various Populations Based on Allele Frequencies in General Population Databases.

Front Genet 2021 10;12:719437. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) are a widely acknowledged group of metabolic diseases. PMM2-CDG is the most frequently diagnosed CDG with a prevalence as high as one in 20,000. In contrast, the prevalence of other CDG types remains unknown. This study aimed to analyze the estimated prevalence of different N-linked protein glycosylation disorders. We extracted allele frequencies for diverse populations from The Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD), encompassing variant frequency information from 141,456 individuals. To identify pathogenic variants, we used the ClinVar database as a primary source. High confidence loss-of-function variants as defined by the LOFTEE algorithm were also classified as pathogenic. After summing up population frequencies for pathogenic alleles, estimated disease birth prevalence values with confidence intervals were calculated using the Bayesian method. We first validated our approach using two more common recessive disorders (cystic fibrosis and phenylketonuria) by showing that the estimated prevalences calculated from population allele frequencies were in accordance with previously published epidemiological studies. Among assessed 27 autosomal recessive N-glycosylation disorders, the only disease with estimated birth prevalence higher than one in 100,000 was PMM2-CDG (in both, all gnomAD individuals and those with European ancestry). The combined prevalence of 27 different N-glycosylation disorders was around one in 22,000 Europeans but varied considerably across populations. We will show estimated prevalence data from diverse populations and explain the possible pitfalls of this analysis. Still, we are confident that these data will guide CDG research and clinical care to identify CDG across populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.719437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8383291PMC
August 2021

Clustered mutations in the GRIK2 kainate receptor subunit gene underlie diverse neurodevelopmental disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 09 9;108(9):1692-1709. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, 2333 Leiden, the Netherlands.

Kainate receptors (KARs) are glutamate-gated cation channels with diverse roles in the central nervous system. Bi-allelic loss of function of the KAR-encoding gene GRIK2 causes a nonsyndromic neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) with intellectual disability and developmental delay as core features. The extent to which mono-allelic variants in GRIK2 also underlie NDDs is less understood because only a single individual has been reported previously. Here, we describe an additional eleven individuals with heterozygous de novo variants in GRIK2 causative for neurodevelopmental deficits that include intellectual disability. Five children harbored recurrent de novo variants (three encoding p.Thr660Lys and two p.Thr660Arg), and four children and one adult were homozygous for a previously reported variant (c.1969G>A [p.Ala657Thr]). Individuals with shared variants had some overlapping behavioral and neurological dysfunction, suggesting that the GRIK2 variants are likely pathogenic. Analogous mutations introduced into recombinant GluK2 KAR subunits at sites within the M3 transmembrane domain (encoding p.Ala657Thr, p.Thr660Lys, and p.Thr660Arg) and the M3-S2 linker domain (encoding p.Ile668Thr) had complex effects on functional properties and membrane localization of homomeric and heteromeric KARs. Both p.Thr660Lys and p.Thr660Arg mutant KARs exhibited markedly slowed gating kinetics, similar to p.Ala657Thr-containing receptors. Moreover, we observed emerging genotype-phenotype correlations, including the presence of severe epilepsy in individuals with the p.Thr660Lys variant and hypomyelination in individuals with either the p.Thr660Lys or p.Thr660Arg variant. Collectively, these results demonstrate that human GRIK2 variants predicted to alter channel function are causative for early childhood development disorders and further emphasize the importance of clarifying the role of KARs in early nervous system development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.07.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8456161PMC
September 2021

Loss-of-function and missense variants in NSD2 cause decreased methylation activity and are associated with a distinct developmental phenotype.

Genet Med 2021 08 3;23(8):1474-1483. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Despite a few recent reports of patients harboring truncating variants in NSD2, a gene considered critical for the Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS) phenotype, the clinical spectrum associated with NSD2 pathogenic variants remains poorly understood.

Methods: We collected a comprehensive series of 18 unpublished patients carrying heterozygous missense, elongating, or truncating NSD2 variants; compared their clinical data to the typical WHS phenotype after pooling them with ten previously described patients; and assessed the underlying molecular mechanism by structural modeling and measuring methylation activity in vitro.

Results: The core NSD2-associated phenotype includes mostly mild developmental delay, prenatal-onset growth retardation, low body mass index, and characteristic facial features distinct from WHS. Patients carrying missense variants were significantly taller and had more frequent behavioral/psychological issues compared with those harboring truncating variants. Structural in silico modeling suggested interference with NSD2's folding and function for all missense variants in known structures. In vitro testing showed reduced methylation activity and failure to reconstitute H3K36me2 in NSD2 knockout cells for most missense variants.

Conclusion: NSD2 loss-of-function variants lead to a distinct, rather mild phenotype partially overlapping with WHS. To avoid confusion for patients, NSD2 deficiency may be named Rauch-Steindl syndrome after the delineators of this phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01158-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8354849PMC
August 2021

Truncating SRCAP variants outside the Floating-Harbor syndrome locus cause a distinct neurodevelopmental disorder with a specific DNA methylation signature.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 06 27;108(6):1053-1068. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20251 Hamburg, Germany.

Truncating variants in exons 33 and 34 of the SNF2-related CREBBP activator protein (SRCAP) gene cause the neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) Floating-Harbor syndrome (FLHS), characterized by short stature, speech delay, and facial dysmorphism. Here, we present a cohort of 33 individuals with clinical features distinct from FLHS and truncating (mostly de novo) SRCAP variants either proximal (n = 28) or distal (n = 5) to the FLHS locus. Detailed clinical characterization of the proximal SRCAP individuals identified shared characteristics: developmental delay with or without intellectual disability, behavioral and psychiatric problems, non-specific facial features, musculoskeletal issues, and hypotonia. Because FLHS is known to be associated with a unique set of DNA methylation (DNAm) changes in blood, a DNAm signature, we investigated whether there was a distinct signature associated with our affected individuals. A machine-learning model, based on the FLHS DNAm signature, negatively classified all our tested subjects. Comparing proximal variants with typically developing controls, we identified a DNAm signature distinct from the FLHS signature. Based on the DNAm and clinical data, we refer to the condition as "non-FLHS SRCAP-related NDD." All five distal variants classified negatively using the FLHS DNAm model while two classified positively using the proximal model. This suggests divergent pathogenicity of these variants, though clinically the distal group presented with NDD, similar to the proximal SRCAP group. In summary, for SRCAP, there is a clear relationship between variant location, DNAm profile, and clinical phenotype. These results highlight the power of combined epigenetic, molecular, and clinical studies to identify and characterize genotype-epigenotype-phenotype correlations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206150PMC
June 2021

A form of muscular dystrophy associated with pathogenic variants in JAG2.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 05 15;108(5):840-856. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Centre de Référence Neuromusculaire and Paediatric Neurology Department, Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1020 Brussels, Belgium.

JAG2 encodes the Notch ligand Jagged2. The conserved Notch signaling pathway contributes to the development and homeostasis of multiple tissues, including skeletal muscle. We studied an international cohort of 23 individuals with genetically unsolved muscular dystrophy from 13 unrelated families. Whole-exome sequencing identified rare homozygous or compound heterozygous JAG2 variants in all 13 families. The identified bi-allelic variants include 10 missense variants that disrupt highly conserved amino acids, a nonsense variant, two frameshift variants, an in-frame deletion, and a microdeletion encompassing JAG2. Onset of muscle weakness occurred from infancy to young adulthood. Serum creatine kinase (CK) levels were normal or mildly elevated. Muscle histology was primarily dystrophic. MRI of the lower extremities revealed a distinct, slightly asymmetric pattern of muscle involvement with cores of preserved and affected muscles in quadriceps and tibialis anterior, in some cases resembling patterns seen in POGLUT1-associated muscular dystrophy. Transcriptome analysis of muscle tissue from two participants suggested misregulation of genes involved in myogenesis, including PAX7. In complementary studies, Jag2 downregulation in murine myoblasts led to downregulation of multiple components of the Notch pathway, including Megf10. Investigations in Drosophila suggested an interaction between Serrate and Drpr, the fly orthologs of JAG1/JAG2 and MEGF10, respectively. In silico analysis predicted that many Jagged2 missense variants are associated with structural changes and protein misfolding. In summary, we describe a muscular dystrophy associated with pathogenic variants in JAG2 and evidence suggests a disease mechanism related to Notch pathway dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.03.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206160PMC
May 2021

A DNA repair disorder caused by de novo monoallelic DDB1 variants is associated with a neurodevelopmental syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 19;108(4):749-756. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada; Newborn Screening Ontario, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L1, Canada.

The DNA damage-binding protein 1 (DDB1) is part of the CUL4-DDB1 ubiquitin E3 ligase complex (CRL4), which is essential for DNA repair, chromatin remodeling, DNA replication, and signal transduction. Loss-of-function variants in genes encoding the complex components CUL4 and PHIP have been reported to cause syndromic intellectual disability with hypotonia and obesity, but no phenotype has been reported in association with DDB1 variants. Here, we report eight unrelated individuals, identified through Matchmaker Exchange, with de novo monoallelic variants in DDB1, including one recurrent variant in four individuals. The affected individuals have a consistent phenotype of hypotonia, mild to moderate intellectual disability, and similar facies, including horizontal or slightly bowed eyebrows, deep-set eyes, full cheeks, a short nose, and large, fleshy and forward-facing earlobes, demonstrated in the composite face generated from the cohort. Digital anomalies, including brachydactyly and syndactyly, were common. Three older individuals have obesity. We show that cells derived from affected individuals have altered DDB1 function resulting in abnormal DNA damage signatures and histone methylation following UV-induced DNA damage. Overall, our study adds to the growing family of neurodevelopmental phenotypes mediated by disruption of the CRL4 ubiquitin ligase pathway and begins to delineate the phenotypic and molecular effects of DDB1 misregulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059373PMC
April 2021

POLRMT mutations impair mitochondrial transcription causing neurological disease.

Nat Commun 2021 02 18;12(1):1135. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA.

While >300 disease-causing variants have been identified in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase γ, no mitochondrial phenotypes have been associated with POLRMT, the RNA polymerase responsible for transcription of the mitochondrial genome. Here, we characterise the clinical and molecular nature of POLRMT variants in eight individuals from seven unrelated families. Patients present with global developmental delay, hypotonia, short stature, and speech/intellectual disability in childhood; one subject displayed an indolent progressive external ophthalmoplegia phenotype. Massive parallel sequencing of all subjects identifies recessive and dominant variants in the POLRMT gene. Patient fibroblasts have a defect in mitochondrial mRNA synthesis, but no mtDNA deletions or copy number abnormalities. The in vitro characterisation of the recombinant POLRMT mutants reveals variable, but deleterious effects on mitochondrial transcription. Together, our in vivo and in vitro functional studies of POLRMT variants establish defective mitochondrial transcription as an important disease mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21279-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7893070PMC
February 2021

Biallelic variants in TSPOAP1, encoding the active-zone protein RIMBP1, cause autosomal recessive dystonia.

J Clin Invest 2021 04;131(7)

Department of Clinical Genetics, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Dystonia is a debilitating hyperkinetic movement disorder, which can be transmitted as a monogenic trait. Here, we describe homozygous frameshift, nonsense, and missense variants in TSPOAP1, which encodes the active-zone RIM-binding protein 1 (RIMBP1), as a genetic cause of autosomal recessive dystonia in 7 subjects from 3 unrelated families. Subjects carrying loss-of-function variants presented with juvenile-onset progressive generalized dystonia, associated with intellectual disability and cerebellar atrophy. Conversely, subjects carrying a pathogenic missense variant (p.Gly1808Ser) presented with isolated adult-onset focal dystonia. In mice, complete loss of RIMBP1, known to reduce neurotransmission, led to motor abnormalities reminiscent of dystonia, decreased Purkinje cell dendritic arborization, and reduced numbers of cerebellar synapses. In vitro analysis of the p.Gly1808Ser variant showed larger spike-evoked calcium transients and enhanced neurotransmission, suggesting that RIMBP1-linked dystonia can be caused by either reduced or enhanced rates of spike-evoked release in relevant neural networks. Our findings establish a direct link between dysfunction of the presynaptic active zone and dystonia and highlight the critical role played by well-balanced neurotransmission in motor control and disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI140625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8011894PMC
April 2021

Linkage-specific deubiquitylation by OTUD5 defines an embryonic pathway intolerant to genomic variation.

Sci Adv 2021 Jan 20;7(4). Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Metabolic, Cardiovascular and Inflammatory Disease Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Reversible modification of proteins with linkage-specific ubiquitin chains is critical for intracellular signaling. Information on physiological roles and underlying mechanisms of particular ubiquitin linkages during human development are limited. Here, relying on genomic constraint scores, we identify 10 patients with multiple congenital anomalies caused by hemizygous variants in , encoding a K48/K63 linkage-specific deubiquitylase. By studying these mutations, we find that OTUD5 controls neuroectodermal differentiation through cleaving K48-linked ubiquitin chains to counteract degradation of select chromatin regulators (e.g., ARID1A/B, histone deacetylase 2, and HCF1), mutations of which underlie diseases that exhibit phenotypic overlap with patients. Loss of OTUD5 during differentiation leads to less accessible chromatin at neuroectodermal enhancers and aberrant gene expression. Our study describes a previously unidentified disorder we name LINKED (LINKage-specific deubiquitylation deficiency-induced Embryonic Defects) syndrome and reveals linkage-specific ubiquitin cleavage from chromatin remodelers as an essential signaling mode that coordinates chromatin remodeling during embryogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe2116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7817106PMC
January 2021

Atypical presentation of Arts syndrome due to a novel hemizygous loss-of-function variant in the gene.

Mol Genet Metab Rep 2020 Dec 18;25:100677. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Department of Clinical Genetics, United Laboratories, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia.

The gene, located on Xq22.3, encodes phosphoribosyl-pyrophosphate synthetase (PRPS), a key enzyme in de novo purine synthesis. Three clinical phenotypes are associated with loss-of-function variants and decreased PRPS activity: Arts syndrome (OMIM: 301835), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 5 (CMTX5, OMIM: 311070), and nonsyndromic X-linked deafness (DFN2, OMIM: 304500). Hearing loss is present in all cases. CMTX5 patients also show peripheral neuropathy and optic atrophy. Arts syndrome includes developmental delay, intellectual disability, ataxia, and susceptibility to infections, in addition to the above three features. Gain-of-function variants result in PRPS superactivity (OMIM: 300661) with hyperuricemia and gout. We report a 6-year-old boy who presented with marked generalized muscular hypotonia, global developmental delay, lack of speech, trunk instability, exercise intolerance, hypomimic face with open mouth, oropharyngeal dysphagia, dysarthria, and frequent upper respiratory tract infections. However, his nerve conduction velocity, audiologic, and funduscopic investigations were normal. A novel hemizygous variant, c.130A > G p.(Ile44Val), was found in the gene by panel sequencing. PRPS activity in erythrocytes was markedly reduced, confirming the pathogenicity of the variant. Serum uric acid and urinary purine and pyrimidine metabolite levels were normal. In conclusion, we present a novel loss-of-function variant in a patient with some clinical features of Arts syndrome, but lacking a major attribute, hearing loss, which is congenital/early-onset in all other reported Arts syndrome patients. In addition, it is important to acknowledge that normal levels of serum and urinary purine and pyrimidine metabolites do not exclude -related disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymgmr.2020.100677DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689168PMC
December 2020

Histone H3.3 beyond cancer: Germline mutations in cause a previously unidentified neurodegenerative disorder in 46 patients.

Sci Adv 2020 Dec 2;6(49). Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Institut für Neurogenomik, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany.

Although somatic mutations in Histone 3.3 (H3.3) are well-studied drivers of oncogenesis, the role of germline mutations remains unreported. We analyze 46 patients bearing de novo germline mutations in histone 3 family 3A () or with progressive neurologic dysfunction and congenital anomalies without malignancies. Molecular modeling of all 37 variants demonstrated clear disruptions in interactions with DNA, other histones, and histone chaperone proteins. Patient histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs) analysis revealed notably aberrant local PTM patterns distinct from the somatic lysine mutations that cause global PTM dysregulation. RNA sequencing on patient cells demonstrated up-regulated gene expression related to mitosis and cell division, and cellular assays confirmed an increased proliferative capacity. A zebrafish model showed craniofacial anomalies and a defect in Foxd3-derived glia. These data suggest that the mechanism of germline mutations are distinct from cancer-associated somatic histone mutations but may converge on control of cell proliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abc9207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821880PMC
December 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

Complex I deficiency and Leigh syndrome through the eyes of a clinician.

EMBO Mol Med 2020 11 30;12(11):e13187. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Mitochondrial complex I deficiency is associated with a wide range of clinical presentations, including Leigh syndrome. Its genetic causes are heterogeneous, with poor genotype-phenotype correlation. It is impossible to identify the genetic defect of complex I deficiency using clinical observation and metabolic/imaging studies alone. As a result, whole-exome sequencing (WES) is increasingly used in clinical work to identify an underlying genetic defect causing the disease. The article in this issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine by Alahmad et al (2020) is timely and valuable, as it expands on the genotype of mitochondrial complex I deficiency by identifying and characterising pathogenic variants of the NDUFC2 gene in children with Leigh syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.202013187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645367PMC
November 2020

Monogenic variants in dystonia: an exome-wide sequencing study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 11;19(11):908-918

Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Background: Dystonia is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous condition that occurs in isolation (isolated dystonia), in combination with other movement disorders (combined dystonia), or in the context of multisymptomatic phenotypes (isolated or combined dystonia with other neurological involvement). However, our understanding of its aetiology is still incomplete. We aimed to elucidate the monogenic causes for the major clinical categories of dystonia.

Methods: For this exome-wide sequencing study, study participants were identified at 33 movement-disorder and neuropaediatric specialty centres in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Each individual with dystonia was diagnosed in accordance with the dystonia consensus definition. Index cases were eligible for this study if they had no previous genetic diagnosis and no indication of an acquired cause of their illness. The second criterion was not applied to a subset of participants with a working clinical diagnosis of dystonic cerebral palsy. Genomic DNA was extracted from blood of participants and whole-exome sequenced. To find causative variants in known disorder-associated genes, all variants were filtered, and unreported variants were classified according to American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics guidelines. All considered variants were reviewed in expert round-table sessions to validate their clinical significance. Variants that survived filtering and interpretation procedures were defined as diagnostic variants. In the cases that went undiagnosed, candidate dystonia-causing genes were prioritised in a stepwise workflow.

Findings: We sequenced the exomes of 764 individuals with dystonia and 346 healthy parents who were recruited between June 1, 2015, and July 31, 2019. We identified causative or probable causative variants in 135 (19%) of 728 families, involving 78 distinct monogenic disorders. We observed a larger proportion of individuals with diagnostic variants in those with dystonia (either isolated or combined) with coexisting non-movement disorder-related neurological symptoms (100 [45%] of 222; excepting cases with evidence of perinatal brain injury) than in those with combined (19 [19%] of 98) or isolated (16 [4%] of 388) dystonia. Across all categories of dystonia, 104 (65%) of the 160 detected variants affected genes which are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. We found diagnostic variants in 11 genes not previously linked to dystonia, and propose a predictive clinical score that could guide the implementation of exome sequencing in routine diagnostics. In cases without perinatal sentinel events, genomic alterations contributed substantively to the diagnosis of dystonic cerebral palsy. In 15 families, we delineated 12 candidate genes. These include IMPDH2, encoding a key purine biosynthetic enzyme, for which robust evidence existed for its involvement in a neurodevelopmental disorder with dystonia. We identified six variants in IMPDH2, collected from four independent cohorts, that were predicted to be deleterious de-novo variants and expected to result in deregulation of purine metabolism.

Interpretation: In this study, we have determined the role of monogenic variants across the range of dystonic disorders, providing guidance for the introduction of personalised care strategies and fostering follow-up pathophysiological explorations.

Funding: Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, Technische Universität München, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Charles University in Prague, Czech Ministry of Education, the Slovak Grant and Development Agency, the Slovak Research and Grant Agency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30312-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246240PMC
November 2020

Alternative genomic diagnoses for individuals with a clinical diagnosis of Dubowitz syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 01 24;185(1):119-133. Epub 2020 Oct 24.

Department of Medical Genetics, Kanuni Sultan Suleyman Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.

Dubowitz syndrome (DubS) is considered a recognizable syndrome characterized by a distinctive facial appearance and deficits in growth and development. There have been over 200 individuals reported with Dubowitz or a "Dubowitz-like" condition, although no single gene has been implicated as responsible for its cause. We have performed exome (ES) or genome sequencing (GS) for 31 individuals clinically diagnosed with DubS. After genome-wide sequencing, rare variant filtering and computational and Mendelian genomic analyses, a presumptive molecular diagnosis was made in 13/27 (48%) families. The molecular diagnoses included biallelic variants in SKIV2L, SLC35C1, BRCA1, NSUN2; de novo variants in ARID1B, ARID1A, CREBBP, POGZ, TAF1, HDAC8, and copy-number variation at1p36.11(ARID1A), 8q22.2(VPS13B), Xp22, and Xq13(HDAC8). Variants of unknown significance in known disease genes, and also in genes of uncertain significance, were observed in 7/27 (26%) additional families. Only one gene, HDAC8, could explain the phenotype in more than one family (N = 2). All but two of the genomic diagnoses were for genes discovered, or for conditions recognized, since the introduction of next-generation sequencing. Overall, the DubS-like clinical phenotype is associated with extensive locus heterogeneity and the molecular diagnoses made are for emerging clinical conditions sharing characteristic features that overlap the DubS phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61926DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197629PMC
January 2021

Leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts: Genetic and phenotypic spectrum.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 01 7;185(1):15-25. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK.

Biallelic mutations in SNORD118, encoding the small nucleolar RNA U8, cause leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts (LCC). Given the difficulty in interpreting the functional consequences of variants in nonprotein encoding genes, and the high allelic polymorphism across SNORD118 in controls, we set out to provide a description of the molecular pathology and clinical spectrum observed in a cohort of patients with LCC. We identified 64 affected individuals from 56 families. Age at presentation varied from 3 weeks to 67 years, with disease onset after age 40 years in eight patients. Ten patients had died. We recorded 44 distinct, likely pathogenic, variants in SNORD118. Fifty two of 56 probands were compound heterozygotes, with parental consanguinity reported in only three families. Forty nine of 56 probands were either heterozygous (46) or homozygous (three) for a mutation involving one of seven nucleotides that facilitate a novel intramolecular interaction between the 5' end and 3' extension of precursor-U8. There was no obvious genotype-phenotype correlation to explain the marked variability in age at onset. Complementing recently published functional analyses in a zebrafish model, these data suggest that LCC most often occurs due to combinatorial severe and milder mutations, with the latter mostly affecting 3' end processing of precursor-U8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61907DOI Listing
January 2021

Distinct effects on mRNA export factor GANP underlie neurological disease phenotypes and alter gene expression depending on intron content.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 06;29(9):1426-1439

Stem Cells and Metabolism Research Program, Research Programs Unit, University of Helsinki, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.

Defects in the mRNA export scaffold protein GANP, encoded by the MCM3AP gene, cause autosomal recessive early-onset peripheral neuropathy with or without intellectual disability. We extend here the phenotypic range associated with MCM3AP variants, by describing a severely hypotonic child and a sibling pair with a progressive encephalopathic syndrome. In addition, our analysis of skin fibroblasts from affected individuals from seven unrelated families indicates that disease variants result in depletion of GANP except when they alter critical residues in the Sac3 mRNA binding domain. GANP depletion was associated with more severe phenotypes compared with the Sac3 variants. Patient fibroblasts showed transcriptome alterations that suggested intron content-dependent regulation of gene expression. For example, all differentially expressed intronless genes were downregulated, including ATXN7L3B, which couples mRNA export to transcription activation by association with the TREX-2 and SAGA complexes. Our results provide insight into the molecular basis behind genotype-phenotype correlations in MCM3AP-associated disease and suggest mechanisms by which GANP defects might alter RNA metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297229PMC
June 2020

Clinical and biochemical improvement with galactose supplementation in SLC35A2-CDG.

Genet Med 2020 06 27;22(6):1102-1107. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Department of Paediatrics and Metabolic Center, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Purpose: We studied galactose supplementation in SLC35A2-congenital disorder of glycosylation (SLC35A2-CDG), caused by monoallelic pathogenic variants in SLC35A2 (Xp11.23), encoding the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi UDP-galactose transporter. Patients present with epileptic encephalopathy, developmental disability, growth deficiency, and dysmorphism.

Methods: Ten patients with SLC35A2-CDG were supplemented with oral D-galactose for 18 weeks in escalating doses up to 1.5 g/kg/day. Outcome was assessed using the Nijmegen Pediatric CDG Rating Scale (NPCRS, ten patients) and by glycomics (eight patients).

Results: SLC35A2-CDG patients demonstrated improvements in overall Nijmegen Pediatric CDG Rating Scale (NPCRS) score (P = 0.008), the current clinical assessment (P = 0.007), and the system specific involvement (P = 0.042) domains. Improvements were primarily in growth and development with five patients resuming developmental progress, which included postural control, response to stimuli, and chewing and swallowing amelioration. Additionally, there were improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms and epilepsy. One patient in our study did not show any clinical improvement. Galactose supplementation improved patients' glycosylation with decreased ratios of incompletely formed to fully formed glycans (M-gal/disialo, P = 0.012 and monosialo/disialo, P = 0.017) and increased levels of a fully galactosylated N-glycan (P = 0.05).

Conclusions: Oral D-galactose supplementation results in clinical and biochemical improvement in SLC35A2-CDG. Galactose supplementation may partially overcome the Golgi UDP-galactose deficiency and improves galactosylation. Oral galactose is well tolerated and shows promise as dietary therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0767-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7275909PMC
June 2020

An intellectual disability syndrome with single-nucleotide variants in O-GlcNAc transferase.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 06 20;28(6):706-714. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Division of Gene Regulation and Expression and School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK.

Intellectual disability (ID) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects ~1% of the world population. In total 5-10% of ID cases are due to variants in genes located on the X chromosome. Recently, variants in OGT have been shown to co-segregate with X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) in multiple families. OGT encodes O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), an essential enzyme that catalyses O-linked glycosylation with β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) on serine/threonine residues of thousands of nuclear and cytosolic proteins. In this review, we compile the work from the last few years that clearly delineates a new syndromic form of ID, which we propose to classify as a novel Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation (OGT-CDG). We discuss potential hypotheses for the underpinning molecular mechanism(s) that provide impetus for future research studies geared towards informed interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0589-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7253464PMC
June 2020

Genome sequencing identifies a homozygous inversion disrupting QDPR as a cause for dihydropteridine reductase deficiency.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2020 04 5;8(4):e1154. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Department of Clinical Genetics, United Laboratories, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia.

Background: Dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) is one of the key enzymes for maintaining in the organism the supply of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH ), an essential cofactor for aromatic amino acid hydroxylases. Its dysfunction causes the condition of hyperphenylalaninemia together with the lack of neurotransmitters.

Methods: We report a patient with biochemically diagnosed DHPR deficiency, with extensive molecular investigations undertaken to detect variations in quinoid dihydropteridine reductase (QDPR) gene. Sanger sequencing of QDPR coding regions, exome sequencing, QDPR mRNA PCR, and karyotyping were followed by trio genome sequencing.

Results: Short-read genome sequencing revealed a homozygous 9-Mb inversion disrupting QDPR. Structural variant breakpoints in chromosome 4 were located to intron 2 of QDPR at Chr4(GRCh38):g.17505522 and in intron 8 of the ACOX3 gene, Chr4(GRCh38):g.8398067). Both nonrelated parents carried the variant in heterozygous state. The inversion was not present in gnomAD structural variant database.

Conclusion: Identification of the exact breakpoints now allows further straightforward molecular genetic testing of potential carriers of the inversion. This study extends the pathogenic variant spectrum of DHPR deficiency and highlights the role of structural variants in recessive metabolic disorders. To our knowledge, this is the first report on a large, canonical (rather than complex) homozygous pathogenic inversion detected by genome sequencing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.1154DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196484PMC
April 2020

De novo TBR1 variants cause a neurocognitive phenotype with ID and autistic traits: report of 25 new individuals and review of the literature.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 06 31;28(6):770-782. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

Department of Pediatrics, The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, Maine Medical Center, Portland, OR, USA.

TBR1, a T-box transcription factor expressed in the cerebral cortex, regulates the expression of several candidate genes for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Although TBR1 has been reported as a high-confidence risk gene for ASD and intellectual disability (ID) in functional and clinical reports since 2011, TBR1 has only recently been recorded as a human disease gene in the OMIM database. Currently, the neurodevelopmental disorders and structural brain anomalies associated with TBR1 variants are not well characterized. Through international data sharing, we collected data from 25 unreported individuals and compared them with data from the literature. We evaluated structural brain anomalies in seven individuals by analysis of MRI images, and compared these with anomalies observed in TBR1 mutant mice. The phenotype included ID in all individuals, associated to autistic traits in 76% of them. No recognizable facial phenotype could be identified. MRI analysis revealed a reduction of the anterior commissure and suggested new features including dysplastic hippocampus and subtle neocortical dysgenesis. This report supports the role of TBR1 in ID associated with autistic traits and suggests new structural brain malformations in humans. We hope this work will help geneticists to interpret TBR1 variants and diagnose ASD probands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0571-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7253452PMC
June 2020

Delineation of a Human Mendelian Disorder of the DNA Demethylation Machinery: TET3 Deficiency.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 02 9;106(2):234-245. Epub 2020 Jan 9.

Division of Evolution & Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Health Innovation Manchester, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.

Germline pathogenic variants in chromatin-modifying enzymes are a common cause of pediatric developmental disorders. These enzymes catalyze reactions that regulate epigenetic inheritance via histone post-translational modifications and DNA methylation. Cytosine methylation (5-methylcytosine [5mC]) of DNA is the quintessential epigenetic mark, yet no human Mendelian disorder of DNA demethylation has yet been delineated. Here, we describe in detail a Mendelian disorder caused by the disruption of DNA demethylation. TET3 is a methylcytosine dioxygenase that initiates DNA demethylation during early zygote formation, embryogenesis, and neuronal differentiation and is intolerant to haploinsufficiency in mice and humans. We identify and characterize 11 cases of human TET3 deficiency in eight families with the common phenotypic features of intellectual disability and/or global developmental delay; hypotonia; autistic traits; movement disorders; growth abnormalities; and facial dysmorphism. Mono-allelic frameshift and nonsense variants in TET3 occur throughout the coding region. Mono-allelic and bi-allelic missense variants localize to conserved residues; all but one such variant occur within the catalytic domain, and most display hypomorphic function in an assay of catalytic activity. TET3 deficiency and other Mendelian disorders of the epigenetic machinery show substantial phenotypic overlap, including features of intellectual disability and abnormal growth, underscoring shared disease mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.12.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7010978PMC
February 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

A missense mutation in the catalytic domain of O-GlcNAc transferase links perturbations in protein O-GlcNAcylation to X-linked intellectual disability.

FEBS Lett 2020 02 7;594(4):717-727. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Division of Gene Regulation and Expression, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK.

X-linked intellectual disabilities (XLID) are common developmental disorders. The enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase encoded by OGT, a recently discovered XLID gene, attaches O-GlcNAc to nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. As few missense mutations have been described, it is unclear what the aetiology of the patient phenotypes is. Here, we report the discovery of a missense mutation in the catalytic domain of OGT in an XLID patient. X-ray crystallography reveals that this variant leads to structural rearrangements in the catalytic domain. The mutation reduces in vitro OGT activity on substrate peptides/protein. Mouse embryonic stem cells carrying the mutation reveal reduced O-GlcNAcase (OGA) and global O-GlcNAc levels. These data suggest a direct link between changes in the O-GlcNAcome and intellectual disability observed in patients carrying OGT mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1873-3468.13640DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042088PMC
February 2020

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

FLAD1-associated multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency identified by newborn screening.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2019 09 8;7(9):e915. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Department of Clinical Genetics, United Laboratories, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia.

Background: Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD), also known as glutaric aciduria type II, is a mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorder caused by variants in ETFA, ETFB, and ETFDH. Recently, riboflavin transporter genes and the mitochondrial FAD transporter gene have also been associated with MADD-like phenotype.

Methods: We present a case of MADD identified by newborn biochemical screening in a full-term infant suggestive of both medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency and MADD. Urine organic acid GC/MS analysis was also concerning for both disorders. However, panel sequencing of ETFA, ETFB, ETFDH, and ACADM was unrevealing. Ultimately, a variant in the FAD synthase gene, FLAD1 was found explaining the clinical presentation.

Results: Exome sequencing identified compound heterozygous variants in FLAD1: NM_025207.4: c.[442C>T];[1588C>T], p.[Arg148*];[Arg530Cys]. The protein damaging effects were confirmed by Western blot. The patient remained asymptomatic and there was no clinical decompensation during the first year of life. Plasma acylcarnitine and urinary organic acid analyses normalized without any treatment. Riboflavin supplementation was started at 15 months.

Conclusion: Newborn screening, designed to screen for specific treatable congenital metabolic diseases, may also lead to the diagnosis of additional, very rare metabolic disorders such as FLAD1 deficiency. The case further illustrates that even milder forms of FLAD1 deficiency are detectable in the asymptomatic state by newborn screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.915DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732309PMC
September 2019

De Novo Variants Disturbing the Transactivation Capacity of POU3F3 Cause a Characteristic Neurodevelopmental Disorder.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 08 11;105(2):403-412. Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Department of Human Genetics, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, Yokohama 236-0004, Japan.

POU3F3, also referred to as Brain-1, is a well-known transcription factor involved in the development of the central nervous system, but it has not previously been associated with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Here, we report the identification of 19 individuals with heterozygous POU3F3 disruptions, most of which are de novo variants. All individuals had developmental delays and/or intellectual disability and impairments in speech and language skills. Thirteen individuals had characteristic low-set, prominent, and/or cupped ears. Brain abnormalities were observed in seven of eleven MRI reports. POU3F3 is an intronless gene, insensitive to nonsense-mediated decay, and 13 individuals carried protein-truncating variants. All truncating variants that we tested in cellular models led to aberrant subcellular localization of the encoded protein. Luciferase assays demonstrated negative effects of these alleles on transcriptional activation of a reporter with a FOXP2-derived binding motif. In addition to the loss-of-function variants, five individuals had missense variants that clustered at specific positions within the functional domains, and one small in-frame deletion was identified. Two missense variants showed reduced transactivation capacity in our assays, whereas one variant displayed gain-of-function effects, suggesting a distinct pathophysiological mechanism. In bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) interaction assays, all the truncated POU3F3 versions that we tested had significantly impaired dimerization capacities, whereas all missense variants showed unaffected dimerization with wild-type POU3F3. Taken together, our identification and functional cell-based analyses of pathogenic variants in POU3F3, coupled with a clinical characterization, implicate disruptions of this gene in a characteristic neurodevelopmental disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.06.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698880PMC
August 2019
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