Publications by authors named "Lisenka E L M Vissers"

110 Publications

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

Am J Hum Genet 2021 Oct 1. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

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
October 2021

Establishing the phenotypic spectrum of ZTTK syndrome by analysis of 52 individuals with variants in SON.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Sep 15. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Zhu-Tokita-Takenouchi-Kim (ZTTK) syndrome, an intellectual disability syndrome first described in 2016, is caused by heterozygous loss-of-function variants in SON. Its encoded protein promotes pre-mRNA splicing of many genes essential for development. Whereas individual phenotypic traits have previously been linked to erroneous splicing of SON target genes, the phenotypic spectrum and the pathogenicity of missense variants have not been further evaluated. We present the phenotypic abnormalities in 52 individuals, including 17 individuals who have not been reported before. In total, loss-of-function variants were detected in 49 individuals (de novo in 47, inheritance unknown in 2), and in 3, a missense variant was observed (2 de novo, 1 inheritance unknown). Phenotypic abnormalities, systematically collected and analyzed in Human Phenotype Ontology, were found in all organ systems. Significant inter-individual phenotypic variability was observed, even in individuals with the same recurrent variant (n = 13). SON haploinsufficiency was previously shown to lead to downregulation of downstream genes, contributing to specific phenotypic features. Similar functional analysis for one missense variant, however, suggests a different mechanism than for heterozygous loss-of-function. Although small in numbers and while pathogenicity of these variants is not certain, these data allow for speculation whether de novo missense variants cause ZTTK syndrome via another mechanism, or a separate overlapping syndrome. In conclusion, heterozygous loss-of-function variants in SON define a recognizable syndrome, ZTTK, associated with a broad, severe phenotypic spectrum, characterized by a large inter-individual variability. These observations provide essential information for affected individuals, parents, and healthcare professionals to ensure appropriate clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00960-4DOI Listing
September 2021

Genetic convergence of developmental and epileptic encephalopathies and intellectual disability.

Dev Med Child Neurol 2021 Jul 11. Epub 2021 Jul 11.

Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Aim: To determine whether genes that cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are more commonly implicated in intellectual disability with epilepsy as a comorbid feature than in intellectual disability only.

Method: We performed targeted resequencing of 18 genes commonly implicated in DEEs in a cohort of 830 patients with intellectual disability (59% male) and 393 patients with DEEs (52% male).

Results: We observed a significant enrichment of pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in patients with epilepsy and intellectual disability (16 out of 159 in seven genes) compared with intellectual disability only (2 out of 671) (p<1.86×10 , odds ratio 37.22, 95% confidence interval 8.60-337.0).

Interpretation: We identified seven genes that are more likely to cause epilepsy and intellectual disability than intellectual disability only. Conversely, two genes, GRIN2B and SCN2A, can be implicated in intellectual disability without epilepsy; in these instances intellectual disability is not a secondary consequence of ongoing seizures but rather a primary cause.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.14989DOI Listing
July 2021

A MT-TL1 variant identified by whole exome sequencing in an individual with intellectual disability, epilepsy, and spastic tetraparesis.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Sep 1;29(9):1359-1368. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The genetic etiology of intellectual disability remains elusive in almost half of all affected individuals. Within the Solve-RD consortium, systematic re-analysis of whole exome sequencing (WES) data from unresolved cases with (syndromic) intellectual disability (n = 1,472 probands) was performed. This re-analysis included variant calling of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants, although mtDNA is not specifically targeted in WES. We identified a functionally relevant mtDNA variant in MT-TL1 (NC_012920.1:m.3291T > C; NC_012920.1:n.62T > C), at a heteroplasmy level of 22% in whole blood, in a 23-year-old male with severe intellectual disability, epilepsy, episodic headaches with emesis, spastic tetraparesis, brain abnormalities, and feeding difficulties. Targeted validation in blood and urine supported pathogenicity, with heteroplasmy levels of 23% and 58% in index, and 4% and 17% in mother, respectively. Interestingly, not all phenotypic features observed in the index have been previously linked to this MT-TL1 variant, suggesting either broadening of the m.3291T > C-associated phenotype, or presence of a co-occurring disorder. Hence, our case highlights the importance of underappreciated mtDNA variants identifiable from WES data, especially for cases with atypical mitochondrial phenotypes and their relatives in the maternal line.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00900-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8440635PMC
September 2021

Solving patients with rare diseases through programmatic reanalysis of genome-phenome data.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Sep 1;29(9):1337-1347. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

CNAG-CRG, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Baldiri Reixac 4, Barcelona, Spain.

Reanalysis of inconclusive exome/genome sequencing data increases the diagnosis yield of patients with rare diseases. However, the cost and efforts required for reanalysis prevent its routine implementation in research and clinical environments. The Solve-RD project aims to reveal the molecular causes underlying undiagnosed rare diseases. One of the goals is to implement innovative approaches to reanalyse the exomes and genomes from thousands of well-studied undiagnosed cases. The raw genomic data is submitted to Solve-RD through the RD-Connect Genome-Phenome Analysis Platform (GPAP) together with standardised phenotypic and pedigree data. We have developed a programmatic workflow to reanalyse genome-phenome data. It uses the RD-Connect GPAP's Application Programming Interface (API) and relies on the big-data technologies upon which the system is built. We have applied the workflow to prioritise rare known pathogenic variants from 4411 undiagnosed cases. The queries returned an average of 1.45 variants per case, which first were evaluated in bulk by a panel of disease experts and afterwards specifically by the submitter of each case. A total of 120 index cases (21.2% of prioritised cases, 2.7% of all exome/genome-negative samples) have already been solved, with others being under investigation. The implementation of solutions as the one described here provide the technical framework to enable periodic case-level data re-evaluation in clinical settings, as recommended by the American College of Medical Genetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00852-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8440686PMC
September 2021

Solve-RD: systematic pan-European data sharing and collaborative analysis to solve rare diseases.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Sep 1;29(9):1325-1331. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Institute of Medical Genetics and Applied Genomics, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

For the first time in Europe hundreds of rare disease (RD) experts team up to actively share and jointly analyse existing patient's data. Solve-RD is a Horizon 2020-supported EU flagship project bringing together >300 clinicians, scientists, and patient representatives of 51 sites from 15 countries. Solve-RD is built upon a core group of four European Reference Networks (ERNs; ERN-ITHACA, ERN-RND, ERN-Euro NMD, ERN-GENTURIS) which annually see more than 270,000 RD patients with respective pathologies. The main ambition is to solve unsolved rare diseases for which a molecular cause is not yet known. This is achieved through an innovative clinical research environment that introduces novel ways to organise expertise and data. Two major approaches are being pursued (i) massive data re-analysis of >19,000 unsolved rare disease patients and (ii) novel combined -omics approaches. The minimum requirement to be eligible for the analysis activities is an inconclusive exome that can be shared with controlled access. The first preliminary data re-analysis has already diagnosed 255 cases form 8393 exomes/genome datasets. This unprecedented degree of collaboration focused on sharing of data and expertise shall identify many new disease genes and enable diagnosis of many so far undiagnosed patients from all over Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00859-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8440542PMC
September 2021

Cell-based assay for ciliopathy patients to improve accurate diagnosis using ALPACA.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 May 27. Epub 2021 May 27.

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

Skeletal ciliopathies are a group of disorders caused by dysfunction of the cilium, a small signaling organelle present on nearly every vertebrate cell. This group of disorders is marked by genetic and clinical heterogeneity, which complicates accurate diagnosis. In this study, we developed a robust, standardized immunofluorescence approach to accurately diagnose a subset of these disorders. Hereto we determined and compared the cilium phenotype of healthy individuals to patients from three different ciliopathy subgroups, using skin-derived fibroblasts. The cilium phenotype assay consists of three parameters; (1) ciliogenesis, based on the presence or absence of cilium markers, (2) cilium length, measured by the combined signal of an axonemal and a cilium membrane marker, and (3) retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT), quantified by the area of the ciliary tip. Analysis of the cilium phenotypic data yielded comparable and reproducible results and in addition, displayed identifiable clusters for healthy individuals and two ciliopathy subgroups, i.e. ATD and CED. Our results illustrate that standardized analysis of the cilium phenotype can be used to discriminate between ciliopathy subgroups. Therefore, we believe that standardization of functional assays analyzing cilium phenotypic data can provide additional proof for conclusive diagnosis of ciliopathies, which is essential for routine diagnostic care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00907-9DOI Listing
May 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

Rare deleterious mutations of HNRNP genes result in shared neurodevelopmental disorders.

Genome Med 2021 04 19;13(1):63. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

The Atwal Clinic: Genomic & Personalized Medicine, Jacksonville, FL, USA.

Background: With the increasing number of genomic sequencing studies, hundreds of genes have been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). The rate of gene discovery far outpaces our understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, with clinical characterization remaining a bottleneck for understanding NDDs. Most disease-associated Mendelian genes are members of gene families, and we hypothesize that those with related molecular function share clinical presentations.

Methods: We tested our hypothesis by considering gene families that have multiple members with an enrichment of de novo variants among NDDs, as determined by previous meta-analyses. One of these gene families is the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), which has 33 members, five of which have been recently identified as NDD genes (HNRNPK, HNRNPU, HNRNPH1, HNRNPH2, and HNRNPR) and two of which have significant enrichment in our previous meta-analysis of probands with NDDs (HNRNPU and SYNCRIP). Utilizing protein homology, mutation analyses, gene expression analyses, and phenotypic characterization, we provide evidence for variation in 12 HNRNP genes as candidates for NDDs. Seven are potentially novel while the remaining genes in the family likely do not significantly contribute to NDD risk.

Results: We report 119 new NDD cases (64 de novo variants) through sequencing and international collaborations and combined with published clinical case reports. We consider 235 cases with gene-disruptive single-nucleotide variants or indels and 15 cases with small copy number variants. Three hnRNP-encoding genes reach nominal or exome-wide significance for de novo variant enrichment, while nine are candidates for pathogenic mutations. Comparison of HNRNP gene expression shows a pattern consistent with a role in cerebral cortical development with enriched expression among radial glial progenitors. Clinical assessment of probands (n = 188-221) expands the phenotypes associated with HNRNP rare variants, and phenotypes associated with variation in the HNRNP genes distinguishes them as a subgroup of NDDs.

Conclusions: Overall, our novel approach of exploiting gene families in NDDs identifies new HNRNP-related disorders, expands the phenotypes of known HNRNP-related disorders, strongly implicates disruption of the hnRNPs as a whole in NDDs, and supports that NDD subtypes likely have shared molecular pathogenesis. To date, this is the first study to identify novel genetic disorders based on the presence of disorders in related genes. We also perform the first phenotypic analyses focusing on related genes. Finally, we show that radial glial expression of these genes is likely critical during neurodevelopment. This is important for diagnostics, as well as developing strategies to best study these genes for the development of therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00870-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8056596PMC
April 2021

Systematic analysis of short tandem repeats in 38,095 exomes provides an additional diagnostic yield.

Genet Med 2021 08 12;23(8):1569-1573. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Expansions of a subset of short tandem repeats (STRs) have been implicated in approximately 30 different human genetic disorders. Despite extensive application of exome sequencing (ES) in routine diagnostic genetic testing, STRs are not routinely identified from these data.

Methods: We assessed diagnostic utility of STR analysis in exome sequencing by applying ExpansionHunter to 2,867 exomes from movement disorder patients and 35,228 other clinical exomes.

Results: We identified 38 movement disorder patients with a possible aberrant STR length. Validation by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or repeat-primed PCR technologies confirmed the presence of aberrant expansion alleles for 13 (34%). For seven of these patients the genotype was compatible with the phenotypic description, resulting in a molecular diagnosis. We subsequently tested the remainder of our diagnostic ES cohort, including over 30 clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders. Optimized manual curation yielded 167 samples with a likely aberrant STR length. Validations confirmed 93/167 (56%) aberrant expansion alleles, of which 48 were in the pathogenic range and 45 in the premutation range.

Conclusion: Our work provides guidance for the implementation of STR analysis in clinical ES. Our results show that systematic STR evaluation may increase diagnostic ES yield by 0.2%, and recommend making STR evaluation a routine part of ES interpretation in genetic testing laboratories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01174-1DOI Listing
August 2021

Quantitative facial phenotyping for Koolen-de Vries and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Sep 18;29(9):1418-1423. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The Koolen-de Vries syndrome (KdVS) is a multisystem syndrome with variable facial features caused by a 17q21.31 microdeletion or KANSL1 truncating variant. As the facial gestalt of KdVS has resemblance with the gestalt of the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS), we assessed whether our previously described hybrid quantitative facial phenotyping algorithm could distinguish between these two syndromes, and whether there is a facial difference between the molecular KdVS subtypes. We applied our algorithm to 2D photographs of 97 patients with KdVS (78 microdeletions, 19 truncating variants (likely) causing KdVS) and 48 patients with 22q11.2DS as well as age, gender and ethnicity matched controls with intellectual disability (n = 145). The facial gestalts of KdVS and 22q11.2DS were both recognisable through significant clustering by the hybrid model, yet different from one another (p = 7.5 × 10 and p = 0.0052, respectively). Furthermore, the facial gestalts of KdVS caused by a 17q21.31 microdeletion and KANSL1 truncating variant (likely) causing KdVS were indistinguishable (p = 0.981 and p = 0.130). Further application to three patients with a variant of unknown significance in KANSL1 showed that these faces do not match KdVS. Our data highlight quantitative facial phenotyping not only as a powerful tool to distinguish syndromes with overlapping facial dysmorphisms but also to establish pathogenicity of variants of unknown clinical significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00824-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8440607PMC
September 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

Mutation-specific pathophysiological mechanisms define different neurodevelopmental disorders associated with SATB1 dysfunction.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 02 28;108(2):346-356. Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Department of Rehabilitation and Development, Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Portland, OR 97227, USA.

Whereas large-scale statistical analyses can robustly identify disease-gene relationships, they do not accurately capture genotype-phenotype correlations or disease mechanisms. We use multiple lines of independent evidence to show that different variant types in a single gene, SATB1, cause clinically overlapping but distinct neurodevelopmental disorders. Clinical evaluation of 42 individuals carrying SATB1 variants identified overt genotype-phenotype relationships, associated with different pathophysiological mechanisms, established by functional assays. Missense variants in the CUT1 and CUT2 DNA-binding domains result in stronger chromatin binding, increased transcriptional repression, and a severe phenotype. In contrast, variants predicted to result in haploinsufficiency are associated with a milder clinical presentation. A similarly mild phenotype is observed for individuals with premature protein truncating variants that escape nonsense-mediated decay, which are transcriptionally active but mislocalized in the cell. Our results suggest that in-depth mutation-specific genotype-phenotype studies are essential to capture full disease complexity and to explain phenotypic variability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.01.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7895900PMC
February 2021

Human disease genes website series: An international, open and dynamic library for up-to-date clinical information.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 04 13;185(4):1039-1046. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Since the introduction of next-generation sequencing, an increasing number of disorders have been discovered to have genetic etiology. To address diverse clinical questions and coordinate research activities that arise with the identification of these rare disorders, we developed the Human Disease Genes website series (HDG website series): an international digital library that records detailed information on the clinical phenotype of novel genetic variants in the human genome (https://humandiseasegenes.info/). Each gene website is moderated by a dedicated team of clinicians and researchers, focused on specific genes, and provides up-to-date-including unpublished-clinical information. The HDG website series is expanding rapidly with 424 genes currently adopted by 325 moderators from across the globe. On average, a gene website has detailed phenotypic information of 14.4 patients. There are multiple examples of added value, one being the ARID1B gene website, which was recently utilized in research to collect clinical information of 81 new patients. Additionally, several gene websites have more data available than currently published in the literature. In conclusion, the HDG website series provides an easily accessible, open and up-to-date clinical data resource for patients with pathogenic variants of individual genes. This is a valuable resource not only for clinicians dealing with rare genetic disorders such as developmental delay and autism, but other professionals working in diagnostics and basic research. Since the HDG website series is a dynamic platform, its data also include the phenotype of yet unpublished patients curated by professionals providing higher quality clinical detail to improve management of these rare disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7986414PMC
April 2021

Characterization of the GABRB2-Associated Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Ann Neurol 2021 03 24;89(3):573-586. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Division of Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology and Epilepsy Genetics Program, Department of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.

Objective: We aimed to characterize the phenotypic spectrum and functional consequences associated with variants in the gene GABRB2, coding for the γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA ) receptor subunit β2.

Methods: We recruited and systematically evaluated 25 individuals with variants in GABRB2, 17 of whom are newly described and 8 previously reported with additional clinical data. Functional analysis was performed using a Xenopus laevis oocyte model system.

Results: Our cohort of 25 individuals from 22 families with variants in GABRB2 demonstrated a range of epilepsy phenotypes from genetic generalized epilepsy to developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. Fifty-eight percent of individuals had pharmacoresistant epilepsy; response to medications targeting the GABAergic pathway was inconsistent. Developmental disability (present in 84%) ranged from mild intellectual disability to severe global disability; movement disorders (present in 44%) included choreoathetosis, dystonia, and ataxia. Disease-associated variants cluster in the extracellular N-terminus and transmembrane domains 1-3, with more severe phenotypes seen in association with variants in transmembrane domains 1 and 2 and the allosteric binding site between transmembrane domains 2 and 3. Functional analysis of 4 variants in transmembrane domains 1 or 2 (p.Ile246Thr, p.Pro252Leu, p.Ile288Ser, p.Val282Ala) revealed strongly reduced amplitudes of GABA-evoked anionic currents.

Interpretation: GABRB2-related epilepsy ranges broadly in severity from genetic generalized epilepsy to developmental and epileptic encephalopathies. Developmental disability and movement disorder are key features. The phenotypic spectrum is comparable to other GABA receptor-encoding genes. Phenotypic severity varies by protein domain. Experimental evidence supports loss of GABAergic inhibition as the mechanism underlying GABRB2-associated neurodevelopmental disorders. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:573-586.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25985DOI Listing
March 2021

Long-read trio sequencing of individuals with unsolved intellectual disability.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 04 30;29(4):637-648. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

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

Long-read sequencing (LRS) has the potential to comprehensively identify all medically relevant genome variation, including variation commonly missed by short-read sequencing (SRS) approaches. To determine this potential, we performed LRS around 15×-40× genome coverage using the Pacific Biosciences Sequel I System for five trios. The respective probands were diagnosed with intellectual disability (ID) whose etiology remained unresolved after SRS exomes and genomes. Systematic assessment of LRS coverage showed that ~35 Mb of the human reference genome was only accessible by LRS and not SRS. Genome-wide structural variant (SV) calling yielded on average 28,292 SV calls per individual, totaling 12.9 Mb of sequence. Trio-based analyses which allowed to study segregation, showed concordance for up to 95% of these SV calls across the genome, and 80% of the LRS SV calls were not identified by SRS. De novo mutation analysis did not identify any de novo SVs, confirming that these are rare events. Because of high sequence coverage, we were also able to call single nucleotide substitutions. On average, we identified 3 million substitutions per genome, with a Mendelian inheritance concordance of up to 97%. Of these, ~100,000 were located in the ~35 Mb of the genome that was only captured by LRS. Moreover, these variants affected the coding sequence of 64 genes, including 32 known Mendelian disease genes. Our data show the potential added value of LRS compared to SRS for identifying medically relevant genome variation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-00770-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8115091PMC
April 2021

Evidence for 28 genetic disorders discovered by combining healthcare and research data.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):757-762. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Human Genetics Programme, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK.

De novo mutations in protein-coding genes are a well-established cause of developmental disorders. However, genes known to be associated with developmental disorders account for only a minority of the observed excess of such de novo mutations. Here, to identify previously undescribed genes associated with developmental disorders, we integrate healthcare and research exome-sequence data from 31,058 parent-offspring trios of individuals with developmental disorders, and develop a simulation-based statistical test to identify gene-specific enrichment of de novo mutations. We identified 285 genes that were significantly associated with developmental disorders, including 28 that had not previously been robustly associated with developmental disorders. Although we detected more genes associated with developmental disorders, much of the excess of de novo mutations in protein-coding genes remains unaccounted for. Modelling suggests that more than 1,000 genes associated with developmental disorders have not yet been described, many of which are likely to be less penetrant than the currently known genes. Research access to clinical diagnostic datasets will be critical for completing the map of genes associated with developmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2832-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116826PMC
October 2020

Overrepresentation of genetic variation in the AnkyrinG interactome is related to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 12 10;28(12):1726-1733. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Department of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Upon the discovery of numerous genes involved in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders, several studies showed that a significant proportion of these genes converge on common pathways and protein networks. Here, we used a reversed approach, by screening the AnkyrinG protein-protein interaction network for genetic variation in a large cohort of 1009 cases with neurodevelopmental disorders. We identified a significant enrichment of de novo potentially disease-causing variants in this network, confirming that this protein network plays an important role in the emergence of several neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0682-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785003PMC
December 2020

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

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

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.

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

Rapid whole exome sequencing in pregnancies to identify the underlying genetic cause in fetuses with congenital anomalies detected by ultrasound imaging.

Prenat Diagn 2020 07 5;40(8):972-983. Epub 2020 May 5.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the diagnostic yield and clinical utility of trio-based rapid whole exome sequencing (rWES) in pregnancies of fetuses with a wide range of congenital anomalies detected by ultrasound imaging.

Methods: In this observational study, we analyzed the first 54 cases referred to our laboratory for prenatal rWES to support clinical decision making, after the sonographic detection of fetal congenital anomalies. The most common identified congenital anomalies were skeletal dysplasia (n = 20), multiple major fetal congenital anomalies (n = 17) and intracerebral structural anomalies (n = 7).

Results: A conclusive diagnosis was identified in 18 of the 54 cases (33%). Pathogenic variants were detected most often in fetuses with skeletal dysplasia (n = 11) followed by fetuses with multiple major fetal congenital anomalies (n = 4) and intracerebral structural anomalies (n = 3). A survey, completed by the physicians for 37 of 54 cases, indicated that the rWES results impacted clinical decision making in 68% of cases.

Conclusions: These results suggest that rWES improves prenatal diagnosis of fetuses with congenital anomalies, and has an important impact on prenatal and peripartum parental and clinical decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pd.5717DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497059PMC
July 2020

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

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

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

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

MN1 C-terminal truncation syndrome is a novel neurodevelopmental and craniofacial disorder with partial rhombencephalosynapsis.

Brain 2020 01;143(1):55-68

GeneDx, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

MN1 encodes a transcriptional co-regulator without homology to other proteins, previously implicated in acute myeloid leukaemia and development of the palate. Large deletions encompassing MN1 have been reported in individuals with variable neurodevelopmental anomalies and non-specific facial features. We identified a cluster of de novo truncating mutations in MN1 in a cohort of 23 individuals with strikingly similar dysmorphic facial features, especially midface hypoplasia, and intellectual disability with severe expressive language delay. Imaging revealed an atypical form of rhombencephalosynapsis, a distinctive brain malformation characterized by partial or complete loss of the cerebellar vermis with fusion of the cerebellar hemispheres, in 8/10 individuals. Rhombencephalosynapsis has no previously known definitive genetic or environmental causes. Other frequent features included perisylvian polymicrogyria, abnormal posterior clinoid processes and persistent trigeminal artery. MN1 is encoded by only two exons. All mutations, including the recurrent variant p.Arg1295* observed in 8/21 probands, fall in the terminal exon or the extreme 3' region of exon 1, and are therefore predicted to result in escape from nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. This was confirmed in fibroblasts from three individuals. We propose that the condition described here, MN1 C-terminal truncation (MCTT) syndrome, is not due to MN1 haploinsufficiency but rather is the result of dominantly acting C-terminally truncated MN1 protein. Our data show that MN1 plays a critical role in human craniofacial and brain development, and opens the door to understanding the biological mechanisms underlying rhombencephalosynapsis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awz379DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7962909PMC
January 2020

Improved detection of CFTR variants by targeted next-generation sequencing in male infertility: a case series.

Reprod Biomed Online 2019 Dec 22;39(6):963-968. Epub 2019 Aug 22.

Department of Urology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Research Question: Congenital bilateral absence of vas deferens (CBAVD) is characterized by 'obstructive azoospermia' in male patients with primary infertility. In the routine clinical workup of infertile men, patients with an absence of vas deferens are screened for CFTR variants. However, current genetic testing panels do not cover all variants, missing some CBAVD cases. Here, CFTR testing was explored by targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) to improve variant detection.

Design: Five individuals with heterozygous pathogenic CFTR variants were identified using targeted NGS in a cohort of 1112 idiopathic infertile men with azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia. Pre-screening exclusion criteria were CBAVD by clinical examination with positive CFTR sequence analysis as part of routine fertility workup.

Results: Cases 1, 2 and 3 presented with CBAVD after which CFTR screening by mutation panel analysis was negative. Case 4 presented with congenital unilateral absence of vas deferens, after which CFTR panel analysis identified a heterozygous p.(Phe508del) variant. Case 5 presented with a palpable vas deferens so CFTR panel analysis was not offered. In all five men, targeted NGS revealed additional pathogenic variants: p.(Arg117Cys) and p.(Arg1158*) (case 1); p.(Asp110His) and p.(Ser945Leu) (case 2); p.(Arg248Thr) and p.(Phe508Cys) (case 3); p.(Gly463Ser) (case 4); p.(Phe508del) (case 4 and 5); and p.(Arg117His) (case 5).

Conclusions: Targeted NGS led to the detection of five infertile men with CFTR variants who would otherwise have remained undiagnosed after routine genetic screening during the fertility workup for azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia. Given the wide availability of affordable targeted NGS, the data suggest that full gene analysis, and not mutation panels, should be considered to screen CFTR in azoospermic men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2019.08.005DOI Listing
December 2019

SON haploinsufficiency causes impaired pre-mRNA splicing of CAKUT genes and heterogeneous renal phenotypes.

Kidney Int 2019 06 15;95(6):1494-1504. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

Mitchell Cancer Institute, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA. Electronic address:

Although genetic testing is increasingly used in clinical nephrology, a large number of patients with congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) remain undiagnosed with current gene panels. Therefore, careful curation of novel genetic findings is key to improving diagnostic yields. We recently described a novel intellectual disability syndrome caused by de novo heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the splicing factor SON. Here, we show that many of these patients, including two previously unreported, exhibit a wide array of kidney abnormalities. Detailed phenotyping of 14 patients with SON haploinsufficiency identified kidney anomalies in 8 patients, including horseshoe kidney, unilateral renal hypoplasia, and renal cysts. Recurrent urinary tract infections, electrolyte disturbances, and hypertension were also observed in some patients. SON knockdown in kidney cell lines leads to abnormal pre-mRNA splicing, resulting in decreased expression of several established CAKUT genes. Furthermore, these molecular events were observed in patient-derived cells with SON haploinsufficiency. Taken together, our data suggest that the wide spectrum of phenotypes in patients with a pathogenic SON mutation is a consequence of impaired pre-mRNA splicing of several CAKUT genes. We propose that genetic testing panels designed to diagnose children with a kidney phenotype should include the SON gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.kint.2019.01.025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534475PMC
June 2019

A systematic review and standardized clinical validity assessment of male infertility genes.

Hum Reprod 2019 05;34(5):932-941

Department of Human Genetics, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Study Question: Which genes are confidently linked to human monogenic male infertility?

Summary Answer: Our systematic literature search and clinical validity assessment reveals that a total of 78 genes are currently confidently linked to 92 human male infertility phenotypes.

What Is Known Already: The discovery of novel male infertility genes is rapidly accelerating with the availability of next-generating sequencing methods, but the quality of evidence for gene-disease relationships varies greatly. In order to improve genetic research, diagnostics and counseling, there is a need for an evidence-based overview of the currently known genes.

Study Design, Size, Duration: We performed a systematic literature search and evidence assessment for all publications in Pubmed until December 2018 covering genetic causes of male infertility and/or defective male genitourinary development.

Participants/materials, Setting, Methods: Two independent reviewers conducted the literature search and included papers on the monogenic causes of human male infertility and excluded papers on genetic association or risk factors, karyotype anomalies and/or copy number variations affecting multiple genes. Next, the quality and the extent of all evidence supporting selected genes was weighed by a standardized scoring method and used to determine the clinical validity of each gene-disease relationship as expressed by the following six categories: no evidence, limited, moderate, strong, definitive or unable to classify.

Main Results And The Role Of Chance: From a total of 23 526 records, we included 1337 publications about monogenic causes of male infertility leading to a list of 521 gene-disease relationships. The clinical validity of these gene-disease relationships varied widely and ranged from definitive (n = 38) to strong (n = 22), moderate (n = 32), limited (n = 93) or no evidence (n = 160). A total of 176 gene-disease relationships could not be classified because our scoring method was not suitable.

Large Scale Data: Not applicable.

Limitations, Reasons For Caution: Our literature search was limited to Pubmed.

Wider Implications Of The Findings: The comprehensive overview will aid researchers and clinicians in the field to establish gene lists for diagnostic screening using validated gene-disease criteria and help to identify gaps in our knowledge of male infertility. For future studies, the authors discuss the relevant and important international guidelines regarding research related to gene discovery and provide specific recommendations for the field of male infertility.

Study Funding/competing Interest(s): This work was supported by a VICI grant from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (918-15-667 to J.A.V.), the Royal Society, and Wolfson Foundation (WM160091 to J.A.V.) as well as an investigator award in science from the Wellcome Trust (209451 to J.A.V.).

Prospero Registration Number: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6505449PMC
May 2019
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