Publications by authors named "Lucia Ballarati"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

7p22.1 microduplication syndrome: Clinical and molecular characterization of an adult case and review of the literature.

Eur J Med Genet 2015 Nov 19;58(11):578-83. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Lab. Citogenetica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy.

A new 7p22.1 microduplication syndrome characterized by intellectual disability, speech delay and craniofacial dysmorphisms, such as macrocephaly, hypertelorism and ear anomalies, has been outlined by the description of two patients with interstitial microduplications confined to 7p22.1 and the recently defined minimal overlapping 430 kb critical region including five genes. Here we report on the first adult patient aged 35 years with moderate intellectual disability, psychomotor delay, facial dysmorphisms, cryptorchidism and cardiac anomalies, who carries two close microduplications at 7p22.1 of about 900 and 150 kb, respectively. The proximal smaller duplication includes three coding genes and maps outside the minimal described overlapping duplicated region, while the larger one represents the smallest 7p22.1 microduplication reported so far, as it encompasses the entire minimal region with only four additional genes. We compare the phenotype of our patient with that of the few reported cases and discuss on candidate genes in order to enhance the knowledge on genotype-phenotype correlation in 7p22.1 duplication syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2015.08.003DOI Listing
November 2015

Design and validation of a pericentromeric BAC clone set aimed at improving diagnosis and phenotype prediction of supernumerary marker chromosomes.

Mol Cytogenet 2013 Oct 30;6(1):45. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Laboratorio di Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, via Ariosto 13, 20145, Milano, Italy.

Background: Small supernumerary marker chromosomes (sSMCs) are additional, structurally abnormal chromosomes, generally smaller than chromosome 20 of the same metaphase spread. Due to their small size, they are difficult to characterize by conventional cytogenetics alone. In regard to their clinical effects, sSMCs are a heterogeneous group: in particular, sSMCs containing pericentromeric euchromatin are likely to be associated with abnormal outcomes, although exceptions have been reported. To improve characterization of the genetic content of sSMCs, several approaches might be applied based on different molecular and molecular-cytogenetic assays, e.g., fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH), and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA).To provide a complementary tool for the characterization of sSMCs, we constructed and validated a new, FISH-based, pericentromeric Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) clone set that with a high resolution spans the most proximal euchromatic sequences of all human chromosome arms, excluding the acrocentric short arms.

Results: By FISH analysis, we assayed 561 pericentromeric BAC probes and excluded 75 that showed a wrong chromosomal localization. The remaining 486 probes were used to establish 43 BAC-based pericentromeric panels. Each panel consists of a core, which with a high resolution covers the most proximal euchromatic ~0.7 Mb (on average) of each chromosome arm and generally bridges the heterochromatin/euchromatin junction, as well as clones located proximally and distally to the core. The pericentromeric clone set was subsequently validated by the characterization of 19 sSMCs. Using the core probes, we could rapidly distinguish between heterochromatic (1/19) and euchromatic (11/19) sSMCs, and estimate the euchromatic DNA content, which ranged from approximately 0.13 to more than 10 Mb. The characterization was not completed for seven sSMCs due to a lack of information about the covered region in the reference sequence (1/19) or sample insufficiency (6/19).

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that this pericentromeric clone set is useful as an alternative tool for sSMC characterization, primarily in cases of very small SMCs that contain either heterochromatin exclusively or a tiny amount of euchromatic sequence, and also in cases of low-level or cryptic mosaicism. The resulting data will foster knowledge of human proximal euchromatic regions involved in chromosomal imbalances, thereby improving genotype-phenotype correlations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1755-8166-6-45DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176193PMC
October 2013

Constitutional chromothripsis rearrangements involve clustered double-stranded DNA breaks and nonhomologous repair mechanisms.

Cell Rep 2012 Jun 15;1(6):648-55. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Department of Medical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Universiteitsweg 100, 3584 CG Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Chromothripsis represents a novel phenomenon in the structural variation landscape of cancer genomes. Here, we analyze the genomes of ten patients with congenital disease who were preselected to carry complex chromosomal rearrangements with more than two breakpoints. The rearrangements displayed unanticipated complexity resembling chromothripsis. We find that eight of them contain hallmarks of multiple clustered double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs) on one or more chromosomes. In addition, nucleotide resolution analysis of 98 breakpoint junctions indicates that break repair involves nonhomologous or microhomology-mediated end joining. We observed that these eight rearrangements are balanced or contain sporadic deletions ranging in size between a few hundred base pairs and several megabases. The two remaining complex rearrangements did not display signs of DSBs and contain duplications, indicative of rearrangement processes involving template switching. Our work provides detailed insight into the characteristics of chromothripsis and supports a role for clustered DSBs driving some constitutional chromothripsis rearrangements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2012.05.009DOI Listing
June 2012

Electroclinical pattern in MECP2 duplication syndrome: eight new reported cases and review of literature.

Epilepsia 2012 Jul 11;53(7):1146-55. Epub 2012 May 11.

Epilepsy Center, San Paolo Hospital, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: Duplications encompassing the MECP2 gene on the Xq28 region have been described in male patients with moderate to severe mental retardation, absent speech, neonatal hypotonia, progressive spasticity and/or ataxia, recurrent severe respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, mild facial dysmorphisms (midface hypoplasia, depressed nasal bridge, large ears) and epilepsy. Epilepsy can occur in >50% of cases, but the types of seizures and the electroclinical findings in affected male individuals have been poorly investigated up to the present. Herein we describe eight patients with MECP2 duplication syndrome and a specific clinical and electroencephalographic pattern.

Methods: Array CGH of genomic DNA from the probands was performed, and an Xq28 duplication ranging from 209 kb to 6.36 Mb was found in each patient. Electroencephalography studies and clinical and seizure features of all the patients were analyzed.

Key Findings: We found that epilepsy tended to occur between late childhood and adolescence. Episodes of loss of tone of the head and/or the trunk were the most represented seizure types. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures were rarely observed. The typical interictal EEG pattern showed abnormal background activity, with generalized slow spike and wave asynchronous discharge with frontotemporal predominance. Sleep electroencephalography studies also demonstrated abnormal background activity; spindles and K complex were often abnormal in morphology and amplitude. Response to therapy was generally poor and drug resistance was a significant feature.

Significance: Although these cases and a review of the literature indicate that epilepsy associated with MECP2 duplication syndrome cannot be considered a useful marker for early diagnosis, epilepsy is present in >90% of adolescent patients and shows a peculiar electroclinical pattern. Consequently, it should be considered a significant sign of the syndrome, and an EEG follow-up of these patients should be encouraged from early childhood. Moreover, the definition of a more specific epileptic phenotype could be useful in order to suspect MECP2 duplication syndrome in older undiagnosed patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03501.xDOI Listing
July 2012

Complex rearrangement involving 9p deletion and duplication in a syndromic patient: genotype/phenotype correlation and review of the literature.

Gene 2012 Jul 17;502(1):40-5. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

Laboratorio di Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.

We describe a 7-year-old boy with a complex rearrangement involving the whole short arm of chromosome 9 defined by means of molecular cytogenetic techniques. The rearrangement is characterized by a 18.3 Mb terminal deletion associated with the inverted duplication of the adjacent 21,5 Mb region. The patient shows developmental delay, psychomotor retardation, hypotonia. Other typical features of 9p deletion (genital disorders, midface hypoplasia, long philtrum) and of the 9p duplication (brachycephaly, down slanting palpebral fissures and bulbous nasal tip) are present. Interestingly, he does not show trigonocephaly that is the most prominent dysmorphism associated with the deletion of the short arm of chromosome 9. Patient's phenotype and the underlying flanking opposite 9p imbalances are compared with that of reported patients and the proposed critical regions for 9p deletion and 9p duplication syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2012.04.030DOI Listing
July 2012

Deletion of the AP1S2 gene in a child with psychomotor delay and hypotonia.

Eur J Med Genet 2012 Feb 17;55(2):124-7. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Laboratorio di Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy.

We identified a 495 Kb interstitial deletion of chromosome Xp22.2, centered on the AP1S2 gene, by means of oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridisation (array-CGH) in a child with marked hypotonia in the first months of life, psychomotor retardation, severely delayed walking and speech development, and unspecific dysmorphic facial features. The deletion was inherited from the healthy mother. Point mutations of the AP1S2 gene have been identified in patients with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR). The clinical features of our patient are quite similar to those reported in male patients carrying point mutations, thus suggesting that point mutations and deletions of the AP1S2 gene lead to a recognisable XLMR phenotype in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2011.12.001DOI Listing
February 2012

Genotype-phenotype correlations in a new case of 8p23.1 deletion and review of the literature.

Eur J Med Genet 2011 Jan-Feb;54(1):55-9. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Laboratorio Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy.

We describe a 6-year-old boy carrying a de novo 5 Mb interstitial deletion of chromosome 8p23.1 identified by means of oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridisation (array CGH), who showed the typical signs of 8p23.1 deletion syndrome, including congenital heart defects, microcephaly, psychomotor delay and behavioural problems. In order to estimate the role of suggested candidate genes, we compared the deletion of our patient with other previously reported and molecularly characterised deletions that have been re-evaluated on the basis of the current genetic map data. The inclusion of TNKS gene in the deletion interval without any phenotypical signs of Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) invalidates TNKS as a plausible candidate gene for the syndrome itself.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2010.10.003DOI Listing
June 2011

Genetic investigations on 8 patients affected by ring 20 chromosome syndrome.

BMC Med Genet 2010 Oct 12;11:146. Epub 2010 Oct 12.

Laboratorio di Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano Milan, Italy.

Background: Mosaic Chromosome 20 ring [r(20)] is a chromosomal disorder associated with a rare syndrome characterized by a typical seizure phenotype, a particular electroclinical pattern, cognitive impairment, behavioural problems and absence of a consistent pattern of dysmorphology. The pathogenic mechanism underlying seizures disorders in r(20) syndrome is still unknown. We performed a detailed clinical and genetic study on 8 patients with r(20) chromosome, aimed at detecting the genetic mechanism underlying r(20) syndrome.

Methods: We submitted 8 subjects with a previous diagnosis of ring 20 chromosome mosaicism to a clinical re-evaluation, followed by cytogenetic, FISH, array-CGH and molecular analyses. The genetic study was also extended to their available parents.

Results: FISH and array-CGH experiments indicate that cryptic deletions on chromosome 20 are not the cause of the r(20) chromosome associated disease. Moreover, no evidence of chromosome 20 uniparental disomy was found. Analysis of FISH signals given by variant in size alphoid tandem repeats probes on the normal chromosome 20 and the r(20) chromosome in the mosaic carriers suggests that the r(20) chromosome is the same chromosome not circularized in the "normal" cell line.

Conclusions: Higher percentages of r(20) chromosome cells were observed to be related with precocious age at seizure onset and with resistance to antiepileptic drug treatment. Behavioural problems also seem to be associated with higher percentages of r(20) chromosome cells. Our results suggest that an epigenetic mechanism perturbing the expression of genes close to the telomeric regions, rather than deletion of genes located at the distal 20p and/or 20q regions, may underlie the manifestation of r(20) syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2350-11-146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2967536PMC
October 2010

A 12.4 Mb duplication of 17q11.2q12 in a patient with psychomotor developmental delay and minor anomalies.

Eur J Med Genet 2010 Sep-Oct;53(5):325-8. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

We describe a 6-year-old boy with a de novo 12 Mb interstitial duplication of chromosome 17q11.1q12, identified by oligo array-CGH. The patient shows psychomotor developmental and language delay, dolicocephaly, minor facial anomalies, hypotonia and renal megacalicosis. The duplication involves the neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) gene and overlaps with long-range unusual deletions of the NF1 region, extending over 17q12 region and associated with renal cysts and diabetes (RCDA). To our knowledge this is the first case of a patient carrying a large-sized duplication involving the 17q11.2q12 region. In the duplicated chromosomal segment there are about 130 annotated genes. Among them, several genes which have been already proposed as candidate for mental retardation (MR) in patients with partially overlapping deletions may be responsible for neurological impairment in our patient. In addition, other genes within the duplicated region are of interest for possible correlation with a few clinical features of the patient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2010.05.004DOI Listing
January 2011

1q44-qter trisomy: clinical report and review of the literature.

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers 2009 Feb;13(1):79-86

Molecular Cytogenetic Laboratory, Pediatrics Department, University of Padua, Padova, Italy.

Subtelomeric rearrangements are one of the main causes of multiple congenital anomalies and mental retardation, and they are detected in 5% of patients. We report on a 6.5-year-old boy with mental retardation, dysmorphic features, and behavioral problems, who revealed 1q44-qter trisomy and 22q13.3-qter monosomy due to a maternal cryptic translocation t(1;22). We compared the clinical and cytogenetic data of our patient with those of another case presenting a pure 22qter monosomy and with those of all 1qter trisomy cases reported in the international literature. To the best of our knowledge, the subterminal 1q trisomy found in the present case has been reported in only 12 patients to date (including five familial cases). This report aims to contribute to our understanding of 1q44-qter trisomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/gtmb.2008.0075DOI Listing
February 2009

De novo balanced chromosome rearrangements in prenatal diagnosis.

Prenat Diagn 2009 Mar;29(3):257-65

Lab Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS Ist. Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy.

Objective: We surveyed the datasheets of 29 laboratories concerning prenatal diagnosis of de novo apparently balanced chromosome rearrangements to assess the involvement of specific chromosomes, the breakpoints distribution and the impact on the pregnancy outcome.

Method: By means of a questionnaire, data on 269.371 analyses performed from 1983 to 2006 on amniotic fluid, chorionic villus and fetal blood samples were collected.

Results: A total of 246 balanced anomalies were detected at frequencies of 72% for reciprocal translocations, 18% for Robertsonian translocations, 7% for inversions and 3% for complex chromosome rearrangements. The total frequencies of balanced rearrangements were 0.09%, 0.08% and 0.05% on amniotic fluid, chorionic villus and fetal blood samples.

Conclusion: A preferential involvement of chromosomes 22, 7, 21, 3, 9 and 11 and a less involvement of chromosomes X, 19, 12, 6 and 1 was observed. A nonrandom distribution of the breakpoints across chromosomes was noticed. Association in the location of recurrent breakpoints and fragile sites was observed for chromosomes 11, 7, 10 and 22, while it was not recorded for chromosome 3. The rate of pregnancy termination was about 20%, with frequencies decreasing from complex chromosomal rearrangements (33%), reciprocal translocations (24%) to inversions (11%) and Robertsonian translocations (3%).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pd.2215DOI Listing
March 2009

Cytogenetic, FISH and array-CGH characterization of a complex chromosomal rearrangement carried by a mentally and language impaired patient.

Eur J Med Genet 2009 Jul-Aug;52(4):218-23. Epub 2009 Feb 21.

Lab. Citogenetica Medica e Genetica Molecolare, IRCCS, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.

We describe a patient with an abnormal phenotype and a de novo CCR consisting of a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 1 and 15 and an insertion of an interstitial segment from chromosome 2 within chromosome 1. The CCR was studied by QFQ banding and FISH. The apparently balanced rearrangement was further investigated with array-CGH, that uncovered three cryptic deletions on chromosome 2q. By means of BAC-FISH two deletions were located at the breakpoints of the insertion, at 2q14.3 and 2q31.2, and one at 2q22.2, in the region of 2q translocated on derivative 1. Consequently, in silico analysis of the deleted regions was performed. Among deleted genes, particularly interesting seems to be CNTNAP5, encoding a member of the neurexin superfamily. The three mouse orthologues are highly expressed in adult brain tissues. We speculate that loss of CNTNAP5 might contribute to the developmental language delay of this patient, similar to CNTNAP2, another member of the same protein family, whose alterations have been recently associated with delay in the age at first word in autistic patients. At clinical patient's evaluation, a Mowat-Wilson syndrome (MWS) like appearance was noted. The disease is caused by mutation or deletion of ZEB2 gene, located in our patient 794Kb distally to the 2q22.2 deletion, in the chromosome 2 segment inserted into the derivative 1. The loss of the gene has been excluded by the array-CGH results, but its proximity to the deleted segment and/or its insertion in a different genetic context might influence and consequently impair its expression. Our study confirms that array-CGH is a precious method to identify cryptic imbalances in CCR carriers and underlie the essential role of BAC-FISH as second step of analysis to assess the reciprocal position of the chromosomal segments involved in CCRs and the exact mapping of the imbalances.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2009.02.004DOI Listing
November 2009

13q Deletion and central nervous system anomalies: further insights from karyotype-phenotype analyses of 14 patients.

J Med Genet 2007 Jan;44(1):e60

Background: Chromosome 13q deletion is associated with varying phenotypes, which seem to depend on the location of the deleted segment. Although various attempts have been made to link the 13q deletion intervals to distinct phenotypes, there is still no acknowledged consensus correlation between the monosomy of distinct 13q regions and specific clinical features.

Methods: 14 Italian patients carrying partial de novo 13q deletions were studied. Molecular-cytogenetic characterisation was carried out by means of array-comparative genomic hybridisation (array-CGH) or fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH).

Results: Our 14 patients showed mental retardation ranging from profound-severe to moderate-mild: eight had central nervous system (CNS) anomalies, including neural tube defects (NTDs), six had eye abnormalities, nine had facial dysmorphisms and 10 had hand or feet anomalies. The size of the deleted regions varied from 4.2 to 75.7 Mb.

Conclusion: This study is the first systematic molecular characterisation of de novo 13q deletions, and offers a karyotype-phenotype correlation based on detailed clinical studies and molecular determinations of the deleted regions. Analyses confirm that patients lacking the 13q32 band are the most seriously affected, and critical intervals have been preliminarily assigned for CNS malformations. Dose-sensitive genes proximal to q33.2 may be involved in NTDs. The minimal deletion interval associated with the Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) was narrowed to the 13q32.2-33.2 region, in which the ZIC2 and ZIC5 genes proposed as underlying various CNS malformations are mapped.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmg.2006.043059DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2597907PMC
January 2007