Publications by authors named "Quinten Waisfisz"

95 Publications

Homozygous UBA5 Variant Leads to Hypomyelination with Thalamic Involvement and Axonal Neuropathy.

Neuropediatrics 2021 Apr 14. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Department of Child Neurology, Amsterdam Leukodystrophy Center, Emma Children's Hospital, Amsterdam UMC, and Amsterdam Neuroscience, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The enzyme ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 5 (UBA5) plays an important role in activating ubiquitin-fold modifier 1 (UFM1) and its associated cascade. is widely expressed and known to facilitate the post-translational modification of proteins. Variants in and are involved in neurodevelopmental disorders with early-onset epileptic encephalopathy as a frequently seen disease manifestation. Using whole exome sequencing, we detected a homozygous variant (c.895C > T p. [Pro299Ser]) in a patient with severe global developmental delay and epilepsy, the latter from the age of 4 years. Magnetic resonance imaging showed hypomyelination with atrophy and T2 hyperintensity of the thalamus. Histology of the sural nerve showed axonal neuropathy with decreased myelin. Functional analyses confirmed the effect of the Pro299Ser variant on UBA5 protein function, showing 58% residual protein activity. Our findings indicate that the epilepsy currently associated with variants may present later in life than previously thought, and that radiological signs include hypomyelination and thalamic involvement. The data also reinforce recently reported associations between variants and peripheral neuropathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1724130DOI Listing
April 2021

Usefulness of NGS for Diagnosis of Dominant Beta-Thalassemia and Unstable Hemoglobinopathies in Five Clinical Cases.

Front Physiol 2021 5;12:628236. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Translational Research in Child and Adolescent Cancer - Rare Anemia Disorders Research Laboratory, Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, ERN-EuroBloodNet Member, Barcelona, Spain.

Unstable hemoglobinopathies (UHs) are rare anemia disorders (RADs) characterized by abnormal hemoglobin (Hb) variants with decreased stability. UHs are therefore easily precipitating, causing hemolysis and, in some cases, leading to dominant beta-thalassemia (dBTHAL). The clinical picture of UHs is highly heterogeneous, inheritance pattern is dominant, instead of recessive as in more prevalent major Hb syndromes, and may occur . Most cases of UHs are not detected by conventional testing, therefore diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion of the treating physician. Here, we highlight the importance of next generation sequencing (NGS) methodologies for the diagnosis of patients with dBTHAL and other less severe UH variants. We present five unrelated clinical cases referred with chronic hemolytic anemia, three of them with severe blood transfusion dependent anemia. Targeted NGS analysis was performed in three cases while whole exome sequencing (WES) analysis was performed in two cases. Five different UH variants were identified correlating with patients' clinical manifestations. Four variants were related to the beta-globin gene (Hb Bristol-Alesha, Hb Debrousse, Hb Zunyi, and the novel Hb Mokum) meanwhile one case was caused by a mutation in the alpha-globin gene leading to Hb Evans. Inclusion of alpha and beta-globin genes in routine NGS approaches for RADs has to be considered to improve diagnosis' efficiency of RAD due to UHs. Reducing misdiagnoses and underdiagnoses of UH variants, especially of the severe forms leading to dBTHAL would also facilitate the early start of intensive or curative treatments for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.628236DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7893112PMC
February 2021

Variants in the SK2 channel gene (KCNN2) lead to dominant neurodevelopmental movement disorders.

Brain 2020 12;143(12):3564-3573

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

KCNN2 encodes the small conductance calcium-activated potassium channel 2 (SK2). Rodent models with spontaneous Kcnn2 mutations show abnormal gait and locomotor activity, tremor and memory deficits, but human disorders related to KCNN2 variants are largely unknown. Using exome sequencing, we identified a de novo KCNN2 frameshift deletion in a patient with learning disabilities, cerebellar ataxia and white matter abnormalities on brain MRI. This discovery prompted us to collect data from nine additional patients with de novo KCNN2 variants (one nonsense, one splice site, six missense variants and one in-frame deletion) and one family with a missense variant inherited from the affected mother. We investigated the functional impact of six selected variants on SK2 channel function using the patch-clamp technique. All variants tested but one, which was reclassified to uncertain significance, led to a loss-of-function of SK2 channels. Patients with KCNN2 variants had motor and language developmental delay, intellectual disability often associated with early-onset movement disorders comprising cerebellar ataxia and/or extrapyramidal symptoms. Altogether, our findings provide evidence that heterozygous variants, likely causing a haploinsufficiency of the KCNN2 gene, lead to novel autosomal dominant neurodevelopmental movement disorders mirroring phenotypes previously described in rodents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa346DOI Listing
December 2020

An autosomal dominant neurological disorder caused by de novo variants in FAR1 resulting in uncontrolled synthesis of ether lipids.

Genet Med 2021 04 26;23(4):740-750. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, Office of the Clinical Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Purpose: In this study we investigate the disease etiology in 12 patients with de novo variants in FAR1 all resulting in an amino acid change at position 480 (p.Arg480Cys/His/Leu).

Methods: Following next-generation sequencing and clinical phenotyping, functional characterization was performed in patients' fibroblasts using FAR1 enzyme analysis, FAR1 immunoblotting/immunofluorescence, and lipidomics.

Results: All patients had spastic paraparesis and bilateral congenital/juvenile cataracts, in most combined with speech and gross motor developmental delay and truncal hypotonia. FAR1 deficiency caused by biallelic variants results in defective ether lipid synthesis and plasmalogen deficiency. In contrast, patients' fibroblasts with the de novo FAR1 variants showed elevated plasmalogen levels. Further functional studies in fibroblasts showed that these variants cause a disruption of the plasmalogen-dependent feedback regulation of FAR1 protein levels leading to uncontrolled ether lipid production.

Conclusion: Heterozygous de novo variants affecting the Arg480 residue of FAR1 lead to an autosomal dominant disorder with a different disease mechanism than that of recessive FAR1 deficiency and a diametrically opposed biochemical phenotype. Our findings show that for patients with spastic paraparesis and bilateral cataracts, FAR1 should be considered as a candidate gene and added to gene panels for hereditary spastic paraplegia, cerebral palsy, and juvenile cataracts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01027-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8026396PMC
April 2021

Interaction between KDELR2 and HSP47 as a Key Determinant in Osteogenesis Imperfecta Caused by Bi-allelic Variants in KDELR2.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 11 13;107(5):989-999. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1081BT, the Netherlands.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is characterized primarily by susceptibility to fractures with or without bone deformation. OI is genetically heterogeneous: over 20 genetic causes are recognized. We identified bi-allelic pathogenic KDELR2 variants as a cause of OI in four families. KDELR2 encodes KDEL endoplasmic reticulum protein retention receptor 2, which recycles ER-resident proteins with a KDEL-like peptide from the cis-Golgi to the ER through COPI retrograde transport. Analysis of patient primary fibroblasts showed intracellular decrease of HSP47 and FKBP65 along with reduced procollagen type I in culture media. Electron microscopy identified an abnormal quality of secreted collagen fibrils with increased amount of HSP47 bound to monomeric and multimeric collagen molecules. Mapping the identified KDELR2 variants onto the crystal structure of G. gallus KDELR2 indicated that these lead to an inactive receptor resulting in impaired KDELR2-mediated Golgi-ER transport. Therefore, in KDELR2-deficient individuals, OI most likely occurs because of the inability of HSP47 to bind KDELR2 and dissociate from collagen type I. Instead, HSP47 remains bound to collagen molecules extracellularly, disrupting fiber formation. This highlights the importance of intracellular recycling of ER-resident molecular chaperones for collagen type I and bone metabolism and a crucial role of HSP47 in the KDELR2-associated pathogenic mechanism leading to OI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.09.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7675035PMC
November 2020

Germline variants in HEY2 functional domains lead to congenital heart defects and thoracic aortic aneurysms.

Genet Med 2021 01 21;23(1):103-110. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Purpose: In this study we aimed to establish the genetic cause of a myriad of cardiovascular defects prevalent in individuals from a genetically isolated population, who were found to share a common ancestor in 1728.

Methods: Trio genome sequencing was carried out in an index patient with critical congenital heart disease (CHD); family members had either exome or Sanger sequencing. To confirm enrichment, we performed a gene-based association test and meta-analysis in two independent validation cohorts: one with 2685 CHD cases versus 4370 . These controls were also ancestry-matched (same as FTAA controls), and the other with 326 cases with familial thoracic aortic aneurysms (FTAA) and dissections versus 570 ancestry-matched controls. Functional consequences of identified variants were evaluated using expression studies.

Results: We identified a loss-of-function variant in the Notch target transcription factor-encoding gene HEY2. The homozygous state (n = 3) causes life-threatening congenital heart defects, while 80% of heterozygous carriers (n = 20) had cardiovascular defects, mainly CHD and FTAA of the ascending aorta. We confirm enrichment of rare risk variants in HEY2 functional domains after meta-analysis (MetaSKAT p = 0.018). Furthermore, we show that several identified variants lead to dysregulation of repression by HEY2.

Conclusion: A homozygous germline loss-of-function variant in HEY2 leads to critical CHD. The majority of heterozygotes show a myriad of cardiovascular defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00939-4DOI Listing
January 2021

Variants in SCAF4 Cause a Neurodevelopmental Disorder and Are Associated with Impaired mRNA Processing.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 29;107(3):544-554. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, SD 57105, USA.

RNA polymerase II interacts with various other complexes and factors to ensure correct initiation, elongation, and termination of mRNA transcription. One of these proteins is SR-related CTD-associated factor 4 (SCAF4), which is important for correct usage of polyA sites for mRNA termination. Using exome sequencing and international matchmaking, we identified nine likely pathogenic germline variants in SCAF4 including two splice-site and seven truncating variants, all residing in the N-terminal two thirds of the protein. Eight of these variants occurred de novo, and one was inherited. Affected individuals demonstrated a variable neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mild intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral abnormalities, and various skeletal and structural anomalies. Paired-end RNA sequencing on blood lymphocytes of SCAF4-deficient individuals revealed a broad deregulation of more than 9,000 genes and significant differential splicing of more than 2,900 genes, indicating an important role of SCAF4 in mRNA processing. Knockdown of the SCAF4 ortholog CG4266 in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster resulted in impaired locomotor function, learning, and short-term memory. Furthermore, we observed an increased number of active zones in larval neuromuscular junctions, representing large glutamatergic synapses. These observations indicate a role of CG4266 in nervous system development and function and support the implication of SCAF4 in neurodevelopmental phenotypes. In summary, our data show that heterozygous, likely gene-disrupting variants in SCAF4 are causative for a variable neurodevelopmental disorder associated with impaired mRNA processing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.06.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477272PMC
September 2020

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

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

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

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

Second case of Bardet-Biedl syndrome caused by biallelic variants in IFT74.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 07 6;28(7):943-946. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of the cilia, often resulting in a phenotype of obesity, rod-cone dystrophy, a variable degree of intellectual disability, polydactyly, renal problems, and/or hypogonadism in males or genital abnormalities in females. We here report the case of an 11-year-old girl who presented with postaxial polydactyly, retinal dystrophy, and childhood obesity, suggesting Bardet-Biedl syndrome. She had no renal problems, developmental delay, or intellectual disability. Genetic testing revealed compound heterozygous variants in the IFT74 gene (c.371_372del p.Gln124Argfs*9 and c.16850-1G>T p.?). We here report the second patient with Bardet-Biedl syndrome due to biallelic IFT74 variants. Both patients have obesity, polydactyly, retinal dystrophy, and no renal abnormalities. The present case however, has normal intellect, whereas the other patient has intellectual disability. We hereby confirm IFT74 as a BBS gene and encourage diagnostic genetic testing laboratories to add IFT74 to their BBS gene panels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0594-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316806PMC
July 2020

Lysine acetyltransferase 8 is involved in cerebral development and syndromic intellectual disability.

J Clin Invest 2020 03;130(3):1431-1445

Department of Clinical Genetics, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Epigenetic integrity is critical for many eukaryotic cellular processes. An important question is how different epigenetic regulators control development and influence disease. Lysine acetyltransferase 8 (KAT8) is critical for acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4K16), an evolutionarily conserved epigenetic mark. It is unclear what roles KAT8 plays in cerebral development and human disease. Here, we report that cerebrum-specific knockout mice displayed cerebral hypoplasia in the neocortex and hippocampus, along with improper neural stem and progenitor cell (NSPC) development. Mutant cerebrocortical neuroepithelia exhibited faulty proliferation, aberrant neurogenesis, massive apoptosis, and scant H4K16 propionylation. Mutant NSPCs formed poor neurospheres, and pharmacological KAT8 inhibition abolished neurosphere formation. Moreover, we describe KAT8 variants in 9 patients with intellectual disability, seizures, autism, dysmorphisms, and other anomalies. The variants altered chromobarrel and catalytic domains of KAT8, thereby impairing nucleosomal H4K16 acetylation. Valproate was effective for treating epilepsy in at least 2 of the individuals. This study uncovers a critical role of KAT8 in cerebral and NSPC development, identifies 9 individuals with KAT8 variants, and links deficient H4K16 acylation directly to intellectual disability, epilepsy, and other developmental anomalies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI131145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269600PMC
March 2020

Clonality, Antigen Recognition, and Suppression of CD8 T Cells Differentially Affect Prognosis of Breast Cancer Subtypes.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 01 24;26(2):505-517. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Purpose: In breast cancer, response rates to immune therapies are generally low and differ significantly across molecular subtypes, urging a better understanding of immunogenicity and immune evasion.

Experimental Design: We interrogated large gene-expression data sets including 867 node-negative, treatment-naïve breast cancer patients (microarray data) and 347 breast cancer patients (whole-genome sequencing and transcriptome data) according to parameters of T cells as well as immune microenvironment in relation to patient survival.

Results: We developed a 109-immune gene signature that captures abundance of CD8 tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and is prognostic in basal-like, her2, and luminal B breast cancer, but not in luminal A or normal-like breast cancer. Basal-like and her2 are characterized by highest CD8 TIL abundance, highest T-cell clonality, highest frequencies of memory T cells, and highest antigenicity, yet only the former shows highest expression level of immune and metabolic checkpoints and highest frequency of myeloid suppressor cells. Also, luminal B shows a high antigenicity and T-cell clonality, yet a low abundance of CD8 TILs. In contrast, luminal A and normal-like both show a low antigenicity, and notably, a low and high abundance of CD8 TILs, respectively, which associates with T-cell influx parameters, such as expression of adhesion molecules.

Conclusions: Collectively, our data argue that not only CD8 T-cell presence itself, but rather T-cell clonality, T-cell subset distribution, coinhibition, and antigen presentation reflect occurrence of a CD8 T-cell response in breast cancer subtypes, which have been aborted by distinct T-cell-suppressive mechanisms, providing a rationale for subtype-specific combination immune therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0285DOI Listing
January 2020

Disruptive mutations in TANC2 define a neurodevelopmental syndrome associated with psychiatric disorders.

Nat Commun 2019 10 15;10(1):4679. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Postsynaptic density (PSD) proteins have been implicated in the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Here, we present detailed clinical and genetic data for 20 patients with likely gene-disrupting mutations in TANC2-whose protein product interacts with multiple PSD proteins. Pediatric patients with disruptive mutations present with autism, intellectual disability, and delayed language and motor development. In addition to a variable degree of epilepsy and facial dysmorphism, we observe a pattern of more complex psychiatric dysfunction or behavioral problems in adult probands or carrier parents. Although this observation requires replication to establish statistical significance, it also suggests that mutations in this gene are associated with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders consistent with its postsynaptic function. We find that TANC2 is expressed broadly in the human developing brain, especially in excitatory neurons and glial cells, but shows a more restricted pattern in Drosophila glial cells where its disruption affects behavioral outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12435-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6794285PMC
October 2019

De novo variants in PAK1 lead to intellectual disability with macrocephaly and seizures.

Brain 2019 11;142(11):3351-3359

Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Center Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.

Using trio exome sequencing, we identified de novo heterozygous missense variants in PAK1 in four unrelated individuals with intellectual disability, macrocephaly and seizures. PAK1 encodes the p21-activated kinase, a major driver of neuronal development in humans and other organisms. In normal neurons, PAK1 dimers reside in a trans-inhibited conformation, where each autoinhibitory domain covers the kinase domain of the other monomer. Upon GTPase binding via CDC42 or RAC1, the PAK1 dimers dissociate and become activated. All identified variants are located within or close to the autoinhibitory switch domain that is necessary for trans-inhibition of resting PAK1 dimers. Protein modelling supports a model of reduced ability of regular autoinhibition, suggesting a gain of function mechanism for the identified missense variants. Alleviated dissociation into monomers, autophosphorylation and activation of PAK1 influences the actin dynamics of neurite outgrowth. Based on our clinical and genetic data, as well as the role of PAK1 in brain development, we suggest that gain of function pathogenic de novo missense variants in PAK1 lead to moderate-to-severe intellectual disability, macrocephaly caused by the presence of megalencephaly and ventriculomegaly, (febrile) seizures and autism-like behaviour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awz264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6821231PMC
November 2019

Dutch genome diagnostic laboratories accelerated and improved variant interpretation and increased accuracy by sharing data.

Hum Mutat 2019 12 3;40(12):2230-2238. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Each year diagnostic laboratories in the Netherlands profile thousands of individuals for heritable disease using next-generation sequencing (NGS). This requires pathogenicity classification of millions of DNA variants on the standard 5-tier scale. To reduce time spent on data interpretation and increase data quality and reliability, the nine Dutch labs decided to publicly share their classifications. Variant classifications of nearly 100,000 unique variants were catalogued and compared in a centralized MOLGENIS database. Variants classified by more than one center were labeled as "consensus" when classifications agreed, and shared internationally with LOVD and ClinVar. When classifications opposed (LB/B vs. LP/P), they were labeled "conflicting", while other nonconsensus observations were labeled "no consensus". We assessed our classifications using the InterVar software to compare to ACMG 2015 guidelines, showing 99.7% overall consistency with only 0.3% discrepancies. Differences in classifications between Dutch labs or between Dutch labs and ACMG were mainly present in genes with low penetrance or for late onset disorders and highlight limitations of the current 5-tier classification system. The data sharing boosted the quality of DNA diagnostics in Dutch labs, an initiative we hope will be followed internationally. Recently, a positive match with a case from outside our consortium resulted in a more definite disease diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23896DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6900155PMC
December 2019

Genetic variants in the KDM6B gene are associated with neurodevelopmental delays and dysmorphic features.

Am J Med Genet A 2019 07 23;179(7):1276-1286. Epub 2019 May 23.

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

Lysine-specific demethylase 6B (KDM6B) demethylates trimethylated lysine-27 on histone H3. The methylation and demethylation of histone proteins affects gene expression during development. Pathogenic alterations in histone lysine methylation and demethylation genes have been associated with multiple neurodevelopmental disorders. We have identified a number of de novo alterations in the KDM6B gene via whole exome sequencing (WES) in a cohort of 12 unrelated patients with developmental delay, intellectual disability, dysmorphic facial features, and other clinical findings. Our findings will allow for further investigation in to the role of the KDM6B gene in human neurodevelopmental disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61173DOI Listing
July 2019

Biallelic variants in and cause deafness and (ovario)leukodystrophy.

Neurology 2019 03 8;92(11):e1225-e1237. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

From the Departments of Child Neurology (M.S.v.d.K., M. Breur) and Neuropathology (M. Bugiani, M. Breur), and Metabolic Unit, Department of Clinical Chemistry (M.I.M., D.E.C.S., G.S.S.), Amsterdam University Medical Centers and Amsterdam Neuroscience; Department of Functional Genomics (M.S.v.d.K.), Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Genetic Metabolic Disorders Research Unit (L.G.R., J. Christodoulou), The Children's Hospital at Westmead, and Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia; Architecture et Réactivité de l'ARN (J.R.-T., M.F.), UPR 9002, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Strasbourg, France; Institute for Molecular Bioscience (J. Crawford, C.S.), University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia; Department of Neurology (J.v.G.), Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen; Department of Clinical Genetics (M.S.), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Departement Génétique Médicale (M.W.), Maladies Rares et Médecine Personnalisée, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, CHRU de Montpellier, France; Department of Clinical Genetics (Q.W.), Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Netherlands; UF Innovation en Diagnostic Génomique des Maladies Rares (F.T.M.-T.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Dijon, France; Radboud Center for Mitochondrial Medicine (R.J.R.), Translational Metabolic Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Illumina Inc. (R.J.T.), San Diego, CA; AP-HP (B.K., F.M.), La Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, Department of Genetics, Paris; INSERM U 1127 (B.K., C.D., F.M.), CNRS UMR 7225, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06 UMR S 1127, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, ICM, Paris, France; Murdoch Children's Research Institute (J. Christodoulou, C.S.), Parkville, Victoria, Australia; Department of Paediatrics (J. Christodoulou), University of Melbourne, Australia; Institute of Human Genetics (C.D.), University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany; and Sorbonne Universités (F.M.), Neurometabolic Clinical Research Group, Paris, France.

Objective: To describe the leukodystrophy caused by pathogenic variants in and , encoding mitochondrial leucyl transfer RNA (tRNA) synthase and mitochondrial and cytoplasmic lysyl tRNA synthase, respectively.

Methods: We composed a group of 5 patients with leukodystrophy, in whom whole-genome or whole-exome sequencing revealed pathogenic variants in or . Clinical information, brain MRIs, and postmortem brain autopsy data were collected. We assessed aminoacylation activities of purified mutant recombinant mitochondrial leucyl tRNA synthase and performed aminoacylation assays on patients' lymphoblasts and fibroblasts.

Results: Patients had a combination of early-onset deafness and later-onset neurologic deterioration caused by progressive brain white matter abnormalities on MRI. Female patients with pathogenic variants had premature ovarian failure. In 2 patients, MRI showed additional signs of early-onset vascular abnormalities. In 2 other patients with and pathogenic variants, magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed elevated white matter lactate, suggesting mitochondrial disease. Pathology in one patient with pathogenic variants displayed evidence of primary disease of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes with lack of myelin and deficient astrogliosis. Aminoacylation activities of purified recombinant mutant leucyl tRNA synthase showed a 3-fold loss of catalytic efficiency. Aminoacylation assays on patients' lymphoblasts and fibroblasts showed about 50% reduction of enzyme activity.

Conclusion: This study adds and pathogenic variants as gene defects that may underlie deafness, ovarian failure, and leukodystrophy with mitochondrial signature. We discuss the specific MRI characteristics shared by leukodystrophies caused by mitochondrial tRNA synthase defects. We propose to add aminoacylation assays as biochemical diagnostic tools for leukodystrophies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000007098DOI Listing
March 2019

Periodontal Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is associated with leukoencephalopathy.

Neurogenetics 2019 03 8;20(1):1-8. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Department of Child Neurology and Department of Functional Genomics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Here, we report brain white matter alterations in individuals clinically and genetically diagnosed with periodontal Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare disease characterized by premature loss of teeth and connective tissue abnormalities. Eight individuals of two families clinically diagnosed with periodontal Ehlers-Danlos syndrome were included in the present study and underwent general physical, dental, and neurological examination. Whole exome sequencing was performed, and all patients included in the study underwent MRI of the brain. Whole exome sequencing revealed heterozygous C1R mutations c.926G>T (p.Cys309Phe, Family A) and c.149_150TC>AT (p.Val50Asp, Family B). All adult individuals (n = 7; age range 31 to 68 years) investigated by MRI had brain white matter abnormalities. The MRI of one investigated child aged 8 years was normal. The MRI pattern was suggestive of an underlying small vessel disease that is progressive with age. As observed in other leukoencephalopathies related to microangiopathies, the extent of the white matter changes was disproportionate to the neurologic features. Medical history revealed recurrent headaches or depression in some cases. Neurological examination was unremarkable in all individuals but one had mild cognitive decline and ataxia and experienced a seizure. The observation that periodontal Ehlers-Danlos syndrome caused by missense mutations in C1R is consistently associated with a leukoencephalopathy opens a new pathogenic link between the classical complement pathway, connective tissue, brain small vessels, and brain white matter abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10048-018-0560-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6411670PMC
March 2019

Genetic determinants of risk in pulmonary arterial hypertension: international genome-wide association studies and meta-analysis.

Lancet Respir Med 2019 03 5;7(3):227-238. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Medstar Health, Washington, DC, USA.

Background: Rare genetic variants cause pulmonary arterial hypertension, but the contribution of common genetic variation to disease risk and natural history is poorly characterised. We tested for genome-wide association for pulmonary arterial hypertension in large international cohorts and assessed the contribution of associated regions to outcomes.

Methods: We did two separate genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and a meta-analysis of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These GWAS used data from four international case-control studies across 11 744 individuals with European ancestry (including 2085 patients). One GWAS used genotypes from 5895 whole-genome sequences and the other GWAS used genotyping array data from an additional 5849 individuals. Cross-validation of loci reaching genome-wide significance was sought by meta-analysis. Conditional analysis corrected for the most significant variants at each locus was used to resolve signals for multiple associations. We functionally annotated associated variants and tested associations with duration of survival. All-cause mortality was the primary endpoint in survival analyses.

Findings: A locus near SOX17 (rs10103692, odds ratio 1·80 [95% CI 1·55-2·08], p=5·13 × 10) and a second locus in HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1 (collectively referred to as HLA-DPA1/DPB1 here; rs2856830, 1·56 [1·42-1·71], p=7·65 × 10) within the class II MHC region were associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The SOX17 locus had two independent signals associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (rs13266183, 1·36 [1·25-1·48], p=1·69 × 10; and rs10103692). Functional and epigenomic data indicate that the risk variants near SOX17 alter gene regulation via an enhancer active in endothelial cells. Pulmonary arterial hypertension risk variants determined haplotype-specific enhancer activity, and CRISPR-mediated inhibition of the enhancer reduced SOX17 expression. The HLA-DPA1/DPB1 rs2856830 genotype was strongly associated with survival. Median survival from diagnosis in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension with the C/C homozygous genotype was double (13·50 years [95% CI 12·07 to >13·50]) that of those with the T/T genotype (6·97 years [6·02-8·05]), despite similar baseline disease severity.

Interpretation: This is the first study to report that common genetic variation at loci in an enhancer near SOX17 and in HLA-DPA1/DPB1 is associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Impairment of SOX17 function might be more common in pulmonary arterial hypertension than suggested by rare mutations in SOX17. Further studies are needed to confirm the association between HLA typing or rs2856830 genotyping and survival, and to determine whether HLA typing or rs2856830 genotyping improves risk stratification in clinical practice or trials.

Funding: UK NIHR, BHF, UK MRC, Dinosaur Trust, NIH/NHLBI, ERS, EMBO, Wellcome Trust, EU, AHA, ACClinPharm, Netherlands CVRI, Dutch Heart Foundation, Dutch Federation of UMC, Netherlands OHRD and RNAS, German DFG, German BMBF, APH Paris, INSERM, Université Paris-Sud, and French ANR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(18)30409-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6391516PMC
March 2019

Biallelic Mutations in ADPRHL2, Encoding ADP-Ribosylhydrolase 3, Lead to a Degenerative Pediatric Stress-Induced Epileptic Ataxia Syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 09 9;103(3):431-439. Epub 2018 Aug 9.

Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatric Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad 15731, Iran.

ADP-ribosylation, the addition of poly-ADP ribose (PAR) onto proteins, is a response signal to cellular challenges, such as excitotoxicity or oxidative stress. This process is catalyzed by a group of enzymes referred to as poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs). Because the accumulation of proteins with this modification results in cell death, its negative regulation restores cellular homeostasis: a process mediated by poly-ADP ribose glycohydrolases (PARGs) and ADP-ribosylhydrolase proteins (ARHs). Using linkage analysis and exome or genome sequencing, we identified recessive inactivating mutations in ADPRHL2 in six families. Affected individuals exhibited a pediatric-onset neurodegenerative disorder with progressive brain atrophy, developmental regression, and seizures in association with periods of stress, such as infections. Loss of the Drosophila paralog Parg showed lethality in response to oxidative challenge that was rescued by human ADPRHL2, suggesting functional conservation. Pharmacological inhibition of PARP also rescued the phenotype, suggesting the possibility of postnatal treatment for this genetic condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.07.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128219PMC
September 2018

A transcriptome-wide association study of 229,000 women identifies new candidate susceptibility genes for breast cancer.

Nat Genet 2018 07 18;50(7):968-978. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Department of Oncology, Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The breast cancer risk variants identified in genome-wide association studies explain only a small fraction of the familial relative risk, and the genes responsible for these associations remain largely unknown. To identify novel risk loci and likely causal genes, we performed a transcriptome-wide association study evaluating associations of genetically predicted gene expression with breast cancer risk in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry. We used data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project to establish genetic models to predict gene expression in breast tissue and evaluated model performance using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Of the 8,597 genes evaluated, significant associations were identified for 48 at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 5.82 × 10, including 14 genes at loci not yet reported for breast cancer. We silenced 13 genes and showed an effect for 11 on cell proliferation and/or colony-forming efficiency. Our study provides new insights into breast cancer genetics and biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0132-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6314198PMC
July 2018

Homozygous DMRT2 variant associates with severe rib malformations in a newborn.

Am J Med Genet A 2018 05;176(5):1216-1221

Department of Clinical Genetics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Spondylocostal dysostosis (SCD) is a rare disorder characterized by vertebral segmentation defects and malformations of the ribs. SCD patients have some degree of (kypho)scoliosis, short stature and suffer from respiratory impairment due to the reduced size of their thoracic cage. Mutations in DLL3, MESP2, LFNG, HES7, TBX6, and RIPPLY2 are known to cause different subtypes of SCD. Here, we report on a male neonate with an apparent distinct SCD-like phenotype only partly overlapping the previously described SCD subtypes. The proband presented with severe rib malformations (missing, fused, bifid, and hypoplastic ribs), vertebral malformations (intervertebral fusions of the laminae and irregular ossification of the vertebral bodies), and a mild scoliosis. Clear segmentation defects of the vertebral bodies were lacking. Other dysmorphic features were present as well. Severe respiratory insufficiency was present from birth. Whole exome sequencing identified a homozygous start-loss variant in DMRT2 (NM_006557.6: c.1A > T p.[Met1?]) being a likely cause of the SCD-like phenotype in the proband. Mutations in DMRT2 (OMIM#604935) have not been described in relation to SCD-related phenotypes in humans before. However, Dmrt2 knock-out mice exhibit severe rib and vertebral defects that strikingly overlap with the radiological phenotype of the proband reported here. Therefore, it seems plausible that mutations in DMRT2 are associated with a different (novel) subtype of SCD mainly characterized by severe rib anomalies but lacking clear segmentation defects of the vertebral bodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.38668DOI Listing
May 2018

Identification of rare sequence variation underlying heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Nat Commun 2018 04 12;9(1):1416. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, SW3 6LY, United Kingdom.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disorder with a poor prognosis. Deleterious variation within components of the transforming growth factor-β pathway, particularly the bone morphogenetic protein type 2 receptor (BMPR2), underlies most heritable forms of PAH. To identify the missing heritability we perform whole-genome sequencing in 1038 PAH index cases and 6385 PAH-negative control subjects. Case-control analyses reveal significant overrepresentation of rare variants in ATP13A3, AQP1 and SOX17, and provide independent validation of a critical role for GDF2 in PAH. We demonstrate familial segregation of mutations in SOX17 and AQP1 with PAH. Mutations in GDF2, encoding a BMPR2 ligand, lead to reduced secretion from transfected cells. In addition, we identify pathogenic mutations in the majority of previously reported PAH genes, and provide evidence for further putative genes. Taken together these findings contribute new insights into the molecular basis of PAH and indicate unexplored pathways for therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03672-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5897357PMC
April 2018

Bi-allelic Mutations in EPRS, Encoding the Glutamyl-Prolyl-Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase, Cause a Hypomyelinating Leukodystrophy.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 04 22;102(4):676-684. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Child Health and Human Development Program, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada; Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada; Department of Pediatrics, McGill University, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada; Department of Medical Genetics, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC H4A 3J1, Canada. Electronic address:

Hypomyelinating leukodystrophies are genetic disorders characterized by insufficient myelin deposition during development. They are diagnosed on the basis of both clinical and MRI features followed by genetic confirmation. Here, we report on four unrelated affected individuals with hypomyelination and bi-allelic pathogenic variants in EPRS, the gene encoding cytoplasmic glutamyl-prolyl-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. EPRS is a bifunctional aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase that catalyzes the aminoacylation of glutamic acid and proline tRNA species. It is a subunit of a large multisynthetase complex composed of eight aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and its three interacting proteins. In total, five different EPRS mutations were identified. The p.Pro1115Arg variation did not affect the assembly of the multisynthetase complex (MSC) as monitored by affinity purification-mass spectrometry. However, immunoblot analyses on protein extracts from fibroblasts of the two affected individuals sharing the p.Pro1115Arg variant showed reduced EPRS amounts. EPRS activity was reduced in one affected individual's lymphoblasts and in a purified recombinant protein model. Interestingly, two other cytoplasmic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases have previously been implicated in hypomyelinating leukodystrophies bearing clinical and radiological similarities to those in the individuals we studied. We therefore hypothesized that leukodystrophies caused by mutations in genes encoding cytoplasmic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases share a common underlying mechanism, such as reduced protein availability, abnormal assembly of the multisynthetase complex, and/or abnormal aminoacylation, all resulting in reduced translation capacity and insufficient myelin deposition in the developing brain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985283PMC
April 2018

Benign and malignant tumors in Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2018 03 23;176(3):597-608. Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Department of Pathology, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RSTS) is a multiple congenital anomalies syndrome associated with mutations in CREBBP (70%) and EP300 (5-10%). Previous reports have suggested an increased incidence of specific benign and possibly also malignant tumors. We identified all known individuals diagnosed with RSTS in the Netherlands until 2015 (n = 87) and studied the incidence and character of neoplastic tumors in relation to their CREBBP/EP300 alterations. The population-based Dutch RSTS data are compared to similar data of the Dutch general population and to an overview of case reports and series of all RSTS individuals with tumors reported in the literature to date. Using the Nationwide Network and Registry of Histopathology and Cytopathology in the Netherlands (PALGA Foundation), 35 benign and malignant tumors were observed in 26/87 individuals. Meningiomas and pilomatricomas were the most frequent benign tumors and their incidence was significantly elevated in comparison to the general Dutch population. Five malignant tumors were observed in four persons with RSTS (medulloblastoma; diffuse large-cell B-cell lymphoma; breast cancer; non-small cell lung carcinoma; colon carcinoma). No clear genotype-phenotype correlation became evident. The Dutch population-based data and reported case studies underscore the increased incidence of meningiomas and pilomatricomas in individuals with RSTS. There is no supporting evidence for an increased risk for malignant tumors in individuals with RSTS, however, due to the small numbers this risk may not be fully dismissed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.38603DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5838508PMC
March 2018

WISExome: a within-sample comparison approach to detect copy number variations in whole exome sequencing data.

Eur J Hum Genet 2017 12 8;25(12):1354-1363. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Clinical Genetics, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 7 (BS7/J377), 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In clinical genetics, detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNVs) as well as copy number variations (CNVs) is essential for patient genotyping. Obtaining both CNV and SNV information from WES data would significantly simplify clinical workflow. Unfortunately, the sequence reads obtained with WES vary between samples, complicating accurate CNV detection with WES. To avoid being dependent on other samples, we developed a within-sample comparison approach (WISExome). For every (WES) target region on the genome, we identified a set of reference target regions elsewhere on the genome with similar read frequency behavior. For a new sample, aberrations are detected by comparing the read frequency of a target region with the distribution of read frequencies in the reference set. WISExome correctly identifies known pathogenic CNVs (range 4 Kb-5.2 Mb). Moreover, WISExome prioritizes pathogenic CNVs by sorting them on quality and annotations of overlapping genes in OMIM. When comparing WISExome to four existing CNV detection tools, we found that CoNIFER detects much fewer CNVs and XHMM breaks calls made by other tools into smaller calls (fragmentation). CODEX and CLAMMS seem to perform more similar to WISExome. CODEX finds all known pathogenic CNVs, but detects much more calls than all other methods. CLAMMS and WISExome agree the most. CLAMMS does, however, miss one of the known CNVs and shows slightly more fragmentation. Taken together, WISExome is a promising tool for genome diagnostics laboratories as the workflow can be solely based on WES data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-017-0005-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5865163PMC
December 2017

A recurrent de novo mutation in TMEM106B causes hypomyelinating leukodystrophy.

Brain 2017 12;140(12):3105-3111

Department of Child Neurology, VU University Medical Center, and Amsterdam Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Hypomyelinating leukodystrophies are a heterogeneous group of disorders with a clinical presentation that often includes early-onset nystagmus, ataxia and spasticity and a wide range of severity. Using next-generation sequencing techniques and GeneMatcher, we identified four unrelated patients with brain hypomyelination, all with the same recurrent dominant mutation, c.754G>A p.(Asp252Asn), in TMEM106B. The mutation was confirmed as de novo in three of the cases, and the mildly affected father of the fourth affected individual was confirmed as mosaic for this variant. The protein encoded by TMEM106B is poorly characterized but is reported to have a role in regulation of lysosomal trafficking. Polymorphisms in TMEM106B are thought to modify disease onset in frontotemporal dementia, but its relation to myelination is not understood. Clinical presentation in three of the four patients is remarkably benign compared to other hypomyelinating disorders, with congenital nystagmus and mild motor delay. These findings add TMEM106B to the growing list of genes causing hypomyelinating disorders and emphasize the essential role lysosomes play in myelination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx314DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5841038PMC
December 2017

Association analysis identifies 65 new breast cancer risk loci.

Nature 2017 11 23;551(7678):92-94. Epub 2017 Oct 23.

Department of Clinical Genetics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Breast cancer risk is influenced by rare coding variants in susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1, and many common, mostly non-coding variants. However, much of the genetic contribution to breast cancer risk remains unknown. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry and 14,068 cases and 13,104 controls of East Asian ancestry. We identified 65 new loci that are associated with overall breast cancer risk at P < 5 × 10. The majority of credible risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms in these loci fall in distal regulatory elements, and by integrating in silico data to predict target genes in breast cells at each locus, we demonstrate a strong overlap between candidate target genes and somatic driver genes in breast tumours. We also find that heritability of breast cancer due to all single-nucleotide polymorphisms in regulatory features was 2-5-fold enriched relative to the genome-wide average, with strong enrichment for particular transcription factor binding sites. These results provide further insight into genetic susceptibility to breast cancer and will improve the use of genetic risk scores for individualized screening and prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5798588PMC
November 2017

founder mutation in the Roma population causes recessive variant of H-ABC.

Neurology 2017 Oct 20;89(17):1821-1828. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

From the Department of Child Neurology (E.M.C.H., N.I.W., T.E.M.A., M.S.v.d.K.), Amsterdam Neuroscience (E.M.C.H., N.I.W., T.E.M.A., M.S.v.d.K.), Department of Clinical Genetics (C.M.P., Q.W.), Department of Functional Genomics, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (M.S.v.d.K.), VU University and VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders (E.B., D. Diodato), Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, "Bambino Gesù" Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy; Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and Centre for Medical Research (L.K., B.M.), University of Western Australia, Perth; Department of Biology (D. Dojčáková), Faculty of Humanities and Natural Sciences, University of Presov, Slovakia; Center for Neuroscience Research (J.L., J.C.), Children's Research Institute; Department of Neurology, Center for Genetic Medicine Research (A.V.), Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC; Department of Neuroradiology (L.P.), Section of Pediatric Neuroradiology, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy; MRC Holland (N.L.v.d.M.), Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Division of Neurology (B.P.), Children's Hospital, University of Zurich, Switzerland; and Division of Pediatric Neuroradiology (S.B.), Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.

Objective: To identify the gene defect in patients with hypomyelination with atrophy of the basal ganglia and cerebellum (H-ABC) who are negative for mutations.

Methods: We performed homozygosity mapping and whole exome sequencing (WES) to detect the disease-causing variant. We used a Taqman assay for population screening. We developed a luciferase reporter construct to investigate the effect of the promoter mutation on expression.

Results: Sixteen patients from 14 families from different countries fulfilling the MRI criteria for H-ABC exhibited a similar, severe clinical phenotype, including lack of development and a severe epileptic encephalopathy. The majority of patients had a known Roma ethnic background. Single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis in 5 patients identified one large overlapping homozygous region on chromosome 13. WES in 2 patients revealed a homozygous deletion in the promoter region of . Sanger sequencing confirmed homozygosity for this variant in all 16 patients. All patients shared a common haplotype, indicative of a founder effect. Screening of 1,000 controls from different European Roma panels demonstrated an overall carrier rate of the mutation of 3%-25%. Transfection assays showed that the deletion significantly reduced expression in specific CNS cell lines.

Conclusions: encodes ubiquitin-fold modifier 1 (UFM1), a member of the ubiquitin-like family involved in posttranslational modification of proteins. Its exact biological role is unclear. This study associates a gene defect with a disease and sheds new light on possible UFM1 functional networks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000004578DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664304PMC
October 2017