Publications by authors named "Stylianos E Antonarakis"

258 Publications

Biallelic truncation variants in ATP9A are associated with a novel autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder.

NPJ Genom Med 2021 Nov 11;6(1):94. Epub 2021 Nov 11.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical Faculty, Geneva, 1211, Switzerland.

Intellectual disability (ID) is a highly heterogeneous disorder with hundreds of associated genes. Despite progress in the identification of the genetic causes of ID following the introduction of high-throughput sequencing, about half of affected individuals still remain without a molecular diagnosis. Consanguineous families with affected individuals provide a unique opportunity to identify novel recessive causative genes. In this report, we describe a novel autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder. We identified two consanguineous families with homozygous variants predicted to alter the splicing of ATP9A which encodes a transmembrane lipid flippase of the class II P4-ATPases. The three individuals homozygous for these putatively truncating variants presented with severe ID, motor and speech impairment, and behavioral anomalies. Consistent with a causative role of ATP9A in these patients, a previously described Atp9a-/- mouse model showed behavioral changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41525-021-00255-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8586153PMC
November 2021

Three decades of the Human Genome Organization.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 11 28;185(11):3314-3321. Epub 2021 Sep 28.

Newcastle University Translational and Clinical Research Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

The Human Genome Organization (HUGO) was initially established in 1988 to help integrate international scientific genomic activity and to accelerate the diffusion of knowledge from the efforts of the human genome project. Its founding President was Victor McKusick. During the late 1980s and 1990s, HUGO organized lively gene mapping meetings to accurately place genes on the genome as chromosomes were being sequenced. With the completion of the Human Genome Project, HUGO went through some transitions and self-reflection. In 2020, HUGO (which hosts a large annual scientific meeting and comprises the renowned HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee [HGNC], responsible for naming genes, and an outstanding Ethics Committee) was merged with the Human Genome Variation Society (HGVS; which defines the correct nomenclature for variation description) and the Human Variome Project (HVP; championed by the late Richard Cotton) into a single organization that is committed to assembling human genomic variation from all over the world. This consolidated effort, under a new Executive Board and seven focused committees, will facilitate efficient and effective communication and action to bring the benefits of increasing knowledge of genome diversity and biology to people all over the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62512DOI Listing
November 2021

Immune Dysregulation and the Increased Risk of Complications and Mortality Following Respiratory Tract Infections in Adults With Down Syndrome.

Front Immunol 2021;12:621440. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

The Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

The risk of severe outcomes following respiratory tract infections is significantly increased in individuals over 60 years, especially in those with chronic medical conditions, i.e., hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. Down Syndrome (DS), the most prevalent intellectual disability, is caused by trisomy-21 in ~1:750 live births worldwide. Over the past few decades, a substantial body of evidence has accumulated, pointing at the occurrence of alterations, impairments, and subsequently dysfunction of the various components of the immune system in individuals with DS. This associates with increased vulnerability to respiratory tract infections in this population, such as the influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), and bacterial pneumonias. To emphasize this link, here we comprehensively review the immunobiology of DS and its contribution to higher susceptibility to severe illness and mortality from respiratory tract infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.621440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267813PMC
August 2021

Phenotypic expansion of CACNA1C-associated disorders to include isolated neurological manifestations.

Genet Med 2021 10 23;23(10):1922-1932. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Rare Diseases and Medical Genetic Unit, IRCCS Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: CACNA1C encodes the alpha-1-subunit of a voltage-dependent L-type calcium channel expressed in human heart and brain. Heterozygous variants in CACNA1C have previously been reported in association with Timothy syndrome and long QT syndrome. Several case reports have suggested that CACNA1C variation may also be associated with a primarily neurological phenotype.

Methods: We describe 25 individuals from 22 families with heterozygous variants in CACNA1C, who present with predominantly neurological manifestations.

Results: Fourteen individuals have de novo, nontruncating variants and present variably with developmental delays, intellectual disability, autism, hypotonia, ataxia, and epilepsy. Functional studies of a subgroup of missense variants via patch clamp experiments demonstrated differential effects on channel function in vitro, including loss of function (p.Leu1408Val), neutral effect (p.Leu614Arg), and gain of function (p.Leu657Phe, p.Leu614Pro). The remaining 11 individuals from eight families have truncating variants in CACNA1C. The majority of these individuals have expressive language deficits, and half have autism.

Conclusion: We expand the phenotype associated with CACNA1C variants to include neurodevelopmental abnormalities and epilepsy, in the absence of classic features of Timothy syndrome or long QT syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01232-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8488020PMC
October 2021

History of the methodology of disease gene identification.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 11 23;185(11):3266-3275. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland.

The past 45 years have witnessed a triumph in the discovery of genes and genetic variation that cause Mendelian disorders due to high impact variants. Important discoveries and organized projects have provided the necessary tools and infrastructure for the identification of gene defects leading to thousands of monogenic phenotypes. This endeavor can be divided in three phases in which different laboratory strategies were employed for the discovery of disease-related genes: (i) the biochemical phase, (ii) the genetic linkage followed by positional cloning phase, and (iii) the sequence identification phase. However, much more work is needed to identify all the high impact genomic variation that substantially contributes to the phenotypic variation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62400DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8596769PMC
November 2021

PIGG variant pathogenicity assessment reveals characteristic features within 19 families.

Genet Med 2021 10 10;23(10):1873-1881. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Sydney Children's Hospital, Centre for Clinical Genetics, Sydney Children's Hospital, High St, Randwick, UK.

Purpose: Phosphatidylinositol Glycan Anchor Biosynthesis, class G (PIGG) is an ethanolamine phosphate transferase catalyzing the modification of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI). GPI serves as an anchor on the cell membrane for surface proteins called GPI-anchored proteins (GPI-APs). Pathogenic variants in genes involved in the biosynthesis of GPI cause inherited GPI deficiency (IGD), which still needs to be further characterized.

Methods: We describe 22 individuals from 19 unrelated families with biallelic variants in PIGG. We analyzed GPI-AP surface levels on granulocytes and fibroblasts for three and two individuals, respectively. We demonstrated enzymatic activity defects for PIGG variants in vitro in a PIGG/PIGO double knockout system.

Results: Phenotypic analysis of reported individuals reveals shared PIGG deficiency-associated features. All tested GPI-APs were unchanged on granulocytes whereas CD73 level in fibroblasts was decreased. In addition to classic IGD symptoms such as hypotonia, intellectual disability/developmental delay (ID/DD), and seizures, individuals with PIGG variants of null or severely decreased activity showed cerebellar atrophy, various neurological manifestations, and mitochondrial dysfunction, a feature increasingly recognized in IGDs. Individuals with mildly decreased activity showed autism spectrum disorder.

Conclusion: This in vitro system is a useful method to validate the pathogenicity of variants in PIGG and to study PIGG physiological functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01215-9DOI Listing
October 2021

Biallelic variants in TMEM222 cause a new autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder.

Genet Med 2021 07 6;23(7):1246-1254. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

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

Purpose: To elucidate the novel molecular cause in families with a new autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder.

Methods: A combination of exome sequencing and gene matching tools was used to identify pathogenic variants in 17 individuals. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and subcellular localization studies were used to characterize gene expression profile and localization.

Results: Biallelic variants in the TMEM222 gene were identified in 17 individuals from nine unrelated families, presenting with intellectual disability and variable other features, such as aggressive behavior, shy character, body tremors, decreased muscle mass in the lower extremities, and mild hypotonia. We found relatively high TMEM222 expression levels in the human brain, especially in the parietal and occipital cortex. Additionally, subcellular localization analysis in human neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) revealed that TMEM222 localizes to early endosomes in the synapses of mature iPSC-derived neurons.

Conclusion: Our findings support a role for TMEM222 in brain development and function and adds variants in the gene TMEM222 as a novel underlying cause of an autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01133-wDOI Listing
July 2021

Dominant monoallelic variant in the PAK2 gene causes Knobloch syndrome type 2.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Mar 9. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Department of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland.

Knobloch syndrome is an autosomal recessive phenotype mainly characterized by retinal detachment and encephalocele caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in the COL18A1 gene. However, there are patients clinically diagnosed as Knobloch syndrome with unknown molecular etiology not linked to COL18A1. We studied an historical pedigree (published in 1998) designated as KNO2 (Knobloch type 2 syndrome with intellectual disability, autistic behavior, retinal degeneration, encephalocele). Whole exome sequencing of the two affected siblings and the normal parents resulted in the identification of a PAK2 non-synonymous substitution p.(Glu435Lys) as a causative variant. The variant was monoallelic and apparently de novo in both siblings indicating a likely germline mosaicism in one of the parents; the mosaicism however could not be observed after deep sequencing of blood parental DNA. PAK2 encodes a member of a small group of serine/threonine kinases; these P21-activating kinases (PAKs) are essential in signal transduction and cellular regulation (cytoskeletal dynamics, cell motility, death and survival signaling, and cell cycle progression). Structural analysis of the PAK2 p.(Glu435Lys) variant which is located in the kinase domain of the protein predicts a possible compromise in the kinase activity. Functional analysis of the p.(Glu435Lys) PAK2 variant in transfected HEK293T cells results in a partial loss of the kinase activity. PAK2 has been previously suggested as an autism related gene. Our results show that PAK2 induced phenotypic spectrum is broad and not fully understood. We conclude that the KNO2 syndrome in the studied family is dominant and caused by a deleterious variant in the PAK2 gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab026DOI Listing
March 2021

Specific Susceptibility to COVID-19 in Adults with Down Syndrome.

Neuromolecular Med 2021 12 4;23(4):561-571. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

The Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, 5290002, Ramat-Gan, Israel.

The current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, which causes COVID-19, is particularly devastating for individuals with chronic medical conditions, in particular those with Down Syndrome (DS) who often exhibit a higher prevalence of respiratory tract infections, immune dysregulation and potential complications. The incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is much higher in DS than in the general population, possibly increasing further the risk of COVID-19 infection and its complications. Here we provide a biological overview with regard to specific susceptibility of individuals with DS to SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as data from a recent survey on the prevalence of COVID-19 among them. We see an urgent need to protect people with DS, especially those with AD, from COVID-19 and future pandemics and focus on developing protective measures, which also include interventions by health systems worldwide for reducing the negative social effects of long-term isolation and increased periods of hospitalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12017-021-08651-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7929736PMC
December 2021

Perturbations of genes essential for Müllerian duct and Wölffian duct development in Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 02;108(2):337-345

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

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS) is associated with congenital absence of the uterus, cervix, and the upper part of the vagina; it is a sex-limited trait. Disrupted development of the Müllerian ducts (MD)/Wölffian ducts (WD) through multifactorial mechanisms has been proposed to underlie MRKHS. In this study, exome sequencing (ES) was performed on a Chinese discovery cohort (442 affected subjects and 941 female control subjects) and a replication MRKHS cohort (150 affected subjects of mixed ethnicity from North America, South America, and Europe). Phenotypic follow-up of the female reproductive system was performed on an additional cohort of PAX8-associated congenital hypothyroidism (CH) (n = 5, Chinese). By analyzing 19 candidate genes essential for MD/WD development, we identified 12 likely gene-disrupting (LGD) variants in 7 genes: PAX8 (n = 4), BMP4 (n = 2), BMP7 (n = 2), TBX6 (n = 1), HOXA10 (n = 1), EMX2 (n = 1), and WNT9B (n = 1), while LGD variants in these genes were not detected in control samples (p = 1.27E-06). Interestingly, a sex-limited penetrance with paternal inheritance was observed in multiple families. One additional PAX8 LGD variant from the replication cohort and two missense variants from both cohorts were revealed to cause loss-of-function of the protein. From the PAX8-associated CH cohort, we identified one individual presenting a syndromic condition characterized by CH and MRKHS (CH-MRKHS). Our study demonstrates the comprehensive utilization of knowledge from developmental biology toward elucidating genetic perturbations, i.e., rare pathogenic alleles involving the same loci, contributing to human birth defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.12.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896104PMC
February 2021

De novo variants in CELF2 that disrupt the nuclear localization signal cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathy.

Hum Mutat 2021 Jan 10;42(1):66-76. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Department of Biochemistry, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan.

We report heterozygous CELF2 (NM_006561.3) variants in five unrelated individuals: Individuals 1-4 exhibited developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) and Individual 5 had intellectual disability and autistic features. CELF2 encodes a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling RNA-binding protein that has multiple roles in RNA processing and is involved in the embryonic development of the central nervous system and heart. Whole-exome sequencing identified the following CELF2 variants: two missense variants [c.1558C>T:p.(Pro520Ser) in unrelated Individuals 1 and 2, and c.1516C>G:p.(Arg506Gly) in Individual 3], one frameshift variant in Individual 4 that removed the last amino acid of CELF2 c.1562dup:p.(Tyr521Ter), possibly resulting in escape from nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), and one canonical splice site variant, c.272-1G>C in Individual 5, also probably leading to NMD. The identified variants in Individuals 1, 2, 4, and 5 were de novo, while the variant in Individual 3 was inherited from her mosaic mother. Notably, all identified variants, except for c.272-1G>C, were clustered within 20 amino acid residues of the C-terminus, which might be a nuclear localization signal. We demonstrated the extranuclear mislocalization of mutant CELF2 protein in cells transfected with mutant CELF2 complementary DNA plasmids. Our findings indicate that CELF2 variants that disrupt its nuclear localization are associated with DEE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24130DOI Listing
January 2021

De Novo KAT5 Variants Cause a Syndrome with Recognizable Facial Dysmorphisms, Cerebellar Atrophy, Sleep Disturbance, and Epilepsy.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 20;107(3):564-574. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada. Electronic address:

KAT5 encodes an essential lysine acetyltransferase, previously called TIP60, which is involved in regulating gene expression, DNA repair, chromatin remodeling, apoptosis, and cell proliferation; but it remains unclear whether variants in this gene cause a genetic disease. Here, we study three individuals with heterozygous de novo missense variants in KAT5 that affect normally invariant residues, with one at the chromodomain (p.Arg53His) and two at or near the acetyl-CoA binding site (p.Cys369Ser and p.Ser413Ala). All three individuals have cerebral malformations, seizures, global developmental delay or intellectual disability, and severe sleep disturbance. Progressive cerebellar atrophy was also noted. Histone acetylation assays with purified variant KAT5 demonstrated that the variants decrease or abolish the ability of the resulting NuA4/TIP60 multi-subunit complexes to acetylate the histone H4 tail in chromatin. Transcriptomic analysis in affected individual fibroblasts showed deregulation of multiple genes that control development. Moreover, there was also upregulated expression of PER1 (a key gene involved in circadian control) in agreement with sleep anomalies in all of the individuals. In conclusion, dominant missense KAT5 variants cause histone acetylation deficiency with transcriptional dysregulation of multiples genes, thereby leading to a neurodevelopmental syndrome with sleep disturbance, cerebellar atrophy, and facial dysmorphisms, and suggesting a recognizable syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477011PMC
September 2020

De Novo and Bi-allelic Pathogenic Variants in NARS1 Cause Neurodevelopmental Delay Due to Toxic Gain-of-Function and Partial Loss-of-Function Effects.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 08 31;107(2):311-324. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Bezmiâlem Vakıf Üniversitesi, Istanbul, 34093, Turkey.

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are ubiquitous, ancient enzymes that charge amino acids to cognate tRNA molecules, the essential first step of protein translation. Here, we describe 32 individuals from 21 families, presenting with microcephaly, neurodevelopmental delay, seizures, peripheral neuropathy, and ataxia, with de novo heterozygous and bi-allelic mutations in asparaginyl-tRNA synthetase (NARS1). We demonstrate a reduction in NARS1 mRNA expression as well as in NARS1 enzyme levels and activity in both individual fibroblasts and induced neural progenitor cells (iNPCs). Molecular modeling of the recessive c.1633C>T (p.Arg545Cys) variant shows weaker spatial positioning and tRNA selectivity. We conclude that de novo and bi-allelic mutations in NARS1 are a significant cause of neurodevelopmental disease, where the mechanism for de novo variants could be toxic gain-of-function and for recessive variants, partial loss-of-function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.06.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7413890PMC
August 2020

Taurine newborn screening to prevent one form of retinal degeneration and cardiomyopathy.

Eur J Hum Genet 2020 11 22;28(11):1479-1480. Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-0671-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7576131PMC
November 2020

Kirrel3-Mediated Synapse Formation Is Attenuated by Disease-Associated Missense Variants.

J Neurosci 2020 07 5;40(28):5376-5388. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

Missense variants in Kirrel3 are repeatedly identified as risk factors for autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, but it has not been reported if or how these variants disrupt Kirrel3 function. Previously, we studied Kirrel3 loss of function using KO mice and showed that Kirrel3 is a synaptic adhesion molecule necessary to form one specific type of hippocampal synapse Here, we developed an , gain-of-function assay for Kirrel3 using neuron cultures prepared from male and female mice and rats. We find that WT Kirrel3 induces synapse formation selectively between Kirrel3-expressing neurons via homophilic, transcellular binding. We tested six disease-associated Kirrel3 missense variants and found that five attenuate this synaptogenic function. All variants tested traffic to the cell surface and localize to synapses similar to WT Kirrel3. Two tested variants lack homophilic transcellular binding, which likely accounts for their reduced synaptogenic function. Interestingly, we also identified variants that bind in trans but cannot induce synapses, indicating that Kirrel3 transcellular binding is necessary but not sufficient for its synaptogenic function. Collectively, these results suggest Kirrel3 functions as a synaptogenic, cell-recognition molecule, and this function is attenuated by missense variants associated with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Thus, we provide critical insight to the mechanism of Kirrel3 function and the consequences of missense variants associated with autism and intellectual disability. Here, we advance our understanding of mechanisms mediating target-specific synapse formation by providing evidence that Kirrel3 transcellular interactions mediate target recognition and signaling to promote synapse development. Moreover, this study tests the effects of disease-associated Kirrel3 missense variants on synapse formation, and thereby, increases understanding of the complex etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders arising from rare missense variants in synaptic genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3058-19.2020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7343328PMC
July 2020

Karyotypic Flexibility of the Complex Cancer Genome and the Role of Polyploidization in Maintenance of Structural Integrity of Cancer Chromosomes.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Mar 5;12(3). Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Laboratory of Genetics, Center of Experimental Medicine and Translational Research, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece (BRFAA).

Ongoing chromosomal instability in neoplasia (CIN) generates intratumor genomic heterogeneity and limits the efficiency of oncotherapeutics. Neoplastic human cells utilizing the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT)-pathway, display extensive structural and numerical CIN. To unravel patterns of genome evolution driven by oncogene-replication stress, telomere dysfunction, or genotoxic therapeutic interventions, we examined by comparative genomic hybridization five karyotypically-diverse outcomes of the ALT osteosarcoma cell line U2-OS. These results demonstrate a high tendency of the complex cancer genome to perpetuate specific genomic imbalances despite the karyotypic evolution, indicating an ongoing process of genome dosage maintenance. Molecular karyotyping in four ALT human cell lines showed that mitotic cells with low levels of random structural CIN display frequent evidence of whole genome doubling (WGD), suggesting that WGD may protect clonal chromosome aberrations from hypermutation. We tested this longstanding hypothesis in ALT cells exposed to gamma irradiation or to inducible DNA replication stress under overexpression of p21. Single-cell cytogenomic analyses revealed that although polyploidization promotes genomic heterogeneity, it also protects the complex cancer genome and hence confers genotoxic therapy resistance by generating identical extra copies of driver chromosomal aberrations, which can be spared in the process of tumor evolution if they undergo unstable or unfit rearrangements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12030591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139464PMC
March 2020

Biallelic variants in PSMB1 encoding the proteasome subunit β6 cause impairment of proteasome function, microcephaly, intellectual disability, developmental delay and short stature.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 05;29(7):1132-1143

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland.

The molecular cause of the majority of rare autosomal recessive disorders remains unknown. Consanguinity due to extensive homozygosity unravels many recessive phenotypes and facilitates the detection of novel gene-disease links. Here, we report two siblings with phenotypic signs, including intellectual disability (ID), developmental delay and microcephaly from a Pakistani consanguineous family in which we have identified homozygosity for p(Tyr103His) in the PSMB1 gene (Genbank NM_002793) that segregated with the disease phenotype. PSMB1 encodes a β-type proteasome subunit (i.e. β6). Modeling of the p(Tyr103His) variant indicates that this variant weakens the interactions between PSMB1/β6 and PSMA5/α5 proteasome subunits and thus destabilizes the 20S proteasome complex. Biochemical experiments in human SHSY5Y cells revealed that the p(Tyr103His) variant affects both the processing of PSMB1/β6 and its incorporation into proteasome, thus impairing proteasome activity. CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis or morpholino knock-down of the single psmb1 zebrafish orthologue resulted in microcephaly, microphthalmia and reduced brain size. Genetic evidence in the family and functional experiments in human cells and zebrafish indicates that PSMB1/β6 pathogenic variants are the cause of a recessive disease with ID, microcephaly and developmental delay due to abnormal proteasome assembly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa032DOI Listing
May 2020

SCN8A heterozygous variants are associated with anoxic-epileptic seizures.

Am J Med Genet A 2020 05 10;182(5):1209-1216. Epub 2020 Feb 10.

Pediatric Neurology Unit, Child and Adolescent Department, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland.

Anoxic-epileptic seizures (AES) are rare outcomes of common childhood reflex anoxic syncope that trigger a true epileptic seizure. The term AES was coined by Stephenson in 1983, to differentiate these events from convulsive syncopes and the more common reflex anoxic syncopes. A genetic susceptibility for AES has been postulated; but, its molecular basis has up to now been elusive. We report here two illustrative cases and show the association of de novo SCN8A variants and AES. One of them had focal or generalized seizures and autonomic symptoms triggered by orthostatism; the second had breath-holding spells triggered by pain or exercise leading to tonic-clonic seizures; both had repeatedly normal EEGs and a family history of reflex syncope. The data of three additional AES patients further suggest, for the first time, a link between SCN8A pathogenic variants and AES. The neurodevelopment of four patients was abnormal. Four of the five SCN8A mutations observed here were previously described in patients with seizure disorders. Seizures responded particularly well to sodium channel blockers. Our observation enriches the spectrum of seizures linked with SCN8A pathogenic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61513DOI Listing
May 2020

Down syndrome.

Nat Rev Dis Primers 2020 02 6;6(1). Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Trisomy 21, the presence of a supernumerary chromosome 21, results in a collection of clinical features commonly known as Down syndrome (DS). DS is among the most genetically complex of the conditions that are compatible with human survival post-term, and the most frequent survivable autosomal aneuploidy. Mouse models of DS, involving trisomy of all or part of human chromosome 21 or orthologous mouse genomic regions, are providing valuable insights into the contribution of triplicated genes or groups of genes to the many clinical manifestations in DS. This endeavour is challenging, as there are >200 protein-coding genes on chromosome 21 and they can have direct and indirect effects on homeostasis in cells, tissues, organs and systems. Although this complexity poses formidable challenges to understanding the underlying molecular basis for each of the many clinical features of DS, it also provides opportunities for improving understanding of genetic mechanisms underlying the development and function of many cell types, tissues, organs and systems. Since the first description of trisomy 21, we have learned much about intellectual disability and genetic risk factors for congenital heart disease. The lower occurrence of solid tumours in individuals with DS supports the identification of chromosome 21 genes that protect against cancer when overexpressed. The universal occurrence of the histopathology of Alzheimer disease and the high prevalence of dementia in DS are providing insights into the pathology and treatment of Alzheimer disease. Clinical trials to ameliorate intellectual disability in DS signal a new era in which therapeutic interventions based on knowledge of the molecular pathophysiology of DS can now be explored; these efforts provide reasonable hope for the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41572-019-0143-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8428796PMC
February 2020

Taurine treatment of retinal degeneration and cardiomyopathy in a consanguineous family with SLC6A6 taurine transporter deficiency.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 03;29(4):618-623

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

In a consanguineous Pakistani family with two affected individuals, a homozygous variant Gly399Val in the eighth transmembrane domain of the taurine transporter SLC6A6 was identified resulting in a hypomorph transporting capacity of ~15% compared with normal. Three-dimensional modeling of this variant has indicated that it likely causes displacement of the Tyr138 (TM3) side chain, important for transport of taurine. The affected individuals presented with rapidly progressive childhood retinal degeneration, cardiomyopathy and almost undetectable plasma taurine levels. Oral taurine supplementation of 100 mg/kg/day resulted in maintenance of normal blood taurine levels. Following approval by the ethics committee, a long-term supplementation treatment was introduced. Remarkably, after 24-months, the cardiomyopathy was corrected in both affected siblings, and in the 6-years-old, the retinal degeneration was arrested, and the vision was clinically improved. Similar therapeutic approaches could be employed in Mendelian phenotypes caused by the dysfunction of the hundreds of other molecular transporters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7068170PMC
March 2020

Bi-allelic Variants in IQSEC1 Cause Intellectual Disability, Developmental Delay, and Short Stature.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 11 10;105(5):907-920. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland; Service of Genetic Medicine, University Hospitals of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland; iGE3 Institute of Genetics and Genomics of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

We report two consanguineous families with probands that exhibit intellectual disability, developmental delay, short stature, aphasia, and hypotonia in which homozygous non-synonymous variants were identified in IQSEC1 (GenBank: NM_001134382.3). In a Pakistani family, the IQSEC1 segregating variant is c.1028C>T (p.Thr343Met), while in a Saudi Arabian family the variant is c.962G>A (p.Arg321Gln). IQSEC1-3 encode guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the small GTPase ARF6 and their loss affects a variety of actin-dependent cellular processes, including AMPA receptor trafficking at synapses. The ortholog of IQSECs in the fly is schizo and its loss affects growth cone guidance at the midline in the CNS, also an actin-dependent process. Overexpression of the reference IQSEC1 cDNA in wild-type flies is lethal, but overexpression of the two variant IQSEC1 cDNAs did not affect viability. Loss of schizo caused embryonic lethality that could be rescued to 2 instar larvae by moderate expression of the human reference cDNA. However, the p.Arg321Gln and p.Thr343Met variants failed to rescue embryonic lethality. These data indicate that the variants behave as loss-of-function mutations. We also show that schizo in photoreceptors is required for phototransduction. Finally, mice with a conditional Iqsec1 deletion in cortical neurons exhibited an increased density of dendritic spines with an immature morphology. The phenotypic similarity of the affecteds and the functional experiments in flies and mice indicate that IQSEC1 variants are the cause of a recessive disease with intellectual disability, developmental delay, and short stature, and that axonal guidance and dendritic projection defects as well as dendritic spine dysgenesis may underlie disease pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.09.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6848997PMC
November 2019

Single cell transcriptome in aneuploidies reveals mechanisms of gene dosage imbalance.

Nat Commun 2019 10 3;10(1):4495. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School, 1211 Geneva 4, Geneva, Switzerland.

Aneuploidy is a major source of gene dosage imbalance due to copy number alterations (CNA), and viable human trisomies are model disorders of altered gene expression. We study gene and allele-specific expression (ASE) of 9668 single-cell fibroblasts from trisomy 21 (T21) discordant twins and from mosaic T21, T18, T13 and T8. We examine 928 single cells with deep scRNAseq. Expected and observed overexpression of trisomic genes in trisomic vs. diploid bulk RNAseq is not detectable in trisomic vs. diploid single cells. Instead, for trisomic genes with low-to-average expression, their altered gene dosage is mainly due to the higher fraction of trisomic cells simultaneously expressing these genes, in agreement with a stochastic 2-state burst-like model of transcription. These results, confirmed in a further analysis of 8740 single fibroblasts with shallow scRNAseq, suggest that the specific transcriptional profile of each gene contributes to the phenotypic variability of trisomies. We propose an improved model to understand the effects of CNA and, generally, of gene regulation on gene dosage imbalance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12273-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6776538PMC
October 2019

Carrier screening for recessive disorders.

Nat Rev Genet 2019 09;20(9):549-561

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland.

Technological and other advances over the past decades have led to the discovery of thousands of gene-disease associations for autosomal and X-linked recessive Mendelian disorders. Combined with recent improvements in assessing individual variants in each human genome, these developments offer the possibility of testing populations for all known severe recessive genetic disorders. Past experience has provided the framework for expanded carrier screening, but many challenges remain regarding which disorders to include, how to interpret variants and how to incorporate newly discovered gene-disease links into existing screening programmes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41576-019-0134-2DOI Listing
September 2019

Bi-allelic Variants in DYNC1I2 Cause Syndromic Microcephaly with Intellectual Disability, Cerebral Malformations, and Dysmorphic Facial Features.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 06 9;104(6):1073-1087. Epub 2019 May 9.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva, 1206 Geneva, Switzerland; Service of Genetic Medicine, University Hospitals of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland; iGE3 Institute of Genetics and Genomics of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Cargo transport along the cytoplasmic microtubular network is essential for neuronal function, and cytoplasmic dynein-1 is an established molecular motor that is critical for neurogenesis and homeostasis. We performed whole-exome sequencing, homozygosity mapping, and chromosomal microarray studies in five individuals from three independent pedigrees and identified likely-pathogenic variants in DYNC1I2 (Dynein Cytoplasmic 1 Intermediate Chain 2), encoding a component of the cytoplasmic dynein 1 complex. In a consanguineous Pakistani family with three affected individuals presenting with microcephaly, severe intellectual disability, simplification of cerebral gyration, corpus callosum hypoplasia, and dysmorphic facial features, we identified a homozygous splice donor site variant (GenBank: NM_001378.2:c.607+1G>A). We report two additional individuals who have similar neurodevelopmental deficits and craniofacial features and harbor deleterious variants; one individual bears a c.740A>G (p.Tyr247Cys) change in trans with a 374 kb deletion encompassing DYNC1I2, and an unrelated individual harbors the compound-heterozygous variants c.868C>T (p.Gln290) and c.740A>G (p.Tyr247Cys). Zebrafish larvae subjected to CRISPR-Cas9 gene disruption or transient suppression of dync1i2a displayed significantly altered craniofacial patterning with concomitant reduction in head size. We monitored cell death and cell cycle progression in dync1i2a zebrafish models and observed significantly increased apoptosis, likely due to prolonged mitosis caused by abnormal spindle morphology, and this finding offers initial insights into the cellular basis of microcephaly. Additionally, complementation studies in zebrafish demonstrate that p.Tyr247Cys attenuates gene function, consistent with protein structural analysis. Our genetic and functional data indicate that DYNC1I2 dysfunction probably causes an autosomal-recessive microcephaly syndrome and highlight further the critical roles of the dynein-1 complex in neurodevelopment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6556908PMC
June 2019

Multi-omic measurements of heterogeneity in HeLa cells across laboratories.

Nat Biotechnol 2019 03 18;37(3):314-322. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Biology, Institute of Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Reproducibility in research can be compromised by both biological and technical variation, but most of the focus is on removing the latter. Here we investigate the effects of biological variation in HeLa cell lines using a systems-wide approach. We determine the degree of molecular and phenotypic variability across 14 stock HeLa samples from 13 international laboratories. We cultured cells in uniform conditions and profiled genome-wide copy numbers, mRNAs, proteins and protein turnover rates in each cell line. We discovered substantial heterogeneity between HeLa variants, especially between lines of the CCL2 and Kyoto varieties, and observed progressive divergence within a specific cell line over 50 successive passages. Genomic variability has a complex, nonlinear effect on transcriptome, proteome and protein turnover profiles, and proteotype patterns explain the varying phenotypic response of different cell lines to Salmonella infection. These findings have implications for the interpretation and reproducibility of research results obtained from human cultured cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41587-019-0037-yDOI Listing
March 2019

Biallelic loss of function variants in PPP1R21 cause a neurodevelopmental syndrome with impaired endocytic function.

Hum Mutat 2019 03 25;40(3):267-280. Epub 2018 Dec 25.

Department of Genetic, Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical Faculty, Geneva, Switzerland.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been instrumental in solving the genetic basis of rare inherited diseases, especially neurodevelopmental syndromes. However, functional workup is essential for precise phenotype definition and to understand the underlying disease mechanisms. Using whole exome (WES) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) in four independent families with hypotonia, neurodevelopmental delay, facial dysmorphism, loss of white matter, and thinning of the corpus callosum, we identified four previously unreported homozygous truncating PPP1R21 alleles: c.347delT p.(Ile116Lysfs*25), c.2170_2171insGGTA p.(Ile724Argfs*8), c.1607dupT p.(Leu536Phefs*7), c.2063delA p.(Lys688Serfs*26) and found that PPP1R21 was absent in fibroblasts of an affected individual, supporting the allele's loss of function effect. PPP1R21 function had not been studied except that a large scale affinity proteomics approach suggested an interaction with PIBF1 defective in Joubert syndrome. Our co-immunoprecipitation studies did not confirm this but in contrast defined the localization of PPP1R21 to the early endosome. Consistent with the subcellular expression pattern and the clinical phenotype exhibiting features of storage diseases, we found patient fibroblasts exhibited a delay in clearance of transferrin-488 while uptake was normal. In summary, we delineate a novel neurodevelopmental syndrome caused by biallelic PPP1R21 loss of function variants, and suggest a role of PPP1R21 within the endosomal sorting process or endosome maturation pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23694DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6370506PMC
March 2019

Extensive cellular heterogeneity of X inactivation revealed by single-cell allele-specific expression in human fibroblasts.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 12 3;115(51):13015-13020. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School, 1211 Geneva, CH, Switzerland;

X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) provides a dosage compensation mechanism where, in each female cell, one of the two X chromosomes is randomly silenced. However, some genes on the inactive X chromosome and outside the pseudoautosomal regions escape from XCI and are expressed from both alleles (escapees). We investigated XCI at single-cell resolution combining deep single-cell RNA sequencing with whole-genome sequencing to examine allelic-specific expression in 935 primary fibroblast and 48 lymphoblastoid single cells from five female individuals. In this framework we integrated an original method to identify and exclude doublets of cells. In fibroblast cells, we have identified 55 genes as escapees including five undescribed escapee genes. Moreover, we observed that all genes exhibit a variable propensity to escape XCI in each cell and cell type and that each cell displays a distinct expression profile of the escapee genes. A metric, the Inactivation Score-defined as the mean of the allelic expression profiles of the escapees per cell-enables us to discover a heterogeneous and continuous degree of cellular XCI with extremes represented by "inactive" cells, i.e., cells exclusively expressing the escaping genes from the active X chromosome and "escaping" cells expressing the escapees from both alleles. We found that this effect is associated with cell-cycle phases and, independently, with the XIST expression level, which is higher in the quiescent phase (G0). Single-cell allele-specific expression is a powerful tool to identify novel escapees in different tissues and provide evidence of an unexpected cellular heterogeneity of XCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1806811115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304968PMC
December 2018
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