Publications by authors named "Zehra Agha"

6 Publications

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De novo and inherited variants in ZNF292 underlie a neurodevelopmental disorder with features of autism spectrum disorder.

Genet Med 2020 03 14;22(3):538-546. Epub 2019 Nov 14.

New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disability, NY, Staten Island, USA.

Purpose: Intellectual disability (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are genetically heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders. We sought to delineate the clinical, molecular, and neuroimaging spectrum of a novel neurodevelopmental disorder caused by variants in the zinc finger protein 292 gene (ZNF292).

Methods: We ascertained a cohort of 28 families with ID due to putatively pathogenic ZNF292 variants that were identified via targeted and exome sequencing. Available data were analyzed to characterize the canonical phenotype and examine genotype-phenotype relationships.

Results: Probands presented with ID as well as a spectrum of neurodevelopmental features including ASD, among others. All ZNF292 variants were de novo, except in one family with dominant inheritance. ZNF292 encodes a highly conserved zinc finger protein that acts as a transcription factor and is highly expressed in the developing human brain supporting its critical role in neurodevelopment.

Conclusion: De novo and dominantly inherited variants in ZNF292 are associated with a range of neurodevelopmental features including ID and ASD. The clinical spectrum is broad, and most individuals present with mild to moderate ID with or without other syndromic features. Our results suggest that variants in ZNF292 are likely a recurrent cause of a neurodevelopmental disorder manifesting as ID with or without ASD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-019-0693-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7060121PMC
March 2020

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

A de novo microdeletion in NRXN1 in a Dutch patient with mild intellectual disability, microcephaly and gonadal dysgenesis.

Genet Res (Camb) 2015 Oct 6;97:e19. Epub 2015 Oct 6.

Department of Human Genetics,Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences,Radboud University Medical Center,Nijmegen,the Netherlands.

This report is regarding a Dutch female with microcephaly, mild intellectual disability (ID), gonadal dysgenesis and dysmorphic facial features with synophrys. Upon genotyping, an ~455 kb de novo deletion encompassing the first exon of NRXN1 was found. Bidirectional sequencing of the coding exons of the NRXN1 alpha isoform was subsequently performed to investigate the possibility of a pathogenic mutation on the other allele, but we could not find any other mutation. Previously, many heterozygous mutations as well as microdeletions in NRXN1 were shown to be associated with ID, autism, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric and psychotic disorders. Our results are in agreement with other reports that show that NRXN1 deletions can lead to ID, microcephaly and mild dysmorphic features. However, this is the first report of gonadal dysgenesis being associated with such deletions. It is not clear whether there is a causal relationship between the NRXN1 deletion and gonadal dysgenesis, but it is of interest that the FSHR gene, which encodes the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor causative correlation that is mutated in ovarian dysgenesis, is located proximal to the NRXN1 gene. Given that most of the females carrying NRXN1 deletions have been diagnosed at a prepubertal age, gynecologic screening of female carriers of a NRXN1 deletion is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S001667231500021XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6863645PMC
October 2015

Exome sequencing identifies three novel candidate genes implicated in intellectual disability.

PLoS One 2014 18;9(11):e112687. Epub 2014 Nov 18.

Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan; Department of Biochemistry, Al-Nafees Medical College & Hospital, Isra University, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Intellectual disability (ID) is a major health problem mostly with an unknown etiology. Recently exome sequencing of individuals with ID identified novel genes implicated in the disease. Therefore the purpose of the present study was to identify the genetic cause of ID in one syndromic and two non-syndromic Pakistani families. Whole exome of three ID probands was sequenced. Missense variations in two plausible novel genes implicated in autosomal recessive ID were identified: lysine (K)-specific methyltransferase 2B (KMT2B), zinc finger protein 589 (ZNF589), as well as hedgehog acyltransferase (HHAT) with a de novo mutation with autosomal dominant mode of inheritance. The KMT2B recessive variant is the first report of recessive Kleefstra syndrome-like phenotype. Identification of plausible causative mutations for two recessive and a dominant type of ID, in genes not previously implicated in disease, underscores the large genetic heterogeneity of ID. These results also support the viewpoint that large number of ID genes converge on limited number of common networks i.e. ZNF589 belongs to KRAB-domain zinc-finger proteins previously implicated in ID, HHAT is predicted to affect sonic hedgehog, which is involved in several disorders with ID, KMT2B associated with syndromic ID fits the epigenetic module underlying the Kleefstra syndromic spectrum. The association of these novel genes in three different Pakistani ID families highlights the importance of screening these genes in more families with similar phenotypes from different populations to confirm the involvement of these genes in pathogenesis of ID.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0112687PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4236113PMC
July 2015

A complex microcephaly syndrome in a Pakistani family associated with a novel missense mutation in RBBP8 and a heterozygous deletion in NRXN1.

Gene 2014 Mar 16;538(1):30-5. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

We report on a consanguineous Pakistani family with a severe congenital microcephaly syndrome resembling the Seckel syndrome and Jawad syndrome. The affected individuals in this family were born to consanguineous parents of whom the mother presented with mild intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy and diabetes mellitus. The two living affected brothers presented with microcephaly, white matter disease of the brain, hyponychia, dysmorphic facial features with synophrys, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus and ID. Genotyping with a 250K SNP array in both affected brothers revealed an 18 MB homozygous region on chromosome 18 p11.21-q12.1 encompassing the SCKL2 locus of the Seckel and Jawad syndromes. Sequencing of the RBBP8 gene, underlying the Seckel and Jawad syndromes, identified the novel mutation c.919A>G, p.Arg307Gly, segregating in a recessive manner in the family. In addition, in the two affected brothers and their mother we have also found a heterozygous 607kb deletion, encompassing exons 13-19 of NRXN1. Bidirectional sequencing of the coding exons of NRXN1 did not reveal any other mutation on the other allele. It thus appears that the phenotype of the mildly affected mother can be explained by the NRXN1 deletion, whereas the more severe and complex microcephalic phenotype of the two affected brothers is due to the simultaneous deletion in NRXN1 and the homozygous missense mutation affecting RBBP8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2014.01.027DOI Listing
March 2014

A novel homozygous 10 nucleotide deletion in BBS10 causes Bardet-Biedl syndrome in a Pakistani family.

Gene 2013 Apr 9;519(1):177-81. Epub 2013 Feb 9.

Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Science, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Bardet-Biedl Syndrome is a multisystem autosomal recessive disorder characterized by central obesity, polydactyly, hypogonadism, learning difficulties, rod-cone dystrophy and renal dysplasia. Bardet-Biedl Syndrome has a prevalence rate ranging from 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 160,000 births although there are communities where Bardet-Biedl Syndrome is found at a higher frequency due to consanguinity. We report here a Pakistani consanguineous family with two affected sons with typical clinical features of Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, in addition to abnormal liver functioning and bilateral basal ganglia calcification, the latter feature being typical of Fahr's disease. Homozygous regions obtained from SNP array depicted three known genes BBS10, BBS14 and BBS2. Bidirectional sequencing of all coding exons by traditional sequencing of all these three genes showed a homozygous deletion of 10 nucleotides (c.1958_1967del), in BBS10 in both affected brothers. The segregation analysis revealed that the parents, paternal grandfather, maternal grandmother and an unaffected sister were heterozygous for the deletion. Such a large deletion in BBS10 has not been reported previously in any population and is likely to be contributing to the phenotype of Bardet-Biedl Syndrome in this family.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2013.01.047DOI Listing
April 2013
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