Biol Open 2013 Aug 20;2(8):771-8. Epub 2013 Jun 20.
Department of Vertebrate Genomics, Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics , Ihnestrasse 63-73, D-14195 Berlin , Germany.
Although approximately 50% of Down Syndrome (DS) patients have heart abnormalities, they exhibit an overprotection against cardiac abnormalities related with the connective tissue, for example a lower risk of coronary artery disease. A recent study reported a case of a person affected by DS who carried mutations in FBN1, the gene causative for a connective tissue disorder called Marfan Syndrome (MFS). The fact that the person did not have any cardiac alterations suggested compensation effects due to DS. This observation is supported by a previous DS meta-analysis at the molecular level where we have found an overall upregulation of FBN1 (which is usually downregulated in MFS). Additionally, that result was cross-validated with independent expression data from DS heart tissue. The aim of this work is to elucidate the role of FBN1 in DS and to establish a molecular link to MFS and MFS-related syndromes using a computational approach. To reach that, we conducted different analytical approaches over two DS studies (our previous meta-analysis and independent expression data from DS heart tissue) and revealed expression alterations in the FBN1 interaction network, in FBN1 co-expressed genes and FBN1-related pathways. After merging the significant results from different datasets with a Bayesian approach, we prioritized 85 genes that were able to distinguish control from DS cases. We further found evidence for several of these genes (47%), such as FBN1, DCN, and COL1A2, being dysregulated in MFS and MFS-related diseases. Consequently, we further encourage the scientific community to take into account FBN1 and its related network for the study of DS cardiovascular characteristics.