Revealing the Complexity of a Monogenic Disease: Rett Syndrome Exome Sequencing

Medical Genetics, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 02/2013; 8(2):e56599. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056599
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rett syndrome (OMIM#312750) is a monogenic disorder that may manifest as a large variety of phenotypes ranging from very severe to mild disease. Since there is a weak correlation between the mutation type in the Xq28 disease-gene /X-inactivation status and phenotypic variability, we used this disease as a model to unveil the complex nature of a monogenic disorder. Whole exome sequencing was used to analyze the functional portion of the genome of two pairs of sisters with Rett syndrome. Although each pair of sisters had the same OMIM*300005) mutation and balanced X-inactivation, one individual from each pair could not speak or walk, and had a profound intellectual deficit (classical Rett syndrome), while the other individual could speak and walk, and had a moderate intellectual disability (Zappella variant). In addition to the mutation, each patient has a group of variants predicted to impair protein function. The classical Rett girls, but not their milder affected sisters, have an enrichment of variants in genes related to oxidative stress, muscle impairment and intellectual disability and/or autism. On the other hand, a subgroup of variants related to modulation of immune system, exclusive to the Zappella Rett patients are driving toward a milder phenotype. We demonstrate that genome analysis has the potential to identify genetic modifiers of Rett syndrome, providing insight into disease pathophysiology. Combinations of mutations that affect speaking, walking and intellectual capabilities may represent targets for new therapeutic approaches. Most importantly, we demonstrated that monogenic diseases may be more complex than previously thought.

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    ABSTRACT: Rett syndrome is a monogenic disease due to de novo mutations in either MECP2 or CDKL5 genes. In spite of their involvement in the same disease, a functional interaction between the two genes has not been proven. MeCP2 is a transcriptional regulator; CDKL5 encodes for a kinase protein that might be involved in the regulation of gene expression. Therefore, we hypothesized that mutations affecting the two genes may lead to similar phenotypes by dysregulating the expression of common genes. To test this hypothesis we used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from fibroblasts of one Rett patient with a MECP2 mutation (p.Arg306Cys) and two patients with mutations in CDKL5 (p.Gln347Ter and p.Thr288Ile). Expression profiling was performed in CDKL5-mutated cells and genes of interest were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR in both CDKL5- and MECP2-mutated cells. The only major change in gene expression common to MECP2- and CDKL5-mutated cells was for GRID1, encoding for glutamate D1 receptor (GluD1), a member of the δ-family of ionotropic glutamate receptors. GluD1 does not form AMPA or NMDA glutamate receptors. It acts like an adhesion molecule by linking the postsynaptic and presynaptic compartments, preferentially inducing the inhibitory presynaptic differentiation of cortical neurons. Our results demonstrate that GRID1 expression is downregulated in both MECP2- and CDKL5-mutated iPS cells and upregulated in neuronal precursors and mature neurons. These data provide novel insights into disease pathophysiology and identify possible new targets for therapeutic treatment of Rett syndrome.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.81.
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence of oxidative stress has been reported in the blood of patients with Rett syndrome (RTT), a neurodevelopmental disorder mainly caused by mutations in the gene encoding the Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2. Little is known regarding the redox status in RTT cellular systems and its relationship with the morphological phenotype. In RTT patients (n = 16) we investigated four different oxidative stress markers,F 2-Isoprostanes (F2-IsoPs), F4-Neuroprostanes (F4-NeuroPs), nonprotein bound iron (NPBI), and (4-HNE PAs), and glutathione in one of the most accessible cells, that is, skin fibroblasts, and searched for possible changes in cellular/intracellular structure and qualitative modifications of synthesized collagen. Significantly increasedF 4-NeuroPs (12-folds), F2-IsoPs (7.5-folds) NPBI (2.3-folds), 4-HNE PAs (1.48-folds), and GSSG (1.44-folds) were detected, with significantly decreased GSH (−43.6%) and GSH/GSSG ratio (−3.05 folds). A marked dilation of the rough endoplasmic reticulum cisternae, associated with several cytoplasmic multilamellar bodies, was detectable in RTT fibroblasts. Colocalization of collagen I and collagen III, as well as the percentage of type I collagen as derived by semiquantitative immunofluorescence staining analyses, appears to be significantly reduced in RTT cells. Our findings indicate the presence of a redox imbalance and previously unrecognized morphological skin fibroblast abnormalities in RTT patients.
    Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 05/2014; 2014. DOI:10.1155/2014/195935 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We aimed to evaluate the functional abilities of persons with Rett syndrome (RTT) in stages III and IV. The group consisted of 60 females who had been diagnosed with RTT: 38 in stage III, mean age (years) of 9.14, with a standard deviation of 5.84 (minimum 2.2/maximum 26.4); and 22 in stage IV, mean age of 12.45, with a standard deviation of 6.17 (minimum 5.3/maximum 26.9). The evaluation was made using the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, which has 197 items in the areas of self-care, mobility, and social function. The results showed that in the area of self-care, stage III and stage IV RTT persons had a level of 24.12 and 18.36 (P=0.002), respectively. In the area of mobility, stage III had 37.22 and stage IV had 14.64 (P<0.001), while in the area of social function, stage III had 17.72 and stage IV had 12.14 (P=0.016). In conclusion, although persons with stage III RTT have better functional abilities when compared with stage IV, the areas of mobility, self-care, and social function are quite affected, which shows a great functional dependency and need for help in basic activities of daily life.
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