Congenital Heart Defects in Patients with Deletions Upstream of SOX9
ABSTRACT Heterozygous loss-of-function coding-sequence mutations of the transcription factor SOX9 cause campomelic dysplasia (CD), a rare skeletal dysplasia with congenital bowing of long bones (campomelia), hypoplastic scapulae, a missing pair of ribs, pelvic and vertebral malformations, clubbed feet, Pierre Robin sequence (PRS), facial dysmorphia and disorders of sex development (DSD). We report here two unrelated families that include patients with isolated PRS, isolated congenital heart defect (CHD), or both anomalies. Patients from both families carried a very similar ∼1 Mb deletion upstream of SOX9. Analysis of ChIP-Seq from mouse cardiac tissue for H3K27ac, a marker of active regulatory elements, led us to identify several putative cardiac enhancers within the deleted region. One of these elements is known to interact with Nkx2.5 and Gata4, two transcription factors responsible for CHDs. Altogether, these data suggest that disruption of cardiac enhancers located upstream of SOX9 may be responsible for CHDs in humans. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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ABSTRACT: The pace of disease gene discovery is still much slower than expected, even with the use of cost-effective DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies. It is increasingly clear that many inherited heart diseases have a more complex polygenic aetiology than previously thought. Understanding the role of gene–gene interactions, epigenetics, and non-coding regulatory regions is becoming increasingly critical in predicting the functional consequences of genetic mutations identified by genome-wide association studies and whole-genome or exome sequencing. A systems biology approach is now being widely employed to systematically discover genes that are involved in heart diseases in humans or relevant animal models through bioinformatics. The overarching premise is that the integration of high-quality causal gene regulatory networks (GRNs), genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and other genome-wide data will greatly accelerate the discovery of the complex genetic causes of congenital and complex heart diseases. This review summarises state-of-the-art genomic and bioinformatics techniques that are used in accelerating the pace of disease gene discovery in heart diseases. Accompanying this review, we provide an interactive web-resource for systems biology analysis of mammalian heart development and diseases, CardiacCode (http://CardiacCode.victorchang.edu.au/). CardiacCode features a dataset of over 700 pieces of manually curated genetic or molecular perturbation data, which enables the inference of a cardiac-specific GRN of 280 regulatory relationships between 33 regulator genes and 129 target genes. We believe this growing resource will fill an urgent unmet need to fully realise the true potential of predictive and personalised genomic medicine in tackling human heart disease.Biophysical Reviews 03/2014; 7(1):141-159. DOI:10.1007/s12551-014-0145-3
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ABSTRACT: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of birth defect in humans and is the leading non-infectious cause of infant mortality. Emerging evidence strongly suggests that genetic risk factors play an important role in the pathogenesis of CHD. However, CHD is of pronounced genetic heterogeneity, and the genetic defects responsible for CHD in an overwhelming majority of patients remain unclear. In this study, the entire coding region and splice junction sites of the PITX2c gene, which encodes a paired-like homeodomain transcription factor crucial for proper cardiovascular morphogenesis, was sequenced in 170 unrelated neonates with CHD. The available relatives of the mutation carriers and 200 unrelated ethnically matched healthy individuals were genotyped. The disease-causing potential of the PITX2c sequence variations was predicted by MutationTaster and PolyPhen-2. The functional effect of the mutations was characterized using a luciferase reporter assay system. As a result, 2 novel heterozygous PITX2c mutations, p.R91Q and p.T129S, were identified in 2 unrelated newborns with transposition of the great arteries and ventricular septal defect, respectively. A genetic scan of the pedigrees revealed that each mutation co-segregated with CHD transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern with complete penetrance. The mutations, which altered the amino acids completely conserved evolutionarily, were absent in 400 normal chromosomes and were predicted to be causative. Functional analysis revealed that the PITX2c mutations were both associated with significantly diminished transcriptional activity compared with their wild-type counterpart. This study demonstrates the association between PITX2c loss-of-function mutations and the transposition of the great arteries and ventricular septal defect in humans, providing further insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for CHD.International Journal of Molecular Medicine 03/2014; 33(5). DOI:10.3892/ijmm.2014.1689 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in the coding sequence of SOX9 cause campomelic dysplasia (CD), a disorder of skeletal development associated with 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSDs). Translocations, deletions and duplications within a ∼2 Mb region upstream of SOX9 can recapitulate the CD-DSD phenotype fully or partially, suggesting the existence of an unusually large cis-regulatory control region. Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is a craniofacial disorder that is frequently an endophenotype of CD and a locus for isolated PRS at ∼1.2-1.5 Mb upstream of SOX9 has been previously reported. The craniofacial regulatory potential within this locus, and within the greater genomic domain surrounding SOX9, remains poorly defined. We report two novel deletions upstream of SOX9 in families with PRS, allowing refinement of the regions harbouring candidate craniofacial regulatory elements. In parallel, ChIP-Seq for p300 binding sites in mouse craniofacial tissue led to the identification of several novel craniofacial enhancers at the SOX9 locus, which were validated in transgenic reporter mice and zebrafish. Notably, some of the functionally validated elements fall within the PRS deletions. These studies suggest that multiple non-coding elements contribute to the craniofacial regulation of SOX9 expression, and that their disruption results in PRS. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Human Mutation 08/2014; 35(8). DOI:10.1002/humu.22606 · 5.05 Impact Factor