Novel PORCN mutations in focal dermal hypoplasia.
ABSTRACT Focal dermal hypoplasia (FDH), Goltz or Goltz-Gorlin syndrome, is an X-linked dominant multisystem disorder characterized primarily by involvement of the skin, skeletal system and eyes. We screened for mutations in the PORCN gene in eight patients of Belgian and Finnish origin with firm clinical suspicion of FDH. First, we performed quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis to define the copy number at this locus. Next, we sequenced the coding regions and flanking intronic sequences of the PORCN gene. Three de novo mutations were identified in our patients with FDH: a 150-kb deletion removing six genes including PORCN, as defined by qPCR and X-array-CGH, and two heterozygous missense mutations; c.992T>G (p.L331R) in exon 11 and c.1094G>A (p.R365Q) in exon 13 of the gene. Both point mutations changed highly conserved amino acids and were not found in 300 control X chromosomes. The three patients in whom mutations were identified all present with characteristic dermal findings together with limb manifestations, which were not seen in our mutation-negative patients. The clinical characteristics of our patients with PORCN mutations were compared with the previously reported mutation-positive cases. In this report, we summarize the literature on PORCN mutations and associated phenotypes.
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ABSTRACT: Focal Dermal Hypoplasia (FDH) is a genetic disorder characterized by developmental defects in skin, skeleton and ectodermal appendages. FDH is caused by dominant loss-of-function mutations in X-linked PORCN. PORCN orthologues in Drosophila and mice encode endoplasmic reticulum proteins required for secretion and function of Wnt proteins. Wnt proteins play important roles in embryo development, tissue homeostasis and stem cell maintenance. Since features of FDH overlap with those seen in mouse Wnt pathway mutants, FDH likely results from defective Wnt signaling but molecular mechanisms by which inactivation of PORCN affects Wnt signaling and manifestations of FDH remain to be elucidated. We introduced intronic loxP sites and a neomycin gene in the mouse Porcn locus for conditional inactivation. Porcn-ex3-7flox mice have no apparent developmental defects, but chimeric mice retaining the neomycin gene (Porcn-ex3-7Neo-flox) have limb, skin, and urogenital abnormalities. Conditional Porcn inactivation by EIIa-driven or Hprt-driven Cre recombinase results in increased early embryonic lethality. Mesenchyme-specific Prx-Cre-driven inactivation of Porcn produces FDH-like limb defects, while ectodermal Krt14-Cre-driven inactivation produces thin skin, alopecia, and abnormal dentition. Furthermore, cell-based assays confirm that human PORCN mutations reduce WNT3A secretion. These data indicate that Porcn inactivation in the mouse produces a model for human FDH and that phenotypic features result from defective WNT signaling in ectodermal- and mesenchymal-derived structures.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(3):e32331. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gradients of diverse Wnt proteins regulate development, renewal, and differentiation. Porcupine (PORCN) is a membrane-bound O-acyltransferase that is required for post-translational modification of all Wnts to enable their transport, secretion, and activity. Mutations in PORCN are associated with focal dermal hypoplasia (FDH), whereas gene deletion causes embryonic lethality in mice. To study the protein in more detail, zinc finger nucleases were used to edit the PORCN genomic locus, establishing two HT1080 fibrosarcoma clones null for PORCN activity that facilitate the study of PORCN structure and function. We establish that PORCN is a key non-redundant node for the regulation of global Wnt signaling because PORCN null cells are completely incapable of autocrine Wnt signaling. The strength of Wnt signaling is exquisitely sensitive to PORCN expression, with a dynamic range of at least 3 orders of magnitude, suggesting that PORCN activity is a key modulator of all Wnt ligand activity. Consistent with this, we find that multiple FDH-associated mutants have only subtle alterations in enzyme activity yet are associated with a severe FDH phenotype. These studies support an essential regulatory role of PORCN in shaping Wnt signaling gradients.Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2012; 287(41):34167-78. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Porcupine (PORCN) is a membrane-bound O-acyl transferase that is required for the palmitoylation of Wnt proteins, and that is essential in diverse Wnt pathways for Wnt-Wntless (WLS) binding, Wnt secretion, and Wnt signaling activity. We tested if PORCN was required for the proliferation of transformed cells. Knockdown of PORCN by multiple independent siRNAs results in a cell growth defect in a subset of epithelial cancer cell lines. The growth defect is transformation-dependent in human mammary epithelial (HMEC) cells. Additionally, inducible PORCN knockdown by two independent shRNAs markedly reduces the growth of established MDA-MB-231 cancers in orthotopic xenografts in immunodeficient mice. Unexpectedly, the proliferation defect resulting from loss of PORCN occurs in a Wnt-independent manner, as it is rescued by re-expression of catalytically inactive PORCN, and is not seen after RNAi-mediated knockdown of the Wnt carrier protein WLS, nor after treatment with the PORCN inhibitor IWP. Consistent with a role in a Wnt-independent pathway, knockdown of PORCN regulates a distinct set of genes that are not altered by other inhibitors of Wnt signaling. PORCN protein thus appears to moonlight in a novel signaling pathway that is rate-limiting for cancer cell growth and tumorigenesis independent of its enzymatic function in Wnt biosynthesis and secretion.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34532. · 3.73 Impact Factor