[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AUTS2 syndrome is characterized by low birth weight, feeding difficulties, intellectual disability, microcephaly and mild dysmorphic features. All affected individuals thus far were caused by chromosomal rearrangements, variants at the base pair level disrupting AUTS2 have not yet been described. Here we present the full clinical description of two affected men with intragenic AUTS2 variants (one two-base pair deletion in exon 7 and one deletion of exon 6). Both variants are de novo and are predicted to cause a frameshift of the full-length transcript but are unlikely to affect the shorter 3' transcript starting in exon 9. The similarities between the phenotypes of both men are striking and further support that AUTS2 syndrome is a single gene disorder.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 10 September 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.173.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 09/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intellectual disability (ID), characterized by an intellectual performance of at least two standard deviations below average is a frequent, lifelong disorder with a prevalence of 2-3%. Today, only for at most half of patients a diagnosis is made. Knowing the cause of the ID is important for patients and their relatives, as it allows for appropriate medical care, prognosis on further development of the disorder, familial counselling or access to support groups. Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) now offers the possibility to identify the genetic cause for patients for which all previously available genetic tests, including karyotyping, specific gene analysis, or microarray analysis did not reveal causative abnormalities. However, data-analysis of WES experiments is challenging. Here we present an analysis workflow implementable in any laboratory, requiring no bioinformatics knowledge. We demonstrated its feasibility on a cohort of ten patients, in which we found a conclusive diagnosis in 3 and a likely diagnosis in two more patients. Of the 3 conclusive diagnoses, 1 was a clinically suspected mutation missed by Sanger sequencing, and 1 was an atypical presentation of a known monogenic disorder, highlighting 2 essential strengths of WES based diagnostics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the high heritability of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities, a genetic diagnosis can be established in only a minority of patients. Known genetic causes include chromosomal aberrations, such as the duplication of the 15q11-13 region, and monogenic causes, as in Rett and fragile-X syndromes. The genetic heterogeneity within ASD is striking, with even the most frequent causes responsible for only 1% of cases at the most. Even with the recent developments in next-generation sequencing, for the large majority of cases no molecular diagnosis can be established. Here, we report ten patients with ASD and other shared clinical characteristics, including intellectual disability and facial dysmorphisms caused by a mutation in ADNP, a transcription factor involved in the SWI/SNF remodeling complex. We estimate this gene to be mutated in at least 0.17% of ASD cases, making it one of the most frequent ASD-associated genes known to date.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After their successful introduction in postnatal testing, genome-wide arrays are now rapidly replacing conventional karyotyping in prenatal diagnostics. While previous studies have demonstrated the advantages of this method, we are confronted with difficulties regarding the technology and the ethical dilemmas inherent to genomic arrays. These include indication for testing, array design, interpretation of variants and how to deal with variants of unknown significance and incidental findings. The experiences with these issues reported in the literature are most often from single centres. Here, we report on a national consensus approach how microarray is implemented in all genetic centres in Belgium. These recommendations are subjected to constant re-evaluation based on our growing experience and can serve as a useful tool for those involved in prenatal diagnosis.
European journal of medical genetics 02/2014; · 1.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myhre syndrome is characterized by short stature, brachydactyly, facial features, pseudomuscular hypertrophy, joint limitation and hearing loss. We identified SMAD4 mutations as the cause of Myhre syndrome. SMAD4 mutations have also been identified in laryngotracheal stenosis, arthropathy, prognathism and short stature syndrome (LAPS). This study aimed to review the features of Myhre and LAPS patients to define the clinical spectrum of SMAD4 mutations. We included 17 females and 15 males ranging in age from 8 to 48 years. Thirty were diagnosed with Myhre syndrome and two with LAPS. SMAD4 coding sequence was analyzed by Sanger sequencing. Clinical and radiological features were collected from a questionnaire completed by the referring physicians. All patients displayed a typical facial gestalt, thickened skin, joint limitation and muscular pseudohypertrophy. Growth retardation was common (68.7%) and was variable in severity (from -5.5 to -2 SD), as was mild-to-moderate intellectual deficiency (87.5%) with additional behavioral problems in 56.2% of the patients. Significant health concerns like obesity, arterial hypertension, bronchopulmonary insufficiency, laryngotracheal stenosis, pericarditis and early death occurred in four. Twenty-nine patients had a de novo heterozygous SMAD4 mutation, including both patients with LAPS. In 27 cases mutation affected Ile500 and in two cases Arg496. The three patients without SMAD4 mutations had typical findings of Myhre syndrome. Myhre-LAPS syndrome is a clinically homogenous condition with life threatening complications in the course of the disease. Our identification of SMAD4 mutations in 29/32 cases confirms that SMAD4 is the major gene responsible for Myhre syndrome.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 15 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.288.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 01/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, microarrays have replaced karyotyping as a first tier test in patients with idiopathic intellectual disability and/or multiple congenital abnormalities (ID/MCA) in many laboratories. Although in about 14-18% of such patients, DNA copy-number variants (CNVs) with clinical significance can be detected, microarrays have the disadvantage of missing balanced rearrangements, as well as providing no information about the genomic architecture of structural variants (SVs) like duplications and complex rearrangements. Such information could possibly lead to a better interpretation of the clinical significance of the SV. In this study, the clinical use of mate pair next-generation sequencing was evaluated for the detection and further characterization of structural variants within the genomes of 50 ID/MCA patients. Thirty of these patients carried a chromosomal aberration that was previously detected by array CGH or karyotyping and suspected to be pathogenic. In the remaining 20 patients no causal SVs were found and only benign aberrations were detected by conventional techniques. Combined cluster and coverage analysis of the mate pair data allowed precise breakpoint detection and further refinement of previously identified balanced and (complex) unbalanced aberrations, pinpointing the causal gene for some patients. We conclude that mate pair sequencing is a powerful technology that can provide rapid and unequivocal characterization of unbalanced and balanced SVs in patient genomes and can be essential for the clinical interpretation of some SVs.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 9 October 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.220.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 10/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Forkhead box G1 (FOXG1) gene encodes a transcriptional repressor essential for early development of the telencephalon. Intragenic mutations and gene deletions leading to haploinsufficiency cause the congenital variant of Rett syndrome. We here describe Rett syndrome-like patients, three of them carrying a balanced translocation with breakpoint in the chromosome 14q12 region, and one patient having a 14q12 microdeletion excluding the FOXG1 gene. The hypothesis of long-range FOXG1-regulatory elements in this region was supported by our finding of reduced FOXG1 mRNA and protein levels in platelets and skin fibroblasts from these cases. Given that FOXG1 is not only expressed in brain but also in platelets, we have studied platelet morphology in these patients and two additional patients with FOXG1 mutations. Electron microscopy of their platelets showed some enlarged, rounder platelets with often abnormal alpha, and fewer dense granules. Platelet function studies were possible in one 14q12 translocation patient with a prolonged Ivy bleeding time and a patient with a heterozygous FOXG1 c.1248C>G mutation (p.Tyr416X). Both have a prolonged PFA-100 occlusion time with collagen and epinephrine and reduced aggregation responses to low dose of ADP and epinephrine. Dense granule ATP secretion was normal for strong agonists but absent for epinephrine. In conclusion, our study shows that by using platelets functional evidence of cis-regulatory elements in the 14q12 region result in reduced FOXG1 levels in patients' platelets having translocations or deletions in that region. These platelet functional abnormalities deserve further investigation regarding a non-transcriptional regulatory role for FOXG1 in these anucleated cells.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 1 May 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.86.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 05/2013; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two siblings from consanguineous parents died perinatally with a condition characterized by generalized hypotonia, respiratory insufficiency, arthrogryposis, microcephaly, congenital brain malformations and hyperglycinemia. Catalytic activities of the mitochondrial respiratory complexes I and II were deficient in skeletal muscle, a finding suggestive of an inborn error in mitochondrial biogenesis. Homozygosity mapping identified IBA57 located in the largest homozygous region on chromosome 1 as a culprit candidate gene. IBA57 is known to be involved in the biosynthesis of mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] proteins. Sequence analysis of IBA57 revealed the homozygous mutation c.941A>C, p.Gln314Pro. Severely decreased amounts of IBA57 protein were observed in skeletal muscle and cultured skin fibroblasts from the affected subjects. HeLa cells depleted of IBA57 showed biochemical defects resembling the ones found in patient-derived cells including a decrease in various mitochondrial [4Fe-4S] proteins and in proteins covalently linked to lipoic acid, a cofactor produced by the [4Fe-4S] protein lipoic acid synthase. The defects could be complemented by wild-type IBA57 and partially by mutant IBA57. As a result of the mutation, IBA57 protein was excessively degraded, an effect ameliorated by protease inhibitors. Hence, we propose that the mutation leads to partial functional impairment of IBA57, yet the major pathogenic impact is due to its proteolytic degradation below physiologically critical levels. In conclusion, the ensuing lethal complex biochemical phenotype of a novel metabolic syndrome results from multiple Fe/S protein deficiencies caused by a deficiency in the Fe/S cluster assembly protein IBA57.
Human Molecular Genetics 03/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The lymphedema-lymphangiectasia-intellectual disability (Hennekam) syndrome (HS) is characterised by a widespread congenital lymph vessel dysplasia manifesting as congenital lymphedema of the limbs and intestinal lymphangiectasia, accompanied by unusual facial morphology, variable intellectual disabilities and infrequently malformations. The syndrome is heterogeneous as mutations in the gene CCBE1 have been found responsible for the syndrome in only a subset of patients. We investigated whether it would be possible to predict the presence of a CCBE1 mutation based on phenotype by collecting clinical data of patients diagnosed with HS, with or without a CCBE1 mutation. We report here the results of 13 CCBE1 positive patients, 16 CCBE1 negative patients, who were clinically found to have classical HS, and 8 patients in whom the diagnosis was considered possible, but not certain, and in whom no CCBE1 mutation was identified. We found no statistically significant phenotypic differences between the 2 groups with the clinical HS phenotype, although the degree of lymphatic dysplasia tended to be more pronounced in the mutation positive group. We also screened 158 patients with less widespread and less pronounced forms of lymphatic dysplasia for CCBE1 mutations, and no mutation was detected in this group. Our results suggest that (1) CCBE1 mutations are present only in patients with a likely clinical diagnosis of HS, and not in patients with less marked forms of lymphatic dysplasia, and (2) that there are no major phenotypic differences between HS patients with or without CCBE1 mutations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AnkyrinG, encoded by the ANK3 gene, is involved in neuronal development and signaling. It has previously been implicated in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia by association studies. Most recently, de novo missense mutations in this gene were identified in autistic patients. However, the causative nature of these mutations remained controversial. Here, we report inactivating mutations in the Ankyrin 3 (ANK3) gene in patients with severe cognitive deficits. In a patient with a borderline intelligence, severe ADHD, autism and sleeping problems all isoforms of the ANK3 gene were disrupted by a balanced translocation. Furthermore, in a consanguineous family with moderate intellectual disability (ID), an ADHD-like phenotype and behavioral problems, we identified a homozygous truncating frameshift mutation in the longest isoform of the same gene, which represents the first reported familial mutation in the ANK3 gene. The causality of ANK3 mutations in the two families and the role of the gene in cognitive function were supported by memory defects in a Drosophila knockdown model. Thus we demonstrated that ANK3 plays a role in intellectual functioning. In addition, our findings support the suggested association of ANK3 with various neuropsychiatric disorders and illustrate the genetic and molecular relation between a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Human Molecular Genetics 02/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several genes expressed at the centrosome or spindle pole have been reported to underlie autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH), a neurodevelopmental disorder consisting of an important brain size reduction present since birth, associated with mild-to-moderate mental handicap and no other neurological feature nor associated malformation. Here, we report a mutation of CASC5 (aka Blinkin, or KNL1, or hSPC105) in MCPH patients from three consanguineous families, in one of which we initially reported the MCPH4 locus. The combined logarithm of odds score of the three families was >6. All patients shared a very rare homozygous mutation of CASC5. The mutation induced skipping of exon 18 with subsequent frameshift and truncation of the predicted protein. CASC5 is part of the KMN network of the kinetochore and is required for proper microtubule attachment to the chromosome centromere and for spindle-assembly checkpoint (SAC) activation during mitosis. Like MCPH gene ASPM, CASC5 is upregulated in the ventricular zone (VZ) of the human fetal brain. CASC5 binds BUB1, BUBR1, ZWINT-1 and interestingly it binds to MIS12 through a protein domain which is truncated by the mutation. CASC5 localized at the equatorial plate like ZWINT-1 and BUBR1, while ASPM, CEP152 and PCTN localized at the spindle poles in our patients and in controls. Comparison of primate and rodent lineages indicates accelerated evolution of CASC5 in the human lineage. Our data provide strong evidence for CASC5 as a novel MCPH gene, and underscore the role of kinetochore integrity in proper volumetric development of the human brain.
Human Molecular Genetics 09/2012; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a developmentally delayed girl with an autism spectrum disorder, Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array analysis showed a de novo 280 kb deletion on chromosome 16q23.2 involving two genes, GAN and CMIP. Inactivating mutations in GAN cause the autosomal recessive disorder giant axonal neuropathy, not present in our patient. CMIP was recently implicated in the etiology of specific language impairment by genome-wide association analysis. It modulates phonological short-term memory and hence plays an important role in language acquisition. Overlaps of specific language impairment and autism have been debated in the literature regarding the phenotypical language profile as well as etiology. Our patient illustrates that haploinsufficiency of CMIP may contribute to autism spectrum disorders. Our finding further supports the existence of a genetic overlap in the etiology of specific language impairment and autism.
Autism Research 06/2012; 5(4):277-81. · 3.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Williams-Beuren syndrome is a rare contiguous gene syndrome, characterized by intellectual disability, facial dysmorphisms, connective-tissue abnormalities, cardiac defects, structural brain abnormalities, and transient infantile hypercalcemia. Genes lying telomeric to RFC2, including CLIP2, GTF2I and GTF2IRD1, are currently thought to be the most likely major contributors to the typical Williams syndrome cognitive profile, characterized by a better-than-expected auditory rote-memory ability, a relative sparing of language capabilities, and a severe visual-spatial constructive impairment. Atypical deletions in the region have helped to establish genotype-phenotype correlations. So far, however, hardly any deletions affecting only a single gene in the disease region have been described. We present here two healthy siblings with a pure, hemizygous deletion of CLIP2. A putative role in the cognitive and behavioral abnormalities seen in Williams-Beuren patients has been suggested for this gene on the basis of observations in a knock-out mouse model. The presented siblings did not show any of the clinical features associated with the syndrome. Cognitive testing showed an average IQ for both and no indication of the Williams syndrome cognitive profile. This shows that CLIP2 haploinsufficiency by itself does not lead to the physical or cognitive characteristics of the Williams-Beuren syndrome, nor does it lead to the Williams syndrome cognitive profile. Although contribution of CLIP2 to the phenotype cannot be excluded when it is deleted in combination with other genes, our results support the hypothesis that GTF2IRD1 and GTF2I are the main genes causing the cognitive defects associated with Williams-Beuren syndrome.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2012; 90(6):1071-8. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Propofol is an anesthetic agent widely used for induction and maintenance of anesthesia, and sedation in children. Although generally considered as reliable and safe, administration of propofol can occasionally induce a potentially fatal complication known as propofol infusion syndrome (PRIS). Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of PRIS. We report on an adult patient with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) who developed PRIS. He was a carrier of the m.3460G>A mutation, one of the major three pathogenic point mutations associated with LHON. The propositus was blind and underwent propofol sedation after severe head injury. Five days after start of propofol infusion, the patient died. The activity of complex I of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system was severely deficient in skeletal muscle. Our observation indicates that fulminate PRIS can occur in an adult patient with an inborn OXPHOS defect and corroborates the hypothesis that PRIS is caused by inhibition of the OXPHOS system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a male patient with West Syndrome we identified a perfectly balanced, de novo balanced translocation 46,XY,t(2;6)(p15;p22.3). No known protein coding genes were disrupted by the translocation and positional effects on nearby genes were excluded by expression studies. A putative long non-coding RNA, BX118339, spans the breakpoint on chromosome 6. It can be hypothesized that disruption of this non-coding transcript plays a role in the pathogenesis of the patient.
Epilepsy research 01/2012; 99(3):346-9. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We screened a cohort of 5 male and 20 female patients with a Rett spectrum disorder for mutations in the coding region of FOXG1, previously shown to cause the congenital variant of Rett syndrome. Two de novo mutations were identified. The first was a novel missense mutation, p.Ala193Thr (c.577G>A), in a male patient with congenital Rett syndrome, and the second was the p.Glu154GlyfsX301 (c.460dupG) truncating mutation in a female with classical Rett syndrome, a mutation that was previously reported in an independent patient. The overall rate of FOXG1 mutations in our cohort is 8%. Our findings stress the importance of FOXG1 analysis in male patients with Rett syndrome and in female patients when mutations in the MECP2 and CDKL5 genes have been excluded.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both obesity and being underweight have been associated with increased mortality. Underweight, defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≤ 18.5 kg per m(2) in adults and ≤ -2 standard deviations from the mean in children, is the main sign of a series of heterogeneous clinical conditions including failure to thrive, feeding and eating disorder and/or anorexia nervosa. In contrast to obesity, few genetic variants underlying these clinical conditions have been reported. We previously showed that hemizygosity of a ∼600-kilobase (kb) region on the short arm of chromosome 16 causes a highly penetrant form of obesity that is often associated with hyperphagia and intellectual disabilities. Here we show that the corresponding reciprocal duplication is associated with being underweight. We identified 138 duplication carriers (including 132 novel cases and 108 unrelated carriers) from individuals clinically referred for developmental or intellectual disabilities (DD/ID) or psychiatric disorders, or recruited from population-based cohorts. These carriers show significantly reduced postnatal weight and BMI. Half of the boys younger than five years are underweight with a probable diagnosis of failure to thrive, whereas adult duplication carriers have an 8.3-fold increased risk of being clinically underweight. We observe a trend towards increased severity in males, as well as a depletion of male carriers among non-medically ascertained cases. These features are associated with an unusually high frequency of selective and restrictive eating behaviours and a significant reduction in head circumference. Each of the observed phenotypes is the converse of one reported in carriers of deletions at this locus. The phenotypes correlate with changes in transcript levels for genes mapping within the duplication but not in flanking regions. The reciprocal impact of these 16p11.2 copy-number variants indicates that severe obesity and being underweight could have mirror aetiologies, possibly through contrasting effects on energy balance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microdeletions, either subtelomeric or interstitial, are responsible for the mental handicap in approximately 10-20% of all patients. Currently, Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) is widely used to detect these small aberrations in a routine fashion. Although cost-effective, the throughput is low and the degree of multiplexing is limited to maximally 40-50 probes. Therefore, we developed an array-based MLPA method, with probes identified by unique tag sequences, allowing the simultaneous analysis of 180 probes in a single experiment thereby covering all known mental retardation loci with at least two probes. We screened 120 patients with idiopathic mental retardation. In this group we detected 6 aberrations giving a detection rate of 5%, consistent with similar studies. In addition we tested 293 patients with mental retardation who were negative for fragile X syndrome and commercially available subtelomeric MLPA. We found seven causative rearrangements in this group (detection rate of 2.4%) thereby illustrating the value of including probes for interstitial microdeletion syndromes and additional probes in the telomeric regions in targeted screening sets for mental retardation. Array-based MLPA may thus be a good candidate to develop probe sets that rapidly detect copy number changes of disease associated loci in the human genome. This method may become a valuable tool in a routine diagnostic setting as it is a fast, user-friendly and relatively low-cost technique providing straightforward results requiring only 125 ng of genomic DNA.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 02/2011; 155A(2):343-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor