[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the context of a comprehensive research project, investigating novel autosomal recessive intellectual disability (ARID) genes, linkage analysis based on autozygosity mapping helped identify an intellectual disability locus on Chr.12q24, in an Iranian family (LOD score=3.7). Next-generation sequencing (NGS) following exon enrichment in this novel interval, detected a nonsense mutation (p.Q1010*) in the CLIP1 gene. CLIP1 encodes a member of microtubule (MT) plus-end tracking proteins, which specifically associates with the ends of growing MTs. These proteins regulate MT dynamic behavior and are important for MT-mediated transport over the length of axons and dendrites. As such, CLIP1 may have a role in neuronal development. We studied lymphoblastoid and skin fibroblast cell lines established from healthy and affected patients. RT-PCR and western blot analyses showed the absence of CLIP1 transcript and protein in lymphoblastoid cells derived from affected patients. Furthermore, immunofluorescence analyses showed MT plus-end staining only in fibroblasts containing the wild-type (and not the mutant) CLIP1 protein. Collectively, our data suggest that defects in CLIP1 may lead to ARID.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 26 February 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.13.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most severe forms of intellectual disability (ID) have specific genetic causes. Numerous X chromosome gene defects and disease-causing copy-number variants have been linked to ID and related disorders, and recent studies have revealed that sporadic cases are often due to dominant de novo mutations with low recurrence risk. For autosomal recessive ID (ARID) the recurrence risk is high and, in populations with frequent parental consanguinity, ARID is the most common form of ID. Even so, its elucidation has lagged behind. Here we review recent progress in this field, show that ARID is not rare even in outbred Western populations, and discuss the prospects for improving its diagnosis and prevention.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Molecular diagnostics can resolve locus heterogeneity underlying clinical phenotypes that may otherwise be co-assigned as a specific syndrome based on shared clinical features, as well as associate phenotypically diverse diseases to a single locus through allelic affinity. Here we describe a novel syndrome, likely caused by de novo truncating mutations in ASXL3, which shares characteristics with Bohring-Opitz syndrome, a disease associated with de novo truncating mutations in ASXL1. METHODS: We used whole genome and whole exome sequencing to interrogate the genomes of 4 subjects with an undiagnosed syndrome. RESULTS: Using genome wide sequencing we identified heterozygous, de novo truncating mutations in ASXL3, a transcriptional repressor related to ASXL1, in four unrelated probands. We found that these probands shared similar phenotypes including severe feeding difficulties, failure-to-thrive and neurologic abnormalities with significant developmental delay. Further, they showed less phenotypic overlap with patients who had de novo truncating mutations in ASXL1. CONCLUSION: We have identified truncating mutations in ASXL3 as the likely cause of a novel syndrome with phenotypic overlap with Bohring-Opitz syndrome.
Genome Medicine 02/2013; 5(2):11. · 3.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With a prevalence between 1 and 3%, hereditary forms of intellectual disability (ID) are among the most important problems in health care. Particularly, autosomal-recessive forms of the disorder have a very heterogeneous molecular basis, and genes with an increased number of disease-causing mutations are not common. Here, we report on three different mutations (two nonsense mutations, c.679C>T [p.Gln227(∗)] and c.1114C>T [p.Gln372(∗)], as well as one splicing mutation, g.6622224A>C [p.Ile179Argfs(∗)192]) that cause a loss of the tRNA-methyltransferase-encoding NSUN2 main transcript in homozygotes. We identified the mutations by sequencing exons and exon-intron boundaries within the genomic region where the linkage intervals of three independent consanguineous families of Iranian and Kurdish origin overlapped with the previously described MRT5 locus. In order to gain further evidence concerning the effect of a loss of NSUN2 on memory and learning, we constructed a Drosophila model by deleting the NSUN2 ortholog, CG6133, and investigated the mutants by using molecular and behavioral approaches. When the Drosophila melanogaster NSUN2 ortholog was deleted, severe short-term-memory (STM) deficits were observed; STM could be rescued by re-expression of the wild-type protein in the nervous system. The humans homozygous for NSUN2 mutations showed an overlapping phenotype consisting of moderate to severe ID and facial dysmorphism (which includes a long face, characteristic eyebrows, a long nose, and a small chin), suggesting that mutations in this gene might even induce a syndromic form of ID. Moreover, our observations from the Drosophila model point toward an evolutionarily conserved role of RNA methylation in normal cognitive development.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2012; 90(5):847-55. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Common diseases are often complex because they are genetically heterogeneous, with many different genetic defects giving rise to clinically indistinguishable phenotypes. This has been amply documented for early-onset cognitive impairment, or intellectual disability, one of the most complex disorders known and a very important health care problem worldwide. More than 90 different gene defects have been identified for X-chromosome-linked intellectual disability alone, but research into the more frequent autosomal forms of intellectual disability is still in its infancy. To expedite the molecular elucidation of autosomal-recessive intellectual disability, we have now performed homozygosity mapping, exon enrichment and next-generation sequencing in 136 consanguineous families with autosomal-recessive intellectual disability from Iran and elsewhere. This study, the largest published so far, has revealed additional mutations in 23 genes previously implicated in intellectual disability or related neurological disorders, as well as single, probably disease-causing variants in 50 novel candidate genes. Proteins encoded by several of these genes interact directly with products of known intellectual disability genes, and many are involved in fundamental cellular processes such as transcription and translation, cell-cycle control, energy metabolism and fatty-acid synthesis, which seem to be pivotal for normal brain development and function.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic variants leading to impairment of intellectual performance are highly diverse and are still poorly understood. ST3GAL3 encodes the Golgi enzyme β-galactoside-α2,3-sialyltransferase-III that in humans predominantly forms the sialyl Lewis a epitope on proteins. ST3GAL3 resides on chromosome 1 within the MRT4 locus previously identified to associate with nonsyndromic autosomal recessive intellectual disability. We searched for the disease-causing mutations in the MRT4 family and a second independent consanguineous Iranian family by using a combination of chromosome sorting and next-generation sequencing. Two different missense changes in ST3GAL3 cosegregate with the disease but were absent in more than 1000 control chromosomes. In cellular and biochemical test systems, these mutations were shown to cause ER retention of the Golgi enzyme and drastically impair ST3Gal-III functionality. Our data provide conclusive evidence that glycotopes formed by ST3Gal-III are prerequisite for attaining and/or maintaining higher cognitive functions.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2011; 89(3):407-14. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past years, significant advances have been made in our understanding of the development of the human brain, and much of this knowledge comes from genetic studies of disorders associated with abnormal brain development. We employed array-comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to investigate copy number variants (CNVs) in a cohort of 169 patients with various structural brain malformations including lissencephaly, polymicrogyria, focal cortical dysplasia, and corpus callosum agenesis. The majority of the patients had intellectual disabilities (ID) and suffered from symptomatic epilepsy. We detected at least one rare CNV in 38 patients (22.5%). All genes located within the rare CNVs were subjected to enrichment analysis for specific Gene Ontology Terms or Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways and to protein-protein network analysis. Based on these analyses, we propose that genes involved in "axonal transport," "cation transmembrane transporter activity," and the "c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) cascade" play a significant role in the etiology of brain malformations. This is to the best of our knowledge the first systematic study of CNVs in patients with structural brain malformations and our data show that CNVs play an important role in the etiology of these malformations, either as direct causes or as genetic risk factors.
Human Mutation 08/2011; 32(12):1427-35. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genetic basis of autosomal recessive mental retardation (ARMR) is extremely heterogeneous, and there is reason to suspect that the number of underlying gene defects may well go beyond 1,000. To date, however, only less than 10 genes have been implicated in non-specific/non-syndromic ARMR (NS-ARMR). As part of an ongoing systematic study aiming to identify further ARMR genes, we investigated a consanguineous family with three patients with NS-ARMR. By linkage analysis and subsequent mutation screening we identified a novel nonsense mutation (c.163C > T [p.Q55X]) in the second exon of the TUSC3 gene. This is the third MR causing defect in TUSC3 to be described and the second independent mutation in this gene in a cohort of more than 200 ARMR families from the Iranian population. This argues for a more prominent role of TUSC3 in the etiology of this genetically heterogeneous disorder as compared to most of the other so far identified ARMR genes.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 08/2011; 155A(8):1976-80. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have used genome-wide genotyping to identify an overlapping homozygosity-by-descent locus on chromosome 9q34.3 (MRT15) in four consanguineous families affected by nonsyndromic autosomal-recessive intellectual disability (NS-ARID) and one in which the patients show additional clinical features. Four of the families are from Pakistan, and one is from Iran. Using a combination of next-generation sequencing and Sanger sequencing, we have identified mutations in the gene MAN1B1, encoding a mannosyl oligosaccharide, alpha 1,2-mannosidase. In one Pakistani family, MR43, a homozygous nonsense mutation (RefSeq number NM_016219.3: c.1418G>A [p.Trp473*]), segregated with intellectual disability and additional dysmorphic features. We also identified the missense mutation c. 1189G>A (p.Glu397Lys; RefSeq number NM_016219.3), which segregates with NS-ARID in three families who come from the same village and probably have shared inheritance. In the Iranian family, the missense mutation c.1000C>T (p.Arg334Cys; RefSeq number NM_016219.3) also segregates with NS-ARID. Both missense mutations are at amino acid residues that are conserved across the animal kingdom, and they either reduce k(cat) by ∼1300-fold or disrupt stable protein expression in mammalian cells. MAN1B1 is one of the few NS-ARID genes with an elevated mutation frequency in patients with NS-ARID from different populations.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 07/2011; 89(1):176-82. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental retardation (MR) has a worldwide prevalence of around 2% and is a frequent cause of severe disability. Significant excess of MR in the progeny of consanguineous matings as well as functional considerations suggest that autosomal recessive forms of MR (ARMR) must be relatively common. To shed more light on the causes of autosomal recessive MR (ARMR), we have set out in 2003 to perform systematic clinical studies and autozygosity mapping in large consanguineous Iranian families with non-syndromic ARMR (NS-ARMR). As previously reported (Najmabadi et al. in Hum Genet 121:43-48, 2007), this led us to the identification of 12 novel ARMR loci, 8 of which had a significant LOD score (OMIM: MRT5-12). In the meantime, we and others have found causative gene defects in two of these intervals. Moreover, as reported here, tripling the size of our cohort has enabled us to identify 27 additional unrelated families with NS-ARMR and single-linkage intervals; 14 of these define novel loci for non-syndromic ARMR. Altogether, 13 out of 39 single linkage intervals observed in our cohort were found to cluster at 6 different loci on chromosomes, i.e., 1p34, 4q27, 5p15, 9q34, 11p11-q13 and 19q13, respectively. Five of these clusters consist of two significantly overlapping linkage intervals, and on chr 1p34, three single linkage intervals coincide, including the previously described MRT12 locus. The probability for this distribution to be due to chance is only 1.14 × 10(-5), as shown by Monte Carlo simulation. Thus, in contrast to our previous conclusions, these novel data indicate that common molecular causes of NS-ARMR do exist, and in the Iranian population, the most frequent ones may well account for several percent of the patients. These findings will be instrumental in the identification of the underlying genes.
Human Genetics 11/2010; 129(2):141-8. · 4.63 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intellectual disability (ID) is the leading socio-economic problem of health care, but compared to autism and schizophrenia, it has received very little public attention. Important risk factors for ID are malnutrition, cultural deprivation, poor health care, and parental consanguinity. In the Western world, fetal alcohol exposure is the most common preventable cause. Most severe forms of ID have genetic causes. Cytogenetically detectable and submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements account for approximately 25% of all cases. X-linked gene defects are responsible in 10-12% of males with ID; to date, 91 of these defects have been identified. In contrast, autosomal gene defects have been largely disregarded, but due to coordinated efforts and the advent of next-generation DNA sequencing, this is about to change. As shown for Fra(X) syndrome, this renewed focus on autosomal gene defects will pave the way for molecular diagnosis and prevention, shed more light on the pathogenesis of ID, and reveal new opportunities for therapy.
Annual review of genomics and human genetics 09/2010; 11:161-87. · 11.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ZNF630 is a member of the primate-specific Xp11 zinc finger gene cluster that consists of six closely related genes, of which ZNF41, ZNF81, and ZNF674 have been shown to be involved in mental retardation. This suggests that mutations of ZNF630 might influence cognitive function. Here, we detected 12 ZNF630 deletions in a total of 1,562 male patients with mental retardation from Brazil, USA, Australia, and Europe. The breakpoints were analyzed in 10 families, and in all cases they were located within two segmental duplications that share more than 99% sequence identity, indicating that the deletions resulted from non-allelic homologous recombination. In 2,121 healthy male controls, 10 ZNF630 deletions were identified. In total, there was a 1.6-fold higher frequency of this deletion in males with mental retardation as compared to controls, but this increase was not statistically significant (P-value = 0.174). Conversely, a 1.9-fold lower frequency of ZNF630 duplications was observed in patients, which was not significant either (P-value = 0.163). These data do not show that ZNF630 deletions or duplications are associated with mental retardation.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 02/2010; 152A(3):638-45. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Massive parallel sequencing has revolutionized the search for pathogenic variants in the human genome, but for routine diagnosis, re-sequencing of the complete human genome in a large cohort of patients is still far too expensive. Recently, novel genome partitioning methods have been developed that allow to target re-sequencing to specific genomic compartments, but practical experience with these methods is still limited. In this study, we have combined a novel droplet-based multiplex PCR method and next generation sequencing to screen patients with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) for mutations in 86 previously identified XLMR genes. In total, affected males from 24 large XLMR families were analyzed, including three in whom the mutations were already known. Amplicons corresponding to functionally relevant regions of these genes were sequenced on an Illumina/Solexa Genome Analyzer II platform. Highly specific and uniform enrichment was achieved: on average, 67.9% unambiguously mapped reads were derived from amplicons, and for 88.5% of the targeted bases, the sequencing depth was sufficient to reliably detect variations. Potentially disease-causing sequence variants were identified in 10 out of 24 patients, including the three mutations that were already known, and all of these could be confirmed by Sanger sequencing. The robust performance of this approach demonstrates the general utility of droplet-based multiplex PCR for parallel mutation screening in hundreds of genes, which is a prerequisite for the diagnosis of mental retardation and other disorders that may be due to defects of a wide variety of genes. ELECTRONIC SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11568-010-9137-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental retardation/intellectual disability is a devastating neurodevelopmental disorder with serious impact on affected individuals and their families, as well as on health and social services. It occurs with a prevalence of approximately 2%, is an etiologically heterogeneous condition, and is frequently the result of genetic aberrations. Autosomal-recessive forms of nonsyndromic MR (NS-ARMR) are believed to be common, yet only five genes have been identified. We have used homozygosity mapping to search for the gene responsible for NS-ARMR in a large Pakistani pedigree. Using Affymetrix 5.0 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays, we identified a 3.2 Mb region on 8q24 with a continuous run of 606 homozygous SNPs shared among all affected members of the family. Additional genotype data from microsatellite markers verified this, allowing us to calculate a two-point LOD score of 5.18. Within this region, we identified a truncating homozygous mutation, R475X, in exon 7 of the gene TRAPPC9. In a second large NS-ARMR/ID family, previously linked to 8q24 in a study of Iranian families, we identified a 4 bp deletion within exon 14 of TRAPPC9, also segregating with the phenotype and truncating the protein. This gene encodes NIK- and IKK-beta-binding protein (NIBP), which is involved in the NF-kappaB signaling pathway and directly interacts with IKK-beta and MAP3K14. Brain magnetic resonance imaging of affected individuals indicates the presence of mild cerebral white matter hypoplasia. Microcephaly is present in some but not all affected individuals. Thus, to our knowledge, this is the sixth gene for NS-ARMR to be discovered.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2009; 85(6):909-15. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on three siblings with a novel mental retardation (MR) syndrome who were born to distantly related Iranian parents. The clinical problems comprised severe MR, cataracts with onset in late adolescence, kyphosis, contractures of large joints, bulbous nose with broad nasal bridge, and thick lips. Two patients also had uni- or bilateral iris coloboma. Linkage analysis revealed a single 10.4 Mb interval of homozygosity with significant LOD score in the pericentromeric region of chromosome 4 flanked by SNPs rs728293 (4p12) and rs1105434 (4q12). This interval contains more than 40 genes, none of which has been implicated in MR so far. The identification of the causative gene defect for this syndrome will provide new insights into the development of the brain and the eye.Keywords: mental retardation, autosomal recessive, consanguinity, cataract, coloboma, kyphosis
European Journal of HumanGenetics 09/2008; 17(1):125-128. · 4.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early onset intellectual disability (ID) is one of the largest unsolved problems of health care. Yet, it has received very little public attention in the past because many health care professionals do not perceive it as a health condition but as a social or educational issue. In severe ID, cytogenetically visible chromosomal abnormalities like trisomy 21 continue to be common, but since the introduction of array CGH, it is becoming clear that submicroscopic deletions and duplications are equally frequent, yet previously overlooked causes of ID. Until recently, the search for gene defects causing ID has focused on the X-chromosome. So far, >80 genes have been implicated in X-linked ID, largely owing to coordinated efforts of international consortia, and mutations in these genes account for >50% of the families with this condition. Autosomal forms, either due to dominant de novo mutations or to recessive gene defects, are presumably (far) more common than X-linked ones, and their molecular elucidation is a new challenge for research in this field. As recently shown, autosomal recessive ID (ARID) is extremely heterogeneous, and common forms are unlikely to exist. Ongoing studies into the function of ID genes are shedding more light on the pathogenesis of this disorder, and there is reason to believe that at least some genetic forms of ID may be amenable to drug treatment.
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 08/2008; 18(3):241-50. · 7.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Balanced chromosome rearrangements (BCRs) can cause genetic diseases by disrupting or inactivating specific genes, and the characterization of breakpoints in disease-associated BCRs has been instrumental in the molecular elucidation of a wide variety of genetic disorders. However, mapping chromosome breakpoints using traditional methods, such as in situ hybridization with fluorescent dye-labeled bacterial artificial chromosome clones (BAC-FISH), is rather laborious and time-consuming. In addition, the resolution of BAC-FISH is often insufficient to unequivocally identify the disrupted gene. To overcome these limitations, we have performed shotgun sequencing of flow-sorted derivative chromosomes using "next-generation" (Illumina/Solexa) multiplex sequencing-by-synthesis technology. As shown here for three different disease-associated BCRs, the coverage attained by this platform is sufficient to bridge the breakpoints by PCR amplification, and this procedure allows the determination of their exact nucleotide positions within a few weeks. Its implementation will greatly facilitate large-scale breakpoint mapping and gene finding in patients with disease-associated balanced translocations.
Genome Research 08/2008; 18(7):1143-9. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that autosomal recessive mental retardation (ARMR) is extremely heterogeneous, and there is reason to believe that the number of underlying gene defects goes into the thousands. To date, however, only four genes have been implicated in nonsyndromic ARMR (NS-ARMR): PRSS12 (neurotrypsin), CRBN (cereblon), CC2D1A, and GRIK2. As part of an ongoing systematic study aiming to identify ARMR genes, we investigated a large consanguineous family comprising seven patients with nonsyndromic ARMR in four sibships. Genome-wide SNP typing enabled us to map the relevant genetic defect to a 4.6 Mbp interval on chromosome 8. Haplotype analyses and copy-number studies led to the identification of a homozygous deletion partly removing TUSC3 (N33) in all patients. All obligate carriers of this family were heterozygous, but none of 192 unrelated healthy individuals from the same population carried this deletion. We excluded other disease-causing mutations in the coding regions of all genes within the linkage interval by sequencing; moreover, we verified the complete absence of a functional TUSC3 transcript in all patients through RT-PCR. TUSC3 is thought to encode a subunit of the endoplasmic reticulum-bound oligosaccharyltransferase complex that catalyzes a pivotal step in the protein N-glycosylation process. Our data suggest that in contrast to other genetic defects of glycosylation, inactivation of TUSC3 causes nonsyndromic MR, a conclusion that is supported by a separate report in this issue of AJHG. TUSC3 is only the fifth gene implicated in NS-ARMR and the first for which mutations have been reported in more than one family.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2008; 82(5):1158-64. · 11.20 Impact Factor