[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding transcriptional regulation of pancreatic development is required to advance current efforts in developing beta cell replacement therapies for patients with diabetes. Current knowledge of key transcriptional regulators has predominantly come from mouse studies, with rare, naturally occurring mutations establishing their relevance in man. This study used a combination of homozygosity analysis and Sanger sequencing in 37 consanguineous patients with permanent neonatal diabetes to search for homozygous mutations in 29 transcription factor genes important for murine pancreatic development. We identified homozygous mutations in 7 different genes in 11 unrelated patients and show that NKX2-2 and MNX1 are etiological genes for neonatal diabetes, thus confirming their key role in development of the human pancreas. The similar phenotype of the patients with recessive mutations and mice with inactivation of a transcription factor gene support there being common steps critical for pancreatic development and validate the use of rodent models for beta cell development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) incidence is rapidly increasing in Western countries. A better understanding of EAC underpins efforts to improve early detection and treatment outcomes. While large EAC exome sequencing efforts to date have found recurrent loss-of-function mutations, oncogenic driving events have been underrepresented. Here we use a combination of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and single-nucleotide polymorphism-array profiling to show that genomic catastrophes are frequent in EAC, with almost a third (32%, n=40/123) undergoing chromothriptic events. WGS of 22 EAC cases show that catastrophes may lead to oncogene amplification through chromothripsis-derived double-minute chromosome formation (MYC and MDM2) or breakage-fusion-bridge (KRAS, MDM2 and RFC3). Telomere shortening is more prominent in EACs bearing localized complex rearrangements. Mutational signature analysis also confirms that extreme genomic instability in EAC can be driven by somatic BRCA2 mutations. These findings suggest that genomic catastrophes have a significant role in the malignant transformation of EAC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatic rearrangements, which are commonly found in human cancer genomes, contribute to the progression and maintenance of cancers. Conventionally, the verification of somatic rearrangements comprises many manual steps and Sanger sequencing. This is labor intensive when verifying a large number of rearrangements in a large cohort. To increase the verification throughput, we devised a high-throughput workflow that utilizes benchtop next-generation sequencing and in-house bioinformatics tools to link the laboratory processes. In the proposed workflow, primers are automatically designed. PCR and an optional gel electrophoresis step to confirm the somatic nature of the rearrangements are performed. PCR products of somatic events are pooled for Ion Torrent PGM and/or Illumina MiSeq sequencing, the resulting sequence reads are assembled into consensus contigs by a consensus assembler, and an automated BLAT is used to resolve the breakpoints to base level. We compared sequences and breakpoints of verified somatic rearrangements between the conventional and high-throughput workflow. The results showed that next-generation sequencing methods are comparable to conventional Sanger sequencing. The identified breakpoints obtained from next-generation sequencing methods were highly accurate and reproducible. Furthermore, the proposed workflow allows hundreds of events to be processed in a shorter time frame compared with the conventional workflow.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of cis-regulatory mutations to human disease remains poorly understood. Whole-genome sequencing can identify all noncoding variants, yet the discrimination of causal regulatory mutations represents a formidable challenge. We used epigenomic annotation in human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived pancreatic progenitor cells to guide the interpretation of whole-genome sequences from individuals with isolated pancreatic agenesis. This analysis uncovered six different recessive mutations in a previously uncharacterized ∼400-bp sequence located 25 kb downstream of PTF1A (encoding pancreas-specific transcription factor 1a) in ten families with pancreatic agenesis. We show that this region acts as a developmental enhancer of PTF1A and that the mutations abolish enhancer activity. These mutations are the most common cause of isolated pancreatic agenesis. Integrating genome sequencing and epigenomic annotation in a disease-relevant cell type can thus uncover new noncoding elements underlying human development and disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal and molecularly diverse malignancies. Repurposing of therapeutics that target specific molecular mechanisms in different disease types offers potential for rapid improvements in outcome. Although HER2 amplification occurs in pancreatic cancer, it is inadequately characterized to exploit the potential of anti-HER2 therapies.
HER2 amplification was detected and further analyzed using multiple genomic sequencing approaches. Standardized reference laboratory assays defined HER2 amplification in a large cohort of patients (n = 469) with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
An amplified inversion event (1 MB) was identified at the HER2 locus in a patient with PDAC. Using standardized laboratory assays we established diagnostic criteria for HER2 amplification in PDAC, and observed a prevalence of 2%. Clinically, HER2 amplified PDAC was characterized by a lack of liver metastases, and preponderance of lung and brain metastases. Excluding breast and gastric cancer, the incidence of HER2-amplified cancers in the USA is >22,000 per annum.
HER2 amplification occurs in 2% of PDAC and has distinct features with implications for clinical practice. The molecular heterogeneity of PDAC implies that even an incidence of 2% represents an attractive target for anti-HER2 therapies, as options for PDAC are limited. Recruiting patients based on HER2 amplification, rather than organ of origin, could make trials of anti-HER2 therapies feasible in less common cancer types.
Genome Medicine 08/2013; 5(8):78. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Somatic mutation calling from next-generation sequencing data remains a challenge due to the difficulties of distinguishing true somatic events from artifacts arising from PCR, sequencing errors or mis-mapping. Tumor cellularity or purity, sub-clonality and copy number changes also confound the identification of true somatic events against a background of germline variants. We have developed a heuristic strategy and software (http://www.qcmg.org/bioinformatics/qsnp/) for somatic mutation calling in samples with low tumor content and we show the superior sensitivity and precision of our approach using a previously sequenced cell line, a series of tumor/normal admixtures, and 3,253 putative somatic SNVs verified on an orthogonal platform.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e74380. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is a highly lethal malignancy with few effective therapies. We performed exome sequencing and copy number analysis to define genomic aberrations in a prospectively accrued clinical cohort (n = 142) of early (stage I and II) sporadic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Detailed analysis of 99 informative tumours identified substantial heterogeneity with 2,016 non-silent mutations and 1,628 copy-number variations. We define 16 significantly mutated genes, reaffirming known mutations (KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A, SMAD4, MLL3, TGFBR2, ARID1A and SF3B1), and uncover novel mutated genes including additional genes involved in chromatin modification (EPC1 and ARID2), DNA damage repair (ATM) and other mechanisms (ZIM2, MAP2K4, NALCN, SLC16A4 and MAGEA6). Integrative analysis with in vitro functional data and animal models provided supportive evidence for potential roles for these genetic aberrations in carcinogenesis. Pathway-based analysis of recurrently mutated genes recapitulated clustering in core signalling pathways in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and identified new mutated genes in each pathway. We also identified frequent and diverse somatic aberrations in genes described traditionally as embryonic regulators of axon guidance, particularly SLIT/ROBO signalling, which was also evident in murine Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated somatic mutagenesis models of pancreatic cancer, providing further supportive evidence for the potential involvement of axon guidance genes in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus (PNDM) is diagnosed within the first 6 months of life, and is usually monogenic in origin. Heterozygous mutations in ABCC8, KCNJ11, and INS genes account for around half of cases of PNDM; mutations in 10 further genes account for a further 10%, and the remaining 40% of cases are currently without a molecular genetic diagnosis. Thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anaemia (TRMA), due to mutations in the thiamine transporter SLC19A2, is associated with the classical clinical triad of diabetes, deafness, and megaloblastic anaemia. Diabetes in this condition is well described in infancy but has only very rarely been reported in association with neonatal diabetes. We used a combination of homozygosity mapping and evaluation of clinical information to identify cases of TRMA from our cohort of patients with PNDM. Homozygous mutations in SLC19A2 were identified in three cases in which diabetes presented in the first 6 months of life, and a further two cases in which diabetes presented between 6 and 12 months of age. We noted the presence of a significant neurological disorder in four of the five cases in our series, prompting us to examine the incidence of these and other non-classical clinical features in TRMA. From 30 cases reported in the literature, we found significant neurological deficit (stroke, focal, or generalized epilepsy) in 27%, visual system disturbance in 43%, and cardiac abnormalities in 27% of cases. TRMA should be considered in the differential diagnosis of diabetes presenting in the neonatal period.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) remains a lethal malignancy despite much progress concerning its molecular characterization. PDA tumours harbour four signature somatic mutations in addition to numerous lower frequency genetic events of uncertain significance. Here we use Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis in a mouse model of pancreatic ductal preneoplasia to identify genes that cooperate with oncogenic Kras(G12D) to accelerate tumorigenesis and promote progression. Our screen revealed new candidate genes for PDA and confirmed the importance of many genes and pathways previously implicated in human PDA. The most commonly mutated gene was the X-linked deubiquitinase Usp9x, which was inactivated in over 50% of the tumours. Although previous work had attributed a pro-survival role to USP9X in human neoplasia, we found instead that loss of Usp9x enhances transformation and protects pancreatic cancer cells from anoikis. Clinically, low USP9X protein and messenger RNA expression in PDA correlates with poor survival after surgery, and USP9X levels are inversely associated with metastatic burden in advanced disease. Furthermore, chromatin modulation with trichostatin A or 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine elevates USP9X expression in human PDA cell lines, indicating a clinical approach for certain patients. The conditional deletion of Usp9x cooperated with Kras(G12D) to accelerate pancreatic tumorigenesis in mice, validating their genetic interaction. We propose that USP9X is a major tumour suppressor gene with prognostic and therapeutic relevance in PDA.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recessive mutations in the hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HADH) gene encoding the enzyme 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase are a rare cause of diazoxide-responsive hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (HH) with just five probands reported to date. HADH deficiency in the first three identified patients was associated with detectable urinary 3-hydroxyglutarate and raised plasma 3-hydroxybutyryl-carnitine levels, but two recent cases did not have abnormal urine organic acids or acylcarnitines.
We studied 115 patients with diazoxide-responsive HH in whom the common genetic causes of HH had been excluded. No patients were reported to have abnormal acylcarnitines or urinary organic acids. Homozygosity mapping was undertaken in probands from 13 consanguineous pedigrees to search for regions harboring mutations that are identical by descent.
HADH sequencing was performed after genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism analysis revealed a large shared region of homozygosity spanning the HADH locus in six unrelated probands. Homozygous mutations were identified in three of these patients and in a further two probands from consanguineous families. HADH analysis in the remainder of the cohort identified mutations in a further six probands for whom consanguinity was not reported, but who originated from countries with high rates of consanguinity. Six different HADH mutations were identified in 11/115 (10%) patients tested.
HADH mutations are a relatively common cause of diazoxide-responsive HH with a frequency similar to that of GLUD1 and HNF4A mutations. We recommend that HADH sequence analysis is considered in all patients with diazoxide-responsive HH when recessive inheritance is suspected.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 01/2011; 96(3):E498-502. · 6.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurogenin 3 (NGN3) commits pancreatic progenitors to an islet cell fate. We have induced NGN3 expression and identified upregulation of the gene encoding the Ras-associated small molecular mass GTP-binding protein, RAB3B. RAB3B localised to the cytoplasm of human β-cells, both during the foetal period and post natally. Genes encoding alternative RAB3 proteins and RAB27A were unaltered by NGN3 expression and in human adult islets their transcripts were many fold less prevalent than those of RAB3B. The regulation of insulin exocytosis in rodent β-cells and responsiveness to incretins are reliant on Rab family members, notably Rab3a and Rab27a, but not Rab3b. Our results support an important inter-species difference in regulating insulin exocytosis where RAB3B is the most expressed isoform in human islets.
Journal of Endocrinology 11/2010; 207(2):151-61. · 4.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interpretation of novel missense variants is a challenge with increasing numbers of such variants being identified and a responsibility to report the findings in the context of all available scientific evidence. Various in silico bioinformatic tools have been developed that predict the likely pathogenicity of missense variants; however, their utility within the diagnostic setting requires further investigation.
The aim of our study was to test the predictive value of two of these tools, sorting intolerant from tolerant (SIFT) and polymorphism phenotyping (PolyPhen), in a set of 141 missense variants (131 pathogenic, 8 benign) identified in the ABCC8, GCK, and KCNJ11 genes.
Sixty-six of the mutations caused a gain of protein function, while 67 were loss-of-function mutations. The evolutionary conservation at each residue was also investigated using multiple sequence alignments from the UCSC genome browser.
The sensitivity of SIFT and PolyPhen was reasonably high (69% and 68%, respectively), but their specificity was low (13% and 16%). Both programs were significantly better at predicting loss-of-function mutations than gain-of-function mutations (SIFT, p = 0.001; PolyPhen, p < or = 0.0001). The most reliable method for assessing the likely pathogenicity of a missense variant was to investigate the degree of conservation at the affected residue. Eighty-eight percent of the mutations affected highly conserved residues, while all of the benign variants occurred at residues that were polymorphic across multiple species.
Although SIFT and PolyPhen may be useful in prioritizing changes that are likely to cause a loss of protein function, their low specificity means that their predictions should be interpreted with caution and further evidence to support/refute pathogenicity should be sought before reporting novel missense changes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterozygous coding mutations in the INS gene that encodes preproinsulin were recently shown to be an important cause of permanent neonatal diabetes. These dominantly acting mutations prevent normal folding of proinsulin, which leads to beta-cell death through endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis. We now report 10 different recessive INS mutations in 15 probands with neonatal diabetes. Functional studies showed that recessive mutations resulted in diabetes because of decreased insulin biosynthesis through distinct mechanisms, including gene deletion, lack of the translation initiation signal, and altered mRNA stability because of the disruption of a polyadenylation signal. A subset of recessive mutations caused abnormal INS transcription, including the deletion of the C1 and E1 cis regulatory elements, or three different single base-pair substitutions in a CC dinucleotide sequence located between E1 and A1 elements. In keeping with an earlier and more severe beta-cell defect, patients with recessive INS mutations had a lower birth weight (-3.2 SD score vs. -2.0 SD score) and were diagnosed earlier (median 1 week vs. 10 weeks) compared to those with dominant INS mutations. Mutations in the insulin gene can therefore result in neonatal diabetes as a result of two contrasting pathogenic mechanisms. Moreover, the recessively inherited mutations provide a genetic demonstration of the essential role of multiple sequence elements that regulate the biosynthesis of insulin in man.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2010; 107(7):3105-10. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin from the beta-cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans controls energy homeostasis in vertebrates, and its deficiency causes diabetes mellitus. During embryonic development, the transcription factor neurogenin 3 (Neurog3) initiates the differentiation of the beta-cells and other islet cell types from pancreatic endoderm, but the genetic program that subsequently completes this differentiation remains incompletely understood. Here we show that the transcription factor Rfx6 directs islet cell differentiation downstream of Neurog3. Mice lacking Rfx6 failed to generate any of the normal islet cell types except for pancreatic-polypeptide-producing cells. In human infants with a similar autosomal recessive syndrome of neonatal diabetes, genetic mapping and subsequent sequencing identified mutations in the human RFX6 gene. These studies demonstrate a unique position for Rfx6 in the hierarchy of factors that coordinate pancreatic islet development in both mice and humans. Rfx6 could prove useful in efforts to generate beta-cells for patients with diabetes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 39% of cases with permanent neonatal diabetes (PNDM) and about 11% with maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) have an unknown genetic aetiology. Many of the known genes causing MODY and PNDM were identified as being critical for beta cell function before their identification as a cause of monogenic diabetes.
We used nominations from the EU beta cell consortium EURODIA project partners to guide gene candidacy.
Seventeen cases with permanent neonatal diabetes and 8 cases with maturity onset diabetes of the young.
The beta cell experts within the EURODIA consortium were asked to nominate 3 "gold", 3 "silver" and 4 "bronze" genes based on biological or genetic grounds. We sequenced twelve candidate genes from the list based on evidence for candidacy.
Sequencing ISL1, LMX1A, MAFA, NGN3, NKX2.2, NKX6.1, PAX4, PAX6, SOX2, SREBF1, SYT9 and UCP2 did not identify any pathogenic mutations.
Further work is needed to identify novel causes of permanent neonatal diabetes and maturity onset diabetes of the young utilising genetic approaches as well as further candidate genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: Mutations in EIF2AK3 cause Wolcott-Rallison syndrome (WRS), a rare recessive disorder characterized by early-onset diabetes, skeletal abnormalities, and liver dysfunction. Although early diagnosis is important for clinical management, genetic testing is generally performed after the full clinical picture develops. We aimed to identify patients with WRS before any other abnormalities apart from diabetes are present and study the overall frequency of WRS among patients with permanent neonatal diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:
The coding regions of EIF2AK3 were sequenced in 34 probands with infancy-onset diabetes with a clinical phenotype suggestive of WRS (n = 28) or homozygosity at the WRS locus (n = 6).
Twenty-five probands (73.5%) were homozygous or compound heterozygous for mutations in EIF2AK3. Twenty of the 26 mutations identified were novel. Whereas a diagnosis of WRS was suspected before genetic testing in 22 probands, three patients with apparently isolated diabetes were diagnosed after identifying a large homozygous region encompassing EIF2AK3. In contrast to nonconsanguineous pedigrees, mutations in EIF2AK3 are the most common known genetic cause of diabetes among patients born to consanguineous parents (24 vs. < 2%). Age at diabetes onset and birth weight might be used to prioritize genetic testing in the latter group.
WRS is the most common cause of permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus in consanguineous pedigrees. In addition to testing patients with a definite clinical diagnosis, EIF2AK3 should be tested in patients with isolated neonatal diabetes diagnosed after 3 wk of age from known consanguineous families, isolated populations, or countries in which inbreeding is frequent.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lipodystrophic syndromes are characterized by adipose tissue deficiency. Although rare, they are of considerable interest as they, like obesity, typically lead to ectopic lipid accumulation, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistant diabetes. In this paper we describe a female patient with partial lipodystrophy (affecting limb, femorogluteal and subcutaneous abdominal fat), white adipocytes with multiloculated lipid droplets and insulin-resistant diabetes, who was found to be homozygous for a premature truncation mutation in the lipid droplet protein cell death-inducing Dffa-like effector C (CIDEC) (E186X). The truncation disrupts the highly conserved CIDE-C domain and the mutant protein is mistargeted and fails to increase the lipid droplet size in transfected cells. In mice, Cidec deficiency also reduces fat mass and induces the formation of white adipocytes with multilocular lipid droplets, but in contrast to our patient, Cidec null mice are protected against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. In addition to describing a novel autosomal recessive form of familial partial lipodystrophy, these observations also suggest that CIDEC is required for unilocular lipid droplet formation and optimal energy storage in human fat.
EMBO Molecular Medicine 08/2009; 1(5):280-7. · 7.80 Impact Factor