[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed a molecular study with 21 microsatellites on a sample of 82 trisomy 13 conceptuses, the largest number of cases studied to date. The parental origin was determined in every case and in 89% the extra chromosome 13 was of maternal origin with an almost equal number of maternal MI and MII errors. The latter finding is unique among human autosomal trisomies, where maternal MI (trisomies 15, 16, 21, 22) or MII (trisomy 18) errors dominate. Of the nine paternally derived cases five were of MII origin but none arose from MI errors. There was some evidence for elevated maternal age in cases with maternal meiotic origin for liveborn infants. Maternal and paternal ages were elevated in cases with paternal meiotic origin. This is in contrast to results from a similar study of non-disjunction of trisomy 21 where paternal but not maternal age was elevated. We find clear evidence for reduced recombination in both maternal MI and MII errors and the former is associated with a significant number of tetrads (33%) that are nullichiasmate, which do not appear to be a feature of normal chromosome 13 meiosis. This study supports the evidence for subtle chromosome-specific influences on the mechanisms that determine non-disjunction of human chromosomes, consistent with the diversity of findings for other trisomies.
Human Molecular Genetics 09/2007; 16(16):2004-10. · 6.68 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have investigated the breakpoints in a male child with pharmacoresistant epileptic encephalopathy and a de novo balanced translocation t(Y;4)(q11.2;q21). By fluorescence in situ hybridisation, we have identified genomic clones from both chromosome 4 and chromosome Y that span the breakpoints. Precise mapping of the chromosome 4 breakpoint indicated that the c-Jun N-terminal kinase 3 (JNK3) gene is disrupted in the patient. This gene is predominantly expressed in the central nervous system, and it plays an established role in both neuronal differentiation and apoptosis. Expression studies in the patient lymphoblastoid cell line show that the truncated JNK3 protein is expressed, i.e. the disrupted transcript is not immediately subject to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, as is often the case for truncated mRNAs or those harbouring premature termination codons. Over-expression studies with the mutant protein in various cell lines, including neural cells, indicate that both its solubility and cellular localisation differ from that of the wild-type JNK3. It is plausible, therefore, that the presence of the truncated JNK3 disrupts normal JNK3 signal transduction in neuronal cells. JNK3 is one of the downstream effectors of the GTPase-regulated MAP kinase cascade, several members of which have been implicated in cognitive function. In addition, two known JNK3-interacting proteins, beta-arrestin 2 and JIP3, play established roles in neurite outgrowth and neurological development. These interactions are likely affected by a truncated JNK3 protein, and thereby provide an explanation for the link between alterations in MAP kinase signal transduction and brain disorders.
Human Genetics 02/2006; 118(5):559-67. · 4.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine whether karyotyping should be performed for every fetal malformation detected in low risk populations.
A karyotype was obtained from 428 fetuses examined over a 10-year period after fetal malformation was diagnosed using obstetrical ultrasound. These fetuses were separated into two groups, one with isolated malformations and the other with multiple malformations. The association between each type of malformation and the result of karyotype was evaluated.
Forty-eight chromosomal abnormalities were encountered in 428 fetuses (11.2%). The karyotype was abnormal in 32/343 (9.3%) fetuses with isolated malformations and 16/85 (18.8%) fetuses with multiple malformations (p=0.022). The probability of an abnormal karyotype among the group of isolated malformation depended on the anatomical system involved (p<0.001). Our study demonstrated several isolated malformations without chromosomal abnormality (hydronephrosis with high obstruction, unilateral multicystic dysplastic kidney, gastroschisis, intestinal dilatation, meconium peritonitis, cystic adenomatoid malformation, pulmonary sequestration, tumor, vertebral anomaly).
Each fetus with multiple malformations needs a chromosomal analysis. Within the group of isolated malformations, our study emphasizes that medical maternal history and the type of malformation need to be taken into account before performing a fetal karyotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a search for potential infertility loci, which might be revealed by clustering of chromosomal breakpoints, we compiled 464 infertile males with a balanced rearrangement from Mendelian Cytogenetics Network database (MCNdb) and compared their karyotypes with those of a Danish nation-wide cohort. We excluded Robertsonian translocations, rearrangements involving sex chromosomes and common variants. We identified 10 autosomal bands, five of which were on chromosome 1, with a large excess of breakpoints in the infertility group. Some of these could potentially harbour a male-specific infertility locus. However, a general excess of breakpoints almost everywhere on chromosome 1 was observed among the infertile males: 26.5 versus 14.5% in the cohort. This excess was observed both for translocation and inversion carriers, especially pericentric inversions, both for published and unpublished cases, and was significantly associated with azoospermia. The largest number of breakpoints was reported in 1q21; FISH mapping of four of these breakpoints revealed that they did not involve the same region at the molecular level. We suggest that chromosome 1 harbours a critical domain whose integrity is essential for male fertility.
European Journal of HumanGenetics 01/2005; 12(12):993-1000. · 4.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary microcephaly (microcephalia vera) is a developmental abnormality resulting in a small brain, with mental retardation. It is usually transmitted as an autosomal recessive trait, and six loci have been reported to date. We analyzed a translocation breakpoint previously reported in a patient with apparently sporadic primary microcephaly, at 1q31, where locus MCPH5 maps. The patient was lost to follow-up, and we sampled a maternal aunt who carried the familial translocation. FISH analyses showed that the insert of BAC clone RP11-32D17 spanned the breakpoint. The breakpoint was further located within a fragment of this insert corresponding to intron 17 of the ASPM gene, resulting in a predicted transcript truncated of more than half of its coding sequence. It is very likely that the proband carried a second ASPM mutation in trans, but he was not available for sampling and hence we could not confirm this hypothesis. Our observation adds to the mutation spectrum of ASPM in primary microcephaly, and is to our knowledge the second example of a constitutional, reciprocal translocation responsible for a bona fide autosomal recessive phenotype.
European Journal of HumanGenetics 06/2004; 12(5):419-21. · 4.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Constitutively activating mutations of the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) have been found in the majority of autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTNs) in European patients. The reported frequency of these mutations varies among reports but amounts to 50-80%. To date, only one such mutation responsible for AFTNs has been identified in the Japanese population and the pathogenic role of such mutations in Japanese AFTNs has been questioned. In the present study, we evaluated the frequency of activating mutations in the TSHR and G(alpha)s in 10 Japanese AFTNs.
Genomic DNA was extracted from fresh frozen tissue. The TSHR and the almost entire sequence of the gene coding for the alpha subunit of Gs have been amplified and sequenced.
In sequence analysis, four mutations in the TSHR (T632A, I486M, M453T and L512R) were found. To complete our analysis, we searched mutations in the gene coding for the alpha subunit of Gs, in the samples negative for TSHR mutations. In one case a mutation (R201H) affecting GTPase activity was found.
If we focus on the solitary nodules, we obtain the same mutation proportion as in European patients (70%). The absence of TSHR and G(alpha)s mutations in a significant proportion of autonomous adenomas in multinodular goiters suggests that other causes may also play a role in the genesis of these lesions.
European Journal of Endocrinology 10/2002; 147(3):287-91. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Created in 1987, the department of medical genetics finds its origins in molecular endocrinology research which had developed from the seventies at the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humaine et Moléculaire (IRIBHM) of the Faculty of Medicine. After its fusion with the Center of Human Genetics of the ULB, in 1992, the department is composed of three units: the lab of molecular genetics and oncology, the lab of cytogenetics and a clinical genetics unit. One thousand consultations of genetic counseling and more than 15,000 molecular or cytogenetic diagnostic procedures are performed annually. The development of the clinical activities was paralleled by a very active research activity, resulting in a series of "firsts". Amongst the main results are: the identification of the first mutations responsible for congenital hypothyroidism; the molecular cloning of the TSH receptor and of a series of "orphan" G protein-coupled receptors; the identification of a novel neuropeptide, nociceptin, by the first example of "reverse pharmacology"; the identification of olfactory receptors on the sperm of mammals, including man; the identification in molecular terms of the mechanisms responsible for acquired and hereditary hyperthyroidisms; the identification of the chemokine receptor CCR5 as the major coreceptor of HIV-1, and of the prevalent mutation of CCR5 conferring resistance to HIV to about 1% of the European population.
Revue medicale de Bruxelles 02/2002; 23 Suppl 2:63-7.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most of the time congenital hypothyroidism appears as a sporadic disease. In addition to the rare defects in hormonosynthesis associated with goiters, the causes of congenital hypothyroidism include agenesis and ectopy of the thyroid gland. The study of some familial cases has allowed the identification of a few genes responsible for congenital hypothyroidism. We report here a familial case of congenital hypothyroidism, transmitted as a recessive trait, and caused by a homozygous mutation in the thyrotropin receptor (TSH-R). The initial diagnosis of thyroid agenesis, based on the absence of tracer uptake on scintiscan, was incorrect, because ultrasound examination identified severely hypoplastic thyroid tissue in the cervical region.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) is a relatively frequent and potentially severe disease. It is classically subdivided into: 1) thyroid dysgenesis (TD), a defect in the organogenesis of the gland leading to hypoplastic, ectopic, or absent thyroid gland; or 2) thyroid dyshormonogenesis, a defect in one of the biochemical mechanisms responsible for thyroid hormone synthesis. Most cases of TD are sporadic, although familial occurrences have occasionally been described. Recently, several genes have been implicated in a small proportion of TD, but, in the majority of the cases, the etiology remains unknown. PAX8 is a transcription factor involved in thyroid development. So far, three loss-of-function mutations of PAX8 have been described, two in sporadic cases and one in familial thyroid hypoplasia. Here, we describe a novel mutation of PAX8 causing autosomal dominant transmission of CH with thyroid hypoplasia. The mutation consists of the substitution of a tyrosine for cysteine 57 in the paired domain of PAX8. When tested in cotransfection experiments with a thyroid peroxidasse promoter construct, the mutant allele was unable to exert its normal transactivation effect on transcription. Our results give further evidence that, contrary to the situation in knockout mice, haplo-insufficiency of PAX8 is a cause of CH in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecular cloning of the sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) allowed identification of NIS gene mutations in patients with iodide trapping defect. Whereas various mutant human (h) NIS molecules display loss of function when expressed by transfection in mammalian cells, the precise mechanism(s) responsible for the functional abnormality of these proteins remains unknown. With the aim to explore these mechanisms in three natural hNIS mutants identified previously in patients with iodide trapping defect (Q267E, S515X, and C272X), we have prepared tools allowing direct measurement of the protein at its normal location in the plasma membrane. A COS-7 cell line was made by transfection that stably expressed high levels of wild-type hNIS. It was used to screen by flow cytometry monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) prepared from mice immunized against hNIS. Genetic immunization was performed by im injection of a wild-type hNIS complementary DNA construct, because this procedure has demonstrated the ability to produce antibodies recognizing native membrane proteins. One mAb that recognized an epitope of hNIS exposed on the extracellular side of the plasma membrane was selected for further studies. The epitope was localized on the sixth putative extracellular loop of the protein on the basis that the mAb did not recognize rat NIS, which exhibits major sequence differences in this segment. When this mAb was used to test by flow cytometry the expression of the three mutant hNIS proteins in transfected COS-7 cells, it detected similar amounts of wild-type, Q267E, and the S515X hNIS molecules in permeabilized cells. In contrast, only the wild-type hNIS was detected at the surface of nonpermeabilized cells. The C272X hNIS truncation mutant was not detected in intact or permeabilized cells. This is consistent with the absence of the mAb epitope from this mutant, which is expected to lack the sixth extracellular loop. Our data demonstrate that faulty membrane targeting is implicated in the mechanisms causing iodide trapping defect in the Q267E and S515X natural hNIS mutants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a Belgian girl born in 1983 with isolated thyrotropin (TSH) deficiency. Hypothyroidism without goiter was diagnosed at the age of 2 months, with extremely low total thyroxine (T4) at 0.3 microg/dL (4 nmol/L; N[normal]: 5.6-11.4 microg/dL). Basal TSH, only moderately elevated at 14.8 mU/L (N: 0-5.3; competitive radioimmunoassay, RIA), increased to 18.2 mU/L after thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation, whereas prolactin increased normally. At age 15 years, after withdrawal of levothyroxine (LT4) therapy for 6 weeks, TRH stimulation slightly increased serum TSH using two immunometric assays, from less than 0.03 to 0.07 and from 0.2 to 0.3 (a monoclonal and polyclonal antibody), and from 1.9 to 4.1 mU/L using a polyclonal TSH antibody and iodinated recombinant TSH. Sequencing of the TSH-beta subunit gene revealed a homozygous single nucleotide deletion in codon 105 producing a frame shift that results in a truncated TSH-beta with nonhomologous 9 carboxyterminal amino acids and a loss of the 5 terminal residues. This mutation was previously reported in one Brazilian and two German families. The abnormal, and presumably biologically inactive, TSH can be detected in serum using appropriate antibodies. Its relatively small amount in serum is due to either reduced secretion or rapid degradation. The occurrence of the same mutation in three families of different ethnic origin suggests that this mutation may be prevalent in the population. Common ancestry or de novo mutations in a hot spot cannot be excluded. Finally, we must be aware that neonatal screening of congenital hypothyroidism based on blood spot TSH measurement will not detect this rare but severe genetic defect.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An infant girl was born at 37 weeks gestation and found to be clinically thyrotoxic at 9 months of age. Thyroid autoantibodies were negative, and thyroid function failed to normalize with medical treatment. The patient underwent a total thyroidectomy. DNA obtained from her thyroid gland and leukocytes was analyzed for thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) mutations using single strand conformation polymorphism and direct sequencing. A mobility shift of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified DNA was detected on single strand conformation polymorphism gel. Direct sequencing identified a novel point mutation in the fifth transmembrane domain of the TSH receptor at codon 597 (GTC to CTC), resulting in the amino acid substitution of leucine for valine. The mutation was heterozygous and germline, and was not identified in DNA from either of her parents. Expression of the V597L mutant is transiently transfected COS 7 cells displayed increased constitutive cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) production compared with the wild-type receptor. The mutant is expressed at very low levels on the surface of COS cells, and its response to TSH is marginal.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gain of function and loss of function mutations of the TSH receptor have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various thyroid diseases. Gain of function mutations, when somatic, are the first cause of autonomous nodules; when germline, they are responsible for hereditary non-autoimmune toxic thyroid hyperplasia and for some cases of sporadic congenital hyperthyroidism. A subset of mutations modifying the receptor selectivity have recently been found to be involved in the pathogenesis of familial gestational hyperthyroidism. These mutations are of great interest for understanding the mechanism of receptor activation. Loss of function mutations of the TSH receptor are responsible for different phenotypes ranging from asymptomatic resistance to TSH to overt congenital hypothyroidism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two different human LH receptor sequences have been published, differing by a six-base pair insertion encoding Leu-Gln at position 55-60. It has recently been proposed that this would reflect the existence of two LH receptor loci in the human genome. The present results demonstrate that both sequences exist as allelic variants in the Caucasian population. Allelic frequency of"LQ variant" and "wild-type" (alphaLQ) allele are 0.26 and 0.74 respectively. In contrast, the LQ allele is virtually absent from the Japanese population. Functional characterization of both alleles by transient expression in COS-7 cells did not reveal any difference between the two receptors, neither for cell surface expression nor for cAMP production and sensitivity to hCG/LH.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations of the thyrotropin receptor (TSHr) can be loss of function or gain of function. Loss-of-function mutations can affect a variety of loci in the TSHr gene. Their most common manifestation is resistance to TSH; they may also be the cause of a subset of cases of congenital hypothyroidism. Gain-of-function mutations are of greater theoretical interest. Somatic mutations constitutively activating the TSHr are the major cause of benign toxic thyroid adenomas, and of some cases of multinodular goiters. They underlie hereditary toxic thyroid hyperplasia, and have been found in cases of sporadic congenital non-autoimmune hyperthyroidism. A role for TSHr polymorphisms in Graves' disease has not been documented.
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 05/1998; · 8.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A total of 33 different autonomous hot nodules from 31 patients, originating mainly from Belgium, were investigated for the presence of somatic mutations in the TSH receptor and Gs alpha genes. This constitutes an extension of our previous study, including the first 11 nodules of the series. The complete coding sequence of the TSH receptor gene and the segments of Gs alpha known to harbor mutations impairing guanosinetriphosphotase activity were studied by direct sequencing of genomic DNA extracted from the nodules. DNA from the juxtanodular tissue or peripheral white blood cells was analyzed in all patients to confirm that the mutations identified were somatic. Twenty-seven mutations (82%) were found in the TSH receptor gene, affecting a total of 12 different residues or locations. All these mutations but 2 (see below) have been identified previously as activating mutations. Only 2 mutations were found in Gs alpha (6%). In 4 nodules, no mutation was detected. Five residues (Ser281, Ile486, Ile568, Phe631, and Asp633) were found mutated in 3 or 4 different nodules, making them hot spots for activating mutations. Phe631 and Asp633 belong to a cluster of 5 consecutive residues (629-633) in the N-terminal half of transmembrane segment VI; which harbor together 44% of the mutations identified in this cohort. Two novel mutations were identified: a point mutation causing substitution of Phe for Leu at position 629 (L629F); and a deletion of 12 bases removing residues 658-661 at the C-terminal portion of exoloop 3 (del658-661). When tested by transfection in COS-7 cells, both mutant receptors display increase in constitutive stimulation of basal cAMP accumulation. Although it is still capable of binding TSH, the del658-661 mutant has completely lost the ability to respond to the stimulation by the hormone. Our results demonstrate that, in a cohort of patients from a moderately iodine deficient area, somatic mutations increasing the constitutive activity of the TSH receptor are the major cause of autonomous hot nodules.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activating mutations of the TSH receptor gene have been found in toxic adenomas and hereditary toxic thyroid hyperplasia. Up to now, all mutations have been located in the serpentine portion of the receptor. We now describe two additional mutations affecting Ser-281 (Ser-281-Thr and Ser-281-Asn) in the ectodomain of the receptor. After transfection in COS cells, both mutants displayed increased constitutive activity for cAMP generation despite expression at a lower level than the wild type. The mutants were responsive to TSH. The present results are compatible with a model in which the activity of the unliganded receptor is kept at a low level by an inhibitory interaction between the N-terminal domain and the serpentine portion of the receptor.