[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The type I interferon system is integral to human antiviral immunity. However, inappropriate stimulation or defective negative regulation of this system can lead to inflammatory disease. We sought to determine the molecular basis of genetically uncharacterized cases of the type I interferonopathy Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and of other undefined neurological and immunological phenotypes also demonstrating an upregulated type I interferon response. We found that heterozygous mutations in the cytosolic double-stranded RNA receptor gene IFIH1 (also called MDA5) cause a spectrum of neuroimmunological features consistently associated with an enhanced interferon state. Cellular and biochemical assays indicate that these mutations confer gain of function such that mutant IFIH1 binds RNA more avidly, leading to increased baseline and ligand-induced interferon signaling. Our results demonstrate that aberrant sensing of nucleic acids can cause immune upregulation.
[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: Myhre syndrome (MS, MIM 139210) is a connective tissue disorder that presents with short stature, short hands and feet, facial dysmorphic features, muscle hypertrophy, thickened skin, and deafness. Recurrent missense mutations in SMAD4 encoding for a transducer mediating transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling are responsible for MS. We found that MS fibroblasts showed increased SMAD4 protein levels, impaired matrix deposition, and altered expression of genes encoding matrix metalloproteinases and related inhibitors. Increased TGF-β signaling and progression of aortic root dilation in Marfan syndrome can be prevented by the antihypertensive drug losartan, a TGF-β antagonists and angiotensin-II type 1 receptor blocker. Herein, we showed that losartan normalizes metalloproteinase and related inhibitor transcript levels and corrects the extracellular matrix deposition defect in fibroblasts from MS patients. The results of this study may pave the way toward therapeutic applications of losartan in MS.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 8 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.283.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 01/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many neurological conditions are caused by immensely heterogeneous gene mutations. The diagnostic process is often long and complex with most patients undergoing multiple invasive and costly investigations without ever reaching a conclusive molecular diagnosis. The advent of massively parallel, next-generation sequencing promises to revolutionize genetic testing and shorten the 'diagnostic odyssey' for many of these patients. We performed a pilot study using heterogeneous ataxias as a model neurogenetic disorder to assess the introduction of next-generation sequencing into clinical practice. We captured 58 known human ataxia genes followed by Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing in 50 highly heterogeneous patients with ataxia who had been extensively investigated and were refractory to diagnosis. All cases had been tested for spinocerebellar ataxia 1-3, 6, 7 and Friedrich's ataxia and had multiple other biochemical, genetic and invasive tests. In those cases where we identified the genetic mutation, we determined the time to diagnosis. Pathogenicity was assessed using a bioinformatics pipeline and novel variants were validated using functional experiments. The overall detection rate in our heterogeneous cohort was 18% and varied from 8.3% in those with an adult onset progressive disorder to 40% in those with a childhood or adolescent onset progressive disorder. The highest detection rate was in those with an adolescent onset and a family history (75%). The majority of cases with detectable mutations had a childhood onset but most are now adults, reflecting the long delay in diagnosis. The delays were primarily related to lack of easily available clinical testing, but other factors included the presence of atypical phenotypes and the use of indirect testing. In the cases where we made an eventual diagnosis, the delay was 3-35 years (mean 18.1 years). Alignment and coverage metrics indicated that the capture and sequencing was highly efficient and the consumable cost was ∼£400 (€460 or US$620). Our pathogenicity interpretation pathway predicted 13 different mutations in eight different genes: PRKCG, TTBK2, SETX, SPTBN2, SACS, MRE11, KCNC3 and DARS2 of which nine were novel including one causing a newly described recessive ataxia syndrome. Genetic testing using targeted capture followed by next-generation sequencing was efficient, cost-effective, and enabled a molecular diagnosis in many refractory cases. A specific challenge of next-generation sequencing data is pathogenicity interpretation, but functional analysis confirmed the pathogenicity of novel variants showing that the pipeline was robust. Our results have broad implications for clinical neurology practice and the approach to diagnostic testing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kabuki syndrome (KS) is a rare multi-system disorder that can result in a variety of congenital malformations, typical dysmorphism and variable learning disability. It is caused by MLL2 point mutations in the majority of the cases and, rarely by deletions involving KDM6A. Nearly one third of cases remain unsolved. Here, we expand the known genetic basis of KS by presenting five typical patients with the condition, all of whom have novel MLL2 mutation types- two patients with mosaic small deletions, one with a mosaic whole-gene deletion, one with a multi-exon deletion and one with an intragenic multi-exon duplication. We recommend MLL2 dosage studies for all patients with typical KS, where traditional Sanger sequencing fails to identify mutations. The prevalence of such MLL2 mutations in KS may be comparable with deletions involving KDM6A. These findings may be helpful in understanding the mutational mechanism of MLL2 and the disease mechanism of KS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: McGowan R, Challoner BR, Ross S, Holloway S, Joss S, Wilcox D, Holden ST, Tolmie J, Longman C. Results of Duchenne muscular dystrophy family screening in practice: leaks rather than cascades? Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive neuromuscular disease caused by mutations in the gene that encodes the protein dystrophin. Approximately 2 of 3 affected boys inherit their mutation from their carrier mother whereupon other female relatives are at risk of carrying the mutation. Female carriers are also at risk of developing cardiomyopathy and regular cardiac screening is recommended. Clinical genetics services offer genetic counselling and carrier tests for consenting relatives of DMD patients known as 'cascade screening'. We retrospectively analysed data from two genetics centres, West of Scotland and South East Thames where the latter centre operated a computer-held DMD register. Over the period, 1971-2008, a total of 843 potential carriers, in 195 West of Scotland families, were tested: 16% of 1st degree relatives and 48% of 2nd degree and more distant relatives were not tested. In South East Thames, a total of 1223 potential carriers in 349 families were tested: 49% of 1st degree and 65% of 2nd degree and more distant relatives were not tested. These data are similar to Becker muscular dystrophy/DMD carrier screening results recently reported from the Netherlands. Retrospective results from three countries indicate that despite efforts to offer extended cascade screening, significant numbers of potential carriers of DMD remain unaware of their reproductive and health risks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coats plus is a highly pleiotropic disorder particularly affecting the eye, brain, bone and gastrointestinal tract. Here, we show that Coats plus results from mutations in CTC1, encoding conserved telomere maintenance component 1, a member of the mammalian homolog of the yeast heterotrimeric CST telomeric capping complex. Consistent with the observation of shortened telomeres in an Arabidopsis CTC1 mutant and the phenotypic overlap of Coats plus with the telomeric maintenance disorders comprising dyskeratosis congenita, we observed shortened telomeres in three individuals with Coats plus and an increase in spontaneous γH2AX-positive cells in cell lines derived from two affected individuals. CTC1 is also a subunit of the α-accessory factor (AAF) complex, stimulating the activity of DNA polymerase-α primase, the only enzyme known to initiate DNA replication in eukaryotic cells. Thus, CTC1 may have a function in DNA metabolism that is necessary for but not specific to telomeric integrity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myhre syndrome (MIM 139210) is a developmental disorder characterized by short stature, short hands and feet, facial dysmorphism, muscular hypertrophy, deafness and cognitive delay. Using exome sequencing of individuals with Myhre syndrome, we identified SMAD4 as a candidate gene that contributes to this syndrome on the basis of its pivotal role in the bone morphogenetic pathway (BMP) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. We identified three distinct heterozygous missense SMAD4 mutations affecting the codon for Ile500 in 11 individuals with Myhre syndrome. All three mutations are located in the region of SMAD4 encoding the Mad homology 2 (MH2) domain near the site of monoubiquitination at Lys519, and we found a defect in SMAD4 ubiquitination in fibroblasts from affected individuals. We also observed decreased expression of downstream TGF-β target genes, supporting the idea of impaired TGF-β-mediated transcriptional control in individuals with Myhre syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MLL2 mutations are detected in 55 to 80% of patients with Kabuki syndrome (KS). In 20 to 45% patients with KS, the genetic basis remains unknown, suggesting possible genetic heterogeneity. Here, we present the largest yet reported cohort of 116 patients with KS. We identified MLL2 variants in 74 patients, of which 47 are novel and a majority are truncating. We show that pathogenic missense mutations were commonly located in exon 48. We undertook a systematic facial KS morphology study of patients with KS at our regional dysmorphology meeting. Our data suggest that nearly all patients with typical KS facial features have pathogenic MLL2 mutations, although KS can be phenotypically variable. Furthermore, we show that MLL2 mutation-positive KS patients are more likely to have feeding problems, kidney anomalies, early breast bud development, joint dislocations and palatal malformations in comparison with MLL2 mutation-negative patients. Our work expands the mutation spectrum of MLL2 that may help in better understanding of this molecule, which is important in gene expression, epigenetic control of active chromatin states, embryonic development and cancer. Our analyses of the phenotype indicates that MLL2 mutation-positive and -negative patients differ systematically, and genetic heterogeneity of KS is not as extensive as previously suggested. Moreover, phenotypic variability of KS suggests that MLL2 testing should be considered even in atypical patients.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 11/2011; 20(4):381-8. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive renal tubular dysgenesis (RTD) is a severe disorder of renal tubular development characterized by early onset and persistent fetal anuria leading to oligohydramnios and the Potter sequence, associated with skull ossification defects. Early death occurs in most cases from anuria, pulmonary hypoplasia, and refractory arterial hypotension. The disease is linked to mutations in the genes encoding several components of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS): AGT (angiotensinogen), REN (renin), ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme), and AGTR1 (angiotensin II receptor type 1). Here, we review the series of 54 distinct mutations identified in 48 unrelated families. Most of them are novel and ACE mutations are the most frequent, observed in two-thirds of families (64.6%). The severity of the clinical course was similar whatever the mutated gene, which underlines the importance of a functional RAS in the maintenance of blood pressure and renal blood flow during the life of a human fetus. Renal hypoperfusion, whether genetic or secondary to a variety of diseases, precludes the normal development/ differentiation of proximal tubules. The identification of the disease on the basis of precise clinical and histological analyses and the characterization of the genetic defects allow genetic counseling and early prenatal diagnosis.
Human Mutation 11/2011; 33(2):316-26. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the clinical characteristics of 4 singleton cases, 3 males and 1 female, with Myhre Syndrome (OMIM 139210), who were born to non-consanguineous parents. Three cases had no family history of similarly affected individuals but 1 male's mother had short stature, some facial features suggestive of Myhre syndrome and evidence of skewed X-chromosome inactivation in her blood DNA. Short stature, deafness, learning difficulties, skeletal anomalies and facial dysmorphisms were evident in all cases. Arthralgia and stiff joints with limited movement were also present. The facial appearance, thickened skin, a 'muscular' habitus are memorable features. The female patient was least affected: this patient and one affected male displayed streaky skin with areas of patchy thickening, suggestive of genetic mosaicism. One patient developed sleep apnoea, a restrictive ventilatory defect and died following a choking episode. Another affected male developed recurrent, progressive, proximal, tracheal stenosis requiring partial tracheal resection, laser treatment and eventually tracheotomy. Review of Myhre syndrome patients in the literature and syndromes in the differential diagnosis, suggests heterogeneity in Myhre syndrome and clinical overlap with Laryngotracheal stenosis, Arthropathy, Prognathism and Short stature syndrome.
European journal of medical genetics 07/2011; 54(6):e553-9. · 1.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using exome sequencing and a variant prioritization strategy that focuses on loss-of-function variants, we identified biallelic, loss-of-function CEP57 mutations as a cause of constitutional mosaic aneuploidies. CEP57 is a centrosomal protein and is involved in nucleating and stabilizing microtubules. Our findings indicate that these and/or additional functions of CEP57 are crucial for maintaining correct chromosomal number during cell division.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bohring-Opitz syndrome (BOS) is a rare congenital disorder of unknown etiology diagnosed on the basis of distinctive clinical features. We suggest diagnostic criteria for this condition, describe ten previously unreported patients, and update the natural history of four previously reported patients. This is the largest series reported to date, providing a unique opportunity to document the key clinical features and course through childhood. Investigations undertaken to try and elucidate the underlying pathogenesis of BOS using array comparative genomic hybridization and tandem mass spectrometry of cholesterol precursors did not show any pathogenic changes responsible.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2011; 19(5):513-9. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ulnar Mammary syndrome (UMS) is an autosomal disorder caused by haploinsufficiency of the TBX3 gene. There is marked intrafamilial variation in expression of the syndrome. We present one three generation family in which the proband has absence of the right ulna and third, fourth and fifth rays in her right hand. Her mother and maternal grandmother have more subtle anomalies while all have a similar facial appearance with a broad nasal tip, a broad jaw, a prominent chin and a tongue frenulum. They have a single base pair insertion (c. 992dup) in TBX3. We compare faces from the handful of published UMS patients which include photographs, this family and four other cases with TBX3 mutations. All have similarities in appearance which we suggest could alert clinicians to the possibility of a TBX3 mutation if individuals present with more subtle features of UMS such as postaxial polydactyly, isolated 5th finger anomalies, delayed puberty in males, breast hypoplasia or short stature with or without growth hormone deficiency.
European journal of medical genetics 01/2011; 54(3):301-5. · 1.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) gene have recently been associated with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) with microcephaly, optic atrophy and brainstem and cerebellar hypoplasia, as well as with an X-linked syndrome having some FG-like features. Our group has recently identified four male probands from 358 probable XLMR families with missense mutations (p.Y268H, p.P396S, p.D710G and p.W919R) in the CASK gene. Congenital nystagmus, a rare and striking feature, was present in two of these families. We screened a further 45 probands with either nystagmus or microcephaly and mental retardation (MR), and identified two further mutations, a missense mutation (p.Y728C) and a splice mutation (c.2521-2A>T) in two small families with nystagmus and MR. Detailed clinical examinations of all six families, including an ophthalmological review in four families, were undertaken to further characterise the phenotype. We report on the clinical features of 24 individuals, mostly male, from six families with CASK mutations. The phenotype was variable, ranging from non-syndromic mild MR to severe MR associated with microcephaly and dysmorphic facial features. Carrier females were variably affected. Congenital nystagmus was found in members of four of the families. Our findings reinforce the CASK gene as a relatively frequent cause of XLMR in females and males. We further define the phenotypic spectrum and demonstrate that affected males with missense mutations or in-frame deletions in CASK are frequently associated with congenital nystagmus and XLMR, a striking feature not previously reported.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 12/2009; 18(5):544-52. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large-scale systematic resequencing has been proposed as the key future strategy for the discovery of rare, disease-causing sequence variants across the spectrum of human complex disease. We have sequenced the coding exons of the X chromosome in 208 families with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR), the largest direct screen for constitutional disease-causing mutations thus far reported. The screen has discovered nine genes implicated in XLMR, including SYP, ZNF711 and CASK reported here, confirming the power of this strategy. The study has, however, also highlighted issues confronting whole-genome sequencing screens, including the observation that loss of function of 1% or more of X-chromosome genes is compatible with apparently normal existence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duplications and deletions in the human genome can cause disease or predispose persons to disease. Advances in technologies to detect these changes allow for the routine identification of submicroscopic imbalances in large numbers of patients.
We tested for the presence of microdeletions and microduplications at a specific region of chromosome 1q21.1 in two groups of patients with unexplained mental retardation, autism, or congenital anomalies and in unaffected persons.
We identified 25 persons with a recurrent 1.35-Mb deletion within 1q21.1 from screening 5218 patients. The microdeletions had arisen de novo in eight patients, were inherited from a mildly affected parent in three patients, were inherited from an apparently unaffected parent in six patients, and were of unknown inheritance in eight patients. The deletion was absent in a series of 4737 control persons (P=1.1x10(-7)). We found considerable variability in the level of phenotypic expression of the microdeletion; phenotypes included mild-to-moderate mental retardation, microcephaly, cardiac abnormalities, and cataracts. The reciprocal duplication was enriched in nine children with mental retardation or autism spectrum disorder and other variable features (P=0.02). We identified three deletions and three duplications of the 1q21.1 region in an independent sample of 788 patients with mental retardation and congenital anomalies.
We have identified recurrent molecular lesions that elude syndromic classification and whose disease manifestations must be considered in a broader context of development as opposed to being assigned to a specific disease. Clinical diagnosis in patients with these lesions may be most readily achieved on the basis of genotype rather than phenotype.
New England Journal of Medicine 10/2008; 359(16):1685-99. · 51.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extensive intracranial calcifications and leukoencephalopathy are seen in both Coats plus and leukoencephalopathy with calcifications and cysts (LCC; Labrune syndrome). Coats plus syndrome is additionally characterized by the presence of bilateral retinal telangiectasia and exudates while LCC shows the progressive formation of parenchymal brain cysts. Despite these apparently distinguishing features, recent evidence suggests that Coats plus and LCC represent the same clinical entity with a common primary pathogenesis involving a small vessel obliterative microangiopathy. Here, we describe eight previously unreported cases, and present an update on one of the original Coats plus patients to highlight the emerging core clinical features of the "cerebroretinal microangiopathy with calcification and cysts" (CRMCC) phenotype.
American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 02/2008; 146A(2):182-90. · 2.30 Impact Factor