[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of hemoglobin S haplotypes in African subpopulations have potential implications for patient care and our understanding of genetic factors that have shaped the prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD). We evaluated HBB gene cluster haplotypes in SCD patients from Cameroon, and reviewed the literature for a global distribution. We reviewed medical records to obtain pertinent socio-demographic and clinical features for 610 Cameroonian SCD patients, including hemoglobin electrophoresis and full blood counts. RFLP-PCR was used to determine the HBB gene haplotype on 1082 chromosomes. A systematic review of the current literature was undertaken to catalogue HBB haplotype frequencies in SCD populations around the world. Benin (74%; n=799) and Cameroon (19%; n=207) were the most prevalent haplotypes observed among Cameroonian patients. There was no significant association between HBB haplotypes and clinical life events, anthropometric measures, hematological parameters, or fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels. The literature review of the global haplotype distributions was consistent with known historical migrations of the people of Africa. Previously reported data from Sudan showed a distinctly unusual pattern; all four classical haplotypes were reported, with an exceptionally high proportion of the Senegal, Cameroon, and atypical haplotypes. We did not observe any significant associations between HBB haplotype and SCD disease course in this cohort. Taken together, the data from Cameroon and from the wider literature suggest that a careful reassessment of African HBB haplotypes may shed further light on the evolutionary dynamics of the sickle allele, which could suggest a single origin of the sickle mutation.
Omics A Journal of Integrative Biology 03/2015; 19(3):171-9. DOI:10.1089/omi.2014.0134 · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A selective susceptibility of certain individuals to form multiple alloantibodies in response to red cell transfusion is well-recognized in clinical practice, and is a particular problem in persons with sickle cell disease (SCD). The reason for this differential susceptibility is unclear, but inter-individual genetic differences are likely to contribute.
We conducted a pilot case-control genome-wide association study using 1,000,000 SNPs in 94 alloimmune responders (cases) and non-responders (controls) with SCD in order to identify loci of large effect size associated with alloimmunization.
No loci showed evidence of association at a genome-wide significance cut-off (p < 0.5 × 10(-8)). SNPs in the ARAP1/STARD10 region showed suggestive association (p < 1 × 10(-6)), but no association was observed at previously implicated loci TRIM21 or HLA. In analyses of the number of accumulated antibodies, a modest association was found with SNPs in the Toll-like receptor gene TLR10 (p < 1 × 10(-4)).
Alloimmunization in persons with SCD is unlikely to be mediated by loci of very large effect size; however, larger and more comprehensive studies are required to fully evaluate loci with more moderate effects. This study provides a working approach to such future studies in SCD.
Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy 11/2014; 41(6):453-61. DOI:10.1159/000369079 · 1.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe congenital hypertriglyceridemia is a rare disorder caused by mutations in genes affecting lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity. Here we report a 5-week old Hispanic female with severe hypertriglyceridemia (12,031 mg/dl; normal limit 150 mg/dl) who presented with the unusual combination of lower gastrointestinal bleeding and milky plasma. Initial colonoscopy was consistent with colitis, which resolved with reduction of triglycerides. After negative sequencing of the LPL gene, whole exome-sequencing revealed novel compound heterozygous mutations in GPIHBP1. Our study broadens the phenotype of GPIHBP1-associated hypertriglyceridemia, reinforces the effectiveness of whole-exome sequencing in Mendelian diagnoses, and implicates triglycerides in gastrointestinal mucosal injury.
Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition 03/2014; 59(1). DOI:10.1097/MPG.0000000000000363 · 2.63 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the brain are important markers of aging and small-vessel disease. WMHs are rare in healthy children and, when observed, often occur with comorbid neuroinflammatory or vasculitic processes. Here, we describe a complex 4 kb deletion in 2q36.3 that segregates with early childhood communication disorders and WMH in 15 unrelated families predominantly from Southeast Asia. The premature brain aging phenotype with punctate and multifocal WMHs was observed in ∼70% of young carrier parents who underwent brain MRI. The complex deletion removes the penultimate exon 3 of TM4SF20, a gene encoding a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Minigene analysis showed that the resultant net loss of an exon introduces a premature stop codon, which, in turn, leads to the generation of a stable protein that fails to target to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm. Finally, we report this deletion to be enriched in individuals of Vietnamese Kinh descent, with an allele frequency of about 1%, embedded in an ancestral haplotype. Our data point to a constellation of early language delay and WMH phenotypes, driven by a likely toxic mechanism of TM4SF20 truncation, and highlight the importance of understanding and managing population-specific low-frequency pathogenic alleles.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2013; 93(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.05.027 · 10.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coarctation of the aorta (CoA) and hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) have been reported in rare individuals with large terminal deletions of chromosome 15q26. However, no single gene important for left ventricular outflow tract development has been identified in this region. Using array-comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), we identified two half-siblings with CoA with a 2.2 Mb deletion on 15q26.2, inherited from their mother, who was mosaic for this deletion. This interval contains an evolutionary conserved, protein-coding gene, MCTP2 (multiple C2-domains with two transmembrane regions 2). Using gene-specific array screening in 146 individuals with non-syndromic left ventricular outflow tract obstructive defects, another individual with HLHS and CoA was found to have a de novo 41 kb intragenic duplication within MCTP2, predicted to result in premature truncation, p.F697X. Alteration of Mctp2 gene expression in Xenopus laevis embryos by morpholino knockdown and mRNA overexpresssion resulted in failure of proper outflow tract development, confirming the functional importance of this dosage sensitive gene for cardiogenesis. Our results identify MCTP2 as a novel genetic cause of CoA and related cardiac malformations.
Human Molecular Genetics 06/2013; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddt283 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Duplications of the X-linked MECP2 gene are associated with moderate to severe intellectual disability, epilepsy, and neuropsychiatric illness in males, while triplications are associated with a more severe phenotype. Most carrier females show complete skewing of X-inactivation in peripheral blood and an apparent susceptibility to specific personality traits or neuropsychiatric symptoms.
We describe the clinical phenotype of a pedigree segregating a duplication of MECP2 found on clinical array comparative genomic hybridization. The position, size, and extent of the duplication were delineated in peripheral blood samples from affected individuals using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and fluorescence in situ hybridization, as well as targeted high-resolution oligonucleotide microarray analysis and long-range PCR. The molecular consequences of the rearrangement were studied in lymphoblast cell lines using quantitative real-time PCR, reverse transcriptase PCR, and western blot analysis.
We observed a partial MECP2 duplication in an adult male with epilepsy and mild neurocognitive impairment who was able to function independently; this phenotype has not previously been reported among males harboring gains in MECP2 copy number. The same duplication was inherited by this individual’s daughter who was also affected with neurocognitive impairment and epilepsy and carried an additional copy-number variant. The duplicated segment involved all four exons of MECP2, but excluded almost the entire 3' untranslated region (UTR), and the genomic rearrangement resulted in a MECP2-TEX28 fusion gene mRNA transcript. Increased expression of MECP2 and the resulting fusion gene were both confirmed; however, western blot analysis of lysates from lymphoblast cells demonstrated increased MeCP2 protein without evidence of a stable fusion gene protein product.
The observations of a mildly affected adult male with a MECP2 duplication and paternal transmission of this duplication are unique among reported cases with a duplication of MECP2. The clinical and molecular findings imply a minimal critical region for the full neurocognitive expression of the MECP2 duplication syndrome, and suggest a role for the 3′ UTR in mitigating the severity of the disease phenotype.
BMC Medical Genetics 08/2012; 13(1):71. DOI:10.1186/1471-2350-13-71 · 2.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in DGUOK result in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion and may present as neonatal liver failure. Neonatal hemochromatosis (NH(1)) is a liver disorder of uncertain and varied etiology characterized by hepatic and non-reticuloendothelial siderosis. To date, deoxyguanosine kinase (dGK(2)) deficiency has not been formally recognized in cases of NH. We report an African American female neonate with clinical and autopsy findings consistent with NH, and mtDNA depletion due to a homozygous mutation in DGUOK. This report highlights hepatocerebral mtDNA depletion in the differential of neonatal tyrosinemia, advocates considering dGK deficiency in cases of NH, and posits mitochondrial oxidative processes in the pathogenesis of NH.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a life threatening birth defect. Most of the genetic factors that contribute to the development of CDH remain unidentified.
To identify genomic alterations that contribute to the development of diaphragmatic defects.
A cohort of 45 unrelated patients with CDH or diaphragmatic eventrations was screened for genomic alterations by array comparative genomic hybridisation or single nucleotide polymorphism based copy number analysis.
Genomic alterations that were likely to have contributed to the development of CDH were identified in 8 patients. Inherited deletions of ZFPM2 were identified in 2 patients with isolated diaphragmatic defects and a large de novo 8q deletion overlapping the same gene was found in a patient with non-isolated CDH. A de novo microdeletion of chromosome 1q41q42 and two de novo microdeletions on chromosome 16p11.2 were identified in patients with non-isolated CDH. Duplications of distal 11q and proximal 13q were found in a patient with non-isolated CDH and a de novo single gene deletion of FZD2 was identified in a patient with a partial pentalogy of Cantrell phenotype.
Haploinsufficiency of ZFPM2 can cause dominantly inherited isolated diaphragmatic defects with incomplete penetrance. These data define a new minimal deleted region for CDH on 1q41q42, provide evidence for the existence of CDH related genes on chromosomes 16p11.2, 11q23-24 and 13q12, and suggest a possible role for FZD2 and Wnt signalling in pentalogy of Cantrell phenotypes. These results demonstrate the clinical utility of screening for genomic alterations in individuals with both isolated and non-isolated diaphragmatic defects.
Journal of Medical Genetics 05/2011; 48(5):299-307. DOI:10.1136/jmg.2011.089680 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fundamental to definitively identifying neonates at risk of developing significant hyperbilirubinemia is a better understanding of the genetic factors associated with early bilirubin rise. Previous genetic studies have focused on the UGT1A1 gene, associating common variation in the coding or promoter regions with qualitative assessments of bilirubin (i.e. significantly elevated or not). These studies have had conflicting results and limited success. We chose to approach the problem by focusing on the quantitative (absolute) change in bilirubin levels early in post-natal life. We apply this approach to the UGT1A1 gene--exploring the contribution of both rare and common variants to early bilirubin changes.
We sequenced the exons, PBREM, 5'-, and 3'- regions of the UGT1A1 gene in 80 otherwise healthy term neonates who had repeat bilirubin levels measured within the first five days of life.
Three novel coding variants were observed, but there was no clear relationship between rare coding variants and bilirubin rise. Adjusted linear regression models fit to evaluate the relationship between changing bilirubin levels and common UGT1A1variants found that among 39 neonates whose bilirubin was resampled within 33 hours, individuals homozygous for the mutant allele of a 3'UTR SNP had significantly smaller changes in bilirubin (P=0.003) than individuals carrying the wild-type allele.
Collectively, rare UGT1A1 coding variants do not appear to play a prominent role in determining early bilirubin levels; however common variants in the 3' UTR of UGT1A1 may modulate the early bilirubin rise. A quantitative approach to evaluating early bilirubin kinetics provides a more robust framework in which to better understand the genetics of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.
BMC Medical Genetics 04/2011; 12:57. DOI:10.1186/1471-2350-12-57 · 2.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fetal haemoglobin (HbF) is a major ameliorating factor in sickle cell disease. We investigated if a quantitative trait locus on chromosome 6q23 was significantly associated with HbF and F cell levels in individuals of African descent. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a 24-kb intergenic region, 33-kb upstream of the HBS1L gene and 80-kb upstream of the MYB gene, were typed in 177 healthy Afro-Caribbean subjects (AC) of approximately 7% European admixture, 631 healthy Afro-Germans (AG, a group of African and German descendents located in rural Jamaica with about 20% European admixture), 87 West African and Afro-Caribbean individuals with sickle cell anaemia (HbSS), as well as 75 Northern Europeans, which served as a contrasting population. Association with a tag SNP for the locus was detected in all four groups (AC, P = 0.005, AG, P = 0.002, HbSS patients, P = 0.019, Europeans, P = 1.5 x 10(-7)). The association signal varied across the interval in the African-descended groups, while it is more uniform in Europeans. The 6q QTL for HbF traits is present in populations of African origin and is also acting in sickle cell anaemia patients. We have started to distinguish effects originating from European and African ancestral populations in our admixed study populations.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(1):e4218. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0004218 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathophysiological basis of severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis in infancy is poorly understood and has hindered vaccine development. Studies implicate the cell-mediated immune response in the pathogenesis of the disease. A recent twin study estimated a heritable contribution of 22% to RSV bronchiolitis. Genetic epidemiology provides a new approach to identifying important immune determinants of disease severity.
A comprehensive high-density gene-region association study for severe RSV bronchiolitis in infancy at 5q31 across 11 genes including the Th2-cytokine cluster was performed. A haplotype tagging approach was used to analyse genetic variation at 113 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 780 independent cases and 1045 controls. The study had sufficient power to detect small effects, perform extensive haplotype analysis and analyse both a principal phenotype and a refined age-limited phenotype enriched for first-exposure RSV infection.
SNP associations were found at IL4 and a highly significant risk haplotype was identified across IL13 CNS-1 and IL4 (odds ratio 1.69, p<0.0001), present in both case-control and family-based analyses. All associations were strongest for a phenotype limited to <6 months of age, implicating this locus in primary RSV disease. The same risk haplotype has previously been shown to be associated with increased IL13 expression.
A haplotype at IL13-1L4, which is associated with increased IL13 production, confers an increased risk of severe primary RSV bronchiolitis in early infancy. This study, together with previous studies implicating the same locus in atopic sensitisation, suggests that primary RSV bronchiolitis and atopy share a genetic contribution at the IL13-IL4 locus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: High levels of fetal haemoglobin (HbF) are protective in beta-haemoglobinopathies. The proportion of erythrocytes containing HbF (F-cells, FC) was measured in healthy adults of African and Caucasian ancestry to assess the feasibility of localizing genes for the FC trait using admixture mapping. Participants were Afro-Caribbean (AC) blood donors and residents of a rural enclave with a history of recent German admixture (Afro-German, AG) recruited in Jamaica, and Caucasian Europeans recruited in Jamaica and the UK. FC levels were significantly different between groups (P < 0.001); the geometric mean FC level in the AC sample (n = 176) was 3.75% [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.36-4.18], AG sample (n = 631) was 2.77% (95% CI 2.63-2.92), and among Caucasians (n = 1099) was 3.26% (95% CI 3.13-3.39). After adjustment for age, sex, haemoglobin electrophoresis pattern, and HBG2 genotype, FC levels in the AC group remained significantly different (P < 0.001) from those in the Caucasian and the AG group but the difference between the Caucasian and AG groups became non-significant (P = 0.46) despite substantial differences in average ancestry. The data confirm ethnic differences in FC levels and indicate the potential usefulness of these populations for admixture mapping of genes for FC levels.
British Journal of Haematology 12/2008; 144(6):954-60. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07532.x · 4.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) are significantly raised in malaria infection and TNF-alpha is thought to inhibit intestinal iron absorption and macrophage iron release. This study investigated putative functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes across the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region, including TNF and its immediate neighbors nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells (lkappaBL), inhibitor-like 1 and lymphotoxin alpha (LTA), in relation to nutritional iron status and anemia, in a cohort of 780 children across a malaria season. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) increased over the malaria season (P < .001). The TNF(-308) AA genotype was associated with an increased risk of iron deficiency (adjusted OR 8.1; P = .001) and IDA (adjusted OR 5.1; P = .01) at the end of the malaria season. No genotypes were associated with IDA before the malaria season. Thus, TNF appears to be a risk factor for iron deficiency and IDA in children in a malaria-endemic environment and this is likely to be due to a TNF-alpha-induced block in iron absorption.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Childhood malnutrition is known to be associated with visible lightening of hair colour (hypochromotrichia). Nevertheless, no systematic investigations have been carried out to determine the biochemical basis of this change. We used an HPLC method to measure melanins in the scalp hair of thirteen Jamaican children, diagnosed as having primary malnutrition, during various stages of their treatment and after recovery. During treatment for malnutrition, a progressive decrease in total melanin content along the hair shaft from tip to root (root:tip ratio: 0.62 (sd 0.31)) was observed. This ratio was significantly different (P = 0.003) from the ratio observed among children sampled several months after discharge from hospital (0.93 (sd 0.23)) and among normal control children (0.97 (sd 0.12)). Thus, it appears that a decrease in melanin content is associated with periods of malnutrition. The low root:tip ratio during malnutrition presumably arises because the tips reflect prior hair growth during 'normal' nutrition and the roots reflect hair growth during malnutrition; a return of the root:tip ratio to that seen among controls reflects 'recovery' from malnutrition. It is possible that reduced intake or availability of tyrosine, a key substrate in melanin synthesis, may play a role in the reduction of hair melanin content during periods of malnutrition. The precise mechanisms by which melanin content is reduced, and the role of aromatic amino acid availability in hair colour change and other features of childhood malnutrition remain to be explored.
British Journal Of Nutrition 08/2007; 98(1):159-64. DOI:10.1017/S0007114507694458 · 3.45 Impact Factor