[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a heterogeneous recessive disorder associated with a markedly elevated risk to develop cancer. To date sixteen FA genes have been identified, three of which predispose heterozygous mutation carriers to breast cancer. The FA proteins work together in a genome maintenance pathway, the so-called FA/BRCA pathway which is important during the S phase of the cell cycle. Since not all FA patients can be linked to (one of) the sixteen known complementation groups, new FA genes remain to be identified. In addition the complex FA network remains to be further unravelled. One of the FA genes, FANCI, has been identified via a combination of bioinformatic techniques exploiting FA protein properties and genetic linkage. The aim of this study was to develop a prioritization approach for proteins of the entire human proteome that potentially interact with the FA/BRCA pathway or are novel candidate FA genes. To this end, we combined the original bioinformatics approach based on the properties of the first thirteen FA proteins identified with publicly available tools for protein-protein interactions, literature mining (Nermal) and a protein function prediction tool (FuncNet). Importantly, the three newest FA proteins FANCO/RAD51C, FANCP/SLX4, and XRCC2 displayed scores in the range of the already known FA proteins. Likewise, a prime candidate FA gene based on next generation sequencing and having a very low score was subsequently disproven by functional studies for the FA phenotype. Furthermore, the approach strongly enriches for GO terms such as DNA repair, response to DNA damage stimulus, and cell cycle-regulated genes. Additionally, overlaying the top 150 with a haploinsufficiency probability score, renders the approach more tailored for identifying breast cancer related genes. This approach may be useful for prioritization of putative novel FA or breast cancer genes from next generation sequencing efforts.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e62017. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genomic instability syndrome. Disease-causing are biallelic mutations in any one of at least 15 genes encoding members of the FA/BRCA pathway of DNA-interstrand crosslink repair. Patients are diagnosed based upon phenotypical manifestationsand the diagnosis of FA is confirmed by the hypersensitivity of cells to DNA interstrand crosslinking agents. Customary molecular diagnostics has become increasingly cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive the more FA genes have been identified. We performed Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) in four FA patients in order to investigate the potential of this method for FA genotyping. In search of an optimal WES methodology we explored different enrichment and sequencing techniques. In each case we were able to identify the pathogenic mutations so that WES provided both, complementation group assignment and mutation detection in a single approach. The mutations included homozygous and heterozygous single base pair substitutions and a two-base-pair duplication in FANCJ, -D1, or -D2. Different WES strategies had no critical influence on the individual outcome. However, database errors and in particular pseudogenes impose obstacles that may prevent correct data perception and interpretation, and thus cause pitfalls. With these difficulties in mind, our results show that WES is a valuable tool for the molecular diagnosis of FA and a sufficiently safe technique, capable of engaging increasingly in competition with classical genetic approaches.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e52648. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare inherited disease characterized by developmental defects, short stature, bone marrow failure, and a high risk of malignancies. FA is heterogeneous: 15 genetic subtypes have been distinguished so far. A clinical diagnosis of FA needs to be confirmed by testing cells for sensitivity to cross-linking agents in a chromosomal breakage test. As a second step, DNA testing can be employed to elucidate the genetic subtype of the patient and to identify the familial mutations. This knowledge allows preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and enables prenatal DNA testing in future pregnancies. Although simultaneous testing of all FA genes by next generation sequencing will be possible in the near future, this technique will not be available immediately for all laboratories. In addition, in populations with strong founder mutations, a limited test using Sanger sequencing and MLPA will be a cost-effective alternative. We describe a strategy and optimized conditions for the screening of FANCA, FANCB, FANCC, FANCE, FANCF, and FANCG and present the results obtained in a cohort of 54 patients referred to our diagnostic service since 2008. In addition, the follow up with respect to genetic counseling and carrier screening in the families is discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genetic instability syndrome characterized by developmental defects, bone marrow failure, and a high cancer risk. Fifteen genetic subtypes have been distinguished. The majority of patients (≈85%) belong to the subtypes A (≈60%), C (≈15%) or G (≈10%), while a minority (≈15%) is distributed over the remaining 12 subtypes. All subtypes seem to fit within the "classical" FA phenotype, except for D1 and N patients, who have more severe clinical symptoms. Since FA patients need special clinical management, the diagnosis should be firmly established, to exclude conditions with overlapping phenotypes. A valid FA diagnosis requires the detection of pathogenic mutations in a FA gene and/or a positive result from a chromosomal breakage test. Identification of the pathogenic mutations is also important for adequate genetic counselling and to facilitate prenatal or preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Here we describe and validate a comprehensive protocol for the molecular diagnosis of FA, based on massively parallel sequencing. We used this approach to identify BRCA2, FANCD2, FANCI and FANCL mutations in novel unclassified FA patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bi-allelic germline mutations of the Fanconi anemia (FA) genes, PALB2/FANCN and BRCA2/FANCD1, have been reported in a few Wilms tumor (WT) patients with an atypical FA phenotype. Therefore, we screened a random cohort of 47 Dutch WT cases for germline mutations in these two FA-genes by DNA sequencing and Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA). Although several cases appeared to carry missense variants, no bi-allelic pathogenic mutations were identified, indicating that bi-allelic mutations in these FA-genes do not contribute significantly to the occurrence of WT.
Pediatric Blood & Cancer 10/2010; 55(4):742-4. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inactivation of the FA-BRCA pathway results in chromosomal instability. Fanconi anaemia (FA) patients have an inherited defect in this pathway and are strongly predisposed to the development of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Studies in sporadic cancers have shown promoter methylation of the FANCF gene in a significant proportion of various solid tumours. However, only a single leukaemic case with methylation of one of the FA-BRCA genes has been described to date, i.e. methylation of FANCF in cell line CHRF-288. We investigated the presence of aberrant methylation in 11 FA-BRCA genes in sporadic cases of leukaemia.
We analyzed promoter methylation in 143 AML bone marrow samples and 97 acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) samples using methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA). Samples with aberrant methylation were further analyzed by bisulphite sequencing and tested for mitomycin C sensitivity using Colony Forming Units assays.
MS-MLPA showed promoter methylation of FANCC in one AML and three ALL samples, while FANCL was found methylated in one ALL sample. Bisulphite sequencing of promoter regions confirmed hypermethylation in all cases. In addition, samples with hypermethylation of either FANCC or FANCL appeared more sensitive towards mitomycin C in Colony Forming Units assays, compared to controls.
Hypermethylation of promoter regions from FA-BRCA genes does occur in sporadic leukaemia, albeit infrequently. Hypermethylation was found to result in hypersensitivity towards DNA cross-linking agents, a hallmark of the FA cellular phenotype, suggesting that these samples displayed chromosomal instability. This instability may have contributed to the occurrence of the leukaemia. In addition, this is the first report to describe hypermethylation of FANCC and FANCL. This warrants the investigation of multiple FA-BRCA genes in other malignancies.
Cellular oncology: the official journal of the International Society for Cellular Oncology 02/2008; 30(4):299-306. · 4.17 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a recessively inherited syndrome with predisposition to bone marrow failure and malignancies. Hypersensitivity to cross-linking agents is a cellular feature used to confirm the diagnosis. The mode of inheritance is autosomal recessive (12 subtypes) as well as X-linked (one subtype). Most genetic subtypes have initially been defined as "complementation groups" by cell fusion studies. Here we report a comprehensive genetic subtyping approach for FA that is primarily based on mutation screening, supplemented by protein expression analysis and by functional assays to test for pathogenicity of unclassified variants. Of 80 FA cases analyzed, 73 (91%) were successfully subtyped. In total, 92 distinct mutations were detected, of which 56 were novel (40 in FANCA, eight in FANCC, two in FANCD1, three in FANCE, one in FANCF, and three in FANCG). All known complementation groups were represented, except D2, J, L, and M. Three patients could not be classified because proliferating cell cultures from the probands were lacking. In cell lines from the remaining four patients, immunoblotting was used to determine their capacity to monoubiquitinate FANCD2. In one case FANCD2 monoubiquitination was normal, indicating a defect downstream. In the remaining three cases monoubiquitination was not detectable, indicating a defect upstream. In the latter four patients, pathogenic mutations in a known FA gene may have been missed, or these patients might represent novel genetic subtypes. We conclude that direct mutation screening allows a molecular diagnosis of FA in the vast majority of patients, even in cases where growing cells from affected individuals are unavailable. Proliferating cell lines are required in a minority (<15%) of the patients, to allow testing for FANCD2 ubiquitination status and sequencing of FANCD2 using cDNA, to avoid interference from pseudogenes.
Human Mutation 01/2008; 29(1):159-66. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Fanconi anemia and BRCA networks are considered interconnected, as BRCA2 gene defects have been discovered in individuals with Fanconi anemia subtype D1. Here we show that a defect in the BRCA2-interacting protein PALB2 is associated with Fanconi anemia in an individual with a new subtype. PALB2-deficient cells showed hypersensitivity to cross-linking agents and lacked chromatin-bound BRCA2; these defects were corrected upon ectopic expression of PALB2 or by spontaneous reversion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia is an inherited cancer predisposition disease characterized by cytogenetic and cellular hypersensitivity to cross-linking agents. Seeking evidence of Fanconi anemia protein dysfunction in women at risk of ovarian cancer, we screened ovarian surface epithelial cells from 25 primary cultures established from 22 patients using cross-linker hypersensitivity assays. Samples were obtained from (a) women at high risk for ovarian cancer with histologically normal ovaries, (b) ovarian cancer patients, and (c) a control group with no family history of breast or ovarian cancer. In chromosomal breakage assays, all control cells were mitomycin C (MMC) resistant, but eight samples (five of the six high-risk and three of the eight ovarian cancer) were hypersensitive. Lymphocytes from all eight patients were MMC resistant. Only one of the eight patients had a BRCA1 germ-line mutation and none had BRCA2 mutations, but FANCD2 was reduced in five of the eight. Ectopic expression of normal FANCD2 cDNA increased FANCD2 protein and induced MMC resistance in both hypersensitive lines tested. No FANCD2 coding region or promoter mutations were found, and there was no genomic loss or promoter methylation in any Fanconi anemia genes. Therefore, in high-risk women with no BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, tissue-restricted hypersensitivity to cross-linking agents is a frequent finding, and chromosomal breakage responses to MMC may be a sensitive screening strategy because cytogenetic instability identified in this way antedates the onset of carcinoma. Inherited mutations that result in tissue-specific FANCD2 gene suppression may represent a cause of familial ovarian cancer.
Cancer Research 10/2006; 66(18):9017-25. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have identified three novel FANCC mutations, a truncating single base insertion in exon 4 (c.455_456dupA), a point mutation in exon 13 (c.1390C>T), and a splice site mutation leading to deletion of exon 9, in two Brazilian FA-C patients, each a compound heterozygote. Using complementation analyses, we confirmed that two of these mutations inactivate the function of the FANCC protein.
Human Mutation 03/2006; 27(2):214. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Copy number changes and CpG methylation of various genes are hallmarks of tumor development but are not yet widely used in diagnostic settings. The recently developed multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) method has increased the possibilities for multiplex detection of gene copy number aberrations in a routine laboratory. Here we describe a novel robust method: the methylation-specific MLPA (MS-MLPA) that can detect changes in both CpG methylation as well as copy number of up to 40 chromosomal sequences in a simple reaction. In MS-MLPA, the ligation of MLPA probe oligonucleotides is combined with digestion of the genomic DNA-probe hybrid complexes with methylation-sensitive endonucleases. Digestion of the genomic DNA-probe complex, rather than double-stranded genomic DNA, allowed the use of DNA derived from the formalin treated paraffin-embedded tissue samples, enabling retrospective studies. To validate this novel method, we used MS-MLPA to detect aberrant methylation in DNA samples of patients with Prader-Willy syndrome, Angelman syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2005; 33(14):e128. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fanconi anaemia (FA) is a chromosomal instability disorder associated with a high risk of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Previous work has shown that the AML cell line CHRF-288, derived from a sporadic AML-M7 patient, does not express FANCF protein and exhibits a cellular FA phenotype. We show that this phenotype is corrected by a FANCF-expressing plasmid and that the absence of FANCF protein is explained by hypermethylation of the promoter region of the FANCF gene. As FANCF is localized in a hot-spot region for somatic hypermethylation (11p15), FANCF silencing might be an early step in sporadic carcinogenesis, including leukaemogenesis.
British Journal of Haematology 12/2003; 123(3):469-71. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovarian tumor cells are often genomically unstable and hypersensitive to cisplatin. To understand the molecular basis for this phenotype, we examined the integrity of the Fanconi anemia-BRCA (FANC-BRCA) pathway in those cells. This pathway regulates cisplatin sensitivity and is governed by the coordinate activity of six genes associated with Fanconi anemia (FANCA, FANCC, FANCD2, FANCE, FANCF and FANCG) as well as BRCA1 and BRCA2 (FANCD1). Here we show that the FANC-BRCA pathway is disrupted in a subset of ovarian tumor lines. Mono-ubiquitination of FANCD2, a measure of the function of this pathway, and cisplatin resistance were restored by functional complementation with FANCF, a gene that is upstream in this pathway. FANCF inactivation in ovarian tumors resulted from methylation of its CpG island, and acquired cisplatin resistance correlated with demethylation of FANCF. We propose a model for ovarian tumor progression in which the initial methylation of FANCF is followed by FANCF demethylation and ultimately results in cisplatin resistance.
Nature Medicine 06/2003; 9(5):568-74. · 22.86 Impact Factor