Peter Frommolt

University of Cologne, Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

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Publications (39)281.19 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Genome maintenance defects cause complex disease phenotypes characterized by developmental failure, cancer susceptibility and premature ageing. It remains poorly understood how DNA damage responses function during organismal development and maintain tissue functionality when DNA damage accumulates with ageing. Here we show that the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 is activated in response to DNA damage during development, whereas the DNA damage responsiveness of DAF-16 declines with ageing. We find that in contrast to its established role in mediating starvation arrest, DAF-16 alleviates DNA-damage-induced developmental arrest and even in the absence of DNA repair promotes developmental growth and enhances somatic tissue functionality. We demonstrate that the GATA transcription factor EGL-27 co-regulates DAF-16 target genes in response to DNA damage and together with DAF-16 promotes developmental growth. We propose that EGL-27/GATA activity specifies DAF-16-mediated DNA damage responses to enable developmental progression and to prolong tissue functioning when DNA damage persists.
    Nature Cell Biology 11/2014; · 20.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial function requires coordination of two genomes for protein biogenesis, efficient quality control mechanisms, and appropriate distribution of the organelles within the cell. How these mechanisms are integrated is currently not understood. Loss of the Clu1/CluA homologue (CLUH) gene led to clustering of the mitochondrial network by an unknown mechanism. We find that CLUH is coregulated both with genes encoding mitochondrial proteins and with genes involved in ribosomal biogenesis and translation. Our functional analysis identifies CLUH as a cytosolic messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA; mRNA)-binding protein. RNA immunoprecipitation experiments followed by next-generation sequencing demonstrated that CLUH specifically binds a subset of mRNAs encoding mitochondrial proteins. CLUH depletion decreased the levels of proteins translated by target transcripts and caused mitochondrial clustering. A fraction of CLUH colocalizes with tyrosinated tubulin and can be detected close to mitochondria, suggesting a role in regulating transport or translation of target transcripts close to mitochondria. Our data unravel a novel mechanism linking mitochondrial biogenesis and distribution.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 10/2014; 207(2):213-23. · 9.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyanobacteria constitute a serious threat to freshwater ecosystems by producing toxic secondary metabolites, e.g. microcystins. These microcystins have been shown to harm livestock, pets and humans and to affect ecosystem service and functioning. Cyanobacterial blooms are increasing worldwide in intensity and frequency due to eutrophication and global warming. However, Daphnia, the main grazer of planktonic algae and cyanobacteria, has been shown to be able to suppress bloom-forming cyanobacteria and to adapt to cyanobacteria that produce microcystins. Since Daphnia's genome was published only recently, it is now possible to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of microcystin tolerance of Daphnia.
    BMC Genomics 09/2014; 15(1):776. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The genetics of development in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been described in exquisitedetail. The phylum Nematoda has two classes: Chromadorea (which includes C. elegans) and theEnoplea. While the development of many chromadorean species resembles closely that of C. elegans,enoplean nematodes show markedly different patterns of early cell division and cell fate assignment.Embryogenesis of the enoplean Romanomermis culicivorax has been studied in detail, but the geneticcircuitry underpinning development in this species has not been explored. We generated a draft genome for R. culicivorax and compared its gene content with that of C. elegans,a second enoplean, the vertebrate parasite Trichinella spiralis, and a representative arthropod,Tribolium castaneum. This comparison revealed that R. culicivorax has retained components of theconserved ecdysozoan developmental gene toolkit lost in C. elegans. T. spiralis has independentlylost even more of this toolkit than has C. elegans. However, the C. elegans toolkit is not simply depauperate, as many novel genes essential for embryogenesis in C. elegans are not found in, or haveonly extremely divergent homologues in R. culicivorax and T. spiralis. Our data imply fundamentaldifferences in the genetic programmes not only for early cell specification but also others such asvulva formation and sex determination. Despite the apparent morphological conservatism, major differences in the molecular logic of developmenthave evolved within the phylum Nematoda. R. culicivorax serves as a tractable system to contrast C. elegans and understand how divergent genomic and thus regulatory backgrounds nevertheless generate a conserved phenotype. The R. culicivorax draft genome will promote use of this species as a research model.
    BMC Genomics 12/2013; 14(1):923. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation of the hypoxia inducible transcription factor HIF and the NF-ĸB pathway promotes inflammation-mediated tumor progression. The cellular transcription factor ZNF395 has repeatedly been found overexpressed in various human cancers, particularly in response to hypoxia, implying a functional relevance. To understand the biological activity of ZNF395, we identified target genes of ZNF395 through a genome-wide expression screen. Induced ZNF395 expression led to the upregulation of genes known to play a role in cancer as well as a subset of interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes (ISG) involved in antiviral responses such as IFIT1/ISG56, IFI44 and IFI16. In cells that lack ZNF395, the IFN-α-mediated stimulation of these factors was impaired, demonstrating that ZNF395 is required for the full induction of these antiviral genes. Transient transfections revealed that ZNF395-mediated activation of the IFIT1/ISG56 promoter depends on the two IFN-stimulated response elements within the promoter and on the DNA-binding domain of ZNF395, a so-called C-clamp. We also show that IĸBα kinase (IKK)-signaling is necessary to allow ZNF395 to activate transcription and simultaneously enhances its proteolytic degradation. Thus, ZNF395 becomes activated at the level of protein modification by IKK. Moreover, we confirm that the expression of ZNF395 is induced by hypoxia. Our results characterize ZNF395 as a novel factor that contributes to the maximal stimulation of a subset of ISGs. This transcriptional activity depends on IKK signaling further supporting a role of ZNF395 in the innate immune response. Given these results it is possible that under hypoxic conditions, elevated levels of ZNF395 may support inflammation and cancer progression by activating the target genes involved in the innate immune response and cancer.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74911. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aging-related kidney diseases are a major health concern. Currently, models to study renal aging are lacking. Due to a reduced life-span progeroid models hold the promise to facilitate aging studies and allow examination of tissue-specific changes. Defects in genome maintenance in the Ercc1-/Delta progeroid mouse model result in premature aging and typical age-related pathologies. Here, we compared the glomerular transcriptome of young and aged Ercc1-deficient mice to young and aged WT mice in order to establish a novel model for research of aging-related kidney disease. In a principal component analysis, age and genotype emerged as first and second principal components. Hierarchical clustering of all 521 genes differentially regulated between young and old WT and young and old Ercc1-/Delta mice showed cluster formation between young WT and Ercc1-/Delta as well as old WT and Ercc1-/Delta samples. An unexpectedly high number of 77 genes were differentially regulated in both WT and Ercc1-/Delta mice (p < 0.0001). GO term enrichment analysis revealed these genes to be involved in immune and inflammatory response, cell death, and chemotaxis. In a network analysis, these genes were part of insulin signaling, chemokine and cytokine signaling and extracellular matrix pathways. Beyond insulin signaling, we find chemokine and cytokine signaling as well as modifiers of extracellular matrix composition to be subject to major changes in the aging glomerulus. At the level of the transcriptome, the pattern of gene activities is similar in the progeroid Ercc1-/Delta mouse model constituting a valuable tool for future studies of aging-associated glomerular pathologies.
    BMC Genomics 08/2013; 14(1):559. · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is characterized by reduced head circumference, reduction in the size of the cerebral cortex with otherwise grossly normal brain structure, and variable intellectual disability. MCPH is caused by mutations of eleven different genes which code for proteins implicated in cell division and cell cycle regulation. We studied a consanguineous eight-generation family from Pakistan with ten microcephalic children using homozygosity mapping and found a new MCPH locus at HSA 7q21.11-q21.3. Sanger sequencing of the most relevant candidate genes in this region revealed a homozygous single nucleotide substitution c.589G>A in CDK6, which encodes cyclin-dependent kinase 6. The mutation changes a highly conserved alanine at position 197 into threonine (p.Ala197Thr). Post hoc whole-exome sequencing corroborated this mutation's identification as the causal variant. CDK6 is an important protein for the control of the cell cycle and differentiation of various cell types. We show here for the first time that CDK6 associates with the centrosome during mitosis, however, this was not observed in patient fibroblasts. Moreover, the mutant primary fibroblasts exhibited supernumerary centrosomes, disorganized microtubules and mitotic spindles, an increased centrosome nucleus distance, reduced cell proliferation and impaired cell motility and polarity. Upon ectopic expression of the mutant protein and knockdown of CDK6 through shRNA we noted similar effects. We propose that the identified CDK6 mutation leads to reduced cell proliferation and impairs the correct functioning of the centrosome in microtubule organization and its positioning near the nucleus which are key determinants during neurogenesis.
    Human Molecular Genetics 08/2013; · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Signaling through the hypoxia-inducible factor hif-1 controls longevity, metabolism and stress resistance in C. elegans. HIF protein levels are regulated through an evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin ligase complex. Mutations in the VHL gene, encoding a core component of this complex, cause a multi-tumor syndrome and renal cell carcinoma in humans. In the nematode, deficiency in vhl-1 promotes longevity mediated through HIF-1 stabilization. However, this longevity assurance pathway is not yet understood. Here, we identify Folliculin (FLCN) as a novel interactor of the hif-1/vhl-1 longevity pathway. FLCN mutations cause Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome in humans, another tumor syndrome with renal tumorigenesis reminiscent of the VHL disease. Loss of the C. elegans ortholog of FLCN F22D3.2 significantly increased lifespan and enhanced stress resistance in a hif-1-dependent manner. F22D3.2, vhl-1 and hif-1 control longevity by a mechanism distinct from insulin-like signaling. Daf-16 deficiency did not abrogate the increase in lifespan mediated by flcn-1. These findings define FLCN as a player in HIF-dependent longevity signaling and connect organismal aging, stress resistance and regulation of longevity with the formation of renal cell carcinoma. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Aging cell 04/2013; · 7.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Despite its status as a model organism, the development of Caenorhabditis elegans is not necessarily archetypical for nematodes. The phylum Nematoda is divided into the Chromadorea (indcludes C. elegans) and the Enoplea. Compared to C. elegans, enoplean nematodes have very different patterns of cell division and determination. Embryogenesis of the enoplean Romanomermis culicivorax has been studied in great detail, but the genetic circuitry underpinning development in this species is unknown. Results We created a draft genome of R. culicivorax and compared its developmental gene content with that of two nematodes, C. elegans and Trichinella spiralis (another enoplean), and a representative arthropod Tribolium castaneum. This genome evidence shows that R. culicivorax retains components of the conserved metazoan developmental toolkit lost in C. elegans. T. spiralis has independently lost even more of the toolkit than has C. elegans. However, the C. elegans toolkit is not simply depauperate, as many genes essential for embryogenesis in C. elegans are unique to this lineage, or have only extremely divergent homologues in R. culicivorax and T. spiralis. These data imply fundamental differences in the genetic programmes for early cell specification, inductive interactions, vulva formation and sex determination. Conclusions Thus nematodes, despite their apparent phylum-wide morphological conservatism, have evolved major differences in the molecular logic of their development. R. culicivorax serves as a tractable, contrasting model to C. elegans for understanding how divergent genomic and thus regulatory backgrounds can generate a conserved phenotype. The availability of the draft genome will promote use of R. culicivorax as a research model.
    03/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths, worldwide. MicroRNAs, inhibiting gene expression by targeting various transcripts, are involved in genomic dysregulation during hepatocellular tumorigenesis. In previous studies, microRNA-198 (miR-198) was shown to be significantly downregulated in HCV-positive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Herein, the function of miR-198 in hepatocellular carcinoma cell growth and gene expression was studied. In hepatoma cell-types with low levels of liver-specific transcription factor HNF1 indicating a low differentiation grade, miR-198 expression was most downregulated. However, miR-198 treatment did not restore the expression of the liver-specific transcription factors HNF1 or HNF4Importantly, overexpression of miR-198 in Pop10 hepatoma cells markedly reduced cell growth. In agreement, comprehensive gene expression profiling by microarray hybridisation and real-time quantification revealed that central signal transducers of proliferation pathways were downregulated by miR-198. In contrast, genes mediating cellular adherence were highly upregulated by miR-198. Thus, the low expression of E-cadherin and claudin-1, involved in cell adhesion and cell-cell contacts, was abolished in hepatoma cells after miR-198 overexpression. This definite induction of both proteins by miR-198 was shown to be accompanied by a significantly impaired migration activity of hepatoma Pop10 cells. In conclusion, miR-198 acts as a tumor suppressor by repression of mitogenic and motogenic pathways diminishing cell growth and migration.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 02/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ubiquitination plays a crucial role in neurodevelopment as exemplified by Angelman syndrome, which is caused by genetic alterations of the ubiquitin ligase-encoding UBE3A gene. Although the function of UBE3A has been widely studied, little is known about its paralog UBE3B. By using exome and capillary sequencing, we here identify biallelic UBE3B mutations in four patients from three unrelated families presenting an autosomal-recessive blepharophimosis-ptosis-intellectual disability syndrome characterized by developmental delay, growth retardation with a small head circumference, facial dysmorphisms, and low cholesterol levels. UBE3B encodes an uncharacterized E3 ubiquitin ligase. The identified UBE3B variants include one frameshift and two splice-site mutations as well as a missense substitution affecting the highly conserved HECT domain. Disruption of mouse Ube3b leads to reduced viability and recapitulates key aspects of the human disorder, such as reduced weight and brain size and a downregulation of cholesterol synthesis. We establish that the probable Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of UBE3B, oxi-1, functions in the ubiquitin/proteasome system in vivo and is especially required under oxidative stress conditions. Our data reveal the pleiotropic effects of UBE3B deficiency and reinforce the physiological importance of ubiquitination in neuronal development and function in mammals.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2012; · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Together with GTP and initiator methionyl-tRNA, translation initiation factor eIF2 forms a ternary complex that binds the 40S ribosome and then scans an mRNA to select the AUG start codon for protein synthesis. Here, we show that a human X-chromosomal neurological disorder characterized by intellectual disability and microcephaly is caused by a missense mutation in eIF2γ (encoded by EIF2S3), the core subunit of the heterotrimeric eIF2 complex. Biochemical studies of human cells overexpressing the eIF2γ mutant and of yeast eIF2γ with the analogous mutation revealed a defect in binding the eIF2β subunit to eIF2γ. Consistent with this loss of eIF2 integrity, the yeast eIF2γ mutation impaired translation start codon selection and eIF2 function in vivo in a manner that was suppressed by overexpressing eIF2β. These findings directly link intellectual disability to impaired translation initiation, and provide a mechanistic basis for the human disease due to partial loss of eIF2 function.
    Molecular cell 10/2012; · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Integration of metabolic and immune responses during animal development ensures energy balance, permitting both growth and defense. Disturbed homeostasis causes organ failure, growth retardation, and metabolic disorders. Here, we show that the Drosophila melanogaster activating transcription factor 3 (Atf3) safeguards metabolic and immune system homeostasis. Loss of Atf3 results in chronic inflammation and starvation responses mounted primarily by the larval gut epithelium, while the fat body suffers lipid overload, causing energy imbalance and death. Hyperactive proinflammatory and stress signaling through NF-κB/Relish, Jun N-terminal kinase, and FOXO in atf3 mutants deregulates genes important for immune defense, digestion, and lipid metabolism. Reducing the dose of either FOXO or Relish normalizes both lipid metabolism and gene expression in atf3 mutants. The function of Atf3 is conserved, as human ATF3 averts some of the Drosophila mutant phenotypes, improving their survival. The single Drosophila Atf3 may incorporate the diversified roles of two related mammalian proteins.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 07/2012; 32(19):3949-62. · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare neurological disorder characterised by early-onset episodes of hemiplegia, dystonia, various paroxysmal symptoms, and developmental impairment. Almost all cases of AHC are sporadic but AHC concordance in monozygotic twins and dominant transmission in a family with a milder phenotype have been reported. Thus, we aimed to identify de-novo mutations associated with this disease. We recruited patients with clinically characterised AHC from paediatric neurology departments in Germany and with the aid of a parental support group between Sept, 2004, and May 18, 2012. We used whole-exome sequencing of three proband-parent trios to identify a disease-associated gene and then tested whether mutations in the gene were also present in the remaining patients and their healthy parents. We analysed genotypes and characterised their associations with the phenotypic spectrum of the disease. We studied 15 female and nine male patients with AHC who were aged 8-35 years. ATP1A3 emerged as the disease-associated gene in AHC. Whole-exome sequencing showed three heterozygous de-novo missense mutations. Sequencing of the 21 remaining affected individuals identified disease-associated mutations in ATP1A3 in all patients, including six de-novo missense mutations and one de-novo splice-site mutation. Because ATP1A3 is also the gene associated with rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism (DYT12, OMIM 128235) we compared the genotypes and phenotypes of patients with AHC in our cohort with those of patients with rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism reported in the scientific literature. We noted overlapping clinical features, such as abrupt onset of dystonic episodes often triggered by emotional stress, a rostrocaudal (face to arm to leg) gradient of involvement, and signs of brainstem dysfunction, as well as clearly differentiating clinical characteristics, such as episodic hemiplegia and quadriplegia. Mutation analysis of the ATP1A3 gene in patients who met clinical criteria for AHC allows for definite genetic diagnosis and sound genetic counselling. AHC and rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism are allelic diseases related to mutations in ATP1A3 and form a phenotypical continuum of a dystonic movement disorder. Eva Luise and Horst Köhler Foundation for Humans with Rare Diseases.
    The Lancet Neurology 07/2012; 11(9):764-73. · 21.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using targeted exome sequencing, we identified mutations in NNT, an antioxidant defense gene, in individuals with familial glucocorticoid deficiency. In mice with Nnt loss, higher levels of adrenocortical cell apoptosis and impaired glucocorticoid production were observed. NNT knockdown in a human adrenocortical cell line resulted in impaired redox potential and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. Our results suggest that NNT may have a role in ROS detoxification in human adrenal glands.
    Nature Genetics 05/2012; 44(7):740-2. · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autosomal-recessive primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a rare congenital disorder characterized by intellectual disability, reduced brain and head size, but usually without defects in cerebral cortical architecture, and other syndromic abnormalities. MCPH is heterogeneous. The underlying genes of the seven known loci code for centrosomal proteins. We studied a family from northern Pakistan with two microcephalic children using homozygosity mapping and found suggestive linkage for regions on chromosomes 2, 4, and 9. We sequenced two positional candidate genes and identified a homozygous frameshift mutation in the gene encoding the 135 kDa centrosomal protein (CEP135), located in the linkage interval on chromosome 4, in both affected children. Post hoc whole-exome sequencing corroborated this mutation's identification as the causal variant. Fibroblasts obtained from one of the patients showed multiple and fragmented centrosomes, disorganized microtubules, and reduced growth rate. Similar effects were reported after knockdown of CEP135 through RNA interference; we could provoke them also by ectopic overexpression of the mutant protein. Our findings suggest an additional locus for MCPH at HSA 4q12 (MCPH8), further strengthen the role of centrosomes in the development of MCPH, and place CEP135 among the essential components of this important organelle in particular for a normal neurogenesis.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2012; 90(5):871-8. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP1) is an astacin metalloprotease with important cellular functions and diverse substrates, including extracellular-matrix proteins and antagonists of some TGFβ superfamily members. Combining whole-exome sequencing and filtering for homozygous stretches of identified variants, we found a homozygous causative BMP1 mutation, c.34G>C, in a consanguineous family affected by increased bone mineral density and multiple recurrent fractures. The mutation is located within the BMP1 signal peptide and leads to impaired secretion and an alteration in posttranslational modification. We also characterize a zebrafish bone mutant harboring lesions in bmp1a, demonstrating conservation of BMP1 function in osteogenesis across species. Genetic, biochemical, and histological analyses of this mutant and a comparison to a second, similar locus reveal that Bmp1a is critically required for mature-collagen generation, downstream of osteoblast maturation, in bone. We thus define the molecular and cellular bases of BMP1-dependent osteogenesis and show the importance of this protein for bone formation and stability.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2012; 90(4):661-74. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Target enrichment strategies are a very common approach to sequence a predefined part of an individual's genome using second-generation sequencing technologies. While highly dependent on the technology and the target sequences selected, the performance of the various assays is also variable between samples and is influenced by the way how the libraries are handled in the laboratory. Here, we show how to find detailed information about the enrichment performance using a novel software package called NGSrich, which we developed as a part of a whole-exome resequencing pipeline in a medium-sized genomics center. Our software is suitable for high-throughput use and the results can be shared using HTML and a web server. Finally, we have sequenced exome-enriched DNA libraries of 18 human individuals using three different enrichment products and used our new software for a comparative analysis of their performance.
    Human Mutation 01/2012; 33(4):635-41. · 5.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Urinary bladder malformations associated with bladder outlet obstruction are a frequent cause of progressive renal failure in children. We here describe a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M3 (CHRM3) (1q41-q44) homozygous frameshift mutation in familial congenital bladder malformation associated with a prune-belly-like syndrome, defining an isolated gene defect underlying this sometimes devastating disease. CHRM3 encodes the M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, which we show is present in developing renal epithelia and bladder muscle. These observations may imply that M3 has a role beyond its known contribution to detrusor contractions. This Mendelian disease caused by a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor mutation strikingly phenocopies Chrm3 null mutant mice.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 11/2011; 89(5):668-74. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The fact that hereditary hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in humans is reflected by, among other things, an extraordinary allelic and nonallelic genetic heterogeneity. X-chromosomal hearing impairment represents only a minor fraction of all cases. In a study of a Spanish family the locus for one of the X-chromosomal forms was assigned to Xp22 (DFNX4). We mapped the disease locus in the same chromosomal region in a large German pedigree with X-chromosomal nonsyndromic hearing impairment by using genome-wide linkage analysis. Males presented with postlingual hearing loss and onset at ages 3-7, whereas onset in female carriers was in the second to third decades. Targeted DNA capture with high-throughput sequencing detected a nonsense mutation in the small muscle protein, X-linked (SMPX) of affected individuals. We identified another nonsense mutation in SMPX in patients from the Spanish family who were previously analyzed to map DFNX4. SMPX encodes an 88 amino acid, cytoskeleton-associated protein that is responsive to mechanical stress. The presence of Smpx in hair cells and supporting cells of the murine cochlea indicates its role in the inner ear. The nonsense mutations detected in the two families suggest a loss-of-function mechanism underlying this form of hearing impairment. Results obtained after heterologous overexpression of SMPX proteins were compatible with this assumption. Because responsivity to physical force is a characteristic feature of the protein, we propose that long-term maintenance of mechanically stressed inner-ear cells critically depends on SMPX function.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2011; 88(5):621-7. · 11.20 Impact Factor