[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-mannose pyrophosphorylase A (GMPPA), we identified a homozygous nonsense mutation that segregated with achalasia and alacrima, delayed developmental milestones, and gait abnormalities in a consanguineous Pakistani pedigree. Mutations in GMPPA were subsequently found in ten additional individuals from eight independent families affected by the combination of achalasia, alacrima, and neurological deficits. This autosomal-recessive disorder shows many similarities with triple A syndrome, which is characterized by achalasia, alacrima, and variable neurological deficits in combination with adrenal insufficiency. GMPPA is a largely uncharacterized homolog of GMPPB. GMPPB catalyzes the formation of GDP-mannose, which is an essential precursor of glycan moieties of glycoproteins and glycolipids and is associated with congenital and limb-girdle muscular dystrophies with hypoglycosylation of α-dystroglycan. Surprisingly, GDP-mannose pyrophosphorylase activity was unchanged and GDP-mannose levels were strongly increased in lymphoblasts of individuals with GMPPA mutations. This suggests that GMPPA might serve as a GMPPB regulatory subunit mediating feedback inhibition of GMPPB instead of displaying catalytic enzyme activity itself. Thus, a triple-A-like syndrome can be added to the growing list of congenital disorders of glycosylation, in which dysregulation rather than mere enzyme deficiency is the basal pathophysiological mechanism.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2013; · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Idiopathic focal epilepsy (IFE) with rolandic spikes is the most common childhood epilepsy, comprising a phenotypic spectrum from rolandic epilepsy (also benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, BECTS) to atypical benign partial epilepsy (ABPE), Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) and epileptic encephalopathy with continuous spike and waves during slow-wave sleep (CSWS). The genetic basis is largely unknown. We detected new heterozygous mutations in GRIN2A in 27 of 359 affected individuals from 2 independent cohorts with IFE (7.5%; P = 4.83 × 10(-18), Fisher's exact test). Mutations occurred significantly more frequently in the more severe phenotypes, with mutation detection rates ranging from 12/245 (4.9%) in individuals with BECTS to 9/51 (17.6%) in individuals with CSWS (P = 0.009, Cochran-Armitage test for trend). In addition, exon-disrupting microdeletions were found in 3 of 286 individuals (1.0%; P = 0.004, Fisher's exact test). These results establish alterations of the gene encoding the NMDA receptor NR2A subunit as a major genetic risk factor for IFE.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epileptic encephalopathies are genetically heterogeneous severe disorders in which epileptic activity contributes to neurological deterioration. We studied two unrelated children presenting with a distinctive early-onset epileptic encephalopathy characterized by refractory epilepsy and absent developmental milestones, as well as thick and short corpus callosum and persistent cavum septum pellucidum on brain MRI. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified biallelic mutations in seizure threshold 2 (SZT2) in both affected children. The causative mutations include a homozygous nonsense mutation and a nonsense mutation together with an exonic splice-site mutation in a compound-heterozygous state. The latter mutation leads to exon skipping and premature termination of translation, as shown by RT-PCR in blood RNA of the affected boy. Thus, all three mutations are predicted to result in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and/or premature protein truncation and thereby loss of SZT2 function. Although the molecular role of the peroxisomal protein SZT2 in neuronal excitability and brain development remains to be defined, Szt2 has been shown to influence seizure threshold and epileptogenesis in mice, consistent with our findings in humans. We conclude that mutations in SZT2 cause a severe type of autosomal-recessive infantile encephalopathy with intractable seizures and distinct neuroradiological anomalies.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 08/2013; · 11.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromatin remodeling complexes are known to modify chemical marks on histones or to induce conformational changes of the chromatin in order to regulate transcription. De novo dominant mutations in different members of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex have recently been described in individuals with Coffin-Siris (CSS) and Nicolaides-Baraitser (NCBRS) syndromes. Using a combination of whole-exome sequencing, NGS-based sequencing of 23 SWI/SNF complex genes, and molecular karyotyping in 46 previously undescribed individuals with CSS and NCBRS, we identified a de novo 1-bp deletion (c.677delG, p.Gly226Glufs*53) and a de novo missense mutation (c.914G>T, p.Cys305Phe) in PHF6 in two individuals diagnosed with CSS. PHF6 interacts with the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylation (NuRD) complex implicating dysfunction of a second chromatin remodeling complex in the pathogenesis of CSS-like phenotypes. Altogether, we identified mutations in 60% of the studied individuals (28/46), located in the genes ARID1A, ARID1B, SMARCB1, SMARCE1, SMARCA2, and PHF6. We show that mutations in ARID1B are the main cause of CSS, accounting for 76% of identified mutations. ARID1B and SMARCB1 mutations were also found in individuals with the initial diagnosis of NCBRS. These individuals apparently belong to a small subset who display an intermediate CSS/NCBRS phenotype. Our proposed genotype-phenotype correlations are important for molecular screening strategies.
Human Molecular Genetics 08/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE We sought to unravel the genetic cause in a consanguineous Pakistani family with a complex neurological phenotype. OBSERVATIONS Neurological and ophthalmological examination, including videotaping and fundoscopy, and genetic investigations, including homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, were performed at the University of the Punjab and the University of Lübeck. Participants included 2 severely affected cousins from consanguineous parents, 10 of their reportedly unaffected relatives, and 342 Pakistani controls. Motor symptoms in the 2 patients started at the age of 3 to 4 years and included chorea, cerebellar ataxia, dystonia, and pyramidal tract signs. Genome-wide genotyping delineated 2 regions of homozygosity on chromosomes 13q12.11 to 13q12.13 and 19q12 to 19q13.41. Exome sequencing revealed 2 rare, homozygous variants (c.32 T>A [p.L11Q] in OPA3 and c.941 C>G [p.A314G] in TSHZ3) that segregated with the disease. Only the OPA3 variant was absent in the control subjects and predicted to be damaging. Subsequent ophthalmological assessment revealed bilateral optic atrophy in both patients. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Mutations in OPA3 have been reported in Costeff optic atrophy syndrome. We identify a novel missense mutation in OPA3 as the cause of a complex neurological disorder, expanding the OPA3 -linked phenotype by early-onset pyramidal tract signs and marked lower limb dystonia. Investigation of optic atrophy was initiated only after genetic analysis, a phenomenon referred to as reverse phenotyping.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The barrier function of the human epidermis is supposed to be governed by lipid composition and organization in the stratum corneum. Disorders of keratinization, namely ichthyoses, are typically associated with disturbed barrier activity. Using autozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we have identified a homozygous missense mutation in CERS3 in patients with congenital ichthyosis characterized by collodion membranes at birth, generalized scaling of the skin, and mild erythroderma. We demonstrate that the mutation inactivates ceramide synthase 3 (CerS3), which is synthesized in skin and testis, in an assay of N-acylation with C26-CoA both in patient keratinocytes and using recombinant mutant proteins. Moreover, we show a specific loss of ceramides with very long acyl chains from C26 up to C34 in terminally differentiating patient keratinocytes, which is in line with findings from a recent CerS3 deficient mouse model. Analysis of reconstructed patient skin reveals disturbance of epidermal differentiation with an earlier maturation and an impairment of epidermal barrier function. Our findings demonstrate that synthesis of very long chain ceramides by CerS3 is a crucial early step for the skin barrier formation and link disorders presenting with congenital ichthyosis to defects in sphingolipid metabolism and the epidermal lipid architecture.Journal of Investigative Dermatology accepted article preview online, 2 April 2013; doi:10.1038/jid.2013.153.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology 04/2013; · 6.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegias are a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of gait disorders. Their pathological hallmark is a length-dependent distal axonopathy of nerve fibers in the corticospinal tract. Involvement of other neurons can cause additional neurological symptoms, which define a diverse set of complex hereditary spastic paraplegias. We present two siblings who have the unusual combination of early-onset spastic paraplegia, optic atrophy, and neuropathy. Genome-wide SNP-typing, linkage analysis, and exome sequencing revealed a homozygous c.316C>T (p.R106C) variant in the Trk-fused gene (TFG) as the only plausible mutation. Biochemical characterization of the mutant protein demonstrated a defect in its ability to self-assemble into an oligomeric complex, which is critical for normal TFG function. In cell lines, TFG inhibition slows protein secretion from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and alters ER morphology, disrupting organization of peripheral ER tubules and causing collapse of the ER network onto the underlying microtubule cytoskeleton. The present study provides a unique link between altered ER architecture and neurodegeneration.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs), a group of neurodegenerative movement disorders, are amongst the genetically most heterogeneous clinical conditions. Still, the >50 forms known so far apparently explain <80% of cases. The present study identified two large HSP families which seemed to show an autosomal recessive and an X-linked inheritance pattern, respectively. A set of genetic analyses including exome sequencing revealed plausible mutations only when assuming incomplete/sex-dependent penetrance of adjacent alterations in the autosomal dominant HSP gene ATL1 (c.1243C>T and c.1244G>A, respectively). By screening of additional HSP patients for the presence of these alterations we identified three more cases and obtained additional evidence for reduced penetrance. Bisulphate sequencing and haplotype analysis indicated that c.1243C and c.1244G constitute a mutational hotspot. Our findings suggest that mis-interpretation of inheritance patterns and, consequently, mis-selection of candidate genes to be screened in gene-focused approaches contribute to the apparently missing heritability in HSP and, potentially, in other genetically heterogeneous disorders.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Partial deletions of the gene encoding the neuronal splicing regulator RBFOX1 have been reported in a range of neurodevelopmental diseases, including idiopathic generalized epilepsy. The RBFOX1 protein and its homologues (RBFOX2 and RBFOX3) regulate alternative splicing of many neuronal transcripts involved in the homeostatic control of neuronal excitability. In this study, we explored if structural microdeletions and exonic sequence variations in RBFOX1, RBFOX2, RBFOX3 confer susceptibility to rolandic epilepsy (RE), a common idiopathic focal childhood epilepsy. By high-density SNP array screening of 289 unrelated RE patients, we identified two hemizygous deletions, a 365 kb deletion affecting two untranslated 5'-terminal exons of RBFOX1 and a 43 kb deletion spanning exon 3 of RBFOX3. Exome sequencing of 242 RE patients revealed two novel probably deleterious variants in RBFOX1, a frameshift mutation (p.A233Vfs*74) and a hexanucleotide deletion (p.A299_A300del), and a novel nonsense mutation in RBFOX3 (p.Y287*). Although the three variants were inherited from unaffected parents, they were present in all family members exhibiting the RE trait clinically or electroencephalographically with only one exception. In contrast, no deleterious mutations of RBFOX1 and RBFOX3 were found in the exomes of 6503 non-RE subjects deposited in the Exome Variant Server database. The observed RBFOX3 exon 3 deletion and nonsense mutation suggest that RBFOX3 represents a novel risk factor for RE, indicating that exon deletions and truncating mutations of RBFOX1 and RBFOX3 contribute to the genetic variance of partial and generalized idiopathic epilepsy syndromes.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e73323. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited disorders of vitamin B(12) (cobalamin) have provided important clues to how this vitamin, which is essential for hematological and neurological function, is transported and metabolized. We describe a new disease that results in failure to release vitamin B(12) from lysosomes, which mimics the cblF defect caused by LMBRD1 mutations. Using microcell-mediated chromosome transfer and exome sequencing, we identified causal mutations in ABCD4, a gene that codes for an ABC transporter, which was previously thought to have peroxisomal localization and function. Our results show that ABCD4 colocalizes with the lysosomal proteins LAMP1 and LMBD1, the latter of which is deficient in the cblF defect. Furthermore, we show that mutations altering the putative ATPase domain of ABCD4 affect its function, suggesting that the ATPase activity of ABCD4 may be involved in intracellular processing of vitamin B(12).
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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. · 23.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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