H H Ropers

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlín, Berlin, Germany

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Publications (239)1622.44 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorder. During the past two decades in excess of 100 X-chromosome ID genes have been identified. Yet, a large number of families mapping to the X-chromosome remained unresolved suggesting that more XLID genes or loci are yet to be identified. Here, we have investigated 405 unresolved families with XLID. We employed massively parallel sequencing of all X-chromosome exons in the index males. The majority of these males were previously tested negative for copy number variations and for mutations in a subset of known XLID genes by Sanger sequencing. In total, 745 X-chromosomal genes were screened. After stringent filtering, a total of 1297 non-recurrent exonic variants remained for prioritization. Co-segregation analysis of potential clinically relevant changes revealed that 80 families (20%) carried pathogenic variants in established XLID genes. In 19 families, we detected likely causative protein truncating and missense variants in 7 novel and validated XLID genes (CLCN4, CNKSR2, FRMPD4, KLHL15, LAS1L, RLIM and USP27X) and potentially deleterious variants in 2 novel candidate XLID genes (CDK16 and TAF1). We show that the CLCN4 and CNKSR2 variants impair protein functions as indicated by electrophysiological studies and altered differentiation of cultured primary neurons from Clcn4-/- mice or after mRNA knock-down. The newly identified and candidate XLID proteins belong to pathways and networks with established roles in cognitive function and intellectual disability in particular. We suggest that systematic sequencing of all X-chromosomal genes in a cohort of patients with genetic evidence for X-chromosome locus involvement may resolve up to 58% of Fragile X-negative cases.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 3 February 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.193.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Molecular Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: Variants in CUL4B are a known cause of syndromic X-linked intellectual disability. Here, we describe an additional 25 patients from eleven families with variants in CUL4B. We identified nine different novel variants in these families and confirmed the pathogenicity of all non-truncating variants. Neuroimaging data, available for 15 patients, showed the presence of cerebral malformations in ten patients. The cerebral anomalies comprised malformations of cortical development, ventriculomegaly and diminished white matter volume. The phenotypic heterogeneity of the cerebral malformations might result from the involvement of CUL-4B in various cellular pathways essential for normal brain development. Accordingly, we show that CUL-4B interacts with WDR62, a protein in which variants were previously identified in patients with microcephaly and a wide range of MCD. This interaction might contribute to the development of cerebral malformations in patients with variants in CUL4B.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Human Mutation
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    ABSTRACT: X-linked creatine transport (CRTR) deficiency, caused by mutations in the SLC6A8 gene, leads to intellectual disability, speech delay, epilepsy, and autistic behavior in hemizygous males. Additional diagnostic features are depleted brain creatine levels and increased creatine/creatinine ratio (cr/crn) in urine. In heterozygous females the phenotype is highly variable and diagnostic hallmarks might be inconclusive. This survey aims to explore the intrafamilial variability of clinical and brain proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) findings in males and females with CRTR deficiency. X-chromosome exome sequencing identified a novel missense mutation in the SLC6A8 gene (p.G351R) in a large family with X-linked intellectual disability. Detailed clinical investigations including neuropsychological assessment, measurement of in vivo brain creatine concentrations using quantitative MRS, and analyses of creatine metabolites in urine were performed in five clinically affected family members including three heterozygous females and one hemizygous male confirming the diagnosis of CRTR deficiency. The severe phenotype of the hemizygous male was accompanied by most distinct aberrations of brain creatine concentrations (-83% in gray and -79% in white matter of age-matched normal controls) and urinary creatine/creatinine ratio. In contrast, the heterozygous females showed varying albeit generally milder phenotypes with less severe brain creatine (-50% to -33% in gray and -45% to none in white matter) and biochemical urine abnormalities. An intrafamilial correlation between female phenotype, brain creatine depletion, and urinary creatine abnormalities was observed. The combination of powerful new technologies like exome-next-generation sequencing with thorough systematic evaluation of patients will further expand the clinical spectrum of neurometabolic diseases.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013

  • No preview · Conference Paper · May 2013
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    ABSTRACT: http://jmg.bmj.com/content/49/5/332/reply#jmedgenet_el_1730
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of Medical Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Clinical Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2012 · American Journal of Medical Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, highly heritable neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by hyperactivity, inattention and increased impulsivity. To detect micro-deletions and micro-duplications that may have a role in the pathogenesis of ADHD, we carried out a genome-wide screen for copy number variations (CNVs) in a cohort of 99 children and adolescents with severe ADHD. Using high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), a total of 17 potentially syndrome-associated CNVs were identified. The aberrations comprise 4 deletions and 13 duplications with approximate sizes ranging from 110 kb to 3 Mb. Two CNVs occurred de novo and nine were inherited from a parent with ADHD, whereas five are transmitted by an unaffected parent. Candidates include genes expressing acetylcholine-metabolizing butyrylcholinesterase (BCHE), contained in a de novo chromosome 3q26.1 deletion, and a brain-specific pleckstrin homology domain-containing protein (PLEKHB1), with an established function in primary sensory neurons, in two siblings carrying a 11q13.4 duplication inherited from their affected mother. Other genes potentially influencing ADHD-related psychopathology and involved in aberrations inherited from affected parents are the genes for the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase 1 alpha subcomplex assembly factor 2 (NDUFAF2), the brain-specific phosphodiesterase 4D isoform 6 (PDE4D6) and the neuronal glucose transporter 3 (SLC2A3). The gene encoding neuropeptide Y (NPY) was included in a approximately 3 Mb duplication on chromosome 7p15.2-15.3, and investigation of additional family members showed a nominally significant association of this 7p15 duplication with increased NPY plasma concentrations (empirical family-based association test, P=0.023). Lower activation of the left ventral striatum and left posterior insula during anticipation of large rewards or losses elicited by functional magnetic resonance imaging links gene dose-dependent increases in NPY to reward and emotion processing in duplication carriers. These findings implicate CNVs of behaviour-related genes in the pathogenesis of ADHD and are consistent with the notion that both frequent and rare variants influence the development of this common multifactorial syndrome.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 23 March 2010; doi:10.1038/mp.2010.29.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2011
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    ABSTRACT: Primary microcephaly (MCPH) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder showing an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Affected individuals present with head circumferences more than three SDs below the age- and sex-matched population mean, associated with mild to severe mental retardation. Five genes (MCPH1, CDK5RAP2, ASPM, CENPJ, STIL) and two genomic loci, MCPH2 and MCPH4, have been identified so far. In this study, we investigated all seven MCPH loci in patients with primary microcephaly from 112 Consanguineous Iranian families. In addition to a thorough clinical characterisation, karyotype analyses were performed for all patients. For Homozygosity mapping, microsatellite markers were selected for each locus and used for genotyping. Our investigation enabled us to detect homozygosity at MCPH1 (Microcephalin) in eight families, at MCPH5 (ASPM) in thirtheen families. Three families showed homozygosity at MCPH2 and five at MCPH6 (CENPJ), and two families were linked to MCPH7 (STIL). The remaining 81 families were not linked to any of the seven known loci. Subsequent sequencing revealed eight, 10 and one novel mutations in Microcephalin, ASPM and CENPJ, respectively. In some families, additional features such as short stature, seizures or congenital hearing loss were observed in the microcephalic patient, which widens the spectrum of clinical manifestations of mutations in known microcephaly genes. Our results show that the molecular basis of microcephaly is heterogeneous; thus, the Iranian population may provide a unique source for the identification of further genes underlying this disorder.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of Medical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Congenital hypothyroidism occurs in 1:3500 live births and is therefore the most common congenital endocrine disorder. A spectrum of defective thyroid morphology, termed thyroid dysgenesis (TD), represents 80% of permanent congenital hypothyroidism cases. Although several candidate genes have been implicated in thyroid development, comprehensive screens failed to detect mutation carriers in a significant number of patients with nonsyndromic TD. Due to the sporadic occurrence of TD, de novo chromosomal rearrangements are conceivably representing one of the molecular mechanisms participating in its etiology. The introduction of array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) has provided the ability to map DNA copy number variations (CNVs) genome wide with high resolution. We performed an array CGH screen of 80 TD patients to determine the role of CNVs in the etiology of the disease. We identified novel CNVs that have not been described as frequent variations in the healthy population in 8.75% of all patients. These CNVs exclusively affected patients with athyreosis or thyroid hypoplasia and were nonrecurrent, and the regions flanking the CNVs were not enriched for segmental duplications. The high rate of chromosomal changes in TD argues for an involvement of CNVs in the etiology of this disease. Yet the lack of recurrent aberrations suggests that the genetic causes of TD are heterogenous and not restricted to specific genomic hot spots. Thus, future studies may have to shift the focus from singling out specific genes to the identification of deregulated pathways as the underlying cause of the disease.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2010 · The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a truncating mutation of the UBE2A gene has been observed in a family with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) (1). The three affected males had similar phenotypes, including seizures, obesity, marked hirsutism and a characteristic facial appearance. Here, we report on two families with a total of seven patients and a clinically very similar syndromic form of XLMR. Linkage analysis was performed in the larger of these families, and screening several positional candidate genes revealed a G23R missense mutation in the UBE2A gene. Subsequent UBE2A screening of a phenotypically similar second family revealed another missense mutation, R11Q, again affecting an evolutionarily conserved amino acid close to the N-terminus of the protein. SIFT and PolyPhen analyses suggest that both mutations are pathogenic, which is supported by their absence in 168 healthy controls. Thus, both missense and truncating mutations can give rise to a specific, syndromic form of XLMR which is identifiable in a clinical setting.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2010 · Clinical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the UPF3B gene, which encodes a protein involved in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, have recently been described in four families with specific (Lujan-Fryns and FG syndromes), nonspecific X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) and autism. To further elucidate the contribution of UPF3B to mental retardation (MR), we screened its coding sequence in 397 families collected by the EuroMRX consortium. We identified one nonsense mutation, c.1081C>T/p.Arg361(*), in a family with nonspecific MR (MRX62) and two amino-acid substitutions in two other, unrelated families with MR and/or autism (c.1136G>A/p.Arg379His and c.1103G>A/p.Arg368Gln). Functional studies using lymphoblastoid cell lines from affected patients revealed that c.1081C>T mutation resulted in UPF3B mRNA degradation and consequent absence of the UPF3B protein. We also studied the subcellular localization of the wild-type and mutated UPF3B proteins in mouse primary hippocampal neurons. We did not detect any obvious difference in the localization between the wild-type UPF3B and the proteins carrying the two missense changes identified. However, we show that UPF3B is widely expressed in neurons and also presents in dendritic spines, which are essential structures for proper neurotransmission and thus learning and memory processes. Our results demonstrate that in addition to Lujan-Fryns and FG syndromes, UPF3B protein truncation mutations can cause also nonspecific XLMR. We also identify comorbidity of MR and autism in another family with UPF3B mutation. The neuronal localization pattern of the UPF3B protein and its function in mRNA surveillance suggests a potential function in the regulation of the expression and degradation of various mRNAs present at the synapse.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Molecular Psychiatry
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we report a female patient with an interstitial duplication of a region (10q22-q23) which is rarely reported in the literature. We fine mapped the aberration with array CGH, which revealed an 18.6-Mb duplication, covering 89 annotated genes, at 10q22.2-q23.33. There were no other deletions or duplications elsewhere in the genome. The main clinical features of the patient are microcephaly and congenital heart disease, which are likely to be caused by dosage effect of one or several genes in the duplicated region. Similar phenotypes have been found in other patients with 10q11-q22 duplications and in two out of three patients with 10q22-q25 duplications. However, most of the duplication cases were investigated only by conventional chromosome analyses, and fine mapping of these and other duplications of 10q22-q23 are warranted for genotype-phenotype comparisons.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2008 · European Journal of Medical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we present a 38-year-old woman with an interstitial deletion of 4p15.1-15.3, mild mental retardation, epilepsy and polymicrogyria adjacent to an arachnoid cyst of the left temporal lobe. The deletion was ascertained through array-comparative genome hybridization screening of patients with epilepsy and brain malformations. To date, about 35 patients with cytogenetically visible deletions involving 4p15 and without Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome have been described, but the extent of the deletions has not been determined in the majority of these cases. The clinical manifestations of the patient described in this study were similar but not identical to the previously reported cases with 4p15 interstitial deletions. This finding indicates the presence of one or more genes involved in brain development and epilepsy in this chromosome region.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2008 · Clinical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome (ARS) is a genetically heterogeneous autosomal dominant disorder mainly characterized by developmental defects of the anterior segment and extraocular anomalies. ARS shows great clinical variability and encompasses several conditions with overlapping phenotypes, including Rieger syndrome (RS). RS is characterized by developmental defects of the eyes, teeth and umbilicus, and the main causative gene is PITX2 (paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 2, or RIEG1) at 4q25. PITX2 mutations show great variety, from point mutations to microscopic or submicroscopic deletions, and apparently balanced translocations in few cases. We identified cytogenetically undetectable submicroscopic deletions at 4q25 in two unrelated patients diagnosed with RS. One patient had a t(4;17)(q25;q22)dn translocation with a deletion at the 4q breakpoint, and the other patient had an interstitial deletion of 4q25. Both deletions included only the PITX2 and ENPEP (glutamyl aminopeptidase) genes.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2007 · Clinical Genetics
  • A. Tzschach · H.-H. Ropers
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Mental retardation (MR) has a prevalence of about 2 % and constitutes one of the major unsolved medical problems. MR arises from genetic defects in more than 50 % of patients. Methods: Selected literature review. Results: Chromosomal aberrations are a major cause of MR. New molecular genetic and molecular cytogenetic techniques allow even submicroscopic chromosomal aberrations to be detected. The gene defects underlying many syndromic forms of MR have been elucidated in recent years, whereas insight into non specific (non-syndromic) MR is restricted almost exclusively to the X-chromosome. The Fragile-X-syndrome is the most frequent monogenic cause of MR in males. A more broadly based search for autosomal gene defects in non-syndromic MR has recently begun. Discussion: The elucidation of gene defects in MR improves the diagnosis and management of patients and facilitates genetic counselling of their parents. In the long run, this research will also have therapeutic implications.
    No preview · Article · May 2007 · Deutsches Arzteblatt

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2007 · European Neuropsychopharmacology
  • A. Tzschach · H.-H. Ropers
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    ABSTRACT: Mental retardation (MR) is the most frequent reason for referral to genetic services. With a prevalence of -2% it constitutes a major health problem. 10% of male MR patients are affected by X-linked mental retardation (XLMR). The underlying genetic defects were elucidated in approximately 50% of syndromic XLMR forms in recent years; and 24 genes involved in non-syndromic XLMR were found. Profound heterogeneity and a low frequency of mutations in each individual gene are major obstacles for routine diagnostic purposes. The introduction of new technologies for cost-efficient mutation analysis will broaden the diagnostic applications in the near future. The elucidation of XLMR genes has offered new insights into the molecular basis of brain function and will provide starting points for future therapeutic strategies.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2006 · Medizinische Genetik
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the human ARX gene have been shown to cause nonsyndromic X-linked mental retardation (MRX) as well as syndromic forms such as X-linked lissencephaly with abnormal genitalia (XLAG), Partington syndrome and X-linked infantile spasm. The most common causative mutation, a duplication of 24 bp, was found in families with a variety of phenotypes, but not in the more severe XLAG phenotypes. The aim of the study was to access the frequency of ARX mutations in families with established or putative X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) collected by the European XLMR Consortium. We screened the entire coding region of ARX for mutations in 197 novel XLMR families by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography, and we identified eight mutations (six c.428_451dup24, one insertion and one novel missense mutation p.P38S). To better define the prevalence of ARX mutations, we included previously reported results of 157 XLMR families. Together, these data showed the relatively high rate (9.5%) of ARX mutations in X-linked MR families and an expectedly low rate in families with affected brother pairs (2.2%). This study confirms that the frequency of ARX mutations is high in XLMR, and the analysis of ARX in MRX should not be limited to duplication.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2006 · Neurogenetics

Publication Stats

10k Citations
1,622.44 Total Impact Points


  • 1996-2015
    • Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
      • Department of Human Molecular Genetics
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 2007
    • Max Planck Institute for Informatics
      Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany
  • 1986-1999
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • Department of Human Genetics
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
    • University of Bonn
      • Institute of Human Genetics
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1990-1998
    • UMC St. Radboud Nijmegen
      • Department of Human Genetics
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 1994
    • Vanderbilt University
      Нашвилл, Michigan, United States
  • 1993
    • Princeton University
      Princeton, New Jersey, United States
    • University of Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1989
    • The University of Western Ontario
      London, Ontario, Canada
  • 1988
    • University of Oxford
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
    • The John F. Kennedy Institute, Denmark
      Glostrup, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 1976-1985
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Human Genetics
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1982-1984
    • Center for Human Genetics Freiburg
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1983
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Medicine
      Seattle, Washington, United States