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  • 1
    Abstract: We have identified mutations in the phosphorylase kinase (Phk) beta subunit gene in a male patient with liver glycogenosis caused by Phk deficiency. The patient's DNA has been analyzed for mutations in the genes encoding the alpha L, beta, and gamma TL subunits of Phk, all of which can be responsible for liver glycogenosis, by a strategy primarily based on reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction of blood RNA and complemented by analysis of genomic DNA. His alpha L and gamma TL coding sequences are normal, whereas he is compound-heterozygous for two mutations in the beta subunit gene, PHKB. The first is a splice-site mutation (IVS4 [-2A--〉G]) causing the reading-frame-disrupting deletion of exon 5 in the mRNA from this allele. The second is an Ala117Pro missense mutation, also in exon 5. This is the first missense mutation identified in PHKB, as opposed to nine translation-terminating mutations described to date. It offers an explanation for the unique biochemical phenotype of this patient. In his leukocytes, low Phk activity is measured when tested with the endogenous liver isoform of phosphorylase as the protein substrate, but normal activity is observed when tested with muscle phosphorylase added in vitro. In contrast, Phk activity in his erythrocytes is low with both substrates. The missense mutation may selectively impair the interaction of Phk with one isoform of its substrate protein and may destabilize the enzyme in a cell-type-specific way. This phenotype shares some aspects with X-linked liver glycogenosis subtype 2 (XLG2), a variant of liver Phk deficiency arising from missense mutations in the alpha L subunit gene (PHKA2), but differs from XLG2 in other respects. The present case demonstrates that mutations in Phk genes other than PHKA2 can also be associated with untypically high activity in certain blood cell types. Moreover, it emphasizes that missense mutations in Phk may cause unusual patterns of tissue involvement that would not be predicted a priori from the tissue specificity of expression of the mutated gene sequences.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 9402963
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  • 2
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; POPULATION ; RISK ; GENE ; POLYMORPHISMS ; SCHIZOPHRENIA ; COPY NUMBER ; SNP ; NEURONS ; MENTAL-RETARDATION ; GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION ; GLUTAMATE-RECEPTOR-6 GENE ; LINKAGE ANALYSES ; RUNS
    Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (round 90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21996756
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  • 3
    Keywords: GENE ; DELETION ; COMPARATIVE GENOMIC HYBRIDIZATION ; IN-SITU HYBRIDIZATION ; TRANSLOCATION ; HEART-DISEASE ; CLINICAL-APPLICATION ; CHROMOSOMAL REARRANGEMENTS ; IDIOPATHIC MENTAL-RETARDATION ; DE-LANGE-SYNDROME
    Abstract: Cryptic subtelomeric chromosome rearrangements are a major cause of mild to severe mental retardation pointing out the necessity of sensitive screening techniques to detect such aberrations among affected patients. In this prospective study a group of 30 patients with unexplained developmental retardation and dysmorphic features or congenital abnormalities were analysed using the recently published multiplex FISH telomere (M-TEL) integrity assay in combination with conventional G-banding analysis. The patients were selected by one or more of the following criteria defined by de Vries et al.: (a) family history with two or more affected individuals, (b) prenatal onset growth retardation, (c) postnatal growth abnormalities, (d) facial dysmorphic features, (e) non-facial dysmorphism and congenital abnormalities. In addition, we included two patients who met these criteria and revealed questionable chromosome regions requiring further clarification. In four patients (13.3%) cryptic chromosome aberrations were successfully determined by the M-TEL integrity assay and in two patients with abnormal chromosome regions intrachromosomal aberrations were characterized by targetted FISH experiments. Our results accentuate the requirement of strict selection criteria prior to patient testing with the M-TEL integrity assay. Another essential precondition is high-quality banding analysis to identify structural abnormal chromosomes. The detection of familial balanced translocation carriers in 50% of the cases emphasizes the significance of such an integrated approach for genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 12136233
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  • 4
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELL ; IDENTIFICATION ; REGION ; REPLICATION ; MOLECULAR-BASIS ; FRA3B ; FHIT GENE ; CHROMOSOME BREAKAGE ; DNA INSTABILITY
    Abstract: Common fragile sites (cFSs) are non-random chromosomal regions that are prone to breakage under conditions of replication stress. DNA damage and chromosomal alterations at cFSs appear to be critical events in the development of various human diseases, especially carcinogenesis. Despite the growing interest in understanding the nature of cFS instability, only a few cFSs have been molecularly characterised. In this study, we fine-mapped the location of FRA2H using six-colour fluorescence in situ hybridisation and showed that it is one of the most active cFSs in the human genome. FRA2H encompasses approximately 530 kb of a gene-poor region containing a novel large intergenic non-coding RNA gene (AC097500.2). Using custom-designed array comparative genomic hybridisation, we detected gross and submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements involving FRA2H in a panel of 54 neuroblastoma, colon and breast cancer cell lines. The genomic alterations frequently involved different classes of long terminal repeats and long interspersed nuclear elements. An analysis of breakpoint junction sequence motifs predominantly revealed signatures of microhomology-mediated non-homologous recombination events. Our data provide insight into the molecular structure of cFSs and sequence motifs affected by their activation in cancer. Identifying cFS sequences will accelerate the search for DNA biomarkers and targets for individualised therapies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22476624
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  • 5
    Keywords: POPULATION ; RISK ; BREAST-CANCER ; COLON-CANCER ; BODY-MASS INDEX ; susceptibility loci ; WHOLE-GENOME ; CASE-ONLY DESIGNS ; ASSOCIATION SCAN ; CHROMOSOME 11Q
    Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC), one of the most frequent neoplasias worldwide, has both genetic and environmental causes. As yet, however, gene-environment (G x E) interactions in CRC have been studied mostly for a small number of candidate genes only. Therefore, we investigated the possible interaction, in CRC etiology, between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the one hand, and overweight, smoking and alcohol consumption on the other, at a genome-wide level. To this end, we adopted a two-tiered approach comprising a case-only screening stage I (314 cases) and a case-control validation stage II (259 cases, 1,002 controls). Interactions with the smallest p value in stage I were verified in stage II using multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for sex and age. In addition, we specifically studied known CRC-associated SNPs for possible G x E interactions. Upon adjustment for sex and age, and after allowing for multiple testing, however, only a single SNP (rs1944511) was found to be involved in a statistically significant interaction, namely with overweight (multiplicity-corrected p = 0.042 in stage II). Several other G x E interactions were nominally significant but failed correction for multiple testing, including a previously reported interaction between rs9929218 and alcohol consumption that also emerged in our candidate SNP study (nominal p = 0.008). Notably, none of the interactions identified in our genome-wide analysis was with a previously reported CRC-associated SNP. Our study therefore highlights the potential of an "agnostic" genome-wide approach to G x E analysis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23114982
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  • 6
    Keywords: RISK ; POLYMORPHISMS ; SMOKERS ; MICROSOMAL EPOXIDE HYDROLASE ; LOCUS ; RECOMMENDATIONS ; GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION ; 5P15.33 ; SYSTEMIC-LUPUS ; HAPMAP
    Abstract: Recent evidence suggests that inflammation plays a pivotal role in the development of lung cancer. In this study, we used a two-stage approach to investigate associations between genetic variants in inflammation pathways and lung cancer risk based on genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. A total of 7,650 sequence variants from 720 genes relevant to inflammation pathways were identified using keyword and pathway searches from Gene Cards and Gene Ontology databases. In Stage 1, six GWAS datasets from the International Lung Cancer Consortium were pooled (4,441 cases and 5,094 controls of European ancestry), and a hierarchical modeling (HM) approach was used to incorporate prior information for each of the variants into the analysis. The prior matrix was constructed using (1) role of genes in the inflammation and immune pathways; (2) physical properties of the variants including the location of the variants, their conservation scores and amino acid coding; (3) LD with other functional variants and (4) measures of heterogeneity across the studies. HM affected the priority ranking of variants particularly among those having low prior weights, imprecise estimates and/or heterogeneity across studies. In Stage 2, we used an independent NCI lung cancer GWAS study (5,699 cases and 5,818 controls) for in silico replication. We identified one novel variant at the level corrected for multiple comparisons (rs2741354 in EPHX2 at 8q21.1 with p value = 7.4 x 10(-6)), and confirmed the associations between TERT (rs2736100) and the HLA region and lung cancer risk. HM allows for prior knowledge such as from bioinformatic sources to be incorporated into the analysis systematically, and it represents a complementary analytical approach to the conventional GWAS analysis.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23370545
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  • 7
    Keywords: DISEASE ; RISK ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; ACCURACY ; PHENOTYPES ; OBESITY ; CHROMOSOMES ; SNPs ; METAANALYSIS ; LOCI
    Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a complex disease, and therefore its development is determined by the combination of both environmental factors and genetic variants. Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of SNP variation have conveniently identified 20 genetic variants so far, a significant proportion of the observed heritability is yet to be explained. Common copy-number variants (CNVs) are one of the most important genomic sources of variability, and hence a potential source to explain part of this missing genetic fraction. Therefore, we have performed a GWAS on CNVs to explore the relationship between common structural variation and CRC development. Phase 1 of the GWAS consisted of 881 cases and 667 controls from a Spanish cohort. Copy-number status was validated by quantitative PCR for each of those common CNVs potentially associated with CRC in phase I. Subsequently, SNPs were chosen as proxies for the validated CNVs for phase II replication (1,342 Spanish cases and 1,874 Spanish controls). Four common CNVs were found to be associated with CRC and were further replicated in Phase II. Finally, we found that SNP rs1944682, tagging a 11q11 CNV, was nominally associated with CRC susceptibility (p value = 0.039; OR = 1.122). This locus has been previously related to extreme obesity phenotypes, which could suggest a relationship between body weight and CRC susceptibility.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24218287
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  • 8
    Keywords: IN-SITU HYBRIDIZATION ; CHINESE-HAMSTER CELLS ; HIGH-RESOLUTION ; IMMUNOCYTOCHEMICAL LOCALIZATION ; INSITU SUPPRESSION HYBRIDIZATION ; FUNCTIONAL NUCLEAR ARCHITECTURE ; HUMAN-Y-CHROMOSOME ; STRUCTURED ILLUMINATION MICROSCOPY ; UNIVERSAL DNA-AMPLIFICATION ; ULTRAVIOLET-LASER MICROBEAM
    Abstract: In line with the intentions of an issue celebrating the 50th anniversary of Human Genetics, we focus on a series of frequently cited studies published in this journal during the 1980s and 1990s. These studies have contributed to the rise of molecular cytogenetics. They yielded evidence that chromosomes occupy distinct territories in the mammalian cell nucleus, first obtained with laser-UV-microbeam experiments and thereafter with chromosome painting, and contributed to the development of interphase cytogenetics and comparative genome hybridization. We provide a personal account of experimental concepts, which were developed by us and others, and describe some of the unforeseeable turns and obstacles, which we had to overcome on the way towards an experimental realization. We conclude with a perspective on current developments and goals of molecular cytogenetics.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24504674
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  • 9
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; GENE ; BREAST-CANCER ; OVARIAN-CANCER ; PROSTATE-CANCER ; telomere length ; COMMON VARIANT ; susceptibility loci ; GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION ; FUNCTIONAL VARIATION
    Abstract: Several studies have reported associations between multiple cancer types and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 5p15, which harbours TERT and CLPTM1L, but no such association has been reported with endometrial cancer. To evaluate the role of genetic variants at the TERT-CLPTM1L region in endometrial cancer risk, we carried out comprehensive fine-mapping analyses of genotyped and imputed SNPs using a custom Illumina iSelect array which includes dense SNP coverage of this region. We examined 396 SNPs (113 genotyped, 283 imputed) in 4,401 endometrial cancer cases and 28,758 controls. Single-SNP and forward/backward logistic regression models suggested evidence for three variants independently associated with endometrial cancer risk (P = 4.9 x 10(-6) to P = 7.7 x 10(-5)). Only one falls into a haplotype previously associated with other cancer types (rs7705526, in TERT intron 1), and this SNP has been shown to alter TERT promoter activity. One of the novel associations (rs13174814) maps to a second region in the TERT promoter and the other (rs62329728) is in the promoter region of CLPTM1L; neither are correlated with previously reported cancer-associated SNPs. Using TCGA RNASeq data, we found significantly increased expression of both TERT and CLPTM1L in endometrial cancer tissue compared with normal tissue (TERT P = 1.5 x 10(-18), CLPTM1L P = 1.5 x 10(-19)). Our study thus reports a novel endometrial cancer risk locus and expands the spectrum of cancer types associated with genetic variation at 5p15, further highlighting the importance of this region for cancer susceptibility.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25487306
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  • 10
    Abstract: The coordinated tissue-specific regulation of gene expression is essential for the proper development of all organisms. Mutations in multiple transcriptional regulators cause a group of neurodevelopmental disorders termed "transcriptomopathies" that share core phenotypical features including growth retardation, developmental delay, intellectual disability and facial dysmorphism. Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) belongs to this class of disorders and is caused by mutations in different subunits or regulators of the cohesin complex. Herein, we report on the clinical and molecular characterization of seven patients with features overlapping with CdLS who were found to carry mutations in chromatin regulators previously associated to other neurodevelopmental disorders that are frequently considered in the differential diagnosis of CdLS. The identified mutations affect the methyltransferase-encoding genes KMT2A and SETD5 and different subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Complementary to this, a patient with Coffin-Siris syndrome was found to carry a missense substitution in NIPBL. Our findings indicate that mutations in a variety of chromatin-associated factors result in overlapping clinical phenotypes, underscoring the genetic heterogeneity that should be considered when assessing the clinical and molecular diagnosis of neurodevelopmental syndromes. It is clear that emerging molecular mechanisms of chromatin dysregulation are central to understanding the pathogenesis of these clinically overlapping genetic disorders.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28120103
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