Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hot off the presses! Mar 11 Am J Hum Genet

The Mar 11 issue of the Am J Hum Genet is now up on Pubget (About Am J Hum Genet): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • This Month in The Journal
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):249-250 (2011)
  • This Month in Genetics
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):251-252 (2011)
  • 2010 ASHG Awards and Addresses
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):253 (2011)
    Each year at the annual meeting of The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), addresses are given in honor of The Society and a number of award winners. A summary of each of these addresses is given below. On the next pages, we have printed the Presidential Address and the addresses for the William Allan Award and the Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award. Webcasts of these addresses, as well as webcasts of many other presentations, can be found at
  • 2010 Presidential Address: Culture: The Silent Language Geneticists Must Learn— Genetic Research with Indigenous Populations
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):254-261 (2011)
  • 2010 William Allan Award Introduction: Jürg Ott
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):262-263 (2011)
  • William Allan Award Address: On the Role and Soul of a Statistical Geneticist
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):264-268 (2011)
  • 2010 Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award Introduction and Address
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):269-272 (2011)
  • Genome-wide Studies of Copy Number Variation and Exome Sequencing Identify Rare Variants in BAG3 as a Cause of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):273-282 (2011)
    Dilated cardiomyopathy commonly causes heart failure and is the most frequent precipitating cause of heart transplantation. Familial dilated cardiomyopathy has been shown to be caused by rare variant mutations in more than 30 genes but only 35% of its genetic cause has been identified, principally by using linkage-based or candidate gene discovery approaches. In a multigenerational family with autosomal dominant transmission, we employed whole-exome sequencing in a proband and three of his affected family members, and genome-wide copy number variation in the proband and his affected father and unaffected mother. Exome sequencing identified 428 single point variants resulting in missense, nonsense, or splice site changes. Genome-wide copy number analysis identified 51 insertion deletions and 440 copy number variants > 1 kb. Of these, a 8733 bp deletion, encompassing exon 4 of the heat shock protein cochaperone BCL2-associated athanogene 3 (BAG3), was found in seven affe! cted family members and was absent in 355 controls. To establish the relevance of variants in this protein class in genetic DCM, we sequenced the coding exons in BAG3 in 311 other unrelated DCM probands and identified one frameshift, two nonsense, and four missense rare variants absent in 355 control DNAs, four of which were familial and segregated with disease. Knockdown of bag3 in a zebrafish model recapitulated DCM and heart failure. We conclude that new comprehensive genomic approaches have identified rare variants in BAG3 as causative of DCM.
  • GATES: A Rapid and Powerful Gene-Based Association Test Using Extended Simes Procedure
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):283-293 (2011)
    The gene has been proposed as an attractive unit of analysis for association studies, but a simple yet valid, powerful, and sufficiently fast method of evaluating the statistical significance of all genes in large, genome-wide datasets has been lacking. Here we propose the use of an extended Simes test that integrates functional information and association evidence to combine the p values of the single nucleotide polymorphisms within a gene to obtain an overall p value for the association of the entire gene. Our computer simulations demonstrate that this test is more powerful than the SNP-based test, offers effective control of the type 1 error rate regardless of gene size and linkage-disequilibrium pattern among markers, and does not need permutation or simulation to evaluate empirical significance. Its statistical power in simulated data is at least comparable, and often superior, to that of several alternative gene-based tests. When applied to real genome-wide assoc! iation study (GWAS) datasets on Crohn disease, the test detected more significant genes than SNP-based tests and alternative gene-based tests. The proposed test, implemented in an open-source package, has the potential to identify additional novel disease-susceptibility genes for complex diseases from large GWAS datasets.
  • Estimating Missing Heritability for Disease from Genome-wide Association Studies
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):294-305 (2011)
    Genome-wide association studies are designed to discover SNPs that are associated with a complex trait. Employing strict significance thresholds when testing individual SNPs avoids false positives at the expense of increasing false negatives. Recently, we developed a method for quantitative traits that estimates the variation accounted for when fitting all SNPs simultaneously. Here we develop this method further for case-control studies. We use a linear mixed model for analysis of binary traits and transform the estimates to a liability scale by adjusting both for scale and for ascertainment of the case samples. We show by theory and simulation that the method is unbiased. We apply the method to data from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium and show that a substantial proportion of variation in liability for Crohn disease, bipolar disorder, and type I diabetes is tagged by common SNPs.
  • Excess of De Novo Deleterious Mutations in Genes Associated with Glutamatergic Systems in Nonsyndromic Intellectual Disability
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):306-316 (2011)
    Little is known about the genetics of nonsyndromic intellectual disability (NSID). We hypothesized that de novo mutations (DNMs) in synaptic genes explain an important fraction of sporadic NSID cases. In order to investigate this possibility, we sequenced 197 genes encoding glutamate receptors and a large subset of their known interacting proteins in 95 sporadic cases of NSID. We found 11 DNMs, including ten potentially deleterious mutations (three nonsense, two splicing, one frameshift, four missense) and one neutral mutation (silent) in eight different genes. Calculation of point-substitution DNM rates per functional and neutral site showed significant excess of functional DNMs compared to neutral ones. De novo truncating and/or splicing mutations in SYNGAP1, STXBP1, and SHANK3 were found in six patients and are likely to be pathogenic. De novo missense mutations were found in KIF1A, GRIN1, CACNG2, and EPB41L1. Functional studies showed that all these missense mutati! ons affect protein function in cell culture systems, suggesting that they may be pathogenic. Sequencing these four genes in 50 additional sporadic cases of NSID identified a second DNM in GRIN1 (c.1679_1681dup/p.Ser560dup). This mutation also affects protein function, consistent with structural predictions. None of these mutations or any other DNMs were identified in these genes in 285 healthy controls. This study highlights the importance of the glutamate receptor complexes in NSID and further supports the role of DNMs in this disorder.
  • Population-Genetic Properties of Differentiated Human Copy-Number Polymorphisms
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):317-332 (2011)
    Copy-number variants (CNVs) can reach appreciable frequencies in the human population, and recent discoveries have shown that several of these copy-number polymorphisms (CNPs) are associated with human diseases, including lupus, psoriasis, Crohn disease, and obesity. Despite new advances, significant biases remain in terms of CNP discovery and genotyping. We developed a method based on single-channel intensity data and benchmarked against copy numbers determined from sequencing read depth to successfully obtain CNP genotypes for 1495 CNPs from 487 human DNA samples of diverse ethnic backgrounds. This microarray contained CNPs in segmental duplication-rich regions and insertions of sequences not represented in the reference genome assembly or on standard SNP microarray platforms. We observe that CNPs in segmental duplications are more likely to be population differentiated than CNPs in unique regions (p = 0.015) and that biallelic CNPs show greater stratification when c! ompared to frequency-matched SNPs (p = 0.0026). Although biallelic CNPs show a strong correlation of copy number with flanking SNP genotypes, the majority of multicopy CNPs do not (40% with r > 0.8). We selected a subset of CNPs for further characterization in 1876 additional samples from 62 populations; this revealed striking population-differentiated structural variants in genes of clinical significance such as OCLN, a tight junction protein involved in hepatitis C viral entry. Our microarray design allows these variants to be rapidly tested for disease association and our results suggest that CNPs (especially those that cannot be imputed from SNP genotypes) might have contributed disproportionately to human diversity and selection.
  • CNNM2, Encoding a Basolateral Protein Required for Renal Mg2+ Handling, Is Mutated in Dominant Hypomagnesemia
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):333-343 (2011)
    Familial hypomagnesemia is a rare human disorder caused by renal or intestinal magnesium (Mg2+) wasting, which may lead to symptoms of Mg2+ depletion such as tetany, seizures, and cardiac arrhythmias. Our knowledge of the physiology of Mg2+ (re)absorption, particularly the luminal uptake of Mg2+ along the nephron, has benefitted from positional cloning approaches in families with Mg2+ reabsorption disorders; however, basolateral Mg2+ transport and its regulation are still poorly understood. Here, by using a candidate screening approach, we identified CNNM2 as a gene involved in renal Mg2+ handling in patients of two unrelated families with unexplained dominant hypomagnesemia. In the kidney, CNNM2 was predominantly found along the basolateral membrane of distal tubular segments involved in Mg2+ reabsorption. The basolateral localization of endogenous and recombinant CNNM2 was confirmed in epithelial kidney cell lines. Electrophysiological analysis showed that CNNM2 medi! ated Mg2+-sensitive Na+ currents that were significantly diminished in mutant protein and were blocked by increased extracellular Mg2+ concentrations. Our data support the findings of a recent genome-wide association study showing the CNNM2 locus to be associated with serum Mg2+ concentrations. The mutations found in CNNM2, its observed sensitivity to extracellular Mg2+, and its basolateral localization signify a critical role for CNNM2 in epithelial Mg2+ transport.
  • DPY19L2 Deletion as a Major Cause of Globozoospermia
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):344-350 (2011)
    Globozoospermia, characterized by round-headed spermatozoa, is a rare (< 0.1% in male infertile patients) and severe teratozoospermia consisting primarily of spermatozoa lacking an acrosome. Studying a Jordanian consanguineous family in which five brothers were diagnosed with complete globozoospermia, we showed that the four out of five analyzed infertile brothers carried a homozygous deletion of 200 kb on chromosome 12 encompassing only DPY19L2. Very similar deletions were found in three additional unrelated patients, suggesting that DPY19L2 deletion is a major cause of globozoospermia, given that 19% (4 of 21) of the analyzed patients had such deletion. The deletion is most probably due to a nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR), because the gene is surrounded by two low copy repeats (LCRs). We found DPY19L2 deletion in patients from three different origins and two different breakpoints, strongly suggesting that the deletion results from recurrent events linked ! to the specific architectural feature of this locus rather than from a founder effect, without fully excluding a recent founder effect. DPY19L2 is associated with a complete form of globozoospermia, as is the case for the first two genes found to be associated with globozoospermia, SPATA16 or PICK1. However, in contrast to SPATA16, for which no pregnancy was reported, pregnancies were achieved, via intracytoplasmic sperm injection, for two patients with DPY19L2 deletion, who then fathered three children.
  • A Recurrent Deletion of DPY19L2 Causes Infertility in Man by Blocking Sperm Head Elongation and Acrosome Formation
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):351-361 (2011)
    An increasing number of couples require medical assistance to achieve a pregnancy, and more than 2% of the births in Western countries now result from assisted reproductive technologies. To identify genetic variants responsible for male infertility, we performed a whole-genome SNP scan on patients presenting with total globozoospermia, a primary infertility phenotype characterized by the presence of 100% round acrosomeless spermatozoa in the ejaculate. This strategy allowed us to identify in most patients (15/20) a 200 kb homozygous deletion encompassing only DPY19L2, which is highly expressed in the testis. Although there was no known function for DPY19L2 in humans, previous work indicated that its ortholog in C. elegans is involved in cell polarity. In man, the DPY19L2 region has been described as a copy-number variant (CNV) found to be duplicated and heterozygously deleted in healthy individuals. We show here that the breakpoints of the deletions are located on a hi! ghly homologous 28 kb low copy repeat (LCR) sequence present on each side of DPY19L2, indicating that the identified deletions were probably produced by nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between these two regions. We demonstrate that patients with globozoospermia have a homozygous deletion of DPY19L2, thus indicating that DPY19L2 is necessary in men for sperm head elongation and acrosome formation. A molecular diagnosis can now be proposed to affected men; the presence of the deletion confirms the diagnosis of globozoospermia and assigns a poor prognosis for the success of in vitro fertilization.
  • Exome Sequencing Identifies Truncating Mutations in Human SERPINF1 in Autosomal-Recessive Osteogenesis Imperfecta
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):362-371 (2011)
    Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a heterogeneous genetic disorder characterized by bone fragility and susceptibility to fractures after minimal trauma. After mutations in all known OI genes had been excluded by Sanger sequencing, we applied next-generation sequencing to analyze the exome of a single individual who has a severe form of the disease and whose parents are second cousins. A total of 26,922 variations from the human reference genome sequence were subjected to several filtering steps. In addition, we extracted the genotypes of all dbSNP130-annotated SNPs from the exome sequencing data and used these 299,494 genotypes as markers for the genome-wide identification of homozygous regions. A single homozygous truncating mutation, affecting SERPINF1 on chromosome 17p13.3, that was embedded into a homozygous stretch of 2.99 Mb remained. The mutation was also homozygous in the affected brother of the index patient. Subsequently, we identified homozygosity for two diff! erent truncating SERPINF1 mutations in two unrelated patients with OI and parental consanguinity. All four individuals with SERPINF1 mutations have severe OI. Fractures of long bones and severe vertebral compression fractures with resulting deformities were observed as early as the first year of life in these individuals. Collagen analyses with cultured dermal fibroblasts displayed no evidence for impaired collagen folding, posttranslational modification, or secretion. SERPINF1 encodes pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a secreted glycoprotein of the serpin superfamily. PEDF is a multifunctional protein and one of the strongest inhibitors of angiogenesis currently known in humans. Our data provide genetic evidence for PEDF involvement in human bone homeostasis.
  • Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Genetic Variation in Neurocan as a Susceptibility Factor for Bipolar Disorder
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):372-381 (2011)
    We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and a follow-up study of bipolar disorder (BD), a common neuropsychiatric disorder. In the GWAS, we investigated 499,494 autosomal and 12,484 X-chromosomal SNPs in 682 patients with BD and in 1300 controls. In the first follow-up step, we tested the most significant 48 SNPs in 1729 patients with BD and in 2313 controls. Eight SNPs showed nominally significant association with BD and were introduced to a meta-analysis of the GWAS and the first follow-up samples. Genetic variation in the neurocan gene (NCAN) showed genome-wide significant association with BD in 2411 patients and 3613 controls (rs1064395, p = 3.02 × 10−8; odds ratio = 1.31). In a second follow-up step, we replicated this finding in independent samples of BD, totaling 6030 patients and 31,749 controls (p = 2.74 × 10−4; odds ratio = 1.12). The combined analysis of all study samples yielded a p value of 2.14 × 10−9 (odds ratio = 1.17). Our results ! provide evidence that rs1064395 is a common risk factor for BD. NCAN encodes neurocan, an extracellular matrix glycoprotein, which is thought to be involved in cell adhesion and migration. We found that expression in mice is localized within cortical and hippocampal areas. These areas are involved in cognition and emotion regulation and have previously been implicated in BD by neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and postmortem studies.
  • Autosomal-Recessive Posterior Microphthalmos Is Caused by Mutations in PRSS56, a Gene Encoding a Trypsin-Like Serine Protease
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):382-390 (2011)
    Posterior microphthalmos (MCOP) is a rare isolated developmental anomaly of the eye characterized by extreme hyperopia due to short axial length. The population of the Faroe Islands shows a high prevalence of an autosomal-recessive form (arMCOP) of the disease. Based on published linkage data, we refined the position of the disease locus (MCOP6) in an interval of 250 kb in chromosome 2q37.1 in two large Faroese families. We detected three different mutations in PRSS56. Patients of the Faroese families were either homozygous for c.926G>C (p.Trp309Ser) or compound heterozygous for c.926G>C and c.526C>G (p.Arg176Gly), whereas a homozygous 1 bp duplication (c.1066dupC) was identified in five patients with arMCOP from a consanguineous Tunisian family. In one patient with MCOP from the Faroe Islands and in another one from Turkey, no PRSS56 mutation was detected, suggesting nonallelic heterogeneity of the trait. Using RT-PCR, PRSS56 transcripts were detected in samples deriv! ed from the human adult retina, cornea, sclera, and optic nerve. The expression of the mouse ortholog could be first detected in the eye at E17 and was maintained into adulthood. The predicted PRSS56 protein is a 603 amino acid long secreted trypsin-like serine peptidase. The c.1066dupC is likely to result in a functional null allele, whereas the two point mutations predict the replacement of evolutionary conserved and functionally important residues. Molecular modeling of the p.Trp309Ser mutant suggests that both the affinity and reactivity of the enzyme toward in vivo protein substrates are likely to be substantially reduced.
  • AIMP1/p43 Mutation and PMLD
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):391 (2011)
  • Neurodegenerative Disorder Related to AIMP1/p43 Mutation Is Not a PMLD
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):392-393 (2011)
  • Response to Biancheri et al. and Boepsflug-Tanguy et al.: AIMP1/p43 Connatal PMLD
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):393-395 (2011)
  • Genome-wide Association Study Identifies Genetic Variation in Neurocan as a Susceptibility Factor for Bipolar Disorder
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(3):396 (2011)

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