Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hot off the presses! Apr 08 Am J Hum Genet

The Apr 08 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(4):397-398 (2011)
  • This Month in Genetics
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):399-400 (2011)
  • Vogel and Motulsky's Human Genetics, 4th Edition
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):401 (2011)
  • Insights into the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Cancer from Inborn Errors of Metabolism
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):402-421 (2011)
    Mutations in genes that play fundamental roles in metabolic pathways have been found to also play a role in tumor development and susceptibility to cancer. At the same time, significant progress has been made in the treatment of patients with inborn errors of metabolism (IEM),1 resulting in increased longevity and the unmasking of cancer predisposition, frequently hepatocellular carcinoma, in these conditions. These patients offer a potential opportunity to deepen our understanding of how intermediary metabolism impacts tumorigenesis. We provide an overview from the perspective of cancers in patients affected with IEM and discuss how dysregulation of these specific metabolic pathways might contribute to the mechanisms of cancer development and treatment.
  • Mutant GlialCAM Causes Megalencephalic Leukoencephalopathy with Subcortical Cysts, Benign Familial Macrocephaly, and Macrocephaly with Retardation and Autism
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):422-432 (2011)
    Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts (MLC) is a leukodystrophy characterized by early-onset macrocephaly and delayed-onset neurological deterioration. Recessive MLC1 mutations are observed in 75% of patients with MLC. Genetic-linkage studies failed to identify another gene. We recently showed that some patients without MLC1 mutations display the classical phenotype; others improve or become normal but retain macrocephaly. To find another MLC-related gene, we used quantitative proteomic analysis of affinity-purified MLC1 as an alternative approach and found that GlialCAM, an IgG-like cell adhesion molecule that is also called HepaCAM and is encoded by HEPACAM, is a direct MLC1-binding partner. Analysis of 40 MLC patients without MLC1 mutations revealed multiple different HEPACAM mutations. Ten patients with the classical, deteriorating phenotype had two mutations, and 18 patients with the improving phenotype had one mutation. Most parents with a si! ngle mutation had macrocephaly, indicating dominant inheritance. In some families with dominant HEPACAM mutations, the clinical picture and magnetic resonance imaging normalized, indicating that HEPACAM mutations can cause benign familial macrocephaly. In other families with dominant HEPACAM mutations, patients had macrocephaly and mental retardation with or without autism. Further experiments demonstrated that GlialCAM and MLC1 both localize in axons and colocalize in junctions between astrocytes. GlialCAM is additionally located in myelin. Mutant GlialCAM disrupts the localization of MLC1-GlialCAM complexes in astrocytic junctions in a manner reflecting the mode of inheritance. In conclusion, GlialCAM is required for proper localization of MLC1. HEPACAM is the second gene found to be mutated in MLC. Dominant HEPACAM mutations can cause either macrocephaly and mental retardation with or without autism or benign familial macrocephaly.
  • Comparing Phylogeny and the Predicted Pathogenicity of Protein Variations Reveals Equal Purifying Selection across the Global Human mtDNA Diversity
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):433-439 (2011)
    We used detailed phylogenetic trees for human mtDNA, combined with pathogenicity predictions for each amino acid change, to evaluate selection on mtDNA-encoded protein variants. Protein variants with high pathogenicity scores were significantly rarer in the older branches of the tree. Variants that have formed and survived multiple times in the human phylogenetics tree had significantly lower pathogenicity scores than those that only appear once in the tree. We compared the distribution of pathogenicity scores observed on the human phylogenetic tree to the distribution of all possible protein variations to define a measure of the effect of selection on these protein variations. The measured effect of selection increased exponentially with increasing pathogenicity score. We found no measurable difference in this measure of purifying selection in mtDNA across the global population, represented by the macrohaplogroups L, M, and N. We provide a list of all possible single ! amino acid variations for the human mtDNA-encoded proteins with their predicted pathogenicity scores and our measured selection effect as a tool for assessing novel protein variations that are often reported in patients with mitochondrial disease of unknown origin or for assessing somatic mutations acquired through aging or detected in tumors.
  • Improving the Assessment of the Outcome of Nonsynonymous SNVs with a Consensus Deleteriousness Score, Condel
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):440-449 (2011)
    Several large ongoing initiatives that profit from next-generation sequencing technologies have driven—and in coming years will continue to drive—the emergence of long catalogs of missense single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in the human genome. As a consequence, researchers have developed various methods and their related computational tools to classify these missense SNVs as probably deleterious or probably neutral polymorphisms. The outputs produced by each of these computational tools are of different natures and thus difficult to compare and integrate. Taking advantage of the possible complementarity between different tools might allow more accurate classifications. Here we propose an effective approach to integrating the output of some of these tools into a unified classification; this approach is based on a weighted average of the normalized scores of the individual methods (WAS). (In this paper, the approach is illustrated for the integration of five tools.) ! We show that this WAS outperforms each individual method in the task of classifying missense SNVs as deleterious or neutral. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this WAS can be used not only for classification purposes (deleterious versus neutral mutation) but also as an indicator of the impact of the mutation on the functionality of the mutant protein. In other words, it may be used as a deleteriousness score of missense SNVs. Therefore, we recommend the use of this WAS as a consensus deleteriousness score of missense mutations (Condel).
  • Tobacco-Smoking-Related Differential DNA Methylation: 27K Discovery and Replication
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):450-457 (2011)
    Tobacco smoking is responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, in particular through cardiovascular, pulmonary, and malignant pathology. CpG methylation might plausibly play a role in a variety of smoking-related phenomena, as suggested by candidate gene promoter or global methylation studies. Arrays allowing hypothesis-free searches on a scale resembling genome-wide studies of SNPs have become available only very recently. Methylation extents in peripheral-blood DNA were assessed at 27,578 sites in more than 14,000 gene promoter regions in 177 current smokers, former smokers, and those who had never smoked, with the use of the Illumina HumanMethylation 27K BeadChip. This revealed a single locus, cg03636183, located in F2RL3, with genome-wide significance for lower methylation in smokers (p = 2.68 × 10−31). This was similarly significant in 316 independent replication samples analyzed by mass spectrometry and Sequenom EpiTyper (p = 6.33 × 10−34! ). Our results, which were based on a rigorous replication approach, show that the gene coding for a potential drug target of cardiovascular importance features altered methylation patterns in smokers. To date, this gene had not attracted attention in the literature on smoking.
  • A Genome-wide Comparison of the Functional Properties of Rare and Common Genetic Variants in Humans
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):458-468 (2011)
    One of the longest running debates in evolutionary biology concerns the kind of genetic variation that is primarily responsible for phenotypic variation in species. Here, we address this question for humans specifically from the perspective of population allele frequency of variants across the complete genome, including both coding and noncoding regions. We establish simple criteria to assess the likelihood that variants are functional based on their genomic locations and then use whole-genome sequence data from 29 subjects of European origin to assess the relationship between the functional properties of variants and their population allele frequencies. We find that for all criteria used to assess the likelihood that a variant is functional, the rarer variants are significantly more likely to be functional than the more common variants. Strikingly, these patterns disappear when we focus on only those variants in which the major alleles are derived. These analyses indi! cate that the majority of the genetic variation in terms of phenotypic consequence may result from a mutation-selection balance, as opposed to balancing selection, and have direct relevance to the study of human disease.
  • Next-Generation Sequencing Strategies Enable Routine Detection of Balanced Chromosome Rearrangements for Clinical Diagnostics and Genetic Research
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):469-481 (2011)
    The contribution of balanced chromosomal rearrangements to complex disorders remains unclear because they are not detected routinely by genome-wide microarrays and clinical localization is imprecise. Failure to consider these events bypasses a potentially powerful complement to single nucleotide polymorphism and copy-number association approaches to complex disorders, where much of the heritability remains unexplained. To capitalize on this genetic resource, we have applied optimized sequencing and analysis strategies to test whether these potentially high-impact variants can be mapped at reasonable cost and throughput. By using a whole-genome multiplexing strategy, rearrangement breakpoints could be delineated at a fraction of the cost of standard sequencing. For rearrangements already mapped regionally by karyotyping and fluorescence in situ hybridization, a targeted approach enabled capture and sequencing of multiple breakpoints simultaneously. Importantly, this str! ategy permitted capture and unique alignment of up to 97% of repeat-masked sequences in the targeted regions. Genome-wide analyses estimate that only 3.7% of bases should be routinely omitted from genomic DNA capture experiments. Illustrating the power of these approaches, the rearrangement breakpoints were rapidly defined to base pair resolution and revealed unexpected sequence complexity, such as co-occurrence of inversion and translocation as an underlying feature of karyotypically balanced alterations. These findings have implications ranging from genome annotation to de novo assemblies and could enable sequencing screens for structural variations at a cost comparable to that of microarrays in standard clinical practice.
  • A Mutation in LIPN, Encoding Epidermal Lipase N, Causes a Late-Onset Form of Autosomal-Recessive Congenital Ichthyosis
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):482-487 (2011)
    Autosomal-recessive congenital ichthyoses represent a large and heterogeneous group of disorders of epidermal cornification. Recent data suggest that most of these disorders might result from defective lipid transport and metabolism. In the present study, we describe a late-onset form of recessive ichthyosis in a large consanguineous pedigree. By using a combination of homozygosity mapping and positional candidate-gene screening, we identified a 2 bp deletion in LIPN that segregated with the disease phenotype throughout the family. LIPN encodes one of six acid lipases known to be involved in triglyceride metabolism in mammals . LIPN was found to be exclusively expressed in the epidermis and to be strongly induced during keratinocyte differentiation.
  • A Mutation in C2orf64 Causes Impaired Cytochrome c Oxidase Assembly and Mitochondrial Cardiomyopathy
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):488-493 (2011)
    The assembly of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase) involves the coordinated action of several assembly chaperones. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, at least 30 different assembly chaperones have been identified. To date, pathogenic mutations leading to a mitochondrial disorder have been identified in only seven of the corresponding human genes. One of the genes for which the relevance to human pathology is unknown is C2orf64, an ortholog of the S. cerevisiae gene PET191. This gene has previously been shown to be a complex IV assembly factor in yeast, although its exact role is still unknown. Previous research in a large cohort of complex IV deficient patients did not support an etiological role of C2orf64 in complex IV deficiency. In this report, a homozygous mutation in C2orf64 is described in two siblings affected by fatal neonatal cardiomyopathy. Pathogenicity of the mutation is supported by the results of a complementation experiment, sho! wing that complex IV activity can be fully restored by retroviral transduction of wild-type C2orf64 in patient-derived fibroblasts. Detailed analysis of complex IV assembly intermediates in patient fibroblasts by 2D-BN PAGE revealed the accumulation of a small assembly intermediate containing subunit COX1 but not the COX2, COX4, or COX5b subunits, indicating that C2orf64 is involved in an early step of the complex IV assembly process. The results of this study demonstrate that C2orf64 is essential for human complex IV assembly and that C2orf64 mutational analysis should be considered for complex IV deficient patients, in particular those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Poor Correlations in the Levels of Pathogenic Mitochondrial DNA Mutations in Polar Bodies versus Oocytes and Blastomeres in Humans
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):494-498 (2011)
    Because the mtDNA amount remains stable in the early embryo until uterine implantation, early human development is completely dependent on the mtDNA pool of the mature oocyte. Both quantitative and qualitative mtDNA defects therefore may negatively impact oocyte competence or early embryonic development. However, nothing is known about segregation of mutant and wild-type mtDNA molecules during human meiosis. To investigate this point, we compared the mutant levels in 51 first polar bodies (PBs) and their counterpart (oocytes, blastomeres, or whole embryos), at risk of having (1) the "MELAS" m.3243A>G mutation in MT-TL1 (n = 30), (2) the "MERRF" m.8344A>G mutation in MT-TK (n = 15), and (3) the m.9185T>G mutation located in MT-ATP6 (n = 6). Seven out of 51 of the PBs were mutation free and had homoplasmic wild-type counterparts. In the heteroplasmic PBs, measurement of the mutant load was a rough estimate of the counterpart mutation level (R2 = 0.52), and high m! utant-load differentials between the two populations were occasionally observed (ranging from –34% to +34%). The mutant-load differentials between the PB and its counterpart were higher in highly mutated PBs, suggestive of a selection process acting against highly mutated cells during gametogenesis or early embryonic development. Finally, individual discrepancies in mutant loads between PBs and their counterparts make PB-based preconception diagnosis unreliable for the prevention of mtDNA disorder transmission. Such differences were not observed in animal models, and they emphasize the need to conduct thorough studies on mtDNA segregation in humans.
  • Loss-of-Function Mutations in RAB18 Cause Warburg Micro Syndrome
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):499-507 (2011)
    Warburg Micro syndrome and Martsolf syndrome are heterogenous autosomal-recessive developmental disorders characterized by brain, eye, and endocrine abnormalities. Previously, identification of mutations in RAB3GAP1 and RAB3GAP2 in both these syndromes implicated dysregulation of the RAB3 cycle (which controls calcium-mediated exocytosis of neurotransmitters and hormones) in disease pathogenesis. RAB3GAP1 and RAB3GAP2 encode the catalytic and noncatalytic subunits of the hetrodimeric enzyme RAB3GAP (RAB3GTPase-activating protein), a key regulator of the RAB3 cycle. We performed autozygosity mapping in five consanguineous families without RAB3GAP1/2 mutations and identified loss-of-function mutations in RAB18. A c.71T > A (p.Leu24Gln) founder mutation was identified in four Pakistani families, and a homozygous exon 2 deletion (predicted to result in a frameshift) was found in the fifth family. A single family whose members were compound heterozygotes for an anti-termina! tion mutation of the stop codon c.619T > C (p.X207QextX20) and an inframe arginine deletion c.277_279 del (p.Arg93 del) were identified after direct gene sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) of a further 58 families. Nucleotide binding assays for RAB18(Leu24Gln) and RAB18(Arg93del) showed that these mutant proteins were functionally null in that they were unable to bind guanine. The clinical features of Warburg Micro syndrome patients with RAB3GAP1 or RAB3GAP2 mutations and RAB18 mutations are indistinguishable, although the role of RAB18 in trafficking is still emerging, and it has not been linked previously to the RAB3 pathway. Knockdown of rab18 in zebrafish suggests that it might have a conserved developmental role. Our findings imply that RAB18 has a critical role in human brain and eye development and neurodegeneration.
  • Human and Mouse Mutations in WDR35 Cause Short-Rib Polydactyly Syndromes Due to Abnormal Ciliogenesis
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):508-515 (2011)
    Defects in cilia formation and function result in a range of human skeletal and visceral abnormalities. Mutations in several genes have been identified to cause a proportion of these disorders, some of which display genetic (locus) heterogeneity. Mouse models are valuable for dissecting the function of these genes, as well as for more detailed analysis of the underlying developmental defects. The short-rib polydactyly (SRP) group of disorders are among the most severe human phenotypes caused by cilia dysfunction. We mapped the disease locus from two siblings affected by a severe form of SRP to 2p24, where we identified an in-frame homozygous deletion of exon 5 in WDR35. We subsequently found compound heterozygous missense and nonsense mutations in WDR35 in an independent second case with a similar, severe SRP phenotype. In a mouse mutation screen for developmental phenotypes, we identified a mutation in Wdr35 as the cause of midgestation lethality, with abnormalities c! haracteristic of defects in the Hedgehog signaling pathway. We show that endogenous WDR35 localizes to cilia and centrosomes throughout the developing embryo and that human and mouse fibroblasts lacking the protein fail to produce cilia. Through structural modeling, we show that WDR35 has strong homology to the COPI coatamers involved in vesicular trafficking and that human SRP mutations affect key structural elements in WDR35. Our report expands, and sheds new light on, the pathogenesis of the SRP spectrum of ciliopathies.
  • Excess of De Novo Deleterious Mutations in Genes Associated with Glutamatergic Systems in Nonsyndromic Intellectual Disability
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):516 (2011)
  • Mutations in Myosin Light Chain Kinase Cause Familial Aortic Dissections
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):516 (2011)
  • DPY19L2 Deletion as a Major Cause of Globozoospermia
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(4):517 (2011)

No comments: