Friday, June 10, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jun 10 Am J Hum Genet

The Jun 10 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(6):679-680 (2011)
  • This Month in Genetics
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):681-683 (2011)
  • Charles Joseph Epstein, M.D., 1933–2011, In Memoriam
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):684-688 (2011)
  • Disease-Causing Mutations in Genes of the Complement System
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):689-705 (2011)
    Recent studies have revealed profound developmental consequences of mutations in genes encoding proteins of the lectin pathway of complement activation, a central component of the innate immune system. Apart from impairment of immunity against microorganisms, it is known that hereditary deficiencies of this system predispose one to autoimmune conditions. Polymorphisms in complement genes are linked to, for example, atypical hemolytic uremia and age-dependent macular degeneration. The complement system comprises three convergent pathways of activation: the classical, the alternative, and the lectin pathway. The recently discovered lectin pathway is less studied, but polymorphisms in the plasma pattern-recognition molecule mannan-binding lectin (MBL) are known to impact its level, and polymorphisms in the MBL-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2) result in defects of complement activation. Recent studies have described roles outside complement and immunity of another MBL! -associated serine protease, MASP-3, in the etiology of 3MC syndrome, an autosomal-recessive disorder involving a spectrum of developmental features, including characteristic facial dysmorphism. Syndrome-causing mutations were identified in MASP1, encoding MASP-3 and two additional proteins, MASP-1 and MAp44. Furthermore, an association was discovered between 3MC syndrome and mutations in COLEC11, encoding CL-K1, another molecule of the lectin pathway. The findings were confirmed in zebrafish, indicating that MASP-3 and CL-K1 underlie an evolutionarily conserved pathway of embryonic development. Along with the discovery of a role of C1q in pruning synapses in mice, these recent advances point toward a broader role of complement in development. Here, we compare the functional immunologic consequences of "conventional" complement deficiencies with these newly described developmental roles.
  • DASH: A Method for Identical-by-Descent Haplotype Mapping Uncovers Association with Recent Variation
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):706-717 (2011)
    Rare variants affecting phenotype pose a unique challenge for human genetics. Although genome-wide association studies have successfully detected many common causal variants, they are underpowered in identifying disease variants that are too rare or population-specific to be imputed from a general reference panel and thus are poorly represented on commercial SNP arrays. We set out to overcome these challenges and detect association between disease and rare alleles using SNP arrays by relying on long stretches of genomic sharing that are identical by descent. We have developed an algorithm, DASH, which builds upon pairwise identical-by-descent shared segments to infer clusters of individuals likely to be sharing a single haplotype. DASH constructs a graph with nodes representing individuals and links on the basis of such segments spanning a locus and uses an iterative minimum cut algorithm to identify densely connected components. We have applied DASH to simulated data ! and diverse GWAS data sets by constructing haplotype clusters and testing them for association. In simulations we show this approach to be significantly more powerful than single-marker testing in an isolated population that is from Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia and has abundant IBD, and we provide orthogonal information for rare, recent variants in the outbred Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium (WTCCC) data. In both cohorts, we identified a number of haplotype associations, five such loci in the WTCCC data and ten in the isolated, that were conditionally significant beyond any individual nearby markers. We have replicated one of these loci in an independent European cohort and identified putative structural changes in low-pass whole-genome sequence of the cluster carriers.
  • Loss of BRCC3 Deubiquitinating Enzyme Leads to Abnormal Angiogenesis and Is Associated with Syndromic Moyamoya
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):718-728 (2011)
    Moyamoya is a cerebrovascular angiopathy characterized by a progressive stenosis of the terminal part of the intracranial carotid arteries and the compensatory development of abnormal and fragile collateral vessels, also called moyamoya vessels, leading to ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Moyamoya angiopathy can either be the sole manifestation of the disease (moyamoya disease) or be associated with various conditions, including neurofibromatosis, Down syndrome, TAAD (autosomal-dominant thoracic aortic aneurysm), and radiotherapy of head tumors (moyamoya syndromes). Its prevalence is ten times higher in Japan than in Europe, and an estimated 6%–12% of moyamoya disease is familial in Japan. The pathophysiological mechanisms of this condition remain obscure. Here, we report on three unrelated families affected with an X-linked moyamoya syndrome characterized by the association of a moyamoya angiopathy, short stature, and a stereotyped facial dysmorphism. Other symptoms! include an hypergonadotropic hypogonadism, hypertension, dilated cardiomyopathy, premature coronary heart disease, premature hair graying, and early bilateral acquired cataract. We show that this syndromic moyamoya is caused by Xq28 deletions removing MTCP1/MTCP1NB and BRCC3. We also show that brcc3 morphant zebrafish display angiogenesis defects that are rescued by endothelium-specific expression of brcc3. Altogether, these data strongly suggest that BRCC3, a deubiquitinating enzyme that is part of the cellular BRCA1 and BRISC complexes, is an important player in angiogenesis and that BRCC3 loss-of-function mutations are associated with moyamoya angiopathy.
  • Mutations in the N-terminal Actin-Binding Domain of Filamin C Cause a Distal Myopathy
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):729-740 (2011)
    Linkage analysis of the dominant distal myopathy we previously identified in a large Australian family demonstrated one significant linkage region located on chromosome 7 and encompassing 18.6 Mbp and 151 genes. The strongest candidate gene was FLNC because filamin C, the encoded protein, is muscle-specific and associated with myofibrillar myopathy. Sequencing of FLNC cDNA identified a c.752T>C (p.Met251Thr) mutation in the N-terminal actin-binding domain (ABD); this mutation segregated with the disease and was absent in 200 controls. We identified an Italian family with the same phenotype and found a c.577G>A (p.Ala193Thr) filamin C ABD mutation that segregated with the disease. Filamin C ABD mutations have not been described, although filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations cause multiple musculoskeletal disorders. The distal myopathy phenotype and muscle pathology in the two families differ from myofibrillar myopathies caused by filamin C rod and dimerization domain m! utations because of the distinct involvement of hand muscles and lack of pathological protein aggregation. Thus, like the position of FLNA and B mutations, the position of the FLNC mutation determines disease phenotype. The two filamin C ABD mutations increase actin-binding affinity in a manner similar to filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations. Cell-culture expression of the c.752T>C (p.Met251)Thr mutant filamin C ABD demonstrated reduced nuclear localization as did mutant filamin A and filamin B ABDs. Expression of both filamin C ABD mutants as full-length proteins induced increased aggregation of filamin. We conclude filamin C ABD mutations cause a recognizable distal myopathy, most likely through increased actin affinity, similar to the pathological mechanism of filamin A and filamin B ABD mutations.
  • Effects of Natural Selection and Gene Conversion on the Evolution of Human Glycophorins Coding for MNS Blood Polymorphisms in Malaria-Endemic African Populations
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):741-754 (2011)
    Malaria has been a very strong selection pressure in recent human evolution, particularly in Africa. Of the one million deaths per year due to malaria, more than 90% are in sub-Saharan Africa, a region with high levels of genetic variation and population substructure. However, there have been few studies of nucleotide variation at genetic loci that are relevant to malaria susceptibility across geographically and genetically diverse ethnic groups in Africa. Invasion of erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum parasites is central to the pathology of malaria. Glycophorin A (GYPA) and B (GYPB), which determine MN and Ss blood types, are two major receptors that are expressed on erythrocyte surfaces and interact with parasite ligands. We analyzed nucleotide diversity of the glycophorin gene family in 15 African populations with different levels of malaria exposure. High levels of nucleotide diversity and gene conversion were found at these genes. We observed divergent pattern! s of genetic variation between these duplicated genes and between different extracellular domains of GYPA. Specifically, we identified fixed adaptive changes at exons 3–4 of GYPA. By contrast, we observed an allele frequency spectrum skewed toward a significant excess of intermediate-frequency alleles at GYPA exon 2 in many populations; the degree of spectrum distortion is correlated with malaria exposure, possibly because of the joint effects of gene conversion and balancing selection. We also identified a haplotype causing three amino acid changes in the extracellular domain of glycophorin B. This haplotype might have evolved adaptively in five populations with high exposure to malaria.
  • The Orphan Disease Networks
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):755-766 (2011)
    The low prevalence rate of orphan diseases (OD) requires special combined efforts to improve diagnosis, prevention, and discovery of novel therapeutic strategies. To identify and investigate relationships based on shared genes or shared functional features, we have conducted a bioinformatic-based global analysis of all orphan diseases with known disease-causing mutant genes. Starting with a bipartite network of known OD and OD-causing mutant genes and using the human protein interactome, we first construct and topologically analyze three networks: the orphan disease network, the orphan disease-causing mutant gene network, and the orphan disease-causing mutant gene interactome. Our results demonstrate that in contrast to the common disease-causing mutant genes that are predominantly nonessential, a majority of orphan disease-causing mutant genes are essential. In confirmation of this finding, we found that OD-causing mutant genes are topologically important in the prote! in interactome and are ubiquitously expressed. Additionally, functional enrichment analysis of those genes in which mutations cause ODs shows that a majority result in premature death or are lethal in the orthologous mouse gene knockout models. To address the limitations of traditional gene-based disease networks, we also construct and analyze OD networks on the basis of shared enriched features (biological processes, cellular components, pathways, phenotypes, and literature citations). Analyzing these functionally-linked OD networks, we identified several additional OD-OD relations that are both phenotypically similar and phenotypically diverse. Surprisingly, we observed that the wiring of the gene-based and other feature-based OD networks are largely different; this suggests that the relationship between ODs cannot be fully captured by the gene-based network alone.
  • Mutations in PRDM5 in Brittle Cornea Syndrome Identify a Pathway Regulating Extracellular Matrix Development and Maintenance
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):767-777 (2011)
    Extreme corneal fragility and thinning, which have a high risk of catastrophic spontaneous rupture, are the cardinal features of brittle cornea syndrome (BCS), an autosomal-recessive generalized connective tissue disorder. Enucleation is frequently the only management option for this condition, resulting in blindness and psychosocial distress. Even when the cornea remains grossly intact, visual function could also be impaired by a high degree of myopia and keratoconus. Deafness is another common feature and results in combined sensory deprivation. Using autozygosity mapping, we identified mutations in PRDM5 in families with BCS. We demonstrate that regulation of expression of extracellular matrix components, particularly fibrillar collagens, by PRDM5 is a key molecular mechanism that underlies corneal fragility in BCS and controls normal corneal development and maintenance. ZNF469, encoding a zinc finger protein of hitherto undefined function, has been identified as a ! quantitative trait locus for central corneal thickness, and mutations in this gene have been demonstrated in Tunisian Jewish and Palestinian kindreds with BCS. We show that ZNF469 and PRDM5, two genes that when mutated cause BCS, participate in the same regulatory pathway.
  • A BLOC-1 Mutation Screen Reveals that PLDN Is Mutated in Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Type 9
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):778-787 (2011)
    Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) is an autosomal-recessive condition characterized by oculocutaneous albinism and a bleeding diathesis due to absent platelet delta granules. HPS is a genetically heterogeneous disorder of intracellular vesicle biogenesis. We first screened all our patients with HPS-like symptoms for mutations in the genes responsible for HPS-1 through HPS-6 and found no functional mutations in 38 individuals. We then examined all eight genes encoding the biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex-1, or BLOC-1, proteins in these individuals. This identified a homozygous nonsense mutation in PLDN in a boy with characteristic features of HPS. PLDN is mutated in the HPS mouse model pallid and encodes the protein pallidin, which interacts with the early endosomal t-SNARE syntaxin-13. We could not detect any full-length pallidin in our patient's cells despite normal mRNA expression of the mutant transcript. We could detect an alternative transcript that! would skip the exon that harbored the mutation, but we demonstrate that if this transcript is translated into protein, although it correctly localizes to early endosomes, it does not interact with syntaxin-13. In our patient's melanocytes, the melanogenic protein TYRP1 showed aberrant localization, an increase in plasma-membrane trafficking, and a failure to reach melanosomes, explaining the boy's severe albinism and establishing his diagnosis as HPS-9.
  • Adaptor Protein Complex 4 Deficiency Causes Severe Autosomal-Recessive Intellectual Disability, Progressive Spastic Paraplegia, Shy Character, and Short Stature
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):788-795 (2011)
    Intellectual disability inherited in an autosomal-recessive fashion represents an important fraction of severe cognitive-dysfunction disorders. Yet, the extreme heterogeneity of these conditions markedly hampers gene identification. Here, we report on eight affected individuals who were from three consanguineous families and presented with severe intellectual disability, absent speech, shy character, stereotypic laughter, muscular hypotonia that progressed to spastic paraplegia, microcephaly, foot deformity, decreased muscle mass of the lower limbs, inability to walk, and growth retardation. Using a combination of autozygosity mapping and either Sanger sequencing of candidate genes or next-generation exome sequencing, we identified one mutation in each of three genes encoding adaptor protein complex 4 (AP4) subunits: a nonsense mutation in AP4S1 (NM_007077.3: c.124C>T, p.Arg42*), a frameshift mutation in AP4B1 (NM_006594.2: c.487_488insTAT, p.Glu163_Ser739delinsVal), a! nd a splice mutation in AP4E1 (NM_007347.3: c.542+1_542+4delGTAA, r.421_542del, p.Glu181Glyfs*20). Adaptor protein complexes (AP1-4) are ubiquitously expressed, evolutionarily conserved heterotetrameric complexes that mediate different types of vesicle formation and the selection of cargo molecules for inclusion into these vesicles. Interestingly, two mutations affecting AP4M1 and AP4E1 have recently been found to cause cerebral palsy associated with severe intellectual disability. Combined with previous observations, these results support the hypothesis that AP4-complex-mediated trafficking plays a crucial role in brain development and functioning and demonstrate the existence of a clinically recognizable syndrome due to deficiency of the AP4 complex.
  • Mutations in ZBTB24 Are Associated with Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Instability, and Facial Anomalies Syndrome Type 2
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):796-804 (2011)
    Autosomal-recessive immunodeficiency, centromeric instability, and facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome is mainly characterized by recurrent, often fatal, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. About 50% of patients carry mutations in the DNA methyltransferase 3B gene (DNMT3B) (ICF1). The remaining patients carry unknown genetic defects (ICF2) but share with ICF1 patients the same immunological and epigenetic features, including hypomethylation of juxtacentromeric repeat sequences. We performed homozygosity mapping in five unrelated ICF2 patients with consanguineous parents and then performed whole-exome sequencing in one of these patients and Sanger sequencing in all to identify mutations in the zinc-finger- and BTB (bric-a-bric, tramtrack, broad complex)-domain-containing 24 (ZBTB24) gene in four consanguineously descended ICF2 patients. Additionally, we found ZBTB24 mutations in an affected sibling pair and in one patient for whom it was not known whether his paren! ts were consanguineous. ZBTB24 belongs to a large family of transcriptional repressors that include members, such as BCL6 and PATZ1, with prominent regulatory roles in hematopoietic development and malignancy. These data thus indicate that ZBTB24 is involved in DNA methylation of juxtacentromeric DNA and in B cell development and/or B and T cell interactions. Because ZBTB24 is a putative DNA-binding protein highly expressed in the lymphoid lineage, we predict that by studying the molecular function of ZBTB24, we will improve our understanding of the molecular pathophysiology of ICF syndrome and of lymphocyte biology in general.
  • Genetic Variants at 13q12.12 Are Associated with High Myopia in the Han Chinese Population
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):805-813 (2011)
    High myopia, which is extremely prevalent in the Chinese population, is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. Genetic factors play a critical role in the development of the condition. To identify the genetic variants associated with high myopia in the Han Chinese, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 493,947 SNPs in 1088 individuals (419 cases and 669 controls) from a Han Chinese cohort and followed up on signals that were associated with p < 1.0 × 10−4 in three independent cohorts (combined, 2803 cases and 5642 controls). We identified a significant association between high myopia and a variant at 13q12.12 (rs9318086, combined p = 1.91 × 10−16, heterozygous odds ratio = 1.32, and homozygous odds ratio = 1.64). Furthermore, five additional SNPs (rs9510902, rs3794338, rs1886970, rs7325450, and rs7331047) in the same linkage disequilibrium (LD) block with rs9318086 also proved to be significantly associated with high myopia in the H! an Chinese population; p values ranged from 5.46 × 10−11 to 6.16 × 10−16. This associated locus contains three genes—MIPEP, C1QTNF9B-AS1, and C1QTNF9B. MIPEP and C1QTNF9B were found to be expressed in the retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and are more likely than C1QTNF9B-AS1 to be associated with high myopia given the evidence of retinal signaling that controls eye growth. Our results suggest that the variants at 13q12.12 are associated with high myopia.
  • A Revised Root for the Human Y Chromosomal Phylogenetic Tree: The Origin of Patrilineal Diversity in Africa
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):814-818 (2011)
    To shed light on the structure of the basal backbone of the human Y chromosome phylogeny, we sequenced about 200 kb of the male-specific region of the human Y chromosome (MSY) from each of seven Y chromosomes belonging to clades A1, A2, A3, and BT. We detected 146 biallelic variant sites through this analysis. We used these variants to construct a patrilineal tree, without taking into account any previously reported information regarding the phylogenetic relationships among the seven Y chromosomes here analyzed. There are several key changes at the basal nodes as compared with the most recent reference Y chromosome tree. A different position of the root was determined, with important implications for the origin of human Y chromosome diversity. An estimate of 142 KY was obtained for the coalescence time of the revised MSY tree, which is earlier than that obtained in previous studies and easier to reconcile with plausible scenarios of modern human origin. The number of d! eep branchings leading to African-specific clades has doubled, further strengthening the MSY-based evidence for a modern human origin in the African continent. An analysis of 2204 African DNA samples showed that the deepest clades of the revised MSY phylogeny are currently found in central and northwest Africa, opening new perspectives on early human presence in the continent.
  • X-Linked Congenital Hypertrichosis Syndrome Is Associated with Interchromosomal Insertions Mediated by a Human-Specific Palindrome near SOX3
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):819-826 (2011)
    X-linked congenital generalized hypertrichosis (CGH), an extremely rare condition characterized by universal overgrowth of terminal hair, was first mapped to chromosome Xq24-q27.1 in a Mexican family. However, the underlying genetic defect remains unknown. We ascertained a large Chinese family with an X-linked congenital hypertrichosis syndrome combining CGH, scoliosis, and spina bifida and mapped the disease locus to a 5.6 Mb critical region within the interval defined by the previously reported Mexican family. Through the combination of a high-resolution copy-number variation (CNV) scan and targeted genomic sequencing, we identified an interchromosomal insertion at Xq27.1 of a 125,577 bp intragenic fragment of COL23A1 on 5q35.3, with one X breakpoint within and the other very close to a human-specific short palindromic sequence located 82 kb downstream of SOX3. In the Mexican family, we found an interchromosomal insertion at the same Xq27.1 site of a 300,036 bp genom! ic fragment on 4q31.2, encompassing PRMT10 and TMEM184C and involving parts of ARHGAP10 and EDNRA. Notably, both of the two X breakpoints were within the short palindrome. The two palindrome-mediated insertions fully segregate with the CGH phenotype in each of the families, and the CNV gains of the respective autosomal genomic segments are not present in the public database and were not found in 1274 control individuals. Analysis of control individuals revealed deletions ranging from 173 bp to 9104 bp at the site of the insertions with no phenotypic consequence. Taken together, our results strongly support the pathogenicity of the identified insertions and establish X-linked congenital hypertrichosis syndrome as a genomic disorder.
  • Mutations in FYCO1 Cause Autosomal-Recessive Congenital Cataracts
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):827-838 (2011)
    Congenital cataracts (CCs), responsible for about one-third of blindness in infants, are a major cause of vision loss in children worldwide. Autosomal-recessive congenital cataracts (arCC) form a clinically diverse and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders of the crystalline lens. To identify the genetic cause of arCC in consanguineous Pakistani families, we performed genome-wide linkage analysis and fine mapping and identified linkage to 3p21-p22 with a summed LOD score of 33.42. Mutations in the gene encoding FYVE and coiled-coil domain containing 1 (FYCO1), a PI(3)P-binding protein family member that is associated with the exterior of autophagosomes and mediates microtubule plus-end-directed vesicle transport, were identified in 12 Pakistani families and one Arab Israeli family in which arCC had previously been mapped to the overlapping CATC2 region. Nine different mutations were identified, including c.3755 delC (p.Ala1252AspfsX71), c.3858_3862dupGGAAT (p.Le! u1288TrpfsX37), c.1045 C>T (p.Gln349X), c.2206C>T (p.Gln736X), c.2761C>T (p.Arg921X), c.2830C>T (p.Arg944X), c.3150+1 G>T, c.4127T>C (p.Leu1376Pro), and c.1546C>T (p.Gln516X). Fyco1 is expressed in the mouse embryonic and adult lens and peaks at P12d. Expressed mutant proteins p.Leu1288TrpfsX37 and p.Gln736X are truncated on immunoblots. Wild-type and p.L1376P FYCO1, the only missense mutant identified, migrate at the expected molecular mass. Both wild-type and p. Leu1376Pro FYCO1 proteins expressed in human lens epithelial cells partially colocalize to microtubules and are found adjacent to Golgi, but they primarily colocalize to autophagosomes. Thus, FYCO1 is involved in lens development and transparency in humans, and mutations in this gene are one of the most common causes of arCC in the Pakistani population.
  • Hereditary Leukonychia, or Porcelain Nails, Resulting from Mutations in PLCD1
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):839-844 (2011)
    Hereditary leukonychia (porcelain nails or white nails) is a rare nail disorder with an unknown genetic basis. To identify variants in a gene underlying this phenotype, we identified four families of Pakistani origin showing features of hereditary leukonychia. All 20 nails of each affected individual were chalky and white in appearance, consistent with total leukonychia, with no other cutaneous, appendageal, or systemic findings. By using Affymetrix 10K chip, we established linkage to chromosome 3p21.3-p22 with a LOD score (Z) of 5.1. We identified pathogenic mutations in PLCD1 in all four families, which encodes phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C delta 1 subunit, a key enzyme in phosphoinositide metabolism. We then identified localization of PLCD1 in the nail matrix. It was recently shown that PLCD1 is a component of the human nail plate by proteomic analysis and is localized in the matrix of human nails. Furthermore, mutations detected in PLCD1 resulted in red! uced enzymatic activity in vitro. Our data show that mutations in PLCD1 underlie hereditary leukonychia, revealing a gene involved in molecular control of nail growth.
  • A Congenital Muscular Dystrophy with Mitochondrial Structural Abnormalities Caused by Defective De Novo Phosphatidylcholine Biosynthesis
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):845-851 (2011)
    Congenital muscular dystrophy is a heterogeneous group of inherited muscle diseases characterized clinically by muscle weakness and hypotonia in early infancy. A number of genes harboring causative mutations have been identified, but several cases of congenital muscular dystrophy remain molecularly unresolved. We examined 15 individuals with a congenital muscular dystrophy characterized by early-onset muscle wasting, mental retardation, and peculiar enlarged mitochondria that are prevalent toward the periphery of the fibers but are sparse in the center on muscle biopsy, and we have identified homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding choline kinase beta (CHKB). This is the first enzymatic step in a biosynthetic pathway for phosphatidylcholine, the most abundant phospholipid in eukaryotes. In muscle of three affected individuals with nonsense mutations, choline kinase activities were undetectable, and phosphatidylcholine levels were decreased. W! e identified the human disease caused by disruption of a phospholipid de novo biosynthetic pathway, demonstrating the pivotal role of phosphatidylcholine in muscle and brain.
  • Mutations in Frizzled 6 Cause Isolated Autosomal-Recessive Nail Dysplasia
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):852-860 (2011)
    Inherited and isolated nail malformations are rare and heterogeneous conditions. We identified two consanguineous pedigrees in which some family members were affected by isolated nail dysplasia that suggested an autosomal-recessive inheritance pattern and was characterized by claw-shaped nails, onychauxis, and onycholysis. Genome-wide SNP array analysis of affected individuals from both families showed an overlapping and homozygous region of 800 kb on the long arm of chromosome 8. The candidate region spans eight genes, and DNA sequence analysis revealed homozygous nonsense and missense mutations in FZD6, the gene encoding Frizzled 6. FZD6 belongs to a family of highly conserved membrane-bound WNT receptors involved in developmental processes and differentiation through several signaling pathways. We expressed the FZD6 missense mutation and observed a quantitative shift in subcellular distribution from the plasma membrane to the lysosomes, where the receptor is inacces! sible for signaling and presumably degraded. Analysis of human fibroblasts homozygous for the nonsense mutation showed an aberrant response to both WNT-3A and WNT-5A stimulation; this response was consistent with an effect on both canonical and noncanonical WNT-FZD signaling. A detailed analysis of the Fzd6−/− mice, previously shown to have an altered hair pattern, showed malformed claws predominantly of the hind limbs. Furthermore, a transient Fdz6 mRNA expression was observed in the epidermis of the digital tips at embryonic day 16.5 during early claw morphogenesis. Thus, our combined results show that FZD6 mutations can result in severe defects in nail and claw formation through reduced or abolished membranous FZD6 levels and several nonfunctional WNT-FZD pathways.
  • A Genome-wide Association Study of Lung Cancer Identifies a Region of Chromosome 5p15 Associated with Risk for Adenocarcinoma
    - Am J Hum Genet 88(6):861 (2011)

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