Taylor group publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) has many subtypes with different prognoses and response to treatment. Patients must be characterized to access the most appropriate treatment and improve outcomes. An increasing number of biomarkers are required for characterization but are not in routine use. We investigated whether CRC can be stratified routinely within a small district general hospital to inform clinical decision making at local multidisciplinary team meeting/tumor board level. We evaluated mismatch repair (MMR) and EGFR signaling pathways using predominantly in-house immunohistochemical (IHC) tests (MSH2, MSH6, MLH1, PMS2, BRAF-V600E, Her2, PTEN, cMET) as well as send away PCR/NGS tests (NRAS, KRAS, and BRAF). We demonstrated that many of the tests required for personalized treatment of CRC can be done locally and timely. Send away tests need to be requested shortly after cut-up and this needs to be firmly established in the tissue pathways for the results to be considered at multidisciplinary team meeting/tumor board. We have shown that MMR IHC combined with BRAFV600E IHC is practical and easy to perform in a small district general hospital, has full concordance with DNA-based tests and satisfies the latest NICE requirements for the identification of potential Lynch syndrome patients. We provide a framework for the interpretation and presentation of test results. It is a practical classification that clinical pathologists can use to communicate effectively with the clinical team. It is broadly based on molecular subtyping, firmly focused on treatment decisions and dependent on the panel of molecular tests currently available.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.
Genomic instability, which is a hallmark of cancer, is generally thought to occur in the middle to late stages of tumourigenesis, following the acquisition of permissive molecular aberrations such as TP53 mutation or whole genome doubling. Tumours with somatic POLE exonuclease domain mutations are notable for their extreme genomic instability (their mutation burden is among the highest in human cancer), distinct mutational signature, lymphocytic infiltrate, and excellent prognosis. To what extent these characteristics are determined by the timing of POLE mutations in oncogenesis is unknown. Here, we have shown that pathogenic POLE mutations are detectable in non-malignant precursors of endometrial and colorectal cancer. Using genome and exome sequencing, we found that multiple driver mutations in POLE-mutant cancers show the characteristic POLE mutational signature, including those in genes conventionally regarded as initiators of tumourigenesis. In POLE-mutant cancers, the proportion of monoclonal predicted neoantigens was similar to that in other cancers, but the absolute number was much greater. We also found that the prominent CD8+ T-cell infiltrate present in POLE-mutant cancers was evident in their precursor lesions. Collectively, these data indicate that somatic POLE mutations are early, quite possibly initiating, events in the endometrial and colorectal cancers in which they occur. The resulting early onset of genomic instability may account for the striking immune response and excellent prognosis of these tumours, as well as their early presentation. © 2018 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
Chuvash polycythemia is an autosomal recessive form of erythrocytosis associated with a homozygous p.Arg200Trp mutation in the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. Since this discovery, additional VHL mutations have been identified in patients with congenital erythrocytosis, in a homozygous or compound-heterozygous state. VHL is a major tumor suppressor gene, mutations in which were first described in patients presenting with VHL disease, which is characterized by the development of highly vascularized tumors. Here, we identify a new VHL cryptic exon (termed E1') deep in intron 1 that is naturally expressed in many tissues. More importantly, we identify mutations in E1' in 7 families with erythrocytosis (1 homozygous case and 6 compound-heterozygous cases with a mutation in E1' in addition to a mutation in VHL coding sequences) and in 1 large family with typical VHL disease but without any alteration in the other VHL exons. In this study, we show that the mutations induced a dysregulation of VHL splicing with excessive retention of E1' and were associated with a downregulation of VHL protein expression. In addition, we demonstrate a pathogenic role for synonymous mutations in VHL exon 2 that altered splicing through E2-skipping in 5 families with erythrocytosis or VHL disease. In all the studied cases, the mutations differentially affected splicing, correlating with phenotype severity. This study demonstrates that cryptic exon retention and exon skipping are new VHL alterations and reveals a novel complex splicing regulation of the VHL gene. These findings open new avenues for diagnosis and research regarding the VHL-related hypoxia-signaling pathway.
With large-scale genome sequencing initiatives underway, vast amounts of genomic data are being generated. Results-including secondary findings (SF)-are being returned, although policies around generation and management remain inconsistent. In order to inform relevant policy, it is essential that the views of stakeholders be considered-including participants who have made decisions about SF since the wider debate began. We conducted semi-structured interviews with sixteen rare disease patients and parents enroled in genome sequencing to explore views towards SF. Informed by extensive contact with the healthcare system, interviewees demonstrated high levels of understanding of genetic testing and held pragmatic views: many are content not knowing SF. Interviewees expressed trust in the system and healthcare providers, as well as an appreciation of limited resources; acknowledging existing disease burden, many preferred to focus on their primary condition. Many demonstrated an expectation for recontact and assumed the possibility of later access to initially declined SF. In the absence of such an infrastructure, it is important that responsibilities for recontact are delineated, expectations are addressed, and the long-term impact of decisions is made clear during consent. In addition, some interviewees demonstrated fluid views towards SF, and suggestions were made that perceptions may be influenced by family history. Further research into the changing desirability of SF and behavioural impact of disclosure are needed, and the development and introduction of mechanisms to respond to changes in patient views should be considered.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) efforts have established catalogs of mutations relevant to cancer development. However, the clinical utility of this information remains largely unexplored. Here, we present the results of the first eight patients recruited into a clinical whole-genome sequencing (WGS) program in the United Kingdom. We performed PCR-free WGS of fresh frozen tumors and germline DNA at 75× and 30×, respectively, using the HiSeq2500 HTv4. Subtracted tumor VCFs and paired germlines were subjected to comprehensive analysis of coding and noncoding regions, integration of germline with somatically acquired variants, and global mutation signatures and pathway analyses. Results were classified into tiers and presented to a multidisciplinary tumor board. WGS results helped to clarify an uncertain histopathological diagnosis in one case, led to informed or supported prognosis in two cases, leading to de-escalation of therapy in one, and indicated potential treatments in all eight. Overall 26 different tier 1 potentially clinically actionable findings were identified using WGS compared with six SNVs/indels using routine targeted NGS. These initial results demonstrate the potential of WGS to inform future diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment choice in cancer and justify the systematic evaluation of the clinical utility of WGS in larger cohorts of patients with cancer.
Defective glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biogenesis can cause a spectrum of predominantly neurological problems. For eight genes critical to this biological process, disease associations are not yet reported. Scanning exomes from 7,833 parent-child trios and 1,792 singletons from the DDD study for biallelic variants in this gene-set uncovered a rare PIGH variant in a boy with epilepsy, microcephaly, and behavioral difficulties. Although only 2/2 reads harbored this c.1A > T transversion, the presence of ∼25 Mb autozygosity at this locus implied homozygosity, which was confirmed using Sanger sequencing. A similarly-affected sister was also homozygous. FACS analysis of PIGH-deficient CHO cells indicated that cDNAs with c.1A > T could not efficiently restore expression of GPI-APs. Truncation of PIGH protein was consistent with the utilization of an in-frame start-site at codon 63. In summary, we describe siblings harboring a homozygous c.1A > T variant resulting in defective GPI-anchor biogenesis and highlight the importance of exploring low-coverage variants within autozygous regions.
PurposeTo characterize the molecular genetics of autosomal recessive Noonan syndrome.MethodsFamilies underwent phenotyping for features of Noonan syndrome in children and their parents. Two multiplex families underwent linkage analysis. Exome, genome, or multigene panel sequencing was used to identify variants. The molecular consequences of observed splice variants were evaluated by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.ResultsTwelve families with a total of 23 affected children with features of Noonan syndrome were evaluated. The phenotypic range included mildly affected patients, but it was lethal in some, with cardiac disease and leukemia. All of the parents were unaffected. Linkage analysis using a recessive model supported a candidate region in chromosome 22q11, which includes LZTR1, previously shown to harbor mutations in patients with Noonan syndrome inherited in a dominant pattern. Sequencing analyses of 21 live-born patients and a stillbirth identified biallelic pathogenic variants in LZTR1, including putative loss-of-function, missense, and canonical and noncanonical splicing variants in the affected children, with heterozygous, clinically unaffected parents and heterozygous or normal genotypes in unaffected siblings.ConclusionThese clinical and genetic data confirm the existence of a form of Noonan syndrome that is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern and identify biallelic mutations in LZTR1.Genet Med advance online publication, 22 February 2018; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.249.
PurposeWe conducted a systematic literature review to summarize the current health economic evidence for whole-exome sequencing (WES) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).MethodsRelevant studies were identified in the EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, EconLit and University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination databases from January 2005 to July 2016. Publications were included in the review if they were economic evaluations, cost studies, or outcome studies.ResultsThirty-six studies met our inclusion criteria. These publications investigated the use of WES and WGS in a variety of genetic conditions in clinical practice, the most common being neurological or neurodevelopmental disorders. Study sample size varied from a single child to 2,000 patients. Cost estimates for a single test ranged from $555 to $5,169 for WES and from $1,906 to $24,810 for WGS. Few cost analyses presented data transparently and many publications did not state which components were included in cost estimates.ConclusionThe current health economic evidence base to support the more widespread use of WES and WGS in clinical practice is very limited. Studies that carefully evaluate the costs, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of these tests are urgently needed to support their translation into clinical practice.GENETICS in MEDICINE advance online publication, 15 February 2018; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.247.
PurposeFresh-frozen (FF) tissue is the optimal source of DNA for whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of cancer patients. However, it is not always available, limiting the widespread application of WGS in clinical practice. We explored the viability of using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues, available routinely for cancer patients, as a source of DNA for clinical WGS.MethodsWe conducted a prospective study using DNAs from matched FF, FFPE, and peripheral blood germ-line specimens collected from 52 cancer patients (156 samples) following routine diagnostic protocols. We compared somatic variants detected in FFPE and matching FF samples.ResultsWe found the single-nucleotide variant agreement reached 71% across the genome and somatic copy-number alterations (CNAs) detection from FFPE samples was suboptimal (0.44 median correlation with FF) due to nonuniform coverage. CNA detection was improved significantly with lower reverse crosslinking temperature in FFPE DNA extraction (80 °C or 65 °C depending on the methods). Our final data showed somatic variant detection from FFPE for clinical decision making is possible. We detected 98% of clinically actionable variants (including 30/31 CNAs).ConclusionWe present the first prospective WGS study of cancer patients using FFPE specimens collected in a routine clinical environment proving WGS can be applied in the clinic.GENETICS in MEDICINE advance online publication, 1 February 2018; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.241.
BACKGROUND: Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic sequences that randomly propagate within their host's genome. This mobility has the potential to affect gene transcription and cause disease. However, TEs are technically challenging to identify, which complicates efforts to assess the impact of TE insertions on disease. Here we present a targeted sequencing protocol and computational pipeline to identify polymorphic and novel TE insertions using next-generation sequencing: TE-NGS. The method simultaneously targets the three subfamilies that are responsible for the majority of recent TE activity (L1HS, AluYa5/8, and AluYb8/9) thereby obviating the need for multiple experiments and reducing the amount of input material required. RESULTS: Here we describe the laboratory protocol and detection algorithm, and a benchmark experiment for the reference genome NA12878. We demonstrate a substantial enrichment for on-target fragments, and high sensitivity and precision to both reference and NA12878-specific insertions. We report 17 previously unreported loci for this individual which are supported by orthogonal long-read evidence, and we identify 1470 polymorphic and novel TEs in 12 additional samples that were previously undocumented in databases of insertion polymorphisms. CONCLUSIONS: We anticipate that future applications of TE-NGS alongside exome sequencing of patients with sporadic disease will reduce the number of unresolved cases, and improve estimates of the contribution of TEs to human genetic disease.
BACKGROUND: Molecular indicators of colorectal cancer prognosis have been assessed in several studies, but most analyses have been restricted to a handful of markers. We aimed to identify prognostic biomarkers for colorectal cancer by sequencing panels of multiple driver genes. METHODS: In stage II or III colorectal cancers from the QUASAR 2 open-label randomised phase 3 clinical trial and an Australian community-based series, we used targeted next-generation sequencing of 82 and 113 genes, respectively, including the main colorectal cancer drivers. We investigated molecular pathways of tumorigenesis, and analysed individual driver gene mutations, combinations of mutations, or global measures such as microsatellite instability (MSI) and mutation burden (total number of non-synonymous mutations and coding indels) for associations with relapse-free survival in univariable and multivariable models, principally Cox proportional hazards models. FINDINGS: In QUASAR 2 (511 tumours), TP53, KRAS, BRAF, and GNAS mutations were independently associated with shorter relapse-free survival (p<0·035 in all cases), and total somatic mutation burden with longer survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0·81 [95% CI 0·68-0·96]; p=0·014). MSI was not independently associated with survival (HR 1·12 [95% CI 0·57-2·19]; p=0·75). We successfully validated these associations in the Australian sample set (296 tumours). In a combined analysis of both the QUASAR 2 and the Australian sample sets, mutation burden was also associated with longer survival (HR 0·84 [95% CI 0·74-0·94]; p=0·004) after exclusion of MSI-positive and POLE mutant tumours. In an extended analysis of 1732 QUASAR 2 and Australian colorectal cancers for which KRAS, BRAF, and MSI status were available, KRAS and BRAF mutations were specifically associated with poor prognosis in MSI-negative cancers. MSI-positive cancers with KRAS or BRAF mutations had better prognosis than MSI-negative cancers that were wild-type for KRAS or BRAF. Mutations in the genes NF1 and NRAS from the MAPK pathway co-occurred, and mutations in the DNA damage-response genes TP53 and ATM were mutually exclusive. We compared a prognostic model based on the gold standard of clinicopathological variables and MSI with our new model incorporating clinicopathological variables, mutation burden, and driver mutations in KRAS, BRAF, and TP53. In both QUASAR 2 and the Australian cohort, our new model was significantly better (p=0·00004 and p=0·0057, respectively, based on a likelihood ratio test). INTERPRETATION: Multigene panels identified two previously unreported prognostic associations in colorectal cancer involving TP53 mutation and total mutation burden, and confirmed associations with KRAS and BRAF. Even a modest-sized gene panel can provide important information for use in clinical practice and outperform MSI-based prognostic models. FUNDING: UK Technology Strategy Board, National Institute for Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Cancer Australia Project, Cancer Council Victoria, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Victorian Government.
Birth defects that involve the cerebral cortex - also known as malformations of cortical development (MCD) - are important causes of intellectual disability and account for 20-40% of drug-resistant epilepsy in childhood. High-resolution brain imaging has facilitated in vivo identification of a large group of MCD phenotypes. Despite the advances in brain imaging, genomic analysis and generation of animal models, a straightforward workflow to systematically prioritize candidate genes and to test functional effects of putative mutations is missing. To overcome this problem, an experimental strategy enabling the identification of novel causative genes for MCD was developed and validated. This strategy is based on identifying candidate genomic regions or genes via array-CGH or whole-exome sequencing and characterizing the effects of their inactivation or of overexpression of specific mutations in developing rodent brains via in utero electroporation. This approach led to the identification of the C6orf70 gene, encoding for a putative vesicular protein, to the pathogenesis of periventricular nodular heterotopia, a MCD caused by defective neuronal migration.
Genetic defects that affect intestinal epithelial barrier function can present with very early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEOIBD). Using whole-genome sequencing, a novel hemizygous defect in NOX1 encoding NAPDH oxidase 1 was identified in a patient with ulcerative colitis-like VEOIBD. Exome screening of 1,878 pediatric patients identified further seven male inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients with rare NOX1 mutations. Loss-of-function was validated in p.N122H and p.T497A, and to a lesser degree in p.Y470H, p.R287Q, p.I67M, p.Q293R as well as the previously described p.P330S, and the common NOX1 SNP p.D360N (rs34688635) variant. The missense mutation p.N122H abrogated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in cell lines, ex vivo colonic explants, and patient-derived colonic organoid cultures. Within colonic crypts, NOX1 constitutively generates a high level of ROS in the crypt lumen. Analysis of 9,513 controls and 11,140 IBD patients of non-Jewish European ancestry did not reveal an association between p.D360N and IBD. Our data suggest that loss-of-function variants in NOX1 do not cause a Mendelian disorder of high penetrance but are a context-specific modifier. Our results implicate that variants in NOX1 change brush border ROS within colonic crypts at the interface between the epithelium and luminal microbes.
PurposeApproaches to secondary findings in genome sequencing (GS) are unresolved. In the United Kingdom, GS is now routinely available through the 100,000 Genomes Project, which offers participants feedback of limited secondary findings.MethodsIn Oxford, a Genomic Medicine Multidisciplinary Team (GM-MDT) governs local access to GS, and reviews findings. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 GM-MDT members to explore perspectives on secondary findings.ResultsWhile enthusiastic about GS for diagnosing rare disease, members question the rationale for genome screening largely because of lack of evidence for clinical utility and limited justification for use of resources. Members' views are drawn from diverse experiences; they feel a strong sense of responsibility to act in participants' best interests. The capacity to return limited secondary findings should be enabled, but members favor a cautious approach that is responsive to accumulating evidence. Informed participant choice is considered critical, yet challenging. Discrimination of variants is considered essential, and requiring of specialist input and consensus. Multiple areas requiring enhanced engagement and education are identified, i.e., for patients, the public, and health-care professionals; at present, mainstreaming of genomics may be premature.ConclusionUK experts believe that evidence to inform policy toward secondary findings is lacking, arguing for caution.
The discovery of genetic variants influencing sleep patterns can shed light on the physiological processes underlying sleep. As part of a large clinical sequencing project, WGS500, we sequenced a family in which the two male children had severe developmental delay and a dramatically disturbed sleep-wake cycle, with very long wake and sleep durations, reaching up to 106-h awake and 48-h asleep. The most likely causal variant identified was a novel missense variant in the X-linked GRIA3 gene, which has been implicated in intellectual disability. GRIA3 encodes GluA3, a subunit of AMPA-type ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPARs). The mutation (A653T) falls within the highly conserved transmembrane domain of the ion channel gate, immediately adjacent to the analogous residue in the Grid2 (glutamate receptor) gene, which is mutated in the mouse neurobehavioral mutant, Lurcher. In vitro, the GRIA3(A653T) mutation stabilizes the channel in a closed conformation, in contrast to Lurcher. We introduced the orthologous mutation into a mouse strain by CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis and found that hemizygous mutants displayed significant differences in the structure of their activity and sleep compared to wild-type littermates. Typically, mice are polyphasic, exhibiting multiple sleep bouts of sleep several minutes long within a 24-h period. The Gria3A653T mouse showed significantly fewer brief bouts of activity and sleep than the wild-types. Furthermore, Gria3A653T mice showed enhanced period lengthening under constant light compared to wild-type mice, suggesting an increased sensitivity to light. Our results suggest a role for GluA3 channel activity in the regulation of sleep behavior in both mice and humans.
Motivation: The identification of genetic variants influencing gene expression (known as expression quantitative trait loci or eQTLs) is important in unravelling the genetic basis of complex traits. Detecting multiple eQTLs simultaneously in a population based on paired DNA-seq and RNA-seq assays employs two competing types of models: models which rely on appropriate transformations of RNA-seq data (and are powered by a mature mathematical theory), or count-based models, which represent digital gene expression explicitly, thus rendering such transformations unnecessary. The latter constitutes an immensely popular methodology, which is however plagued by mathematical intractability. Results: We develop tractable count-based models, which are amenable to efficient estimation through the introduction of latent variables and the appropriate application of recent statistical theory in a sparse Bayesian modelling framework. Furthermore, we examine several transformation methods for RNA-seq read counts and we introduce arcsin, logit and Laplace smoothing as preprocessing steps for transformation-based models. Using natural and carefully simulated data from the 1000 Genomes and gEUVADIS projects, we benchmark both approaches under a variety of scenarios, including the presence of noise and violation of basic model assumptions. We demonstrate that an arcsin transformation of Laplace-smoothed data is at least as good as state-of-the-art models, particularly at small samples. Furthermore, we show that an over-dispersed Poisson model is comparable to the celebrated Negative Binomial, but much easier to estimate. These results provide strong support for transformation-based versus count-based (particularly Negative-Binomial-based) models for eQTL mapping. Availability and implementation: All methods are implemented in the free software eQTLseq: https://github.com/dvav/eQTLseq. Contact: email@example.com. Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Cancer is characterised by complex somatically acquired genetic aberrations that manifest as intra-tumour and inter-tumour genetic heterogeneity and can lead to treatment resistance. In this case study, we characterise the genome-wide somatic mutation dynamics in a metastatic melanoma patient during therapy using low-input (50 ng) PCR-free whole genome sequencing of cell-free DNA from pre-treatment and post-relapse blood samples. We identify de novo tumour-specific somatic mutations from cell-free DNA, while the sequence context of single nucleotide variants showed the characteristic UV-damage mutation signature of melanoma. To investigate the behaviour of individual somatic mutations during proto-oncogene B-Raf -targeted and immune checkpoint inhibition, amplicon-based deep sequencing was used to verify and track frequencies of 212 single nucleotide variants at 10 distinct time points over 13 months of treatment. Under checkpoint inhibition therapy, we observed an increase in mutant allele frequencies indicating progression on therapy 88 days before clinical determination of non-response positron emission tomogrophy-computed tomography. We also revealed mutations from whole genome sequencing of cell-free DNA that were not present in the tissue biopsy, but that later contributed to relapse. Our findings have potential clinical applications where high quality tumour-tissue derived DNA is not available.
Genome-wide sequencing technologies are beginning to be used in projects that have both clinical diagnostic and research components. The clinical application of this technology, which generates a huge amount of information of varying diagnostic certainty, involves addressing a number of challenges to establish appropriate standards. In this article, we explore the way that UK law may respond to three of these key challenges and could establish new legal duties in relation to feedback of findings that are unrelated to the presenting condition (secondary, additional or incidental findings); duties towards genetic relatives as well as the patient and duties on the part of researchers and professionals who do not have direct contact with patients. When considering these issues, the courts will take account of European and international comparisons, developing guidance and relevant ethical, social and policy factors. The UK courts will also be strongly influenced by precedent set in case law.
BACKGROUND: Genomic tests may improve the stratification of patients to receive new therapies in several disease areas. However, the use of expensive targeted therapies can impact on the cost effectiveness of these tests. This study presents an economic evaluation of genomic testing in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in the context of the UK National Health Service. METHODS: Cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analyses (using life-years and quality-adjusted life-years) were undertaken from a National Health Service and societal perspective. Five strategies were evaluated across several age groups using Markov modelling: three strategies that reflected varying current genetic testing practice and two configurations of genomic testing (including ibrutinib treatment). RESULTS: Genomic testing strategies yielded the most life-years/quality-adjusted life-years per patient, but were not cost effective compared with a threshold of £30,000 per life-year/quality-adjusted life-year gained. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves indicated that there was some uncertainty surrounding this result. A genomic testing strategy becomes the most cost-effective option if a higher end-of-life cost-effectiveness threshold of £50,000 is applied, if a societal costing perspective is considered in 25-year-old patients or if the cost of ibrutinib treatment falls. CONCLUSION: Stratifying patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia to targeted treatment using genomic testing improves health outcomes, but will likely only represent a cost-effective use of limited National Health Service resources if a higher cost-effectiveness threshold or societal costing perspective is applied, or if the price of ibrutinib treatment is reduced. This result may be broadly indicative of the likely cost effectiveness of other genomic tests that inform the stratification of patients to high cost-targeted therapies.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) consists of two biologically and clinically distinct subtypes defined by the abundance of somatic hypermutation (SHM) affecting the Ig variable heavy-chain locus (IgHV). The molecular mechanisms underlying these subtypes are incompletely understood. Here, we present a comprehensive whole-genome sequencing analysis of somatically acquired genetic events from 46 CLL patients, including a systematic comparison of coding and non-coding single-nucleotide variants, copy number variants and structural variants, regions of kataegis and mutation signatures between IgHVmut and IgHVunmut subtypes. We demonstrate that one-quarter of non-coding mutations in regions of kataegis outside the Ig loci are located in genes relevant to CLL. We show that non-coding mutations in ATM may negatively impact on ATM expression and find non-coding and regulatory region mutations in TCL1A, and in IgHVunmut CLL in IKZF3, SAMHD1,PAX5 and BIRC3. Finally, we show that IgHVunmut CLL is dominated by coding mutations in driver genes and an aging signature, whereas IgHVmut CLL has a high incidence of promoter and enhancer mutations caused by aberrant activation-induced cytidine deaminase activity. Taken together, our data support the hypothesis that differences in clinical outcome and biological characteristics between the two subgroups might reflect differences in mutation distribution, incidence and distinct underlying mutagenic mechanisms.
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has transformed the understanding of the genetic drivers of cancer and is increasingly being used in cancer medicine to identify personalized therapies. Here we describe a case in which the application of WGS identified a tumoral BRCA2 deletion in a patient with aggressive dedifferentiated prostate cancer that was repeat-biopsied after disease progression. This would not have been detected by standard BRCA testing, and it led to additional treatment with a maintenance poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor following platinum-based chemotherapy. This case demonstrates that repeat biopsy upon disease progression and application of WGS to tumor samples has meaningful clinical utility and the potential to transform outcomes in patients with cancer.
Over 150 different proteins attach to the plasma membrane using glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors. Mutations in 18 genes that encode components of GPI-anchor biogenesis result in a phenotypic spectrum that includes learning disability, epilepsy, microcephaly, congenital malformations and mild dysmorphic features. To determine the incidence of GPI-anchor defects, we analysed the exome data from 4293 parent-child trios recruited to the Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) study. All probands recruited had a neurodevelopmental disorder. We searched for variants in 31 genes linked to GPI-anchor biogenesis and detected rare biallelic variants in PGAP3, PIGN, PIGT (n=2), PIGO and PIGL, providing a likely diagnosis for six families. In five families, the variants were in a compound heterozygous configuration while in a consanguineous Afghani kindred, a homozygous c.709G>C; p.(E237Q) variant in PIGT was identified within 10-12 Mb of autozygosity. Validation and segregation analysis was performed using Sanger sequencing. Across the six families, five siblings were available for testing and in all cases variants co-segregated consistent with them being causative. In four families, abnormal alkaline phosphatase results were observed in the direction expected. FACS analysis of knockout HEK293 cells that had been transfected with wild-type or mutant cDNA constructs demonstrated that the variants in PIGN, PIGT and PIGO all led to reduced activity. Splicing assays, performed using leucocyte RNA, showed that a c.336-2A>G variant in PIGL resulted in exon skipping and p.D113fs*2. Our results strengthen recently reported disease associations, suggest that defective GPI-anchor biogenesis may explain ~0.15% of individuals with developmental disorders and highlight the benefits of data sharing.
Whole-exome/whole-genome sequencing (WES/WGS) has the potential to enhance genetic diagnosis of rare disease, and is increasingly becoming part of routine clinical care in mainstream medicine. Effective translation will require ongoing efforts in a number of areas including: selection of appropriate patients, provision of effective consent, pre- and post-test genetic counselling, improving variant interpretation algorithms and practices, and management of secondary findings including those found incidentally and those actively sought. Allied to this is the need for an effective education programme for all members of clinical teams involved in care of patients with rare disease, as well as to maintain public confidence in the use of these technologies. We established a Genomic Medicine Multidisciplinary Team (GM-MDT) in 2014 to build on the experiences of earlier successful research-based WES/WGS studies, to address these needs and to review results including pertinent and secondary findings. Here we report on a qualitative study of decision-making in the GM-MDT combined with analysis of semi-structured interviews with GM-MDT members. Study findings show that members appreciate the clinical and scientific diversity of the GM-MDT and value it for education and oversight. To date, discussions have focussed on case selection including the extent and interpretation of clinical and family history information required to establish likely monogenic aetiology and inheritance model. Achieving a balance between effective use of WES/WGS - prioritising cases in a diverse and highly complex patient population where WES/WGS will be tractable - and meeting the recruitment targets of a large project is considered challenging.
BACKGROUND: Single gene tests to predict whether cancers respond to specific targeted therapies are performed increasingly often. Advances in sequencing technology, collectively referred to as next generation sequencing (NGS), mean the entire cancer genome or parts of it can now be sequenced at speed with increased depth and sensitivity. However, translation of NGS into routine cancer care has been slow. Healthcare stakeholders are unclear about the clinical utility of NGS and are concerned it could be an expensive addition to cancer diagnostics, rather than an affordable alternative to single gene testing. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We validated a 46-gene hotspot cancer panel assay allowing multiple gene testing from small diagnostic biopsies. From 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, solid tumour samples (including non-small-cell lung carcinoma [NSCLC], colorectal carcinoma, and melanoma) were sequenced in the context of the UK National Health Service from 351 consecutively submitted prospective cases for which treating clinicians thought the patient had potential to benefit from more extensive genetic analysis. Following histological assessment, tumour-rich regions of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) sections underwent macrodissection, DNA extraction, NGS, and analysis using a pipeline centred on Torrent Suite software. With a median turnaround time of seven working days, an integrated clinical report was produced indicating the variants detected, including those with potential diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic, or clinical trial entry implications. Accompanying phenotypic data were collected, and a detailed cost analysis of the panel compared with single gene testing was undertaken to assess affordability for routine patient care. Panel sequencing was successful for 97% (342/351) of tumour samples in the prospective cohort and showed 100% concordance with known mutations (detected using cobas assays). At least one mutation was identified in 87% (296/342) of tumours. A locally actionable mutation (i.e., available targeted treatment or clinical trial) was identified in 122/351 patients (35%). Forty patients received targeted treatment, in 22/40 (55%) cases solely due to use of the panel. Examination of published data on the potential efficacy of targeted therapies showed theoretically actionable mutations (i.e., mutations for which targeted treatment was potentially appropriate) in 66% (71/107) and 39% (41/105) of melanoma and NSCLC patients, respectively. At a cost of £339 (US$449) per patient, the panel was less expensive locally than performing more than two or three single gene tests. Study limitations include the use of FFPE samples, which do not always provide high-quality DNA, and the use of "real world" data: submission of cases for sequencing did not always follow clinical guidelines, meaning that when mutations were detected, patients were not always eligible for targeted treatments on clinical grounds. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that more extensive tumour sequencing can identify mutations that could improve clinical decision-making in routine cancer care, potentially improving patient outcomes, at an affordable level for healthcare providers.
BACKGROUND: Craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures, occurs in ∼1 in 2250 births, either in isolation or as part of a syndrome. Mutations in at least 57 genes have been associated with craniosynostosis, but only a minority of these are included in routine laboratory genetic testing. METHODS: We used exome or whole genome sequencing to seek a genetic cause in a cohort of 40 subjects with craniosynostosis, selected by clinical or molecular geneticists as being high-priority cases, and in whom prior clinically driven genetic testing had been negative. RESULTS: We identified likely associated mutations in 15 patients (37.5%), involving 14 different genes. All genes were mutated in single families, except for IL11RA (two families). We classified the other positive diagnoses as follows: commonly mutated craniosynostosis genes with atypical presentation (EFNB1, TWIST1); other core craniosynostosis genes (CDC45, MSX2, ZIC1); genes for which mutations are only rarely associated with craniosynostosis (FBN1, HUWE1, KRAS, STAT3); and known disease genes for which a causal relationship with craniosynostosis is currently unknown (AHDC1, NTRK2). In two further families, likely novel disease genes are currently undergoing functional validation. In 5 of the 15 positive cases, the (previously unanticipated) molecular diagnosis had immediate, actionable consequences for either genetic or medical management (mutations in EFNB1, FBN1, KRAS, NTRK2, STAT3). CONCLUSIONS: This substantial genetic heterogeneity, and the multiple actionable mutations identified, emphasises the benefits of exome/whole genome sequencing to identify causal mutations in craniosynostosis cases for which routine clinical testing has yielded negative results.
Neurodevelopmental disorders with periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) are etiologically heterogeneous, and their genetic causes remain in many cases unknown. Here we show that missense mutations in NEDD4L mapping to the HECT domain of the encoded E3 ubiquitin ligase lead to PNH associated with toe syndactyly, cleft palate and neurodevelopmental delay. Cellular and expression data showed sensitivity of PNH-associated mutants to proteasome degradation. Moreover, an in utero electroporation approach showed that PNH-related mutants and excess wild-type NEDD4L affect neurogenesis, neuronal positioning and terminal translocation. Further investigations, including rapamycin-based experiments, found differential deregulation of pathways involved. Excess wild-type NEDD4L leads to disruption of Dab1 and mTORC1 pathways, while PNH-related mutations are associated with deregulation of mTORC1 and AKT activities. Altogether, these data provide insights into the critical role of NEDD4L in the regulation of mTOR pathways and their contributions in cortical development.
This report constitutes the first report of a cryptic exonic splice-donor site in CDK5RAP2, highlights the importance of evaluating novel splice mutations, and suggests that the phenotypic range associated with CDK5RAP2 mutations may include skin pigmentary abnormalities.
Erythrocytosis is a rare disorder characterized by increased red cell mass and elevated hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit. Several genetic variants have been identified as causes for erythrocytosis in genes belonging to different pathways including oxygen sensing, erythropoiesis and oxygen transport. However, despite clinical investigation and screening for these mutations, the cause of disease cannot be found in a considerable number of patients, who are classified as having idiopathic erythrocytosis. In this study, we developed a targeted next-generation sequencing panel encompassing the exonic regions of 21 genes from relevant pathways (~79 Kb) and sequenced 125 patients with idiopathic erythrocytosis. The panel effectively screened 97% of coding regions of these genes, with an average coverage of 450×. It identified 51 different rare variants, all leading to alterations of protein sequence, with 57 out of 125 cases (45.6%) having at least one of these variants. Ten of these were known erythrocytosis-causing variants, which had been missed following existing diagnostic algorithms. Twenty-two were novel variants in erythrocytosis-associated genes (EGLN1, EPAS1, VHL, BPGM, JAK2, SH2B3) and in novel genes included in the panel (e.g. EPO, EGLN2, HIF3A, OS9), some with a high likelihood of functionality, for which future segregation, functional and replication studies will be useful to provide further evidence for causality. The rest were classified as polymorphisms. Overall, these results demonstrate the benefits of using a gene panel rather than existing methods in which focused genetic screening is performed depending on biochemical measurements: the gene panel improves diagnostic accuracy and provides the opportunity for discovery of novel variants.
BACKGROUND: High throughput next-generation sequencing techniques have made whole genome sequencing accessible in clinical practice; however, the abundance of variation in the human genomes makes the identification of a disease-causing mutation on a background of benign rare variants challenging. METHODS AND RESULTS: Here we combine whole genome sequencing with linkage analysis in a 3-generation family affected by cardiomyopathy with features of autosomal dominant left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy. A missense mutation in the giant protein titin is the only plausible disease-causing variant that segregates with disease among the 7 surviving affected individuals, with interrogation of the entire genome excluding other potential causes. This A178D missense mutation, affecting a conserved residue in the second immunoglobulin-like domain of titin, was introduced in a bacterially expressed recombinant protein fragment and biophysically characterized in comparison to its wild-type counterpart. Multiple experiments, including size exclusion chromatography, small-angle x ray scattering, and circular dichroism spectroscopy suggest partial unfolding and domain destabilization in the presence of the mutation. Moreover, binding experiments in mammalian cells show that the mutation markedly impairs binding to the titin ligand telethonin. CONCLUSIONS: Here we present genetic and functional evidence implicating the novel A178D missense mutation in titin as the cause of a highly penetrant familial cardiomyopathy with features of left ventricular noncompaction. This expands the spectrum of titin's roles in cardiomyopathies. It furthermore highlights that rare titin missense variants, currently often ignored or left uninterpreted, should be considered to be relevant for cardiomyopathies and can be identified by the approach presented here.
MOTIVATION: The increasing adoption of clinical whole-genome resequencing (WGS) demands for highly accurate and reproducible variant calling (VC) methods. The observed discordance between state-of-the-art VC pipelines, however, indicates that the current practice still suffers from non-negligible numbers of false positive and negative SNV and INDEL calls that were shown to be enriched among discordant calls but also in genomic regions with low sequence complexity. RESULTS: Here, we describe our method ReliableGenome (RG) for partitioning genomes into high and low concordance regions with respect to a set of surveyed VC pipelines. Our method combines call sets derived by multiple pipelines from arbitrary numbers of datasets and interpolates expected concordance for genomic regions without data. By applying RG to 219 deep human WGS datasets, we demonstrate that VC concordance depends predominantly on genomic context rather than the actual sequencing data which manifests in high recurrence of regions that can/cannot be reliably genotyped by a single method. This enables the application of pre-computed regions to other data created with comparable sequencing technology and software. RG outperforms comparable efforts in predicting VC concordance and false positive calls in low-concordance regions which underlines its usefulness for variant filtering, annotation and prioritization. RG allows focusing resource-intensive algorithms (e.g. consensus calling methods) on the smaller, discordant share of the genome (20-30%) which might result in increased overall accuracy at reasonable costs. Our method and analysis of discordant calls may further be useful for development, benchmarking and optimization of VC algorithms and for the relative comparison of call sets between different studies/pipelines. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: RG was implemented in Java, source code and binaries are freely available for non-commercial use at https://github.com/popitsch/wtchg-rg/ CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.orgSupplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Kabuki syndrome is a heterogeneous condition characterized by distinctive facial features, intellectual disability, growth retardation, skeletal abnormalities and a range of organ malformations. Although at least two major causative genes have been identified, these do not explain all cases. Here we describe a patient with a complex Kabuki-like syndrome that included nodular heterotopia, in whom testing for several single-gene disorders had proved negative. Exome sequencing uncovered a de novo c.931_932insTT variant in HNRNPK (heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K). Although this variant was identified in March 2012, its clinical relevance could only be confirmed following the August 2015 publication of two cases with HNRNPK mutations and an overlapping phenotype that included intellectual disability, distinctive facial dysmorphism and skeletal/connective tissue abnormalities. Whilst we had attempted (unsuccessfully) to identify additional cases through existing collaborators, the two published cases were 'matched' using GeneMatcher, a web-based tool for connecting researchers and clinicians working on identical genes. Our report therefore exemplifies the importance of such online tools in clinical genetics research and the benefits of periodically reviewing cases with variants of unproven significance. Our study also suggests that loss of function variants in HNRNPK should be considered as a molecular basis for patients with Kabuki-like syndrome.
The aim of this study was to identify the causative mutation in a family with an unusual presentation of autosomal dominant osteopetrosis (OPT), proximal renal tubular acidosis (RTA), renal stones, epilepsy, and blindness, a combination of features not previously reported. We undertook exome sequencing of one affected and one unaffected family member, followed by targeted analysis of known candidate genes to identify the causative mutation. This identified a missense mutation (c.643G>A; p.Gly215Arg) in the gene encoding the chloride/proton antiporter 7 (gene CLCN7, protein CLC-7), which was confirmed by amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS)-PCR, and to be present in the three available patients. CLC-7 mutations are known to cause autosomal dominant OPT type 2, also called Albers-Schonberg disease, which is characterized by osteosclerosis, predominantly of the spine, pelvis and skull base, resulting in bone fragility and fractures. Albers-Schonberg disease is not reported to be associated with RTA, but autosomal recessive OPT type 3 (OPTB3) with RTA is associated with carbonic anhydrase type 2 (CA2) mutations. No mutations were detected in CA2 or any other genes known to cause proximal RTA. Neither CLCN7 nor CA2 mutations have previously been reported to be associated with renal stones or epilepsy. Thus, we identified a CLCN7 mutation in a family with autosomal dominant osteopetrosis, RTA, renal stones, epilepsy, and blindness. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PURPOSE: The accurate interpretation of variation in Mendelian disease genes has lagged behind data generation as sequencing has become increasingly accessible. Ongoing large sequencing efforts present huge interpretive challenges, but they also provide an invaluable opportunity to characterize the spectrum and importance of rare variation. METHODS: We analyzed sequence data from 7,855 clinical cardiomyopathy cases and 60,706 Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) reference samples to obtain a better understanding of genetic variation in a representative autosomal dominant disorder. RESULTS: We found that in some genes previously reported as important causes of a given cardiomyopathy, rare variation is not clinically informative because there is an unacceptably high likelihood of false-positive interpretation. By contrast, in other genes, we find that diagnostic laboratories may be overly conservative when assessing variant pathogenicity. CONCLUSIONS: We outline improved analytical approaches that evaluate which genes and variant classes are interpretable and propose that these will increase the clinical utility of testing across a range of Mendelian diseases.Genet Med 19 2, 192-203.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the phenotypic spectrum associated with mutations in TBC1D24. METHODS: We acquired new clinical, EEG, and neuroimaging data of 11 previously unreported and 37 published patients. TBC1D24 mutations, identified through various sequencing methods, can be found online (http://lovd.nl/TBC1D24). RESULTS: Forty-eight patients were included (28 men, 20 women, average age 21 years) from 30 independent families. Eighteen patients (38%) had myoclonic epilepsies. The other patients carried diagnoses of focal (25%), multifocal (2%), generalized (4%), and unclassified epilepsy (6%), and early-onset epileptic encephalopathy (25%). Most patients had drug-resistant epilepsy. We detail EEG, neuroimaging, developmental, and cognitive features, treatment responsiveness, and physical examination. In silico evaluation revealed 7 different highly conserved motifs, with the most common pathogenic mutation located in the first. Neuronal outgrowth assays showed that some TBC1D24 mutations, associated with the most severe TBC1D24-associated disorders, are not necessarily the most disruptive to this gene function. CONCLUSIONS: TBC1D24-related epilepsy syndromes show marked phenotypic pleiotropy, with multisystem involvement and severity spectrum ranging from isolated deafness (not studied here), benign myoclonic epilepsy restricted to childhood with complete seizure control and normal intellect, to early-onset epileptic encephalopathy with severe developmental delay and early death. There is no distinct correlation with mutation type or location yet, but patterns are emerging. Given the phenotypic breadth observed, TBC1D24 mutation screening is indicated in a wide variety of epilepsies. A TBC1D24 consortium was formed to develop further research on this gene and its associated phenotypes.
Autosomal dominant hypocalcemia (ADH) is characterized by hypocalcemia, inappropriately low serum parathyroid hormone concentrations and hypercalciuria. ADH is genetically heterogeneous with ADH type 1 (ADH1), the predominant form, being caused by germline gain-of-function mutations of the G-protein coupled calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR), and ADH2 caused by germline gain-of-function mutations of G-protein subunit α-11 (Gα11 ). To date Gα11 mutations causing ADH2 have been reported in only five probands. We investigated a multigenerational nonconsanguineous family, from Iran, with ADH and keratoconus which are not known to be associated, for causative mutations by whole-exome sequencing in two individuals with hypoparathyroidism, of whom one also had keratoconus, followed by cosegregation analysis of variants. This identified a novel heterozygous germline Val340Met Gα11 mutation in both individuals, and this was also present in the other two relatives with hypocalcemia that were tested. Three-dimensional modeling revealed the Val340Met mutation to likely alter the conformation of the C-terminal α5 helix, which may affect G-protein coupled receptor binding and G-protein activation. In vitro functional expression of wild-type (Val340) and mutant (Met340) Gα11 proteins in HEK293 cells stably expressing the CaSR, demonstrated that the intracellular calcium responses following stimulation with extracellular calcium, of the mutant Met340 Gα11 led to a leftward shift of the concentration-response curve with a significantly (p < 0.0001) reduced mean half-maximal concentration (EC50 ) value of 2.44 mM (95% CI, 2.31 to 2.77 mM) when compared to the wild-type EC50 of 3.14 mM (95% CI, 3.03 to 3.26 mM), consistent with a gain-of-function mutation. A novel His403Gln variant in transforming growth factor, beta-induced (TGFBI), that may be causing keratoconus was also identified, indicating likely digenic inheritance of keratoconus and ADH2 in this family. In conclusion, our identification of a novel germline gain-of-function Gα11 mutation, Val340Met, causing ADH2 demonstrates the importance of the Gα11 C-terminal region for G-protein function and CaSR signal transduction. © 2016 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Disruptions to neuronal mRNA translation are hypothesized to underlie human neurodevelopmental syndromes. Notably, the mRNA translation re-initiation factor DENR is a regulator of eukaryotic translation and cell growth, but its mammalian functions are unknown. Here, we report that Denr influences the migration of murine cerebral cortical neurons in vivo with its binding partner Mcts1, whereas perturbations to Denr impair the long-term positioning, dendritic arborization, and dendritic spine characteristics of postnatal projection neurons. We characterized de novo missense mutations in DENR (p.C37Y and p.P121L) detected in two unrelated human subjects diagnosed with brain developmental disorder to find that each variant impairs the function of DENR in mRNA translation re-initiation and disrupts the migration and terminal branching of cortical neurons in different ways. Thus, our findings link human brain disorders to impaired mRNA translation re-initiation through perturbations in DENR (OMIM: 604550) function in neurons.
Loss-of-function mutations in DOCK8 are linked to hyper-IgE syndrome. Patients typically present with recurrent sinopulmonary infections, severe cutaneous viral infections, food allergies and elevated serum IgE. Although patients may present with a spectrum of disease-related symptoms, molecular mechanisms explaining phenotypic variability in patients are poorly defined. Here we characterized a novel compound heterozygous mutation in DOCK8 in a patient diagnosed with primary combined immunodeficiency which was not typical of classical DOCK8 deficiency. In contrast to previously identified mutations in DOCK8 which result in complete loss of function, the newly identified single nucleotide insertion results in expression of a truncated DOCK8 protein. Functional evaluation of the truncated DOCK8 protein revealed its hypomorphic function. In addition we found somatic reversion of DOCK8 predominantly in T cells. The combination of somatic reversion and hypomorphic DOCK8 function explains the milder and atypical phenotype of the patient and further broadens the spectrum of DOCK8-associated disease.
Use of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a liquid biopsy has been proposed for potential identification and monitoring of solid tumours. We investigate a next-generation sequencing approach for mutation detection in ctDNA in two related studies using a targeted panel. The first study was retrospective, using blood samples taken from melanoma patients at diverse timepoints before or after treatment, aiming to evaluate correlation between mutations identified in biopsy and ctDNA, and to acquire a first impression of influencing factors. We found good concordance between ctDNA and tumour mutations of melanoma patients when blood samples were collected within one year of biopsy or before treatment. In contrast, when ctDNA was sequenced after targeted treatment in melanoma, mutations were no longer found in 9 out of 10 patients, suggesting the method might be useful for detecting treatment response. Building on these findings, we focused the second study on ctDNA obtained before biopsy in lung patients, i.e. when a tentative diagnosis of lung cancer had been made, but no treatment had started. The main objective of this prospective study was to evaluate use of ctDNA in diagnosis, investigating the concordance of biopsy and ctDNA-derived mutation detection. Here we also found positive correlation between diagnostic lung biopsy results and pre-biopsy ctDNA sequencing, providing support for using ctDNA as a cost-effective, non-invasive solution when the tumour is inaccessible or when biopsy poses significant risk to the patient.
BACKGROUND: SOX11 is a transcription factor proposed to play a role in brain development. The relevance of SOX11 to human developmental disorders was suggested by a recent report of SOX11 mutations in two patients with Coffin-Siris syndrome. Here we further investigate the role of SOX11 variants in neurodevelopmental disorders. METHODS: We used array based comparative genomic hybridisation and trio exome sequencing to identify children with intellectual disability who have deletions or de novo point mutations disrupting SOX11. The pathogenicity of the SOX11 mutations was assessed using an in vitro gene expression reporter system. Loss-of-function experiments were performed in xenopus by knockdown of Sox11 expression. RESULTS: We identified seven individuals with chromosome 2p25 deletions involving SOX11. Trio exome sequencing identified three de novo SOX11 variants, two missense (p.K50N; p.P120H) and one nonsense (p.C29*). The biological consequences of the missense mutations were assessed using an in vitro gene expression system. These individuals had microcephaly, developmental delay and shared dysmorphic features compatible with mild Coffin-Siris syndrome. To further investigate the function of SOX11, we knocked down the orthologous gene in xenopus. Morphants had significant reduction in head size compared with controls. This suggests that SOX11 loss of function can be associated with microcephaly. CONCLUSIONS: We thus propose that SOX11 deletion or mutation can present with a Coffin-Siris phenotype.
Although TP53, NOTCH1, and SF3B1 mutations may impair prognosis of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) receiving frontline therapy, the impact of these mutations or any other, alone or in combination, remains unclear at relapse. The genome of 114 relapsed/refractory patients included in prospective trials was screened using targeted next-generation sequencing of the TP53, SF3B1, ATM, NOTCH1, XPO1, SAMHD1, MED12, BIRC3, and MYD88 genes. We performed clustering according to both number and combinations of recurrent gene mutations. The number of genes affected by mutation was ≥ 2, 1, and 0 in 43 (38%), 49 (43%), and 22 (19%) respectively. Recurrent combinations of ≥ 2 mutations of TP53, SF3B1, and ATM were found in 22 (19%) patients. This multiple-hit profile was associated with a median progression-free survival of 12 months compared with 22.5 months in the remaining patients (P = .003). Concurrent gene mutations are frequent in patients with relapsed/refractory CLL and are associated with worse outcome.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are ubiquitously expressed in the human body and are important for various functions at the cell surface. Mutations in many GPI biosynthesis genes have been described to date in patients with multi-system disease and together these constitute a subtype of congenital disorders of glycosylation. We used whole exome sequencing in two families to investigate the genetic basis of disease and used RNA and cellular studies to investigate the functional consequences of sequence variants in the PIGY gene. Two families with different phenotypes had homozygous recessive sequence variants in the GPI biosynthesis gene PIGY. Two sisters with c.137T>C (p.Leu46Pro) PIGY variants had multi-system disease including dysmorphism, seizures, severe developmental delay, cataracts and early death. There were significantly reduced levels of GPI-anchored proteins (CD55 and CD59) on the surface of patient-derived skin fibroblasts (∼20-50% compared with controls). In a second, consanguineous family, two siblings had moderate development delay and microcephaly. A homozygous PIGY promoter variant (c.-540G>A) was detected within a 7.7 Mb region of autozygosity. This variant was predicted to disrupt a SP1 consensus binding site and was shown to be associated with reduced gene expression. Mutations in PIGY can occur in coding and non-coding regions of the gene and cause variable phenotypes. This article contributes to understanding of the range of disease phenotypes and disease genes associated with deficiencies of the GPI-anchor biosynthesis pathway and also serves to highlight the potential importance of analysing variants detected in 5'-UTR regions despite their typically low coverage in exome data.
To assess factors influencing the success of whole-genome sequencing for mainstream clinical diagnosis, we sequenced 217 individuals from 156 independent cases or families across a broad spectrum of disorders in whom previous screening had identified no pathogenic variants. We quantified the number of candidate variants identified using different strategies for variant calling, filtering, annotation and prioritization. We found that jointly calling variants across samples, filtering against both local and external databases, deploying multiple annotation tools and using familial transmission above biological plausibility contributed to accuracy. Overall, we identified disease-causing variants in 21% of cases, with the proportion increasing to 34% (23/68) for mendelian disorders and 57% (8/14) in family trios. We also discovered 32 potentially clinically actionable variants in 18 genes unrelated to the referral disorder, although only 4 were ultimately considered reportable. Our results demonstrate the value of genome sequencing for routine clinical diagnosis but also highlight many outstanding challenges.
Polymicrogyria (PMG) is a structural brain abnormality involving the cerebral cortex that results from impaired neuronal migration and although several genes have been implicated, many cases remain unsolved. In this study, exome sequencing in a family where three fetuses had all been diagnosed with PMG and cerebellar hypoplasia allowed us to identify regions of the genome for which both chromosomes were shared identical-by-descent, reducing the search space for causative variants to 8.6% of the genome. In these regions, the only plausibly pathogenic mutations were compound heterozygous variants in PI4KA, which Sanger sequencing confirmed segregated consistent with autosomal recessive inheritance. The paternally transmitted variant predicted a premature stop mutation (c.2386C>T; p.R796X), whereas the maternally transmitted variant predicted a missense substitution (c.5560G>A; p.D1854N) at a conserved residue within the catalytic domain. Functional studies using expressed wild-type or mutant PI4KA enzyme confirmed the importance of p.D1854 for kinase activity. Our results emphasize the importance of phosphoinositide signalling in early brain development.
Disease-causing mutations in ion channels generally alter intrinsic gating properties such as activation, inactivation, and voltage dependence. We examined nine different mutations of the KCNT1 (Slack) Na(+)-activated K(+) channel that give rise to three distinct forms of epilepsy. All produced many-fold increases in current amplitude compared to the wild-type channel. This could not be accounted for by increases in the intrinsic open probability of individual channels. Rather, greatly increased opening was a consequence of cooperative interactions between multiple channels in a patch. The degree of cooperative gating was much greater for all of the mutant channels than for the wild-type channel, and could explain increases in current even in a mutant with reduced unitary conductance. We also found that the same mutation gave rise to different forms of epilepsy in different individuals. Our findings indicate that a major consequence of these mutations is to alter channel-channel interactions.
BLOOD, 124 (21),2014. The Identification of Further Minimal Regions of Overlap in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Using High-Resolution SNP Arrays
BACKGROUND: The majority of human embryos created using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques are aneuploid. Comprehensive chromosome screening methods, applicable to single cells biopsied from preimplantation embryos, allow reliable identification and transfer of euploid embryos. Recently, randomised trials using such methods have indicated that aneuploidy screening improves IVF success rates. However, the high cost of testing has restricted the availability of this potentially beneficial strategy. This study aimed to harness next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, with the intention of lowering the costs of preimplantation aneuploidy screening. METHODS: Embryo biopsy, whole genome amplification and semiconductor sequencing. RESULTS: A rapid (<15 h) NGS protocol was developed, with consumable cost only two-thirds that of the most widely used method for embryo aneuploidy detection. Validation involved blinded analysis of 54 cells from cell lines or biopsies from human embryos. Sensitivity and specificity were 100%. The method was applied clinically, assisting in the selection of euploid embryos in two IVF cycles, producing healthy children in both cases. The NGS approach was also able to reveal specified mutations in the nuclear or mitochondrial genomes in parallel with chromosome assessment. Interestingly, elevated mitochondrial DNA content was associated with aneuploidy (p<0.05), a finding suggestive of a link between mitochondria and chromosomal malsegregation. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that NGS provides highly accurate, low-cost diagnosis of aneuploidy in cells from human preimplantation embryos and is rapid enough to allow testing without embryo cryopreservation. The method described also has the potential to shed light on other aspects of embryo genetics of relevance to health and viability.
Haematologica, 99 (10), pp. e201-e204. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Read more2014. Erythrocytosis associated with a novel missense mutation in the BPGM gene.
CONTEXT: Viral/bacterial infection is proposed as a trigger for the autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD): Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT). Previous studies in European Caucasian AITD subjects found higher birth rates in the autumn/winter, suggesting those born in the autumn/winter experience increased viral/bacterial exposure after birth, impacting upon immune system development and predisposing to AITD later in life. OBJECTIVE: Month of birth effects were investigated in three independent European Caucasian AITD datasets. DESIGN: Variation in GD and HT onset was compared across months and seasons, with fluctuations across all 12 months analyzed using a Walter-Elwood test. SETTING: The study was conducted at a research laboratory. PATIENTS: National UK Caucasian AITD Case Control Collection (2746 GD and 502 HT compared with 1 423 716 UK births), National UK Caucasian GD Family Collection (239 GD and 227 unaffected siblings), and OXAGEN AITD Caucasian Family Collection (885 GD, 717 HT, and 794 unaffected siblings of European Caucasian decent). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Case-control and family-based association studies were measured. RESULTS: No consistent month of birth effects were detected in GD females or males across all three collections. In HT females from the OXAGEN AITD Caucasian Family Collection, slightly higher birth rates were detected in autumn (Walter's test statistic = 7.47, P = .024) however, this was not seen in the HT females from the case-control cohort. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest in UK/Northern European Caucasian GD subjects, month of birth does not impact on AITD development. Although some month of birth effects for HT females in one collection cannot be excluded, only further work in larger European Caucasian AITD collections can confirm these effects.
Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), like embryonic stem cells, are under intense investigation for novel approaches to model disease and for regenerative therapies. Here, we describe the derivation and characterization of hiPSCs from a variety of sources and show that, irrespective of origin or method of reprogramming, hiPSCs can be differentiated on OP9 stroma towards a multi-lineage haemo-endothelial progenitor that can contribute to CD144(+) endothelium, CD235a(+) erythrocytes (myeloid lineage) and CD19(+) B lymphocytes (lymphoid lineage). Within the erythroblast lineage, we were able to demonstrate by single cell analysis (flow cytometry), that hiPSC-derived erythroblasts express alpha globin as previously described, and that a sub-population of these erythroblasts also express haemoglobin F (HbF), indicative of fetal definitive erythropoiesis. More notably however, we were able to demonstrate that a small sub-fraction of HbF positive erythroblasts co-expressed HbA in a highly heterogeneous manner, but analogous to cord blood-derived erythroblasts when cultured using similar methods. Moreover, the HbA expressing erythroblast population could be greatly enhanced (44·0 ± 6·04%) when a defined serum-free approach was employed to isolate a CD31(+) CD45(+) erythro-myeloid progenitor. These findings demonstrate that hiPSCs may represent a useful alternative to standard sources of erythrocytes (RBCs) for future applications in transfusion medicine.
OBJECTIVE: Capecitabine is an oral 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) pro-drug commonly used to treat colorectal carcinoma and other tumours. About 35% of patients experience dose-limiting toxicity. The few proven genetic biomarkers of 5-FU toxicity are rare variants and polymorphisms, respectively, at candidate loci dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD) and thymidylate synthase (TYMS). DESIGN: We investigated 1456 polymorphisms and rare coding variants near 25 candidate 5-FU pathway genes in 968 UK patients from the QUASAR2 clinical trial. RESULTS: We identified the first common DPYD polymorphisms to be consistently associated with capecitabine toxicity, rs12132152 (toxicity allele frequency (TAF)=0.031, OR=3.83, p=4.31×10(-6)) and rs12022243 (TAF=0.196, OR=1.69, p=2.55×10(-5)). rs12132152 was particularly strongly associated with hand-foot syndrome (OR=6.1, p=3.6×10(-8)). The rs12132152 and rs12022243 associations were independent of each other and of previously reported DPYD toxicity variants. Next-generation sequencing additionally identified rare DPYD variant p.Ala551Thr in one patient with severe toxicity. Using functional predictions and published data, we assigned p.Ala551Thr as causal for toxicity. We found that polymorphism rs2612091, which lies within an intron of ENOSF1, was also associated with capecitabine toxicity (TAF=0.532, OR=1.59, p=5.28×10(-6)). ENSOF1 is adjacent to TYMS and there is a poorly characterised regulatory interaction between the two genes/proteins. Unexpectedly, rs2612091 fully explained the previously reported associations between capecitabine toxicity and the supposedly functional TYMS variants, 5'VNTR 2R/3R and 3'UTR 6 bp ins-del. rs2612091 genotypes were, moreover, consistently associated with ENOSF1 mRNA levels, but not with TYMS expression. CONCLUSIONS: DPYD harbours rare and common capecitabine toxicity variants. The toxicity polymorphism in the TYMS region may actually act through ENOSF1.
In severe early-onset epilepsy, precise clinical and molecular genetic diagnosis is complex, as many metabolic and electro-physiological processes have been implicated in disease causation. The clinical phenotypes share many features such as complex seizure types and developmental delay. Molecular diagnosis has historically been confined to sequential testing of candidate genes known to be associated with specific sub-phenotypes, but the diagnostic yield of this approach can be low. We conducted whole-genome sequencing (WGS) on six patients with severe early-onset epilepsy who had previously been refractory to molecular diagnosis, and their parents. Four of these patients had a clinical diagnosis of Ohtahara Syndrome (OS) and two patients had severe non-syndromic early-onset epilepsy (NSEOE). In two OS cases, we found de novo non-synonymous mutations in the genes KCNQ2 and SCN2A. In a third OS case, WGS revealed paternal isodisomy for chromosome 9, leading to identification of the causal homozygous missense variant in KCNT1, which produced a substantial increase in potassium channel current. The fourth OS patient had a recessive mutation in PIGQ that led to exon skipping and defective glycophosphatidyl inositol biosynthesis. The two patients with NSEOE had likely pathogenic de novo mutations in CBL and CSNK1G1, respectively. Mutations in these genes were not found among 500 additional individuals with epilepsy. This work reveals two novel genes for OS, KCNT1 and PIGQ. It also uncovers unexpected genetic mechanisms and emphasizes the power of WGS as a clinical tool for making molecular diagnoses, particularly for highly heterogeneous disorders.
Glycosylphophatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins play important roles in many biological processes, and mutations affecting proteins involved in the synthesis of the GPI anchor are reported to cause a wide spectrum of intellectual disabilities (IDs) with characteristic additional phenotypic features. Here, we describe a total of five individuals (from three unrelated families) in whom we identified mutations in PGAP3, encoding a protein that is involved in GPI-anchor maturation. Three siblings in a consanguineous Pakistani family presented with profound developmental delay, severe ID, no speech, psychomotor delay, and postnatal microcephaly. A combination of autozygosity mapping and exome sequencing identified a 13.8 Mb region harboring a homozygous c.275G>A (p.Gly92Asp) variant in PGAP3 region 17q11.2-q21.32. Subsequent testing showed elevated serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP), a GPI-anchored enzyme, in all three affected children. In two unrelated individuals in a cohort with developmental delay, ID, and elevated ALP, we identified compound-heterozygous variants c.439dupC (p.Leu147Profs(∗)16) and c.914A>G (p.Asp305Gly) and homozygous variant c.314C>G (p.Pro105Arg). The 1 bp duplication causes a frameshift and nonsense-mediated decay. Further evidence supporting pathogenicity of the missense mutations c.275G>A, c.314C>G, and c.914A>G was provided by the absence of the variants from ethnically matched controls, phylogenetic conservation, and functional studies on Chinese hamster ovary cell lines. Taken together with recent data on PGAP2, these results confirm the importance of the later GPI-anchor remodelling steps for normal neuronal development. Impairment of PGAP3 causes a subtype of hyperphosphatasia with ID, a congenital disorder of glycosylation that is also referred to as Mabry syndrome.
Bladder cancers are a leading cause of death from malignancy. Molecular markers might predict disease progression and behaviour more accurately than the available prognostic factors. Here we use whole-genome sequencing to identify somatic mutations and chromosomal changes in 14 bladder cancers of different grades and stages. As well as detecting the known bladder cancer driver mutations, we report the identification of recurrent protein-inactivating mutations in CDKN1A and FAT1. The former are not mutually exclusive with TP53 mutations or MDM2 amplification, showing that CDKN1A dysfunction is not simply an alternative mechanism for p53 pathway inactivation. We find strong positive associations between higher tumour stage/grade and greater clonal diversity, the number of somatic mutations and the burden of copy number changes. In principle, the identification of sub-clones with greater diversity and/or mutation burden within early-stage or low-grade tumours could identify lesions with a high risk of invasive progression.
Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 4264. | Read more2014. Corrigendum: Whole-genome sequencing of bladder cancers reveals somatic CDKN1A mutations and clinicopathological associations with mutation burden.
Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 4809. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Read more2014. Corrigendum: Whole-genome sequencing of bladder cancers reveals somatic CDKN1A mutations and clinicopathological associations with mutation burden.
SAMHD1 is a deoxynucleoside triphosphate triphosphohydrolase and a nuclease that restricts HIV-1 in noncycling cells. Germ-line mutations in SAMHD1 have been described in patients with Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), a congenital autoimmune disease. In a previous longitudinal whole genome sequencing study of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we revealed a SAMHD1 mutation as a potential founding event. Here, we describe an AGS patient carrying a pathogenic germ-line SAMHD1 mutation who developed CLL at 24 years of age. Using clinical trial samples, we show that acquired SAMHD1 mutations are associated with high variant allele frequency and reduced SAMHD1 expression and occur in 11% of relapsed/refractory CLL patients. We provide evidence that SAMHD1 regulates cell proliferation and survival and engages in specific protein interactions in response to DNA damage. We propose that SAMHD1 may have a function in DNA repair and that the presence of SAMHD1 mutations in CLL promotes leukemia development.
Periventricular nodular heterotopia is caused by defective neuronal migration that results in heterotopic neuronal nodules lining the lateral ventricles. Mutations in filamin A (FLNA) or ADP-ribosylation factor guanine nucleotide-exchange factor 2 (ARFGEF2) cause periventricular nodular heterotopia, but most patients with this malformation do not have a known aetiology. Using comparative genomic hybridization, we identified 12 patients with developmental brain abnormalities, variably combining periventricular nodular heterotopia, corpus callosum dysgenesis, colpocephaly, cerebellar hypoplasia and polymicrogyria, harbouring a common 1.2 Mb minimal critical deletion in 6q27. These anatomic features were mainly associated with epilepsy, ataxia and cognitive impairment. Using whole exome sequencing in 14 patients with isolated periventricular nodular heterotopia but no copy number variants, we identified one patient with periventricular nodular heterotopia, developmental delay and epilepsy and a de novo missense mutation in the chromosome 6 open reading frame 70 (C6orf70) gene, mapping in the minimal critical deleted region. Using immunohistochemistry and western blots, we demonstrated that in human cell lines, C6orf70 shows primarily a cytoplasmic vesicular puncta-like distribution and that the mutation affects its stability and subcellular distribution. We also performed in utero silencing of C6orf70 and of Phf10 and Dll1, the two additional genes mapping in the 6q27 minimal critical deleted region that are expressed in human and rodent brain. Silencing of C6orf70 in the developing rat neocortex produced periventricular nodular heterotopia that was rescued by concomitant expression of wild-type human C6orf70 protein. Silencing of the contiguous Phf10 or Dll1 genes only produced slightly delayed migration but not periventricular nodular heterotopia. The complex brain phenotype observed in the 6q terminal deletion syndrome likely results from the combined haploinsufficiency of contiguous genes mapping to a small 1.2 Mb region. Our data suggest that, of the genes within this minimal critical region, C6orf70 plays a major role in the control of neuronal migration and its haploinsufficiency or mutation causes periventricular nodular heterotopia.
Accurate duplication of DNA prior to cell division is essential to suppress mutagenesis and tumour development. The high fidelity of eukaryotic DNA replication is due to a combination of accurate incorporation of nucleotides into the nascent DNA strand by DNA polymerases, the recognition and removal of mispaired nucleotides (proofreading) by the exonuclease activity of DNA polymerases δ and ε, and post-replication surveillance and repair of newly synthesized DNA by the mismatch repair (MMR) apparatus. While the contribution of defective MMR to neoplasia is well recognized, evidence that faulty DNA polymerase activity is important in cancer development has been limited. We have recently shown that germline POLE and POLD1 exonuclease domain mutations (EDMs) predispose to colorectal cancer (CRC) and, in the latter case, to endometrial cancer (EC). Somatic POLE mutations also occur in 5-10% of sporadic CRCs and underlie a hypermutator, microsatellite-stable molecular phenotype. We hypothesized that sporadic ECs might also acquire somatic POLE and/or POLD1 mutations. Here, we have found that missense POLE EDMs with good evidence of pathogenic effects are present in 7% of a set of 173 endometrial cancers, although POLD1 EDMs are uncommon. The POLE mutations localized to highly conserved residues and were strongly predicted to affect proofreading. Consistent with this, POLE-mutant tumours were hypermutated, with a high frequency of base substitutions, and an especially large relative excess of G:C>T:A transversions. All POLE EDM tumours were microsatellite stable, suggesting that defects in either DNA proofreading or MMR provide alternative mechanisms to achieve genomic instability and tumourigenesis.
NATURE GENETICS, 45 (6), pp. 713-713. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Germline mutations affecting the proofreading domains of POLE and POLD1 predispose to colorectal adenomas and carcinomas (vol 45, pg 136, 2013)
BACKGROUND: Maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) caused by heterozygous mutations in the glucokinase (GCK) gene typically presents with lifelong, stable, mild fasting hyperglycaemia. With the exception of pregnancy, patients with GCK-MODY usually do not require pharmacological therapy. We report two unrelated patients whose initial genetic test results indicated a deletion of GCK exon 10, but whose clinical phenotypes were not typical of GCK-MODY. CASE REPORTS: In case 1, the patient was hyperglycaemic at diagnosis (glucose > 30 mmol/l) and elevated glucose levels > 10 mmol/l persisted after withdrawal of insulin therapy. The patient in case 2 was also hyperglycaemic at diagnosis [HbA1c > 86 mmol/mol (10%)], which improved with the introduction of oral hypoglycaemic agents. These clinical features were not consistent with GCK-MODY. Both patients had a single nucleotide variant that prevented multiplex ligation-dependent probe analysis, which generated a false positive result of a GCK exon 10 deletion. CONCLUSION: False positive genetic results in these two unrelated cases were attributable to the presence of a rare single nucleotide variant that prevented ligation of the probe in the multiplex ligation-dependent probe analysis kit used and falsely indicated deletion of exon 10 within GCK. Both cases had clinical features that did not tally with the typical GCK-MODY phenotype. These cases emphasize the need to interpret the results of definitive genetic tests within the specific clinical context. Increased medical sequencing is likely to lead to more reports of novel mutations of uncertain significance. If genetic investigations do not agree with the clinical picture, clinicians should exercise caution when making therapeutic changes based on these results.
Inherited retinal degeneration (IRD) is a common cause of visual impairment (prevalence ∼1/3500). There is considerable phenotype and genotype heterogeneity, making a specific diagnosis very difficult without molecular testing. We investigated targeted capture combined with next-generation sequencing using Nimblegen 12plex arrays and the Roche 454 sequencing platform to explore its potential for clinical diagnostics in two common types of IRD, retinitis pigmentosa and cone-rod dystrophy. 50 patients (36 unknowns and 14 positive controls) were screened, and pathogenic mutations were identified in 25% of patients in the unknown, with 53% in the early-onset cases. All patients with new mutations detected had an age of onset <21 years and 44% had a family history. Thirty-one percent of mutations detected were novel. A de novo mutation in rhodopsin was identified in one early-onset case without a family history. Bioinformatic pipelines were developed to identify likely pathogenic mutations and stringent criteria were used for assignment of pathogenicity. Analysis of sequencing metrics revealed significant variability in capture efficiency and depth of coverage. We conclude that targeted capture and next-generation sequencing are likely to be very useful in a diagnostic setting, but patients with earlier onset of disease are more likely to benefit from using this strategy. The mutation-detection rate suggests that many patients are likely to have mutations in novel genes. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.
Many individuals with multiple or large colorectal adenomas or early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) have no detectable germline mutations in the known cancer predisposition genes. Using whole-genome sequencing, supplemented by linkage and association analysis, we identified specific heterozygous POLE or POLD1 germline variants in several multiple-adenoma and/or CRC cases but in no controls. The variants associated with susceptibility, POLE p.Leu424Val and POLD1 p.Ser478Asn, have high penetrance, and POLD1 mutation was also associated with endometrial cancer predisposition. The mutations map to equivalent sites in the proofreading (exonuclease) domain of DNA polymerases ɛ and δ and are predicted to cause a defect in the correction of mispaired bases inserted during DNA replication. In agreement with this prediction, the tumors from mutation carriers were microsatellite stable but tended to acquire base substitution mutations, as confirmed by yeast functional assays. Further analysis of published data showed that the recently described group of hypermutant, microsatellite-stable CRCs is likely to be caused by somatic POLE mutations affecting the exonuclease domain.
β-III spectrin is present in the brain and is known to be important in the function of the cerebellum. Heterozygous mutations in SPTBN2, the gene encoding β-III spectrin, cause Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 5 (SCA5), an adult-onset, slowly progressive, autosomal-dominant pure cerebellar ataxia. SCA5 is sometimes known as "Lincoln ataxia," because the largest known family is descended from relatives of the United States President Abraham Lincoln. Using targeted capture and next-generation sequencing, we identified a homozygous stop codon in SPTBN2 in a consanguineous family in which childhood developmental ataxia co-segregates with cognitive impairment. The cognitive impairment could result from mutations in a second gene, but further analysis using whole-genome sequencing combined with SNP array analysis did not reveal any evidence of other mutations. We also examined a mouse knockout of β-III spectrin in which ataxia and progressive degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells has been previously reported and found morphological abnormalities in neurons from prefrontal cortex and deficits in object recognition tasks, consistent with the human cognitive phenotype. These data provide the first evidence that β-III spectrin plays an important role in cortical brain development and cognition, in addition to its function in the cerebellum; and we conclude that cognitive impairment is an integral part of this novel recessive ataxic syndrome, Spectrin-associated Autosomal Recessive Cerebellar Ataxia type 1 (SPARCA1). In addition, the identification of SPARCA1 and normal heterozygous carriers of the stop codon in SPTBN2 provides insights into the mechanism of molecular dominance in SCA5 and demonstrates that the cell-specific repertoire of spectrin subunits underlies a novel group of disorders, the neuronal spectrinopathies, which includes SCA5, SPARCA1, and a form of West syndrome.
Eur J Hum Genet, 21 (4), pp. 361-365. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Dual copy number variants involving 16p11 and 6q22 in a case of childhood apraxia of speech and pervasive developmental disorder.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is characterized by relapse after treatment and chemotherapy resistance. Similarly, in other malignancies leukemia cells accumulate mutations during growth, forming heterogeneous cell populations that are subject to Darwinian selection and may respond differentially to treatment. There is therefore a clinical need to monitor changes in the subclonal composition of cancers during disease progression. Here, we use whole-genome sequencing to track subclonal heterogeneity in 3 chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients subjected to repeated cycles of therapy. We reveal different somatic mutation profiles in each patient and use these to establish probable hierarchical patterns of subclonal evolution, to identify subclones that decline or expand over time, and to detect founder mutations. We show that clonal evolution patterns are heterogeneous in individual patients. We conclude that genome sequencing is a powerful and sensitive approach to monitor disease progression repeatedly at the molecular level. If applied to future clinical trials, this approach might eventually influence treatment strategies as a tool to individualize and direct cancer treatment.
Primary microcephaly is a genetically heterogeneous condition characterized by reduced head circumference (-3 SDS or more) and mild-to-moderate learning disability. Here, we describe clinical and molecular investigations of a microcephalic child with sensorineural hearing loss. Although consanguinity was unreported initially, detection of 13.7 Mb of copy neutral loss of heterozygosity (cnLOH) on chromosome 9 implicated the CDK5RAP2 gene. Targeted sequencing identified a homozygous E234X mutation, only the third mutation to be described in CDK5RAP2, the first in an individual of non-Pakistani descent. Sensorineural hearing loss is not generally considered to be consistent with autosomal recessive microcephaly and therefore it seems likely that the deafness in this individual is caused by the co-occurrence of a further gene mutation, independent of CDK5RAP2. Nevertheless, further detailed clinical descriptions of rare CDK5RAP2 patients, including hearing assessments will be needed to resolve fully the phenotypic range associated with mutations in this gene. This study also highlights the utility of SNP-array testing to guide disease gene identification where an autosomal recessive condition is plausible.
Hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS) is characterized by apparent autosomal dominant inheritance of multiple types of colorectal polyp, with colorectal carcinoma occurring in a high proportion of affected individuals. Here, we use genetic mapping, copy-number analysis, exclusion of mutations by high-throughput sequencing, gene expression analysis and functional assays to show that HMPS is caused by a duplication spanning the 3' end of the SCG5 gene and a region upstream of the GREM1 locus. This unusual mutation is associated with increased allele-specific GREM1 expression. Whereas GREM1 is expressed in intestinal subepithelial myofibroblasts in controls, GREM1 is predominantly expressed in the epithelium of the large bowel in individuals with HMPS. The HMPS duplication contains predicted enhancer elements; some of these interact with the GREM1 promoter and can drive gene expression in vitro. Increased GREM1 expression is predicted to cause reduced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway activity, a mechanism that also underlies tumorigenesis in juvenile polyposis of the large bowel.
Genome-wide array approaches and sequencing analyses are powerful tools for identifying genetic aberrations in cancers, including leukemias and lymphomas. However, the clinical and biological significance of such aberrations and their subclonal distribution are poorly understood. Here, we present the first genome-wide array based study of pre-treatment and relapse samples from patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) that uses the computational statistical tool OncoSNP. We show that quantification of the proportion of copy number alterations (CNAs) and copy neutral loss of heterozygosity regions (cnLOHs) in each sample is feasible. Furthermore, we (i) reveal complex changes in the subclonal architecture of paired samples at relapse compared with pre-treatment, (ii) provide evidence supporting an association between increased genomic complexity and poor clinical outcome (iii) report previously undefined, recurrent CNA/cnLOH regions that expand or newly occur at relapse and therefore might harbor candidate driver genes of relapse and/or chemotherapy resistance. Our findings are likely to impact on future therapeutic strategies aimed towards selecting effective and individually tailored targeted therapies.
The development of next generation sequencing (NGS) has radically transformed the scientific landscape, making it possible to sequence the exome of any given individual in a cost-effective way. The power of this approach has been demonstrated by a number of groups who have identified pathogenic mutations in small pedigrees that have been resistant to traditional genetic mapping. Recently it has become clear that exome sequencing has great potential with respect to sporadic disease and the identification of de novo mutations. This is highlighted by studies reporting whole-exome sequencing of patient-parental trios affected by learning disability, autism and schizophrenia. It is widely anticipated that the introduction of this technique into a clinical setting will revolutionise genetic diagnosis. However, the sensitivity of NGS exome sequencing is currently unclear. Here, we describe the exome sequencing of DNA samples from a patient with double cortex syndrome and her parents, resulting in the detection of a mosaic splicing mutation in LIS1. This variant was found at an allele frequency of just 18%, demonstrating that NGS methods have the capacity to identify pathogenic mosaic mutations present at a low level.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (which includes Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis), is a chronic condition characterised by substantial morbidity. Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients are considered expensive to manage, hence accurate estimates of care costs are crucial to help healthcare providers plan clinical management. The aim of this study is to estimate the cost of care for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis patients in the United Kingdom and Western mainland Europe. METHODS: Decision models were built to simulate the natural disease history of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, informed by United Kingdom and European clinical pathways. A healthcare provider perspective was adopted, model inputs were informed by published sources and expert opinion, and UK healthcare costs were used (2008 prices). Cohorts of 25 year old patients presenting with symptoms of varying severity were modelled over ten years, and annual treatment costs calculated per patient. RESULTS: The average annual cost of care per Crohn's Disease/Ulcerative Colitis patient was £631/£762 (United Kingdom) and £838/£796 (Europe). Most costs were incurred immediately following diagnosis, particularly in European Crohn's patients, reflecting the earlier use of more aggressive treatments. Surgery, hospitalisation, and the use of biological therapies and mesalazine (in Ulcerative Colitis) were key cost drivers. The total annual cost to the United Kingdom National Health Service of caring for Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients was estimated to be £131million. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients are expensive to manage and illustrates the importance of differentiating between alternative clinical management scenarios.
Germline mutations in the FH gene encoding the Krebs cycle enzyme fumarate hydratase predispose to hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC) syndrome. FH-deficient cells and tissues accumulate high levels of fumarate, which may act as an oncometabolite and contribute to tumourigenesis. A recently proposed role for fumarate in the covalent modification of cysteine residues to S-(2-succinyl) cysteine (2SC) (termed protein succination) prompted us to assess 2SC levels in our existing models of HLRCC. Herein, using a previously characterized antibody against 2SC, we show that genetic ablation of FH causes high levels of protein succination. We next hypothesized that immunohistochemistry for 2SC would serve as a metabolic biomarker for the in situ detection of FH-deficient tissues. Robust detection of 2SC was observed in Fh1 (murine FH)-deficient renal cysts and in a retrospective series of HLRCC tumours (n = 16) with established FH mutations. Importantly, 2SC was undetectable in normal tissues (n = 200) and tumour types not associated with HLRCC (n = 1342). In a prospective evaluation of cases referred for genetic testing for HLRCC, the presence of 2SC-modified proteins (2SCP) correctly predicted genetic alterations in FH in every case. In two series of unselected type II papillary renal cancer (PRCC), prospectively analysed by 2SCP staining followed by genetic analysis, the biomarker accurately identified previously unsuspected FH mutations (2/33 and 1/36). The investigation of whether metabolites in other tumour types produce protein modification signature(s) that can be assayed using similar strategies will be of interest in future studies of cancer.
BACKGROUND: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients exhibit myocardial energetic impairment, but a causative role for this energy deficiency in the pathophysiology of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy remains unproven. We hypothesized that the metabolic modulator perhexiline would ameliorate myocardial energy deficiency and thereby improve diastolic function and exercise capacity. METHODS AND RESULTS: Forty-six consecutive patients with symptomatic exercise limitation (peak Vo(2) <75% of predicted) caused by nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (mean age, 55±0.26 years) were randomized to perhexiline 100 mg (n=24) or placebo (n=22). Myocardial ratio of phosphocreatine to adenosine triphosphate, an established marker of cardiac energetic status, as measured by (31)P magnetic resonance spectroscopy, left ventricular diastolic filling (heart rate normalized time to peak filling) at rest and during exercise using radionuclide ventriculography, peak Vo(2), symptoms, quality of life, and serum metabolites were assessed at baseline and study end (4.6±1.8 months). Perhexiline improved myocardial ratios of phosphocreatine to adenosine triphosphate (from 1.27±0.02 to 1.73±0.02 versus 1.29±0.01 to 1.23±0.01; P=0.003) and normalized the abnormal prolongation of heart rate normalized time to peak filling between rest and exercise (0.11±0.008 to -0.01±0.005 versus 0.15±0.007 to 0.11±0.008 second; P=0.03). These changes were accompanied by an improvement in primary end point (peak Vo(2)) (22.2±0.2 to 24.3±0.2 versus 23.6±0.3 to 22.3±0.2 mL · kg(-1) · min(-1); P=0.003) and New York Heart Association class (P<0.001) (all P values ANCOVA, perhexiline versus placebo). CONCLUSIONS: In symptomatic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, perhexiline, a modulator of substrate metabolism, ameliorates cardiac energetic impairment, corrects diastolic dysfunction, and increases exercise capacity. This study supports the hypothesis that energy deficiency contributes to the pathophysiology and provides a rationale for further consideration of metabolic therapies in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Aims To explore the cost-effectiveness of alternative methods of screening family members for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the most common monogenic cardiac disorder and the most frequent cause of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people. Methods and results Economic decision model comparing cascade screening by genetic, as opposed to clinical methods. The incremental cost per life year saved was 14,397 euro for the cascade genetic compared with the cascade clinical approach. Genetic diagnostic strategies are more likely to be cost-effective than clinical tests alone. The costs for cascade molecular genetic testing were slightly higher than clinical testing in the short run, but this was largely because the genetic approach is more effective and identifies more individuals at risk. Conclusion The use of molecular genetic information in the diagnosis and management of HCM is a cost-effective approach to the primary prevention of SCD in these patients.
Genetics research is being transformed by the advent of novel technologies, allowing the pathogenesis of more complex diseases to be understood. These developments are being applied to every field of human disease, and mental retardation (MR) is no exception. Our understanding of the genetic basis of single gene disorders, constitutional disorders and complex genetic diseases such as autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is increasing with the advent of novel methods for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing, sequencing and mapping of structural variants. There is a tremendous opportunity to use this information in the clinical diagnosis and management of patients. However, translation of such research into clinical practice lags well behind the basic research. The complexities of the diseases and technologies demand focused translational studies to demonstrate proof of clinical utility. The design of such studies must anticipate the information that clinicians, patients, commissioners and policy-makers alike will require to justify their implementation in clinical practice. This chapter will highlight current clinical genetics testing approaches in a National Health Service environment, emerging research and technologies that will need to be translated and describe some of the processes involved in translation, not least the barriers encountered in doing so. A case study is presented that exemplifies these translational challenges in the field of MR. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Autism and mental retardation (MR) show high rates of comorbidity and potentially share genetic risk factors. In this study, a rare approximately 2 Mb microdeletion involving chromosome band 15q13.3 was detected in a multiplex autism family. This genomic loss lies between distal break points of the Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome locus and was first described in association with MR and epilepsy. Together with recent studies that have also implicated this genomic imbalance in schizophrenia, our data indicate that this CNV shows considerable phenotypic variability. Further studies should aim to characterise the precise phenotypic range of this CNV and may lead to the discovery of genetic or environmental modifiers.
BACKGROUND: Somatic mutations are important determinants of cancer behaviour and response to therapy. However, molecular testing in this context has a relatively low profile within the clinical community, despite publicity surrounding targeted therapies such as Herceptin. AIMS: As the testing process affects many stakeholders, especially oncologists, this paper examines current test request patterns and views of such testing. METHODS: A postal questionnaire was mailed to 582 UK oncologists and haematologists, achieving a 20% response rate. RESULTS: The survey revealed that immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridisation are the most commonly requested tests (used by 70% and 55% of respondents, respectively), especially for breast cancer. Availability of suitable treatment options is the main factor influencing the decision to test (selected by 62% of respondents). Respondents were generally positive about future demand for immunohistochemistry, fluorescent in situ hybridisation, microarray analysis and DNA-based tests, but uncertain about the prospects for microsatellite instability and ploidy testing. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, respondents thought that somatic mutation testing could have a significant and positive effect on oncology and haematology departments and patient care, especially with better treatment and tumour classification. However, lack of supportive scientific evidence and funding were considered key barriers to widespread testing. Further research is clearly required on both the resource implications of this increase in demand and the best model of service delivery to ensure the most efficient use of health service resources.
BACKGROUND: Genetics clinical practice has paid limited attention to non-inherited aspects of cancer, namely mutations occurring during carcinogenesis. These somatic mutations are likely to be the primary determinants of cancer behaviour and treatment response, with a recent example being Her2/Neu gene status and response to Herceptin in breast cancer. AIM: To assess the feasibility of widespread testing of tumours by surveying UK histopathology and genetics laboratories. METHODS: The questionnaire asked: which of the common cancers or other malignancies are routinely assessed; which molecular and cytogenetic methods are used; who orders and funds testing; what is the future demand for somatic testing; and what are the barriers to widespread testing? RESULTS: Of 50 laboratories surveyed, 33 responded, 22 of which are currently using molecular tests. The survey shows that the most common tests are immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in-situ hybridisation and DNA testing of somatic mutations. Most laboratories predict testing will increase over the next 10 years, particularly for DNA testing using microarrays. Respondents perceived the main barriers to expanding molecular testing were a lack of laboratory funding and scientific evidence and testing not considered an NHS priority. CONCLUSION: These results provide important information for healthcare commissioners faced with managing demand for molecular testing of cancers.
Nat Biotechnol, 25 (7), pp. 739-741. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Read more2007. Patents and translational research in genomics.
Array based comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH) is a powerful technique for detecting clinically relevant genome imbalance and can offer 40 to > 1000 times the resolution of karyotyping. Indeed, idiopathic learning disability (ILD) studies suggest that a genome-wide aCGH approach makes 10-15% more diagnoses involving genome imbalance than karyotyping. Despite this, aCGH has yet to be implemented as a routine NHS service. One significant obstacle is the perception that the technology is prohibitively expensive for most standard NHS clinical cytogenetics laboratories. To address this, we investigated the cost-effectiveness of aCGH versus standard cytogenetic analysis for diagnosing idiopathic learning disability (ILD) in the NHS. Cost data from four participating genetics centres were collected and analysed. In a single test comparison, the average cost of aCGH was pound442 and the average cost of karyotyping was pound117 with array costs contributing most to the cost difference. This difference was not a key barrier when the context of follow up diagnostic tests was considered. Indeed, in a hypothetical cohort of 100 ILD children, aCGH was found to cost less per diagnosis ( pound3,118) than a karyotyping and multi-telomere FISH approach ( pound4,957). We conclude that testing for genomic imbalances in ILD using microarray technology is likely to be cost-effective because long-term savings can be made regardless of a positive (diagnosis) or negative result. Earlier diagnoses save costs of additional diagnostic tests. Negative results are cost-effective in minimising follow-up test choice. The use of aCGH in routine clinical practice warrants serious consideration by healthcare providers.
CONTEXT: Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD), comprising Graves' disease and autoimmune hypothyroidism, are characterized by loss of immunological self-tolerance to thyroid antigens. These are complex diseases arising from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. An understanding of the genetic susceptibility factors for AITD could help to target treatments more effectively and identify people at risk for these conditions. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to identify regions of genetic linkage to AITD that could potentially harbor genetic susceptibility factors for these conditions. DESIGN: The study design was a genome-wide screen performed on affected relative pairs with AITD. SETTING: Patients were recruited through hospital endocrinology clinics. PARTICIPANTS: Some 1119 Caucasian relative pairs affected with AITD (Graves' disease or autoimmune hypothyroidism) were recruited into the study. INTERVENTION: Blood samples were obtained from each participant for DNA analysis, and clinical questionnaires were completed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The study aimed to identify regions of genetic linkage to AITD. RESULTS: Three regions of suggestive linkage were obtained on chromosomes 18p11 (maximum LOD score, 2.5), 2q36 (maximum LOD score, 2.2), and 11p15 (maximum LOD score, 2.0). No linkage to human leukocyte antigen was found. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of significant evidence of linkage at any one locus in such a large dataset argues that genetic susceptibility to AITD reflects a number of loci, each with a modest effect. Linkage analysis may be limited in defining such loci, and large-scale association studies may prove to be more useful in identifying genetic susceptibility factors for AITD.
Molecular Immunology, 42 (1), pp. 137-141. | Read more2005. Cytoplasmic domains of the transporter associated with antigen processing and P-glycoprotein interact with subunits of the proteasome
Current Opinion in Endocrinology and Diabetes, 10 (3), pp. 168-175. | Read more2003. Genome scans in endocrinological diseases
The human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporters, is frequently responsible for the failure of chemotherapy by virtue of its ability to export hydrophobic cytotoxic drugs from cells. Elucidating the inter- and intramolecular interactions of this protein is critical to understanding its cellular function and mechanism of action. Toward this end, we have used both biochemical and genetic techniques to probe potential oligomerization interactions of P-gp. Differentially epitope-tagged P-gp molecules did not co-immunoprecipitate when co-expressed in HEK293 cells or when co-translated in vitro, demonstrating that P-gp is monomeric in both the presence and absence of detergents. The two cytoplasmic domains of P-gp did not interact with each other in vivo when co-expressed as gene fusions in yeast. In contrast, the homologous domains of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP), which reside on separate polypeptides and must form a heterodimeric transporter (TAP1/TAP2), did interact in this system, suggesting a role for these domains in TAP dimerization. Implications for understanding the subunit organization of ABC transporters are discussed.
The gene encoding the multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is duplicated in rodent species and the functional basis for this remains unresolved. Despite a high sequence similarity, the mouse P-gp1a and P-gp1b isoforms show distinct patterns of tissue distribution which suggest a specific role of the P-gp1b isoform in steroid transport. In the present study possible biochemical differences between the isoforms were directly investigated at the level of drug interaction. There was no detectable difference in the affinity or binding capacity of the two isoforms towards [3H]vinblastine at equilibrium. Similarly, the rate at which [3H]vinblastine associates with P-gp was indistinguishable between the two isoforms. Some modest differences were observed in the relative abilities of the multidrug-resistant (MDR) reversing agents CP100-356, nicardipine and verapamil to displace equilibrium [3H]vinblastine binding to P-gp1a and P-gp1b. The steroid hormone progesterone displayed a low affinity (Ki = 1.2 +/- 0.2 microM for P-gp1a and 3.5 +/- 0.5 microM for P-gp1b), suggesting an unlikely role as a physiological substrate. Thus the mouse isoforms do not appear to exhibit functional differences at the level of initial substrate interaction with protein.
EMBO J, 15 (17), pp. 4460-4468. | Citations: 90 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract1996. The multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein modulates cell regulatory volume decrease.
Cell volume is frequently down-regulated by the activation of anion channels. The role of cell swelling-activated chloride channels in cell volume regulation has been studied using the patch-clamp technique and a non-invasive microspectrofluorimetric assay for changes in cell volume. The rate of activation of these chloride channels was shown to limit the rate of regulatory volume decrease (RVD) in response to hyposmotic solutions. Expression of the human MDR1 or mouse mdr1a genes, but not the mouse mdr1b gene, encoding the multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein (P-gp), increased the rate of channel activation and the rate of RVD. In addition, P-gp decreased the magnitude of hyposmotic shock required to activate the channels and to elicit RVD. Tamoxifen selectively inhibited both chloride channel activity and RVD. No effect on potassium channel activity was elicited by expression of P-gp. The data show that, in these cell types, swelling-activated chloride channels have a central role in RVD. Moreover, they clarify the role of P-gp in channel activation and provide direct evidence that P-gp, through its effect on chloride channel activation, enhances the ability of cells to down-regulate their volume.
Curry-Jones syndrome (CJS) is a multisystem disorder characterized by patchy skin lesions, polysyndactyly, diverse cerebral malformations, unicoronal craniosynostosis, iris colobomas, microphthalmia, and intestinal malrotation with myofibromas or hamartomas. Cerebellar medulloblastoma has been described in a single affected individual; in another, biopsy of skin lesions showed features of trichoblastoma. The combination of asymmetric clinical features, patchy skin manifestations, and neoplastic association previously led to the suggestion that this could be a mosaic condition, possibly involving hedgehog (Hh) signaling. Here, we show that CJS is caused by recurrent somatic mosaicism for a nonsynonymous variant in SMO (c.1234C>T [p.Leu412Phe]), encoding smoothened (SMO), a G-protein-coupled receptor that transduces Hh signaling. We identified eight mutation-positive individuals (two of whom had not been reported previously) with highly similar phenotypes and demonstrated varying amounts of the mutant allele in different tissues. We present detailed findings from brain MRI in three mutation-positive individuals. Somatic SMO mutations that result in constitutive activation have been described in several tumors, including medulloblastoma, ameloblastoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Strikingly, the most common of these mutations is the identical nonsynonymous variant encoding p.Leu412Phe. Furthermore, this substitution has been shown to activate SMO in the absence of Hh signaling, providing an explanation for tumor development in CJS. This raises therapeutic possibilities for using recently generated Hh-pathway inhibitors. In summary, our work uncovers the major genetic cause of CJS and illustrates strategies for gene discovery in the context of low-level tissue-specific somatic mosaicism.
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