Genomic disorders are a clinically diverse group of conditions caused by gain, loss or re-orientation of a genomic region containing dosage-sensitive genes. One class of genomic disorder is caused by hemizygous deletions resulting in haploinsufficiency of a single or, more usually, several genes. For example, the heterozygous contiguous gene deletion on chromosome 22q11.2 causing DiGeorge syndrome involves at least 20-30 genes. Determining how the copy number variation (CNV) affects human variation and contributes to the aetiology and progression of various genomic disorders represents important questions for the future. Here, I will discuss the functional significance of one form of CNV, haploinsufficiency (i.e. loss of a gene copy), of DNA damage response components and its association with certain genomic disorders. There is increasing evidence that haploinsufficiency for certain genes encoding key players in the cells response to DNA damage, particularly those of the Ataxia Telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR)-pathway, has a functional impact. I will review this evidence and present examples of some well known clinically similar genomic disorders that have recently been shown to be defective in the ATR-dependent DNA damage response. Finally, I will discuss the potential implications of a haploinsufficiency-induced defective DNA damage response for the clinical management of certain human genomic disorders.
DNA damage response; ATR; haploinsufficiency; genomic disorders.
Haploinsufficient (HI) genes are those for which a reduction in copy number in a diploid from two to one results in significantly reduced fitness. Haploinsufficiency is increasingly implicated in human disease, and so predicting this phenotype could provide insights into the genetic mechanisms behind many human diseases, including some cancers.
In the present work we show that orthologues of Saccharomyces cerevisiae HI genes are preferentially retained across the kingdom Fungi, and that the HI genes of S. cerevisiae can be used to predict haploinsufficiency in humans. Our HI gene predictions confirm known associations between haploinsufficiency and genetic disease, and predict several further disorders in which the phenotype may be relevant. Haploinsufficiency is also clearly relevant to the gene-dosage imbalances inherent in eukaryotic sex-determination systems. In S. cerevisiae, HI genes are over-represented on chromosome III, the chromosome that determines yeast's mating type. This may be a device to select against the loss of one copy of chromosome III from a diploid. We found that orthologues of S. cerevisiae HI genes are also over-represented on the mating-type chromosomes of other yeasts and filamentous fungi. In animals with heterogametic sex determination, accumulation of HI genes on the sex chromosomes would compromise fitness in both sexes, given X chromosome inactivation in females. We found that orthologues of S. cerevisiae HI genes are significantly under-represented on the X chromosomes of mammals and of Caenorhabditis elegans. There is no X inactivation in Drosophila melanogaster (increased expression of X in the male is used instead) and, in this species, we found no depletion of orthologues to yeast HI genes on the sex chromosomes.
A special relationship between HI genes and the sex/mating-type chromosome extends from S. cerevisiae to Homo sapiens, with the microbe being a useful model for species throughout the evolutionary range. Furthermore, haploinsufficiency in yeast can predict the phenotype in higher organisms.
Autosomal dominant (AD) diseases result when a single mutant or non-functioning gene is present on an autosomal chromosome. These diseases often do not emerge at birth. There are presently two prevailing theories explaining the expression of AD diseases. One explanation originates from the Knudson two-hit theory of hereditary cancers, where loss of heterozygosity or occurrence of somatic mutations impairs the function of the wild-type copy. While these somatic second hits may be sufficient for stable disease states, it is often difficult to determine if their occurrence necessarily marks the initiation of disease progression. A more direct consequence of a heterozygous genetic background is haploinsufficiency, referring to a lack of sufficient gene function due to reduced wild-type gene copy number; however, haploinsufficiency can involve a variety of additional mechanisms, such as noise in gene expression or protein levels, injury and second hit mutations in other genes. In this study, we explore the possible contribution to the onset of autosomal dominant diseases from intrinsic factors, such as those determined by the structure of the molecular networks governing normal cellular physiology.
First, simple models of single gene insufficiency using the positive feedback loops that may be derived from a three-component network were studied by computer simulation using Bionet software. The network structure is shown to affect the dynamics considerably; some networks are relatively stable even when large stochastic variations in are present, while others exhibit switch-like dynamics. In the latter cases, once the network switches over to the disease state it remains in that state permanently. Model pathways for two autosomal dominant diseases, AD polycystic kidney disease and mature onset diabetes of youth (MODY) were simulated and the results are compared to known disease characteristics.
By identifying the intrinsic mechanisms involved in the onset of AD diseases, it may be possible to better assess risk factors as well as lead to potential new drug targets. To illustrate the applicability of this study of pathway dynamics, we simulated the primary pathways involved in two autosomal dominant diseases, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and mature onset diabetes of youth (MODY). Simulations demonstrate that some of the primary disease characteristics are consistent with the positive feedback - stochastic variation theory presented here. This has implications for new drug targets to control these diseases by blocking the positive feedback loop in the relevant pathways.
In mammalian tissues, uptake of Ca2+ and Mn2+ by Golgi membranes is mediated by the secretory pathway Ca2+- ATPases, SPCA1 and SPCA2, encoded by the ATP2C1 and ATP2C2 genes. Loss of one copy of the ATP2C1 gene, which causes SPCA1 haploinsufficiency, leads to squamous cell tumors of keratinized epithelia in mice and to Hailey-Hailey Disease, an acantholytic skin disease, in humans. Although the disease phenotypes resulting from SPCA1 haploinsufficiency in mice and humans are quite different, each species-specific phenotype is remarkably similar to those arising as a result of null mutations in one copy of the ATP2A2 gene, encoding SERCA2, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca2+ pump. SERCA2 haploinsufficiency, like SPCA1 haploinsufficiency, causes squamous cell tumors in mice and Darier’s Disease, also an acantholytic skin disease, in humans. The phenotypic similarities between SPCA1 and SERCA2 haploinsufficiency in the two species, and the general functions of the two pumps in consecutive compartments of the secretory pathway, suggest that the underlying disease mechanisms are similar. In this review we discuss evidence supporting the view that chronic Golgi stress and/or ER stress resulting from Ca2+ pump haploinsufficiencies leads to activation of cellular stress responses in keratinocytes, with the predominance of pro-apoptotic pathways (though not necessarily apoptosis itself) leading to acantholytic skin disease in humans and the predominance of pro-survival pathways leading to tumors in mice.
secretory pathway stress; Golgi stress; endoplasmic reticulum stress; acantholysis; Darier disease; cornification; unfolded protein response
Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been a powerful model for uncovering the landscape of binary gene interactions through whole-genome screening. Complex heterozygous interactions are potentially important to human genetic disease as loss-of-function alleles are common in human genomes. We have been using complex haploinsufficiency (CHI) screening with the actin gene to identify genes related to actin function and as a model to determine the prevalence of CHI interactions in eukaryotic genomes. Previous CHI screening between actin and null alleles for non-essential genes uncovered ∼240 deleterious CHI interactions. In this report, we have extended CHI screening to null alleles for essential genes by mating a query strain to sporulations of heterozygous knock-out strains. Using an act1Δ query, knock-outs of 60 essential genes were found to be CHI with actin. Enriched in this collection were functional categories found in the previous screen against non-essential genes, including genes involved in cytoskeleton function and chaperone complexes that fold actin and tubulin. Novel to this screen was the identification of genes for components of the TFIID transcription complex and for the proteasome. We investigated a potential role for the proteasome in regulating the actin cytoskeleton and found that the proteasome physically associates with actin filaments in vitro and that some conditional mutations in proteasome genes have gross defects in actin organization. Whole-genome screening with actin as a query has confirmed that CHI interactions are important phenotypic drivers. Furthermore, CHI screening is another genetic tool to uncover novel functional connections. Here we report a previously unappreciated role for the proteasome in affecting actin organization and function.
Individuals inherit two copies of each gene, one from each parent, and frequently the two copies are different from each other. Sometimes one copy is completely defective, but since there is one normal copy there may be no negative consequences. Our research is focused on understanding the consequence of inheriting one bad copy for two or more different genes. Geneticists refer to inheriting one bad copy of a gene as a haploinsufficiency and inheriting one bad copy of multiple genes as a complex haploinsufficiency. Using yeast as a model system, we have addressed, in a systematic way, what occurs if a cell inherits one bad copy of the gene called actin and one bad copy of one of the ∼1,000 essential genes in the yeast genome. We discovered that complex haploinsufficiency between actin and one of 60 different essential genes leads to reduced cell viability. These 60 genes are highly enriched for certain functional groups, including those involved in protein degradation and gene expression. It is expected that approaches such as these in model organisms will be applicable to understanding the potential for deleterious complex haploinsufficient interactions in the human genome.
Haploinsufficiency of tumor suppressor genes, wherein the reduced production and activity of proteins results in the inability of the cell to maintain normal cellular function, is one among the various causes of cancer. However the precise molecular mechanisms underlying this condition remain unclear. Here we hypothesize that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 3′untranslated region (UTR) of mRNAs and microRNA seed sequence (miR-SNPs) may cause haploinsufficiency at the level of proteins through altered binding specificity of microRNAs (miRNAs). Bioinformatics analysis of haploinsufficient genes for variations in their 3′UTR showed that the occurrence of SNPs result in the creation of new binding sites for miRNAs, thereby bringing the respective mRNA variant under the control of more miRNAs. In addition, 19 miR-SNPs were found to result in non-specific binding of microRNAs to tumor suppressors. Networking analysis suggests that the haploinsufficient tumor suppressor genes strongly interact with one another, and any subtle alterations in this network will contribute to tumorigenesis.
haploinsufficiency; microRNA; single nucleotide polymorphism; miR-SNPs; tumor suppressor genes; cancer
Progranulin is a secreted high molecular weight growth factor bearing seven and one half copies of the cysteine-rich granulin-epithelin motif. While inappropriate over-expression of the progranulin gene has been associated with many cancers, haploinsufficiency leads to atrophy of the frontotemporal lobes and development of a form of dementia (frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin positive inclusions, FTLD-U) associated with the formation of ubiquitinated inclusions. Recent reports indicate that progranulin has neurotrophic effects, which, if confirmed would make progranulin the only neuroprotective growth factor that has been associated genetically with a neurological disease in humans. Preliminary studies indicated high progranulin gene expression in spinal cord motor neurons. However, it is uncertain what the role of Progranulin is in normal or diseased motor neuron function. We have investigated progranulin gene expression and subcellular localization in cultured mouse embryonic motor neurons and examined the effect of progranulin over-expression and knockdown in the NSC-34 immortalized motor neuron cell line upon proliferation and survival.
In situ hybridisation and immunohistochemical techniques revealed that the progranulin gene is highly expressed by motor neurons within the mouse spinal cord and in primary cultures of dissociated mouse embryonic spinal cord-dorsal root ganglia. Confocal microscopy coupled to immunocytochemistry together with the use of a progranulin-green fluorescent protein fusion construct revealed progranulin to be located within compartments of the secretory pathway including the Golgi apparatus. Stable transfection of the human progranulin gene into the NSC-34 motor neuron cell line stimulates the appearance of dendritic structures and provides sufficient trophic stimulus to survive serum deprivation for long periods (up to two months). This is mediated at least in part through an anti-apoptotic mechanism. Control cells, while expressing basal levels of progranulin do not survive in serum free conditions. Knockdown of progranulin expression using shRNA technology further reduced cell survival.
Neurons are among the most long-lived cells in the body and are subject to low levels of toxic challenges throughout life. We have demonstrated that progranulin is abundantly expressed in motor neurons and is cytoprotective over prolonged periods when over-expressed in a neuronal cell line. This work highlights the importance of progranulin as neuroprotective growth factor and may represent a therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases including motor neuron disease.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common monogenic tumor-predisposition disorder that arises secondary to mutations in the tumor suppressor gene NF1. Haploinsufficiency of NF1 fosters a permissive tumorigenic environment through changes in signalling between cells, however the intracellular mechanisms for this tumor-promoting effect are less clear. Most primary human NF1+/- cells are a challenge to obtain, however lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) have been collected from large NF1 kindreds. We hypothesized that the genetic effects of NF1-haploinsufficiency may be discerned by comparison of genome-wide transcriptional profiling in somatic, non-tumor cells (LCLs) from NF1-affected and -unaffected individuals. As a cross-species filter for heterogeneity, we compared the results from two human kindreds to whole-genome transcriptional profiling in spleen-derived B lymphocytes from age- and gender-matched Nf1+/- and wild-type mice, and used gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), Onto-Express, Pathway-Express and MetaCore tools to identify genes perturbed in NF1-haploinsufficiency.
We observed moderate expression of NF1 in human LCLs and of Nf1 in CD19+ mouse B lymphocytes. Using the t test to evaluate individual transcripts, we observed modest expression differences in the transcriptome in NF1-haploinsufficient LCLs and Nf1-haploinsuffiicient mouse B lymphocytes. However, GSEA, Onto-Express, Pathway-Express and MetaCore analyses identified genes that control cell cycle, DNA replication and repair, transcription and translation, and immune response as the most perturbed in NF1-haploinsufficient conditions in both human and mouse.
Haploinsufficiency arises when loss of one allele of a gene is sufficient to give rise to disease. Haploinsufficiency has traditionally been viewed as a passive state. Our observations of perturbed, up-regulated cell cycle and DNA repair pathways may functionally contribute to NF1-haploinsufficiency as an "active state" that ultimately promotes the loss of the wild-type allele.
The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionary conserved signal transduction pathway involved in embryonic patterning and regulation of cell fates during development and self-renewal. Recent studies have demonstrated that this pathway is integral to a complex system of interactions, involving as well other signal transduction pathways, and implicated in distinct human diseases. Delta-like 1 (Dll1) is one of the known ligands of the Notch receptors. The role of the Notch ligands is less well understood. Loss-of-function of Dll1 leads to embryonic lethality, but reduction of Delta-like 1 protein levels has not been studied in adult stage.
Here we present the haploinsufficient phenotype of Dll1 and a missense mutant Dll1 allele (Dll1C413Y). Haploinsufficiency leads to a complex phenotype with several biological processes altered. These alterations reveal the importance of Dll1 mainly in metabolism, energy balance and in immunology. The animals are smaller, lighter, with altered fat to lean ratio and have increased blood pressure and a slight bradycardia. The animals have reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood. At the immunological level a subtle phenotype is observed due to the effect and fine-tuning of the signaling network at the different levels of differentiation, proliferation and function of lymphocytes. Moreover, the importance of the proteolytic regulation of the Notch signaling network emphasized.
In conclusion, slight alterations in one player of Notch signaling alter the entire organism, emphasizing the fine-tuning character of this pathway in a high number of processes.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neurodegenerative disease with hallmark deficits in social and emotional function. Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in GRN, the progranulin gene, are a common genetic cause of the disorder, but the mechanisms by which progranulin haploinsufficiency causes neuronal dysfunction in FTD are unclear. Homozygous progranulin knockout (Grn−/−) mice have been studied as a model of this disorder and show behavioral deficits and a neuroinflammatory phenotype with robust microglial activation. However, homozygous GRN mutations causing complete progranulin deficiency were recently shown to cause a different neurological disorder, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, suggesting that the total absence of progranulin may have effects distinct from those of haploinsufficiency. Here, we studied progranulin heterozygous (Grn+/−) mice, which model progranulin haploinsufficiency. We found that Grn+/− mice developed age-dependent social and emotional deficits potentially relevant to FTD. However, unlike Grn−/− mice, behavioral deficits in Grn+/− mice occurred in the absence of gliosis or increased expression of tumor necrosis factor–α. Instead, we found neuronal abnormalities in the amygdala, an area of selective vulnerability in FTD, in Grn+/− mice. Our findings indicate that FTD-related deficits due to progranulin haploinsufficiency can develop in the absence of detectable gliosis and neuroinflammation, thereby dissociating microglial activation from functional deficits and suggesting an important effect of progranulin deficiency on neurons.
In recent years, researchers have generated a variety of mouse models in an attempt to dissect the contribution of individual genes to the complex phenotype associated with Williams syndrome (WS). The mouse genome is easily manipulated to produce animals that are copies of humans with genetic conditions, be it with null mutations, hypomorphic mutations, point mutations, or even large deletions encompassing many genes. The existing mouse models certainly seem to implicate hemizygosity for ELN, BAZ1B, CLIP2, and GTF2IRD1 in WS, and new mice with large deletions of the WS region are helping us to understand both the additive and potential combinatorial effects of hemizygosity for specific genes. However, not all genes that are haploinsufficient in humans prove to be so in mice and the effect of genetic background can also have a significant effect on the penetrance of many phenotypes. Thus although mouse models are powerful tools, the information garnered from their study must be carefully interpreted. Nevertheless, mouse models look set to provide a wealth of information about the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and molecular pathways that underlie WS and in the future will act as essential tools for the development and testing of therapeutics.
PMID: 20425782 CAMSID: cams393
Williams syndrome; mouse models; behavior; gene deletion; phenotype
Contiguous gene syndromes cause disorders via haploinsufficiency for adjacent genes. Some contiguous gene syndromes (CGS) have stereotypical breakpoints, but others have variable breakpoints. In CGS that have variable breakpoints, the extent of the deletions may be correlated with severity. The Greig cephalopolysyndactyly contiguous gene syndrome (GCPS‐CGS) is a multiple malformation syndrome caused by haploinsufficiency of GLI3 and adjacent genes. In addition, non‐CGS GCPS can be caused by deletions or duplications in GLI3. Although fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) can identify large deletion mutations in patients with GCPS or GCPS‐CGS, it is not practical for identification of small intragenic deletions or insertions, and it is difficult to accurately characterise the extent of the large deletions using this technique. We have designed a custom comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) array that allows identification of deletions and duplications at kilobase resolution in the vicinity of GLI3. The array averages one probe every 730 bp for a total of about 14 000 probes over 10 Mb. We have analysed 16 individuals with known or suspected deletions or duplications. In 15 of 16 individuals (14 deletions and 1 duplication), the array confirmed the prior results. In the remaining patient, the normal CGH array result was correct, and the prior assessment was a false positive quantitative polymerase chain reaction result. We conclude that high‐density CGH array analysis is more sensitive than FISH analysis for detecting deletions and provides clinically useful results on the extent of the deletion. We suggest that high‐density CGH array analysis should replace FISH analysis for assessment of deletions and duplications in patients with contiguous gene syndromes caused by variable deletions.
; oligonucleotide array; comparative genomic hybridization
Short stature affects approximately 2% of children, representing one of the more frequent disorders for which clinical attention is sought during childhood. Despite assumed genetic heterogeneity, mutations or deletions of the short stature homeobox‐containing gene (SHOX) are found quite frequently in subjects with short stature. Haploinsufficiency of the SHOX gene causes short stature with highly variable clinical severity, ranging from isolated short stature without dysmorphic features to Léri‐Weill syndrome, and with no functional copy of the SHOX gene, Langer syndrome.
To characterise the clinical and molecular spectrum of SHOX deficiency in childhood we assessed the association between genotype and phenotype in a large cohort of children of short stature from 14 countries.
Screening of 1608 unrelated individuals with sporadic or familial short stature revealed SHOX mutations or deletions in 68 individuals (4.2%): complete deletions in 48 (70.6%), partial deletions in 4 (5.9%) and point mutations in 16 individuals (23.5%). Although mean height standard deviation score (SDS) was not different between participants of short stature with or without identified SHOX gene defects (–2.6 vs –2.6), detailed examination revealed that certain bone deformities and dysmorphic signs, such as short forearm and lower leg, cubitus valgus, Madelung deformity, high‐arched palate and muscular hypertrophy, differed markedly between participants with or without SHOX gene defects (p<0.001). Phenotypic data were also compared for 33 children with Turner syndrome in whom haploinsufficiency of SHOX is thought to be responsible for the height deficit.
A phenotype scoring system was developed that could assist in identifying the most appropriate subjects for SHOX testing. This study offers a detailed genotype‐phenotype analysis in a large cohort of children of short stature, and provides quantitative clinical guidelines for testing of the SHOX gene.
chondrocytes idiopathic short stature; Langer syndrome Léri‐Weill syndrome; Turner syndrome.
Adeno-associated vectors (rAAV) have been used to attain long-term liver gene expression. In humans, the cellular immune response poses a serious obstacle for transgene persistence while neutralizing humoral immunity curtails re-administration. Porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD) haploinsufficiency (acute intermittent porphyria) benefits from liver gene transfer in mouse models and clinical trials are about to begin. In this work, we sought to study in non-human primates the feasibility of repeated gene-transfer with intravenous administration of rAAV5 vectors under the effects of an intensive immunosuppressive regimen and to analyze its ability to circumvent T-cell immunity and thereby prolong transgene expression.
Three female Macaca fascicularis were intravenously injected with 1x1013 genome copies/kg of rAAV5 encoding the human PBGD. Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), anti-thymocyte immunoglobulin, methylprednisolone, tacrolimus and rituximab were given in combination during 12 weeks to block T- and B-cell mediated adaptive immune responses in two macaques. Immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice were intravenously injected with 5x1012 genome copies/kg of rAAV5-encoding luciferase protein. Forty days later MMF, tacrolimus and rituximab were daily administrated to ascertain whether the immunosuppressants or their metabolites could interfere with transgene expression.
Macaques given a rAAV5 vector encoding human PBGD developed cellular and humoral immunity against viral capsids but not towards the transgene. Anti-AAV humoral responses were attenuated during 12 weeks but intensely rebounded following cessation of the immunosuppressants. Accordingly, subsequent gene transfer with a rAAV5 vector encoding green fluorescent protein was impossible. One macaque showed enhanced PBGD expression 25 weeks after rAAV5-pbgd administration but overexpression had not been detected while the animal was under immunosuppression. As a potential explanation, MMF decreases transgene expression in mouse livers that had been successfully transduced by a rAAV5 several weeks before MMF onset. Such a silencing effect was independent of AAV complementary strand synthesis and requires an adaptive immune system.
These results indicate that our transient and intensive pharmacological immunosuppression fails to improve AAV5-based liver gene transfer in non-human primates. The reasons include an incomplete restraint of humoral immune responses to viral capsids that interfere with repeated gene transfer in addition to an intriguing MMF-dependent drug-mediated interference with liver transgene expression.
Adeno-associated virus serotype 5; Neutralizing antibodies; Re-administration; Vector Immunology/Host Responses; Immunomodulation
BACKGROUND—Turner syndrome is characterised by a 45,X karyotype and a variety of skeletal, lymphoedemic, and gonadal anomalies. Genes involved in the Turner phenotype are thought to be X/Y homologous with the X genes escaping X inactivation. Haploinsufficiency of the SHOX gene has been reported to cause the short stature seen in Turner syndrome patients. More recently, mutations of this gene have been shown to be associated with other skeletal abnormalities, suggesting that haploinsufficiency of SHOX causes all the Turner skeletal anomalies. No such gene has yet been identified for the lymphoedemic features.
METHODS—Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) analysis with PAC clones on nine patients with partially deleted X chromosomes was performed.
RESULTS/DISCUSSION—The Turner syndrome stigmata for each patient are described and correlation between the breakpoint and the phenotype discussed. A lymphoedema critical region in Xp11.4 is proposed and its gene content discussed with respect to that in the previously reported Yp11.2 lymphoedema critical region.
Keywords: Turner syndrome; lymphoedema; Xp11.4
SHANK3 is a protein in the core of the postsynaptic density (PSD) and has a critical role in recruiting many key functional elements to the PSD and to the synapse, including components of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA), metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) and N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) glutamate receptors, as well as cytoskeletal elements. Loss of a functional copy of the SHANK3 gene leads to the neurobehavioral manifestations of 22q13 deletion syndrome and/or to autism spectrum disorders. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of haploinsufficiency of full-length Shank3 in mice, focusing on synaptic development, transmission and plasticity, as well as on social behaviors, as a model for understanding SHANK3 haploinsufficiency in humans.
We used mice with a targeted disruption of Shank3 in which exons coding for the ankyrin repeat domain were deleted and expression of full-length Shank3 was disrupted. We studied synaptic transmission and plasticity by multiple methods, including patch-clamp whole cell recording, two-photon time-lapse imaging and extracellular recordings of field excitatory postsynaptic potentials. We also studied the density of GluR1-immunoreactive puncta in the CA1 stratum radiatum and carried out assessments of social behaviors.
In Shank3 heterozygous mice, there was reduced amplitude of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents from hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons and the input-output (I/O) relationship at Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in acute hippocampal slices was significantly depressed; both of these findings indicate a reduction in basal neurotransmission. Studies with specific inhibitors demonstrated that the decrease in basal transmission reflected reduced AMPA receptor-mediated transmission. This was further supported by the observation of reduced numbers of GluR1-immunoreactive puncta in the stratum radiatum. Long-term potentiation (LTP), induced either with θ-burst pairing (TBP) or high-frequency stimulation, was impaired in Shank3 heterozygous mice, with no significant change in long-term depression (LTD). In concordance with the LTP results, persistent expansion of spines was observed in control mice after TBP-induced LTP; however, only transient spine expansion was observed in Shank3 heterozygous mice. Male Shank3 heterozygotes displayed less social sniffing and emitted fewer ultrasonic vocalizations during interactions with estrus female mice, as compared to wild-type littermate controls.
We documented specific deficits in synaptic function and plasticity, along with reduced reciprocal social interactions in Shank3 heterozygous mice. Our results are consistent with altered synaptic development and function in Shank3 haploinsufficiency, highlighting the importance of Shank3 in synaptic function and supporting a link between deficits in synapse function and neurodevelopmental disorders. The reduced glutamatergic transmission that we observed in the Shank3 heterozygous mice represents an interesting therapeutic target in Shank3-haploinsufficiency syndromes.
Aging is a highly complex biological process that is believed to involve multiple mechanisms. Mice that have small amounts of the mitotic checkpoint protein BubR1 age much faster than normal mice, but whether other mitotic checkpoint genes function to prevent the early onset of aging is unknown. In this study, we show that several aging-associated phenotypes appear early in mice that are double haploinsufficient for the mitotic checkpoint genes Bub3 and Rae1 but not in mice that are single haploinsufficient for these genes. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from Bub3/Rae1 haploinsufficient mice undergo premature senescence and accumulate high levels of p19, p53, p21, and p16, whereas MEFs from single haploinsufficient mice do not. Furthermore, although BubR1 hypomorphic mice have less aneuploidy than Bub3/Rae1 haploinsufficient mice, they age much faster. Our findings suggest that early onset of aging-associated phenotypes in mice with mitotic checkpoint gene defects is linked to cellular senescence and activation of the p53 and p16 pathways rather than to aneuploidy.
Candida albicans is the most common human fungal pathogen, causing infections that can be lethal in immunocompromised patients. Although Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used as a model for C. albicans, it lacks C. albicans' diverse morphogenic forms and is primarily non-pathogenic. Comprehensive genetic analyses that have been instrumental for determining gene function in S. cerevisiae are hampered in C. albicans, due in part to limited resources to systematically assay phenotypes of loss-of-function alleles. Here, we constructed and screened a library of 3633 tagged heterozygous transposon disruption mutants, using them in a competitive growth assay to examine nutrient- and drug-dependent haploinsufficiency. We identified 269 genes that were haploinsufficient in four growth conditions, the majority of which were condition-specific. These screens identified two new genes necessary for filamentous growth as well as ten genes that function in essential processes. We also screened 57 chemically diverse compounds that more potently inhibited growth of C. albicans versus S. cerevisiae. For four of these compounds, we examined the genetic basis of this differential inhibition. Notably, Sec7p was identified as the target of brefeldin A in C. albicans screens, while S. cerevisiae screens with this compound failed to identify this target. We also uncovered a new C. albicans-specific target, Tfp1p, for the synthetic compound 0136-0228. These results highlight the value of haploinsufficiency screens directly in this pathogen for gene annotation and drug target identification.
Candida albicans is a normal inhabitant in our bodies, yet it can become pathogenic and cause infections that range from the superficial in healthy individuals to deadly in the immunocompromised. Comprehensive genetic analysis of C. albicans to identify mechanisms of virulence and new treatment strategies has been hampered by limited, publically accessible genomic resources. By combining the principles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain tagging with transposon mutagenesis to generate individually tagged mutants, we created the first entirely public resource that allows simultaneous measurement of strain fitness of ∼60% of the genome in a wide range of experimental treatments. By identifying genes that confer a fitness or growth defect when reduced in copy number, we uncovered genes whose protein products represent potential antifungal targets. Moreover, screening this strain collection with chemical compounds allowed us to identify anticandidal chemicals while concurrently gaining insight into their cellular mechanism of action. This resource, combined with straightforward screening methodology, provides powerful tools to generate hypotheses for functional annotation of the genome, and our results highlight the value of direct versus model-based pathogen studies.
Chromosomal deletions are common molecular events in myeloid malignancies. Heterozygous deletions may contain a tumor suppressor gene that undergoes homozygous inactivation or may contain one or more genes that alter the disease phenotype through haploinsufficiency. The most common karyotypic abnormalitity in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is deletion of chromosome 5q. A subset of patients with del(5q) as a sole cytogenetic abnormality have a consistent set of clinical features, termed the 5q- syndrome. While no tumor suppressor genes have been identified on 5q that are homozygously inactivated, recent studies have highlighted several genes and micro RNAs (miRNAs) that cause the phenotype of the 5q- syndrome through allelic insufficiency. For example, deletion of one allele of the RPS14 gene causes a severe defect in erythropoiesis, analogous to the congenital syndrome Diamond Blackfan anemia, which is itself caused by mutations that inactivate one allele of a ribosomal gene. Loss of one allele of miR-145 and miR-146a causes an increase in megakaryocyte production and may contribute to the clonal advantage of cells with del(5q). The functional approaches used to dissect the molecular basis of the 5q deletion in MDS have the potential to identify key genes and therapeutic targets within other chromosomal deletions in hematologic malignancies.
myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS); 5q deletion; 5q-; haploinsufficiency; RPS14; p53; miR-145; Diamond Blackfan anemia
Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by epistaxis, telangiectases, and multiorgan vascular dysplasia. The two major types of disease, HHT1 and HHT2, are caused by mutations in the ENG (endoglin) and ACVRL1 genes, respectively. The corresponding endoglin and ALK‐1 proteins are specific endothelial receptors of the transforming growth factor β superfamily essential for maintaining vascular integrity. Many mutations have been identified in ENG and ACVRL1 genes and support the haploinsufficiency model for HHT. Two more genes have recently been implicated in HHT: MADH4 mutated in a combined syndrome of juvenile polyposis and HHT (JPHT), and an unidentified HHT3 gene linked to chromosome 5. Current knowledge on the genetics of HHT is summarised, including the pathways that link the genes responsible for HHT and the potential mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of the disease.
ACVRL1; ALK‐1; ENG; hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia; vascular disorders
BACKGROUND—Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) is a multiple congenital anomalies/mental retardation syndrome associated with a hemizygous deletion of chromosome 17, band p11.2. Characteristic features include neurobehavioural abnormalities such as aggressive and self-injurious behaviour and significant sleep disturbances. The majority of patients have a common deletion characterised at the molecular level. Physical mapping studies indicate that all patients with the common deletion are haploinsufficient for subunit 3 of the COP9 signalosome (COPS3), which is conserved from plants to humans, and in the plant Arabidopis thaliana regulates gene transcription in response to light. Haploinsufficiency of this gene is hypothesised to be potentially involved in the sleep disturbances seen in these patients. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland. SMS patients are reported to have fewer sleep disturbances when given a night time dose of this sleep inducing hormone.
METHODS—Urinary excretion of 6-sulphatoxymelatonin (aMT6s), the major hepatic metabolite of melatonin, in 19 SMS patients were measured in conjunction with 24 hour sleep studies in 28 SMS patients. Five of the 28 patients did not have the common SMS deletion. To investigate a potential correlation of COPS3 haploinsufficiency and disturbed melatonin excretion, we performed fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) using two BACs containing coding exons of COPS3.
RESULTS—All SMS patients show significant sleep disturbances when assessed by objective criteria. Abnormalities in the circadian rhythm of aMT6s were observed in all but one SMS patient. Interestingly this patient did not have the common deletion. All patients studied, including the one patient with a normal melatonin rhythm, were haploinsufficient for COPS3.
CONCLUSIONS—Our data indicate a disturbed circadian rhythm in melatonin and document the disturbed sleep pattern in Smith-Magenis syndrome. Our findings suggest that the abnormalities in the circadian rhythm of melatonin and altered sleep patterns could be secondary to aberrations in the production, secretion, distribution, or metabolism of melatonin; however, a direct role for COPS3 could not be established.
Keywords: melatonin; circadian rhythms; Smith-Magenis syndrome; COPS3
Mutations in whole organisms are powerful ways of interrogating gene function in a realistic context. We describe a program, the Sanger Institute Mouse Genetics Project, that provides a step toward the aim of knocking out all genes and screening each line for a broad range of traits. We found that hitherto unpublished genes were as likely to reveal phenotypes as known genes, suggesting that novel genes represent a rich resource for investigating the molecular basis of disease. We found many unexpected phenotypes detected only because we screened for them, emphasizing the value of screening all mutants for a wide range of traits. Haploinsufficiency and pleiotropy were both surprisingly common. Forty-two percent of genes were essential for viability, and these were less likely to have a paralog and more likely to contribute to a protein complex than other genes. Phenotypic data and more than 900 mutants are openly available for further analysis.
•Large openly available resource of targeted mouse mutants and phenotypic data•Screen for broad range of disease features and traits•Many novel phenotypes suggest functions for both studied and unstudied genes•Haploinsufficiency and pleiotropy are common
More than 900 new mutant mice lines and a multifaceted phenotypic screening platform reveal unanticipated pleiotropies, widespread effects of haploinsufficiency, potential disease models, and functions for unstudied genes.
Membrane trafficking is essential to eukaryotic life and is controlled by a complex network of proteins that regulate movement of proteins and lipids between organelles. The GBF1/GEA family of Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factors (GEFs) regulates trafficking between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi by catalyzing the exchange of GDP for GTP on ADP Ribosylation Factors (Arfs). Activated Arfs recruit coat protein complex 1 (COP-I) to form vesicles that ferry cargo between these organelles. To further explore the function of the GBF1/GEA family, we have characterized a fission yeast mutant lacking one copy of the essential gene gea1 (gea1+/−), the Schizosaccharomyces pombe ortholog of GBF1. The haploinsufficient gea1+/− strain was shown to be sensitive to the GBF1 inhibitor brefeldin A (BFA) and was rescued from BFA sensitivity by gea1p overexpression. No overt defects in localization of arf1p or arf6p were observed in gea1+/− cells, but the fission yeast homolog of the COP-I cargo sac1 was mislocalized, consistent with impaired COP-I trafficking. Although Golgi morphology appeared normal, a slight increase in vacuolar size was observed in the gea1+/− mutant strain. Importantly, gea1+/− cells exhibited dramatic cytokinesis-related defects, including disorganized contractile rings, an increased septation index, and alterations in septum morphology. Septation defects appear to result from altered secretion of enzymes required for septum dynamics, as decreased secretion of eng1p, a β-glucanase required for septum breakdown, was observed in gea1+/− cells, and overexpression of eng1p suppressed the increased septation phenotype. These observations implicate gea1 in regulation of septum breakdown and establish S. pombe as a model system to explore GBF1/GEA function in cytokinesis.
Little is known about the rate at which genetic variation is generated within intrahost populations of dengue virus (DENV) and what implications this diversity has for dengue pathogenesis, disease severity, and host immunity. Previous studies of intrahost DENV variation have used a low frequency of sampling and/or experimental methods that do not fully account for errors generated through amplification and sequencing of viral RNAs. We investigated the extent and pattern of genetic diversity in sequence data in domain III (DIII) of the envelope (E) gene in serial plasma samples (n = 49) taken from 17 patients infected with DENV type 1 (DENV-1), totaling some 8,458 clones. Statistically rigorous approaches were employed to account for artifactual variants resulting from amplification and sequencing, which we suggest have played a major role in previous studies of intrahost genetic variation. Accordingly, nucleotide sequence diversities of viral populations were very low, with conservative estimates of the average levels of genetic diversity ranging from 0 to 0.0013. Despite such sequence conservation, we observed clear evidence for mixed infection, with the presence of multiple phylogenetically distinct lineages present within the same host, while the presence of stop codon mutations in some samples suggests the action of complementation. In contrast to some previous studies we observed no relationship between the extent and pattern of DENV-1 genetic diversity and disease severity, immune status, or level of viremia.
Supravalvular aortic stenosis is an autosomal-dominant disease of elastin (Eln) insufficiency caused by loss-of-function mutations or gene deletion. Recently, we have modeled this disease in mice (Eln+/–) and found that Eln haploinsufficiency results in unexpected changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics and arterial wall structure. Eln+/– animals were found to be stably hypertensive from birth, with a mean arterial pressure 25–30 mmHg higher than their wild-type counterparts. The animals have only moderate cardiac hypertrophy and live a normal life span with no overt signs of degenerative vascular disease. Examination of arterial mechanical properties showed that the inner diameters of Eln+/– arteries were generally smaller than wild-type arteries at any given intravascular pressure. Because the Eln+/– mouse is hypertensive, however, the effective arterial working diameter is comparable to that of the normotensive wild-type animal. Physiological studies indicate a role for the renin-angiotensin system in maintaining the hypertensive state. The association of hypertension with elastin haploinsufficiency in humans and mice strongly suggests that elastin and other proteins of the elastic fiber should be considered as causal genes for essential hypertension.