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1.  Diamond-Blackfan anemia, ribosome and erythropoiesis 
Diamond-Blackfan anemia is a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome (5 to 7 cases/million live births) characterized by an are generative, usually macrocytic anemia with an absence or less than 5% of erythroid precursors (erythroblastopenia) in an otherwise normal bone marrow. The platelet and the white cell counts are usually normal but neutropenia, thrombopenia or thrombocytosis have been noted at diagnosis. In 40 to 50% of DBA patients, congenital abnormalities mostly in the cephalic area and in thumbs and upper limbs have been described. Recent analysis did show a phenotype/genotype correlation. Congenital erythroblastopenia of DBA is the first human disease identified to result from defects in ribosomal biogenesis. The first ribosomal gene involved in DBA, ribosomal protein (RP) gene S19 (RPS19 gene), was identified in 1999. Subsequently, mutations in 12 other RP genes out of a total of 78 RP genes have been identified in DBA. All RP gene mutations described to date are heterozygous and dominant inheritance has been documented in 40 to 45% of affected individuals. As RP mutations are yet to be identified in approximately 50% of DBA cases, it is likely that other yet to be identified genes involved in ribosomal biogenesis or other pathways may be responsible for DBA phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3699172  PMID: 20655265
Diamond-Blackfan anemia; erythroblastopenia; ribosome; p53; apoptosis
2.  Defects of protein production in erythroid cells revealed in a zebrafish Diamond–Blackfan anemia model for mutation in RPS19 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(7):e1352-.
Diamond–Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare congenital red cell aplasia that classically presents during early infancy in DBA patients. Approximately, 25% of patients carry a mutation in the ribosomal protein (RP) S19 gene; mutations in RPS24, RPS17, RPL35A, RPL11, and RPL5 have been reported. How ribosome protein deficiency causes defects specifically to red blood cells in DBA has not been well elucidated. To genetically model the predominant ribosome defect in DBA, we generated an rps19 null mutant through the use of TALEN-mediated gene targeting in zebrafish. Molecular characterization of this mutant line demonstrated that rps19 deficiency reproduced the erythroid defects of DBA, including a lack of mature red blood cells and p53 activation. Notably, we found that rps19 mutants' production of globin proteins was significantly inhibited; however, globin transcript level was either increased or unaffected in rps19 mutant embryos. This dissociation of RNA/protein levels of globin genes was confirmed in another zebrafish DBA model with defects in rpl11. Using transgenic zebrafish with specific expression of mCherry in erythroid cells, we showed that protein production in erythroid cells was decreased when either rps19 or rpl11 was mutated. L-Leucine treatment alleviated the defects of protein production in erythroid cells and partially rescued the anemic phenotype in both rps19 and rpl11 mutants. Analysis of this model suggests that the decreased protein production in erythroid cells likely contributes to the blood-specific phenotype of DBA. Furthermore, the newly generated rps19 zebrafish mutant should serve as a useful animal model to study DBA. Our in vivo findings may provide clues for the future therapy strategy for DBA.
PMCID: PMC4123107  PMID: 25058426
3.  Novel deletion of RPL15 identified by array-comparative genomic hybridization in Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Human genetics  2013;132(11):1265-1274.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is an inherited red blood cell aplasia that usually presents during the first year of life. The main features of the disease are normochromic and macrocyctic anemia, reticulocytopenia, and nearly absent erythroid progenitors in the bone marrow. The patients also present with growth retardation and craniofacial, upper limb, heart and urinary system congenital malformations in ~30–50% of cases. The disease has been associated with point mutations and large deletions in ten ribosomal protein (RP) genes RPS19, RPS24, RPS17, RPL35A, RPL5, RPL11, RPS7, RPS10, RPS26 and RPL26 and GATA1 in about 60–65% of patients. Here we report a novel large deletion in RPL15, a gene not previously implicated to be causative in DBA. Like RPL26, RPL15 presents the distinctive feature of being required both for 60S subunit formation and for efficient cleavage of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1). In addition, we detected five deletions in RP genes in which mutations have been previously shown to cause DBA: one each in RPS19, RPS24, and RPS26, and two in RPS17. Pre-ribosomal RNA processing was affected in cells established from the patients bearing these deletions, suggesting a possible molecular basis for their pathological effect. These data identify RPL15 as a new gene involved in DBA and further support the presence of large deletions in RP genes in DBA patients.
PMCID: PMC3797874  PMID: 23812780
Diamond-Blackfan anemia; ribosomal protein gene deletion; RPL15; ribosomal biogenesis
4.  Dissecting the transcriptional phenotype of ribosomal protein deficiency: implications for Diamond-Blackfan Anemia 
Gene  2014;545(2):282-289.
Defects in genes encoding ribosomal proteins cause Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a red cell aplasia often associated with physical abnormalities. Other bone marrow failure syndromes have been attributed to defects in ribosomal components but the link between erythropoiesis and the ribosome remains to be fully defined. Several lines of evidence suggest that defects in ribosome synthesis lead to “ribosomal stress” with p53 activation and either cell cycle arrest or induction of apoptosis. Pathways independent of p53 have also been proposed to play a role in DBA pathogenesis.
We took an unbiased approach to identify p53-independent pathways activated by defects in ribosome synthesis by analyzing global gene expression in various cellular models of DBA. Ranking-Principal Component Analysis (Ranking-PCA) was applied to the identified datasets to determine whether there are common sets of genes whose expression is altered in these different cellular models. We observed consistent changes in the expression of genes involved in cellular amino acid metabolic process, negative regulation of cell proliferation and cell redox homeostasis.
These data indicate that cells respond to defects in ribosome synthesis by changing the level of expression of a limited subset of genes involved in critical cellular processes. Moreover, our data support a role for p53-independent pathways in the pathophysiology of DBA.
•Ribosomopathies such as DBA are caused by ribosome dysfunction that activates p53.•p53-independent pathways may suggest possible treatments for DBA.•Expression analysis was performed in three p53-null models of DBA.•Genes involved in apoptosis and cell redox homeostasis were especially affected.•DBA is due to cumulative effects of p53-dependent and independent pathways.
PMCID: PMC4058751  PMID: 24835311
DBA, Diamond Blackfan anemia; RP, ribosomal protein; RS, ribosomal stress; PCA, principal component analysis; PC, principal component; GO, gene ontology; Ribosomal protein; Diamond Blackfan Anemia; Ribosomopathy; Bone marrow failure
5.  Exploiting Pre-rRNA Processing in Diamond Blackfan Anemia Gene Discovery and Diagnosis 
American journal of hematology  2014;89(10):985-991.
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), a syndrome primarily characterized by anemia and physical abnormalities, is one among a group of related inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS) which share overlapping clinical features. Heterozygous mutations or single-copy deletions have been identified in 12 ribosomal protein genes in approximately 60% of DBA cases, with the genetic etiology unexplained in most remaining patients. Unlike many IBMFS, for which functional screening assays complement clinical and genetic findings, suspected DBA in the absence of typical alterations of the known genes must frequently be diagnosed after exclusion of other IBMFS. We report here a novel deletion in a child that presented such a diagnostic challenge and prompted development of a novel functional assay that can assist in the diagnosis of a significant fraction of patients with DBA.
The ribosomal proteins affected in DBA are required for pre-rRNA processing, a process which can be interrogated to monitor steps in the maturation of 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits. In contrast to prior methods used to assess pre-rRNA processing, the assay reported here, based on capillary electrophoresis measurement of the maturation of rRNA in pre-60S ribosomal subunits, would be readily amenable to use in diagnostic laboratories. In addition to utility as a diagnostic tool, we applied this technique to gene discovery in DBA, resulting in the identification of RPL31 as a novel DBA gene.
PMCID: PMC4332597  PMID: 25042156
Diamond Blackfan anemia; rRNA; ribosomal protein; diagnostic hematology; inherited bone marrow failure; RPL31
6.  Defective Ribosomal Protein Gene Expression Alters Transcription, Translation, Apoptosis, and Oncogenic Pathways in Diamond-Blackfan Anemia 
Stem Cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2006;24(9):2034-2044.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a broad developmental disease characterized by anemia, bone marrow (BM) erythroblastopenia, and an increased incidence of malignancy. Mutations in ribosomal protein gene S19 (RPS19) are found in ~25% of DBA patients; however, the role of RPS19 in the pathogenesis of DBA remains unknown. Using global gene expression analysis, we compared highly purified multipotential, erythroid, and myeloid BM progenitors from RPS19 mutated and control individuals. We found several ribosomal protein genes downregulated in all DBA progenitors. Apoptosis genes, such as TNFRSF10B and FAS, transcriptional control genes, including the erythropoietic transcription factor MYB (encoding c-myb), and translational genes were greatly dysregulated, mostly in diseased erythroid cells. Cancer-related genes, including RAS family oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, were significantly dysregulated in all diseased progenitors. In addition, our results provide evidence that RPS19 mutations lead to codownregulation of multiple ribosomal protein genes, as well as downregulation of genes involved in translation in DBA cells. In conclusion, the altered expression of cancer-related genes suggests a molecular basis for malignancy in DBA. Downregulation of c-myb expression, which causes complete failure of fetal liver erythropoiesis in knockout mice, suggests a link between RPS19 mutations and reduced erythropoiesis in DBA.
PMCID: PMC3372914  PMID: 16741228
Diamond-Blackfan anemia; Bone marrow failure; Global gene expression; Ribosomal protein genes; Apoptosis Cancer
7.  Diamond Blackfan Anemia at the Crossroad between Ribosome Biogenesis and Heme Metabolism 
Advances in Hematology  2010;2010:790632.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare, pure red-cell aplasia that presents during infancy. Approximately 40% of cases are associated with other congenital defects, particularly malformations of the upper limb or craniofacial region. Mutations in the gene coding for the ribosomal protein RPS19 have been identified in 25% of patients with DBA, with resulting impairment of 18S rRNA processing and 40S ribosomal subunit formation. Moreover, mutations in other ribosomal protein coding genes account for about 25% of other DBA cases. Recently, the analysis of mice from which the gene coding for the heme exporter Feline Leukemia Virus subgroup C Receptor (FLVCR1) is deleted suggested that this gene may be involved in the pathogenesis of DBA. FLVCR1-null mice show a phenotype resembling that of DBA patients, including erythroid failure and malformations. Interestingly, some DBA patients have disease linkage to chromosome 1q31, where FLVCR1 is mapped. Moreover, it has been reported that cells from DBA patients express alternatively spliced isoforms of FLVCR1 which encode non-functional proteins. Herein, we review the known roles of RPS19 and FLVCR1 in ribosome function and heme metabolism respectively, and discuss how the deficiency of a ribosomal protein or of a heme exporter may result in the same phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2864449  PMID: 20454576
8.  Fibroblasts from patients with Diamond-Blackfan anaemia show abnormal expression of genes involved in protein synthesis, amino acid metabolism and cancer 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:442.
Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (DBA) is a rare inherited red cell hypoplasia characterised by a defect in the maturation of erythroid progenitors and in some cases associated with malformations. Patients have an increased risk of solid tumors. Mutations have been found in several ribosomal protein (RP) genes, i.e RPS19, RPS24, RPS17, RPL5, RPL11, RPL35A. Studies in haematopoietic progenitors from patients show that haplo-insufficiency of an RP impairs rRNA processing and ribosome biogenesis. DBA lymphocytes show reduced protein synthesis and fibroblasts display abnormal rRNA processing and impaired proliferation.
To evaluate the involvement of non-haematopoietic tissues in DBA, we have analysed global gene expression in fibroblasts from DBA patients compared to healthy controls. Microarray expression profiling using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133A 2.0 Arrays revealed that 421 genes are differentially expressed in DBA patient fibroblasts. These genes include a large cluster of ribosomal proteins and factors involved in protein synthesis and amino acid metabolism, as well as genes associated to cell death, cancer and tissue development.
This analysis reports for the first time an abnormal gene expression profile in a non-haematopoietic cell type in DBA. These data support the hypothesis that DBA may be due to a defect in general or specific protein synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2760583  PMID: 19765279
9.  Transcriptome Analysis of the Zebrafish Model of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia from RPS19 Deficiency via p53-Dependent and -Independent Pathways 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71782.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome that is characterized by pure red-cell aplasia and associated physical deformities. It has been proven that defects of ribosomal proteins can lead to this disease and that RPS19 is the most frequently mutated gene in DBA patients. Previous studies suggest that p53-dependent genes and pathways play important roles in RPS19-deficient embryos. However, whether there are other vital factors linked to DBA has not been fully clarified. In this study, we compared the whole genome RNA-Seq data of zebrafish embryos injected with RPS19 morpholino (RPS19 MO), RPS19 and p53 morpholino simultaneously (RPS19+p53 MO) and control morpholino (control). We found that genes enriched in the functions of hematological systems, nervous system development and skeletal and muscular disorders had significant differential expression in RPS19 MO embryos compared with controls. Co-inhibition of p53 partially alleviates the abnormalities for RPS19-deficient embryos. However, the hematopoietic genes, which were down-regulated significantly in RPS19 MO embryos, were not completely recovered by the co-inhibition of p53. Furthermore, we identified the genome-wide p53-dependent and -independent genes and pathways. These results indicate that not only p53 family members but also other factors have important impacts on RPS19-deficient embryos. The detection of potential pathogenic genes and pathways provides us a new paradigm for future research on DBA, which is a systematic and complex hereditary disease.
PMCID: PMC3747179  PMID: 23990987
10.  Progress towards Mechanism-Based Treatment for Diamond-Blackfan Anemia 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:184362.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a congenital erythroid hypoplastic anemia, characterized by macrocytic anemia, reticulocytopenia, and severely reduced numbers of erythroid precursors in the bone marrow. For more than fifty years, glucocorticoids have remained the main option for pharmacological treatment of DBA. While continuous glucocorticoid administration increases hemoglobin levels in a majority of DBA patients, it also causes severe side effects. There is therefore a great need for more specific and effective treatments to boost or replace the use of glucocorticoids. Over the years, many alternative therapies have been tried out, but most of them have shown to be ineffective. Here we review previous and current attempts to develop such alternative therapies for DBA. We further discuss how emerging knowledge regarding the pathological mechanism in DBA and the therapeutic mechanism of glucocorticoids treatment may reveal novel drug targets for DBA treatment.
PMCID: PMC3349117  PMID: 22619618
11.  Ribosomal protein mutations in Korean patients with Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a congenital bone marrow failure syndrome characterized by hypoproliferative anemia, associated physical malformations and a predisposition to cancer. DBA has been associated with mutations and deletions in the large and small ribosomal protein genes, and genetic aberrations have been detected in ∼50–60% of patients. In this study, nine Korean DBA patients were screened for mutations in eight known DBA genes (RPS19, RPS24, RPS17, RPS10, RPS26, RPL35A, RPL5 and RPL11) using the direct sequencing method. Mutations in RPS19, RPS26 and RPS17 were detected in four, two and one patient, respectively. Among the mutations detected in RPS19, two mutations were novel (c.26T>A, c.357-2A>G). For the mutation-negative cases, array-CGH analysis was performed to identify copy-number variations, and no deletions involving the known DBA gene regions were identified. The relative mRNA expression of RPS19 estimated using real-time quantitative PCR analysis revealed two- to fourfold reductions in RPS19 mRNA expression in three patients with RPS19 mutations, and p53 protein expression analysis by immunohistochemistry showed variable but significant nuclear staining in the DBA patients. In conclusion, heterozygous mutations in the known DBA genes RPS19, RPS26 and RPS17 were detected in seven out of nine Korean DBA patients. Among these patients, RPS19 was the most frequently mutated gene. In addition, decreased RPS19 mRNA expression and p53 overexpression were observed in the Korean DBA patients, which supports the hypothesis that haploinsufficiency and p53 hyperactivation represent a central pathway underlying the pathogenesis of DBA.
PMCID: PMC3972785  PMID: 24675553
array-CGH; Diamond-Blackfan anemia; ribosomal protein; sequencing
12.  Ribosomal Protein Mutations Induce Autophagy through S6 Kinase Inhibition of the Insulin Pathway 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(5):e1004371.
Mutations affecting the ribosome lead to several diseases known as ribosomopathies, with phenotypes that include growth defects, cytopenia, and bone marrow failure. Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), for example, is a pure red cell aplasia linked to the mutation of ribosomal protein (RP) genes. Here we show the knock-down of the DBA-linked RPS19 gene induces the cellular self-digestion process of autophagy, a pathway critical for proper hematopoiesis. We also observe an increase of autophagy in cells derived from DBA patients, in CD34+ erythrocyte progenitor cells with RPS19 knock down, in the red blood cells of zebrafish embryos with RP-deficiency, and in cells from patients with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS). The loss of RPs in all these models results in a marked increase in S6 kinase phosphorylation that we find is triggered by an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). We show that this increase in S6 kinase phosphorylation inhibits the insulin pathway and AKT phosphorylation activity through a mechanism reminiscent of insulin resistance. While stimulating RP-deficient cells with insulin reduces autophagy, antioxidant treatment reduces S6 kinase phosphorylation, autophagy, and stabilization of the p53 tumor suppressor. Our data suggest that RP loss promotes the aberrant activation of both S6 kinase and p53 by increasing intracellular ROS levels. The deregulation of these signaling pathways is likely playing a major role in the pathophysiology of ribosomopathies.
Author Summary
Diseases linked to mutations affecting the ribosome, ribosomopathies, have an exceptionally wide range of phenotypes. However, many ribosomopathies have some features in common including cytopenia and growth defects. Our study aims to clarify the mechanisms behind these common phenotypes. We find that mutations in ribosomal protein genes result in a series of aberrant signaling events that cause cells to start recycling and consuming their own intracellular contents. This basic mechanism of catabolism is activated when cells are starving for nutrients, and also during the tightly regulated process of blood cell maturation. The deregulation of this mechanism provides an explanation as to why blood cells are so acutely affected by mutations in genes that impair the ribosome. Moreover, we find that the signals activating this catabolism are coupled to impairment of the highly conserved insulin-signaling pathway that is essential for growth. Taken together, our in-depth description of the pathways involved as the result of mutations affecting the ribosome increases our understanding about the etiology of these diseases and opens up previously unknown avenues of potential treatment.
PMCID: PMC4038485  PMID: 24875531
13.  Systematic transcriptome analysis of the zebrafish model of diamond-blackfan anemia induced by RPS24 deficiency 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):759.
Diamond–Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a class of human diseases linked to defective ribosome biogenesis that results in clinical phenotypes. Genetic mutations in ribosome protein (RP) genes lead to DBA phenotypes, including hematopoietic defects and physical deformities. However, little is known about the global regulatory network as well as key miRNAs and gene pathways in the zebrafish model of DBA.
In this study, we establish the DBA model in zebrafish using an RPS24 morpholino and found that RPS24 is required for both primitive hematopoiesis and definitive hematopoiesis processes that are partially mediated by the p53 pathway. Several deregulated genes and miRNAs were found to be related to hematopoiesis, vascular development and apoptosis in RPS24-deficient zebrafish via RNA-seq and miRNA-seq data analysis, and a comprehensive regulatory network was first constructed to identify the mechanisms of key miRNAs and gene pathways in the model. Interestingly, we found that the central node genes in the network were almost all targeted by significantly deregulated miRNAs. Furthermore, the enforced expression of miR-142-3p, a uniquely expressed miRNA, causes a significant decrease in primitive erythrocyte progenitor cells and HSCs.
The present analyses demonstrate that the comprehensive regulatory network we constructed is useful for the functional prediction of new and important miRNAs in DBA and will provide insights into the pathogenesis of mutant rps24-mediated human DBA disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-759) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4169864  PMID: 25189322
DBA; hematopoiesis; miRNA-seq; RNA-seq; RPS24
14.  Recurrent microdeletions of 15q25.2 are associated with increased risk of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, cognitive deficits, and possibly Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Journal of medical genetics  2010;47(11):777-781.
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) can occur in isolation or in association with other abnormalities. We hypothesized that some cases of non-isolated CDH are caused by novel genomic disorders.
Methods and Results
In a cohort of >12,000 patients referred for array comparative genomic hybridization testing, we identified three individuals—two of whom had CDH—with deletions involving a ~2.3 Mb region on chromosome 15q25.2. Two additional patients with deletions of this region have been reported, including a fetus with CDH. Clinical data from these patients suggest that recurrent deletions of 15q25.2 are associated with an increased risk of developing CDH, cognitive deficits, cryptorchidism, short stature, and possibly Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA). Although no known CDH-associated genes are located on 15q25.2, four genes in this region—CPEB1, AP3B2, HOMER2 and HDGFRP3—have been implicated in CNS development/function and may contribute to the cognitive deficits seen in deletion patients. Deletions of RPS17 may also predispose individuals with 15q25.2 deletions to DBA and associated anomalies.
Individuals with recurrent deletions of 15q25.2 are at increased risk for CDH and other birth defects. A high index of suspicion should exist for the development of cognitive defects, anemia, and DBA-associated malignancies in these individuals.
PMCID: PMC3225959  PMID: 20921022
congenital diaphragmatic hernia; microdeletion; 15q25.2; Diamond-Blackfan anemia; RPS17
15.  Dysferlin and Other Non-Red Cell Proteins Accumulate in the Red Cell Membrane of Diamond-Blackfan Anemia Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85504.
Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA) is a congenital anemia usually caused by diverse mutations in ribosomal proteins. Although the genetics of DBA are well characterized, the mechanisms that lead to macrocytic anemia remain unclear. We systematically analyzed the proteomes of red blood cell membranes from multiple DBA patients to determine whether abnormalities in protein translation or erythropoiesis contribute to the observed macrocytosis or alterations in the mature red blood cell membrane. In depth proteome analysis of red cell membranes enabled highly reproducible identification and quantitative comparisons of 1100 or more proteins. These comparisons revealed clear differences between red cell membrane proteomes in DBA patients and healthy controls that were consistent across DBA patients with different ribosomal gene mutations. Proteins exhibiting changes in abundance included those known to be increased in DBA such as fetal hemoglobin and a number of proteins not normally found in mature red cell membranes, including proteins involved in the major histocompatibility complex class I pathway. Most striking was the presence of dysferlin in the red blood cell membranes of DBA patients but absent in healthy controls. Immunoblot validation using red cell membranes isolated from additional DBA patients and healthy controls confirmed a distinct membrane protein signature specific to patients with DBA.
PMCID: PMC3891812  PMID: 24454878
16.  Exome sequencing identifies GATA1 mutations resulting in Diamond-Blackfan anemia  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(7):2439-2443.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a hypoplastic anemia characterized by impaired production of red blood cells, with approximately half of all cases attributed to ribosomal protein gene mutations. We performed exome sequencing on two siblings who had no known pathogenic mutations for DBA and identified a mutation in the gene encoding the hematopoietic transcription factor GATA1. This mutation, which occurred at a splice site of the GATA1 gene, impaired production of the full-length form of the protein. We further identified an additional patient carrying a distinct mutation at the same splice site of the GATA1 gene. These findings provide insight into the pathogenesis of DBA, showing that the reduction in erythropoiesis associated with the disease can arise from causes other than defects in ribosomal protein genes. These results also illustrate the multifactorial role of GATA1 in human hematopoiesis.
PMCID: PMC3386831  PMID: 22706301
17.  Altered translation of GATA1 in Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Nature medicine  2014;20(7):748-753.
Ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency occurs in diverse human diseases including Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA),1,2 congenital asplenia,3 and T-cell leukemia.4 Yet how mutations in such ubiquitously expressed proteins result in cell-type and tissue specific defects remains a mystery.5 Here, we show that GATA1 mutations that reduce full-length protein levels of this critical hematopoietic transcription factor can cause DBA in rare instances. We show that ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency, the more common cause of DBA, can similarly reduce translation of GATA1 mRNA - a phenomenon that appears to result from this mRNA having a higher threshold for initiation of translation. In primary hematopoietic cells from patients with RPS19 mutations, a transcriptional signature of GATA1 target genes is globally and specifically reduced, confirming that the activity, but not the mRNA level, of GATA1 is reduced in DBA patients with ribosomal protein mutations. The defective hematopoiesis observed in DBA patients with ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency can be at least partially overcome by increasing GATA1 protein levels. Our results provide a paradigm by which selective defects in translation due to mutations in ubiquitous ribosomal proteins can result in human disease.
PMCID: PMC4087046  PMID: 24952648
18.  Untangling the Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Diamond Blackfan Anemia 
Seminars in hematology  2011;48(2):124-135.
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a lineage-selective inherited bone-marrow failure syndrome characterized primarily by anemia and physical malformations. Recent advances in identifying the genetic abnormalities underlying DBA have demonstrated involvement of genes encoding both large (RPL) and small (RPS) ribosomal subunit proteins, including mutations of RPL5, RPL11, RPL35A, RPS7, RPS10, RPS17, RPS19, RPS24, and RPS26 in 50–60% of affected patients. Despite significant progress, identification of gene abnormalities in the remaining patients remains an important question since present data suggests that mutations in other members of the ribosomal protein gene complement do not explain those cases without an identified genetic lesion in these genes. Genetic studies have also raised new questions with the recognition of substantial variability in the manifestations of DBA, ranging from ribosomal protein mutations in otherwise asymptomatic individuals to those with classic severe red-cell aplasia with characteristic malformations, at times within the same kindred. In this review, we summarize the genetic basis of DBA and discuss mechanisms by which the phenotype of DBA might be modified.
PMCID: PMC3078697  PMID: 21435509
19.  Gradual processing of the ITS1 from the nucleolus to the cytoplasm during synthesis of the human 18S rRNA 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(8):4709-4723.
Defects in ribosome biogenesis trigger stress response pathways, which perturb cell proliferation and differentiation in several genetic diseases. In Diamond–Blackfan anemia (DBA), a congenital erythroblastopenia, mutations in ribosomal protein genes often interfere with the processing of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1), the mechanism of which remains elusive in human cells. Using loss-of-function experiments and extensive RNA analysis, we have defined the precise position of the endonucleolytic cleavage E in the ITS1, which generates the 18S-E intermediate, the last precursor to the 18S rRNA. Unexpectedly, this cleavage is followed by 3′–5′ exonucleolytic trimming of the 18S-E precursor during nuclear export of the pre-40S particle, which sets a new mechanism for 18S rRNA formation clearly different from that established in yeast. In addition, cleavage at site E is also followed by 5′–3′ exonucleolytic trimming of the ITS1 by exonuclease XRN2. Perturbation of this step on knockdown of the large subunit ribosomal protein RPL26, which was recently associated to DBA, reveals the putative role of a highly conserved cis-acting sequence in ITS1 processing. These data cast new light on the original mechanism of ITS1 elimination in human cells and provide a mechanistic framework to further study the interplay of DBA-linked ribosomal proteins in this process.
PMCID: PMC3632142  PMID: 23482395
20.  Diamond Blackfan Anemia: a Tertiary Care Center Experience 
Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA) is a rare hypoplastic anemia that presents in infancy with macrocytic anemia and reticulocytopenia. It is a ribosomopathy with autosomal dominant inheritance.
In our series of 10 patients with DBA, congenital malformations were observed in 50% of the cases. Age at symptom onset ranged from 0–12 months. Age at diagnosis ranged from 4 months to 96 months. Male: female ratio was 9:1. Response to prednisolone was observed in 4 out of the 10 patients (either during initial treatment or during re-challenge). Response to cyclosporine was found to be poor. Bone marrow transplantation was successful in attaining remission in one patient. Malignancies were not reported in any patient possibly due to a short follow up period.
PMCID: PMC3684352  PMID: 23795277
Ophthalmology  2009;117(3):615-622.
The inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS) are a heterogeneous group of genetic disorders that share the inability of the bone marrow to produce an adequate number of blood cells. The four most frequent syndromes are Fanconi anemia (FA), dyskeratosis congenita (DC), Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS). All four syndromes have been associated with various physical abnormalities. As part of a genotype/phenotype/cancer susceptibility study, we determined the prevalence of ophthalmic manifestations in these four syndromes.
Cross-sectional study of a patient cohort.
Seventy-five patients with an IBMFS and 121 of their first degree relatives were seen in the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health from 2001 to 2007. The patient group included 22 FA, 28 DC, 19 DBA and six SDS.
Every participant underwent a complete ophthalmic evaluation, as well as digital facial photography with an adhesive paper ruler on the patient's forehead for an internal measure of scale. Interpupillary distance (IPD), inner canthal distance (ICD), outer canthal distance (OCD), palpebral fissure length (PFL) and corneal diameter (CD) were measured. Thirteen of the 22 patients with FA underwent axial length (AL) measurements by A-scan ultrasonography.
Main Outcome Measures
Type and prevalence of ophthalmic manifestations.
Ninety-five percent of patients with FA had at least one abnormal parameter, and 25% at least four abnormal parameters. Eighty-two percent had small palpebral fissures, 69% simple microphthalmia, 64% small OCD, 55% microcornea, 28% ptosis, and six percent epicanthal folds. In patients with DC, abnormalities of the lacrimal drainage system (29%) were the most prevalent findings, followed by retinal abnormalities (pigmentary changes, retinal neovascularization, retinal detachment, exudative retinopathy) in 21%, cicatricial entropion with trichiasis and blepharitis in seven percent each, sparse eyelashes and congenital cataract in three and a half percent each. No significant ophthalmic abnormalities were seen in patients with DBA or SDS.
Syndrome-specific ocular findings are associated with FA and DC and may antedate diagnosis of the specific syndrome. Early recognition of these abnormalities is important for optimal management.
PMCID: PMC2830377  PMID: 20022637
22.  Assessment of hematopoietic failure due to Rpl11 deficiency in a zebrafish model of Diamond-Blackfan anemia by deep sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:896.
Diamond–Blackfan anemia is a rare congenital red blood cell dysplasia that develops soon after birth. RPL11 mutations account for approximately 4.8% of human DBA cases with defective hematopoietic phenotypes. However, the mechanisms by which RPL11 regulates hematopoiesis in DBA remain elusive. In this study, we analyzed the transcriptome using deep sequencing data from an Rpl11-deficient zebrafish model to identify Rpl11-mediated hematopoietic failure and investigate the underlying mechanisms.
We characterized hematological defects in Rpl11-deficient zebrafish embryos by identifying affected hematological genes, hematopoiesis-associated pathways, and regulatory networks. We found that hemoglobin biosynthetic and hematological defects in Rpl11-deficient zebrafish were related to dysregulation of iron metabolism-related genes, including tfa, tfr1b, alas2 and slc25a37, which are involved in heme and hemoglobin biosynthesis. In addition, we found reduced expression of the hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) marker cmyb and HSC transcription factors tal1 and hoxb4a in Rpl11-deficient zebrafish embryos, indicating that the hematopoietic defects may be related to impaired HSC formation, differentiation, and proliferation. However, Rpl11 deficiency did not affect the development of other blood cell lineages such as granulocytes and myelocytes.
We identified hematopoietic failure of Rpl11-deficient zebrafish embryos using transcriptome deep sequencing and elucidated potential underlying mechanisms. The present analyses demonstrate that Rpl11-deficient zebrafish may serve as a model of DBA and may provide insights into the pathogenesis of mutant RPL11-mediated human DBA disease.
PMCID: PMC3890587  PMID: 24341334
Zebrafish; Hematopoiesis; Rpl11; RNA-Seq; Transcriptome; DBA
23.  p53-Independent Cell Cycle and Erythroid Differentiation Defects in Murine Embryonic Stem Cells Haploinsufficient for Diamond Blackfan Anemia-Proteins: RPS19 versus RPL5 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89098.
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome caused by ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency. DBA exhibits marked phenotypic variability, commonly presenting with erythroid hypoplasia, less consistently with non-erythroid features. The p53 pathway, activated by abortive ribosome assembly, is hypothesized to contribute to the erythroid failure of DBA. We studied murine embryonic stem (ES) cell lines harboring a gene trap mutation in a ribosomal protein gene, either Rps19 or Rpl5. Both mutants exhibited ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency and polysome defects. Rps19 mutant ES cells showed significant increase in p53 protein expression; however, there was no similar increase in the Rpl5 mutant cells. Embryoid body formation was diminished in both mutants but nonspecifically rescued by knockdown of p53. When embryoid bodies were further differentiated to primitive erythroid colonies, both mutants exhibited a marked reduction in colony formation, which was again nonspecifically rescued by p53 inhibition. Cell cycle analyses were normal in Rps19 mutant ES cells, but there was a significant delay in the G2/M phase in the Rpl5 mutant cells, which was unaffected by p53 knockdown. Concordantly, Rpl5 mutant ES cells had a more pronounced growth defect in liquid culture compared to the Rps19 mutant cells. We conclude that the defects in our RPS19 and RPL5 haploinsufficient mouse ES cells are not adequately explained by p53 stabilization, as p53 knockdown appears to increase the growth and differentiation potential of both parental and mutant cells. Our studies demonstrate that gene trap mouse ES cells are useful tools to study the pathogenesis of DBA.
PMCID: PMC3928369  PMID: 24558476
24.  Frameshift mutation in p53 regulator RPL26 is associated with multiple physical abnormalities and a specific pre-rRNA processing defect in Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Human Mutation  2012;33(7):1037-1044.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is an inherited form of pure red cell aplasia that usually presents in infancy or early childhood and is associated with congenital malformations in ~30-50% of patients. DBA has been associated with mutations in nine ribosomal protein (RP) genes in about 53% of patients. We completed a large scale screen of 79 RP genes by sequencing 16 RP genes (RPL3, RPL7, RPL8, RPL10, RPL14, RPL17, RPL19, RPL23A, RPL26, RPL27, RPL35, RPL36A, RPL39, RPS4X, RPS4Y1, and RPS21) in 96 DBA probands. We identified a de novo two-nucleotide deletion in RPL26 in one proband associated with multiple severe physical abnormalities. This mutation gives rise to a remarkable ribosome biogenesis defect that affects maturation of both the small and the large subunits. We also found a deletion in RPL19 and missense mutations in RPL3 and RPL23A, which may be variants of unknown significance. Together with RPL5, RPL11, and RPS7, RPL26 is the fourth ribosomal protein regulating p53 activity that is linked to DBA.
PMCID: PMC3370062  PMID: 22431104
Diamond-Blackfan anemia; ribosomal protein genes; RPL26; ribosome biogenesis
25.  Diagnosing and Treating Diamond Blackfan Anemia: Results of an International Clinical Consensus Conference 
British journal of haematology  2008;142(6):859-876.
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a rare, genetically and clinically heterogeneous, inherited red cell aplasia. Classical DBA presents during the first year of life, affecting about 7 per million live births. However, as genes mutated in DBA have been discovered, non-classical cases with less distinct phenotypes are being described in adults as well as children. In caring for these patients it is often difficult to have a clear understanding of the treatment options and their outcomes because of the lack of complete information on the natural history of the disease. The purpose of this document is to review the criteria for diagnosis, evaluate the available treatment options, including corticosteroid and transfusion therapies and stem cell transplantation, and propose a plan for optimizing patient care. Congenital anomalies, mode of inheritance, cancer predisposition, and pregnancy in DBA are also reviewed. Evidence-based conclusions will be made when possible; however, as in many rare diseases, the data are often anecdotal and the recommendations are based upon the best judgment of experienced clinicians. The recommendations regarding the diagnosis and management described in this report are the result of deliberations and discussions at an international consensus conference.
PMCID: PMC2654478  PMID: 18671700
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA); bone marrow failure; cancer predisposition; genetics; treatment

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