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author:("Levy, spawn")
1.  Gene Signature Distinguishes Patients with Chronic Ulcerative Colitis Harboring Remote Neoplastic Lesions 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2013;19(3):10.1097/MIB.0b013e3182802bac.
Individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC) are at increased risk for colorectal cancer. The standard method of surveillance for neoplasia in UC by colonoscopy is invasive and can miss flat lesions. We sought to identify a gene expression signature in non-dysplastic mucosa without active inflammation that could serve as a marker for remote neoplastic lesions.
Gene expression was analyzed by cDNA microarray in 5 normal controls, 4 UC patients without dysplasia, and 11 UC patients harboring remote neoplasia. Common gene ontology pathways of significantly differentially expressed genes were identified. Expression of genes which were progressively and significantly up-regulated from controls, to UC without neoplasia, to UC with remote neoplasia were evaluated by real time PCR. Several gene products were also examined by immunohistochemistry.
468 genes were significantly up-regulated and 541 genes were significantly down-regulated in UC patints with neoplasia compared to UC patients without neoplasia. Nine genes (ACSL1, BIRC3, CLC, CREM, ELTD1, FGG, S100A9, THBD, and TPD52L1) were progressively and significantly up-regulated from controls to non-dysplastic UC to UC with neoplasia. Immunostaining of proteins revealed increased expression of S100A9 and REG1α in UC-associated cancer and in non-dysplastic tissue from UC patients harboring remote neoplasia, compared to UC patients without neoplasia and controls.
Gene expression changes occurring as a field effect in the distal colon of patients with chronic UC identify patients harboring remote neoplastic lesions. These markers may lead to a more accurate and less invasive method of detection of neoplasia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
PMCID: PMC3836269  PMID: 23388545
Inflammatory bowel disease; ulcerative colitis; dysplasia; colorectal cancer; gene expression
2.  Characterization of the Merkel Cell Carcinoma miRNome 
Journal of Skin Cancer  2014;2014:289548.
MicroRNAs have been implicated in various skin cancers, including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma; however, the expression of microRNAs and their role in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) have yet to be explored in depth. To identify microRNAs specific to MCC (MCC-miRs), next-generation sequencing (NGS) of small RNA libraries was performed on different tissue samples including MCCs, other cutaneous tumors, and normal skin. Comparison of the profiles identified several microRNAs upregulated and downregulated in MCC. For validation, their expression was measured via qRT-PCR in a larger group of MCC and in a comparison group of non-MCC cutaneous tumors and normal skin. Eight microRNAs were upregulated in MCC: miR-502-3p, miR-9, miR-7, miR-340, miR-182, miR-190b, miR-873, and miR-183. Three microRNAs were downregulated: miR-3170, miR-125b, and miR-374c. Many of these MCC-miRs, the miR-183/182/96a cistron in particular, have connections to tumorigenic pathways implicated in MCC pathogenesis. In situ hybridization confirmed that the highly expressed MCC-miR, miR-182, is localized within tumor cells. Furthermore, NGS and qRT-PCR reveal that several of these MCC-miRs are highly expressed in the patient-derived MCC cell line, MS-1. These data indicate that we have identified a set of MCC-miRs with important implications for MCC research.
PMCID: PMC3929981  PMID: 24627810
3.  Novel Rare Variants in Congenital Cardiac Arrhythmia Genes are Frequent in Drug-induced Torsades de Pointes 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2012;13(4):325-329.
Marked prolongation of the QT interval and polymorphic ventricular tachycardia following medication (drug-induced long QT syndrome, diLQTS) is a severe adverse drug reaction (ADR) that phenocopies congenital long QT syndrome (cLQTS) and one of the leading causes for drug withdrawal and relabeling. We evaluated the frequency of rare non-synonymous variants in genes contributing to the maintenance of heart rhythm in cases of diLQTS using targeted capture coupled to next generation sequencing. Eleven of 31 diLQTS subjects (36%) carried a novel missense mutation in genes with known congenital arrhythmia associations or a known cLQTS mutation. In the 26 Caucasian subjects, 23% carried a highly conserved rare variant predicted to be deleterious to protein function in these genes compared with only 2-4% in public databases (p < 0.003). We conclude that rare variation in genes responsible for congenital arrhythmia syndromes is frequent in diLQTS. Our findings demonstrate that diLQTS is a pharmacogenomic syndrome predisposed by rare genetic variants.
PMCID: PMC3422407  PMID: 22584458
pharmacogenomics; sudden cardiac death; adverse drug reaction; next generation sequencing
4.  ADCK4 mutations promote steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome through CoQ10 biosynthesis disruption  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(12):5179-5189.
Identification of single-gene causes of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) has furthered the understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease. Here, using a combination of homozygosity mapping and whole human exome resequencing, we identified mutations in the aarF domain containing kinase 4 (ADCK4) gene in 15 individuals with SRNS from 8 unrelated families. ADCK4 was highly similar to ADCK3, which has been shown to participate in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) biosynthesis. Mutations in ADCK4 resulted in reduced CoQ10 levels and reduced mitochondrial respiratory enzyme activity in cells isolated from individuals with SRNS and transformed lymphoblasts. Knockdown of adck4 in zebrafish and Drosophila recapitulated nephrotic syndrome-associated phenotypes. Furthermore, ADCK4 was expressed in glomerular podocytes and partially localized to podocyte mitochondria and foot processes in rat kidneys and cultured human podocytes. In human podocytes, ADCK4 interacted with members of the CoQ10 biosynthesis pathway, including COQ6, which has been linked with SRNS and COQ7. Knockdown of ADCK4 in podocytes resulted in decreased migration, which was reversed by CoQ10 addition. Interestingly, a patient with SRNS with a homozygous ADCK4 frameshift mutation had partial remission following CoQ10 treatment. These data indicate that individuals with SRNS with mutations in ADCK4 or other genes that participate in CoQ10 biosynthesis may be treatable with CoQ10.
PMCID: PMC3859425  PMID: 24270420
5.  RAF265 Inhibits the Growth of Advanced Human Melanoma Tumors 
The purpose of this preclinical study was to determine the effectiveness of RAF265, a multi-kinase inhibitor, for treatment of human metastatic melanoma and to characterize traits associated with drug response.
Experimental Design
Advanced metastatic melanoma tumors from 34 patients were orthotopically implanted to nude mice. Tumors that grew in mice (17 of 34) were evaluated for response to RAF265 (40 mg/kg, every day) over 30 days. The relation between patient characteristics, gene mutation profile, global gene expression profile, and RAF265 effects on tumor growth, mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation, proliferation, and apoptosis markers was evaluated.
Nine of the 17 tumors that successfully implanted (53%) were mutant BRAF (BRAFV600E/K), whereas eight of 17 (47%) tumors were BRAF wild type (BRAFWT). Tumor implants from 7 of 17 patients (41%) responded to RAF265 treatment with more than 50% reduction in tumor growth. Five of the 7 (71%) responders were BRAFWT, of which 1 carried c-KITL576P and another N-RASQ61R mutation, while only 2 (29%) of the responding tumors were BRAFV600E/K. Gene expression microarray data from nonimplanted tumors revealed that responders exhibited enriched expression of genes involved in cell growth, proliferation, development, cell signaling, gene expression, and cancer pathways. Although response to RAF265 did not correlate with pERK1/2 reduction, RAF265 responders did exhibit reduced pMEK1, reduced proliferation based upon reduced Ki-67, cyclin D1 and polo-like kinase1 levels, and induction of the apoptosis mediator BCL2-like 11.
Orthotopic implants of patient tumors in mice may predict prognosis and treatment response for melanoma patients. A subpopulation of human melanoma tumors responds to RAF265 and can be characterized by gene mutation and gene expression profiles.
PMCID: PMC3724517  PMID: 22351689
6.  ARHGDIA mutations cause nephrotic syndrome via defective RHO GTPase signaling  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(8):3243-3253.
Nephrotic syndrome (NS) is divided into steroid-sensitive (SSNS) and -resistant (SRNS) variants. SRNS causes end-stage kidney disease, which cannot be cured. While the disease mechanisms of NS are not well understood, genetic mapping studies suggest a multitude of unknown single-gene causes. We combined homozygosity mapping with whole-exome resequencing and identified an ARHGDIA mutation that causes SRNS. We demonstrated that ARHGDIA is in a complex with RHO GTPases and is prominently expressed in podocytes of rat glomeruli. ARHGDIA mutations (R120X and G173V) from individuals with SRNS abrogated interaction with RHO GTPases and increased active GTP-bound RAC1 and CDC42, but not RHOA, indicating that RAC1 and CDC42 are more relevant to the pathogenesis of this SRNS variant than RHOA. Moreover, the mutations enhanced migration of cultured human podocytes; however, enhanced migration was reversed by treatment with RAC1 inhibitors. The nephrotic phenotype was recapitulated in arhgdia-deficient zebrafish. RAC1 inhibitors were partially effective in ameliorating arhgdia-associated defects. These findings identify a single-gene cause of NS and reveal that RHO GTPase signaling is a pathogenic mediator of SRNS.
PMCID: PMC3726174  PMID: 23867502
7.  Characterizing the Impact of Smoking and Lung Cancer on the Airway Transcriptome Using RNA-Seq 
Cigarette smoke creates a molecular field of injury in epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. We hypothesized that transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) will enhance our understanding of the field of molecular injury in response to tobacco smoke exposure and lung cancer pathogenesis by identifying gene expression differences not interrogated or accurately measured by microarrays. We sequenced the high-molecular-weight fraction of total RNA (>200 nt) from pooled bronchial airway epithelial cell brushings (n = 3 patients per pool) obtained during bronchoscopy from healthy never smoker (NS) and current smoker (S) volunteers and smokers with (C) and without (NC) lung cancer undergoing lung nodule resection surgery. RNA-Seq libraries were prepared using 2 distinct approaches, one capable of capturing non-polyadenylated RNA (the prototype NuGEN Ovation RNA-Seq protocol) and the other designed to measure only polyadenylated RNA (the standard Illumina mRNA-Seq protocol) followed by sequencing generating approximately 29 million 36 nt reads per pool and approximately 22 million 75 nt paired-end reads per pool, respectively. The NuGEN protocol captured additional transcripts not detected by the Illumina protocol at the expense of reduced coverage of polyadenylated transcripts, while longer read lengths and a paired-end sequencing strategy significantly improved the number of reads that could be aligned to the genome. The aligned reads derived from the two complementary protocols were used to define the compendium of genes expressed in the airway epithelium (n = 20,573 genes). Pathways related to the metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450, retinol metabolism, and oxidoreductase activity were enriched among genes differentially expressed in smokers, whereas chemokine signaling pathways, cytokine–cytokine receptor interactions, and cell adhesion molecules were enriched among genes differentially expressed in smokers with lung cancer. There was a significant correlation between the RNA-Seq gene expression data and Affymetrix microarray data generated from the same samples (P < 0.001); however, the RNA-Seq data detected additional smoking- and cancer-related transcripts whose expression was were either not interrogated by or was not found to be significantly altered when using microarrays, including smoking-related changes in the inflammatory genes S100A8 and S100A9 and cancer-related changes in MUC5AC and secretoglobin (SCGB3A1). Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed differential expression of select genes and non-coding RNAs within individual samples. These results demonstrate that transcriptome sequencing has the potential to provide new insights into the biology of the airway field of injury associated with smoking and lung cancer. The measurement of both coding and non-coding transcripts by RNA-Seq has the potential to help elucidate mechanisms of response to tobacco smoke and to identify additional biomarkers of lung cancer risk and novel targets for chemoprevention.
PMCID: PMC3694393  PMID: 21636547
8.  The genetic landscape of mutations in Burkitt lymphoma 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1321-1325.
Burkitt lymphoma is characterized by deregulation of MYC, but the contribution of other genetic mutations to the disease is largely unknown. Here, we describe the first completely sequenced genome from a Burkitt lymphoma tumor and germline DNA from the same affected individual. We further sequenced the exomes of 59 Burkitt lymphoma tumors and compared them to sequenced exomes from 94 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) tumors. We identified 70 genes that were recurrently mutated in Burkitt lymphomas, including ID3, GNA13, RET, PIK3R1 and the SWI/SNF genes ARID1A and SMARCA4. Our data implicate a number of genes in cancer for the first time, including CCT6B, SALL3, FTCD and PC. ID3 mutations occurred in 34% of Burkitt lymphomas and not in DLBCLs. We show experimentally that ID3 mutations promote cell cycle progression and proliferation. Our work thus elucidates commonly occurring gene-coding mutations in Burkitt lymphoma and implicates ID3 as a new tumor suppressor gene.
PMCID: PMC3674561  PMID: 23143597
9.  De novo gene mutations highlight patterns of genetic and neural complexity in schizophrenia 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1365-1369.
To evaluate evidence for de novo etiologies in schizophrenia, we sequenced at high coverage the exomes of families recruited from two populations with distinct demographic structure and history. We sequenced a total of 795 exomes from 231 parent-proband trios enriched for sporadic schizophrenia cases, as well as 34 unaffected trios. We observed in cases an excess of non-synonymous single nucleotide variants as well as a higher prevalence of gene-disruptive de novo mutations. We found four genes (LAMA2, DPYD, TRRAP and VPS39) affected by recurrent de novo events within or across the two populations, a finding unlikely to have occurred by chance. We show that de novo mutations affect genes with diverse functions and developmental profiles but we also find a substantial contribution of mutations in genes with higher expression in early fetal life. Our results help define the pattern of genomic and neural architecture of schizophrenia.
PMCID: PMC3556813  PMID: 23042115
10.  The use of Next Generation Sequencing Technology to Study the Effect of Radiation Therapy on Mitochondrial DNA Mutation 
Mutation Research  2012;744(2):154-160.
The human mitochondrial genome has an exclusively maternal mode of inheritance. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is particularly vulnerable to environmental insults due in part to an underdeveloped DNA repair system, limited to base excision and homologous recombination repair. Radiation exposure to the ovaries may cause mtDNA mutations in oocytes, which may in turn be transmitted to offspring. We hypothesized that the children of female cancer survivors who received radiation therapy may have an increased rate of mtDNA heteroplasmy mutations, which conceivably could increase their risk of developing cancer and other diseases. We evaluated 44 DNA blood samples from 17 Danish and 1 Finnish families (18 mothers and 26 children). All mothers had been treated for cancer as children and radiation doses to their ovaries were determined based on medical records and computational models. DNA samples were sequenced for the entire mitochondrial genome using the Illumina GAII system. Mother’s age at sample collection was positively correlated with mtDNA heteroplasmy mutations. There was evidence of heteroplasmy inheritance in that 9 of the 18 families had at least one child who inherited at least one heteroplasmy site from his or her mother. No significant difference in single nucleotide polymorphisms between mother and offspring, however, was observed. Radiation therapy dose to ovaries also was not significantly associated with the heteroplasmy mutation rate among mothers and children. No evidence was found that radiotherapy for pediatric cancer is associated with the mitochondrial genome mutation rate in female cancer survivors and their children.
PMCID: PMC3354959  PMID: 22387842
11.  [No title available] 
Functional genome annotation is important for studies of dynamic genetic architectures, revealing critical developmental pathways, and facilitating understanding of disease and evolution. Characterization of the transcriptome has revealed many active genes with spatio-temporal regulation and evolutionary significance. However, expression studies have often been limited to gene or exon-based microarrays, EST sequencing, or small amounts of cDNA sequencing on next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. These studies have often been limited by technology, depth of sequencing, and a lack of sufficient controls for comparison. Very few RNA sequencing standards or expected measures exist to help in the quantification of gene or splice form expression.
We present the results of an ongoing large-scale ABRF study of RNA-Seq. The goals of this ABRF-NGS study are to evaluate the performance of NGS platforms and to identify optimal methods and best practices. The study includes five ABRF Research Groups and over 20 core facility laboratories. To assess the detection of expression-based molecular signatures using RNA-Seq and to study the sources of possible site-to-site variance in results, we performed sequencing on five NGS platforms using standardized RNA samples with synthetic RNA spike-ins. The platforms included Illumina (HiSeq 2000/2500 and MiSeq), Roche 454 GS FLX, Life Technologies (Ion PGM and Proton), and PacBio.
We observed high correlation of RNA-Seq results within sites, but “site effect” was the largest variance factor outside of biological sources. Additionally, we observed that the “bioinformatics noise” of aligners and annotations contributed substantial variance, underscoring the need for data provenance for long-term studies. As part of this study, we are evaluating many of the popular current RNA and DNA sequence alignment tools and accessing how they deal with issues such as multiple splicing events, multiple type and number of variants, read length, and providing efficient computational analysis time.
PMCID: PMC3635336
12.  Exome Analysis of a Family with Pleiotropic Congenital Heart Disease 
A number of single gene defects have been identified in patients with isolated or nonsyndromic congenital heart defects (CHD). However, due to significant genetic heterogeneity candidate gene approaches have had limited success in finding high-risk alleles in most cases.
Use exome sequencing to identify high-risk gene variants in a family with highly penetrant pleiotropic CHD.
DNA samples from 2 members of a family with diverse CHD were analyzed by exome sequencing. Variants were filtered to eliminate common variants and sequencing artifacts and then prioritized based upon the predicted effect of the variant and on gene function. The remainder of the family was screened using PCR, high resolution melting analysis and DNA sequencing to evaluate variant segregation.
After filtering, more than 2000 rare variants (including single nucleotide substitutions and indels) were shared by the 2 individuals. Of these, 46 were non-synonymous, 3 were predicted to alter splicing, and 6 resulted in a frameshift. Prioritization reduced the number of variants potentially involved in CHD to 18. None of the variants completely segregated with CHD in the kindred. However, one variant, Myh6 Ala290Pro, was identified in all but one affected individual. This variant was previously identified in a patient with tricuspid atresia and large secundum ASD.
It is likely that next generation sequencing will become the method of choice for unraveling the complex genetics of CHD, but information gained by analysis of transmission through families will be crucial.
PMCID: PMC3329568  PMID: 22337856
Atrial Septal Defects; Exome Sequencing; Myosin Heavy Chain 6; Mutations
13.  The pan-ErbB negative regulator, Lrig1, is an intestinal stem cell marker that functions as a tumor suppressor 
Cell  2012;149(1):146-158.
Lineage mapping has identified both proliferative and quiescent intestinal stem cells, but the molecular circuitry controlling stem cell quiescence is incompletely understood. By lineage mapping, we show Lrig1, a pan-ErbB inhibitor, marks predominately non-cycling, long-lived stem cells located at the crypt base that, upon injury, proliferate and divide to replenish damaged crypts. Transcriptome profiling of Lrig1+ colonic stem cells differs markedly from highly proliferative, Lgr5+ colonic stem cells; genes up-regulated in the Lrig1+ population include those involved in cell cycle repression and response to oxidative damage. Loss of Apc in Lrig1+ cells leads to intestinal adenomas and genetic ablation of Lrig1 results in heightened ErbB1-3 expression and duodenal adenomas. These results shed light on the relationship between proliferative and quiescent intestinal stem cells, and support a model in which intestinal stem cell quiescence is maintained by calibrated ErbB signaling with loss of a negative regulator predisposing to neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC3563328  PMID: 22464327
14.  FAN1 mutations cause karyomegalic interstitial nephritis, linking chronic kidney failure to defective DNA damage repair 
Nature genetics  2012;44(8):910-915.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) represents a major health burden1. Its central feature of renal fibrosis is not well understood. By whole exome resequencing in a model disorder for renal fibrosis, nephronophthisis (NPHP), we identified mutations of Fanconi anemia-associated nuclease 1 (FAN1) as causing karyomegalic interstitial nephritis (KIN). Renal histology of KIN is indistinguishable from NPHP except for the presence of karyomegaly2. FAN1 has nuclease activity, acting in DNA interstrand crosslinking (ICL) repair within the Fanconi anemia pathway of DNA damage response (DDR)3–6. We demonstrate that cells from individuals with FAN1 mutations exhibit sensitivity to the ICL agent mitomycin C. However, they do not exhibit chromosome breakage or cell cycle arrest after diepoxybutane treatment, unlike cells from patients with Fanconi anemia. We complement ICL sensitivity with wild type FAN1 but not mutant cDNA from individuals with KIN. Depletion of fan1 in zebrafish revealed increased DDR, apoptosis, and kidney cysts akin to NPHP. Our findings implicate susceptibility to environmental genotoxins and inadequate DNA repair as novel mechanisms of renal fibrosis and CKD.
PMCID: PMC3412140  PMID: 22772369
15.  Mutations in the colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) cause hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids 
Nature Genetics  2011;44(2):200-205.
Hereditary diffuse leukoencephalopathy with spheroids (HDLS) is an autosomal dominantly inherited central nervous system white matter disease with variable clinical presentations including personality and behavioral changes, dementia, depression, parkinsonism, seizures, and others1,2. We combined genome-wide linkage analysis with exome sequencing and identified 14 different mutations affecting the tyrosine kinase domain of the colony stimulating factor receptor 1 (encoded by CSF1R) in 14 families affected by HDLS. In one kindred, the de novo occurrence of the mutation was confirmed. Follow-up sequencing analyses identified an additional CSF1R mutation in a patient clinically diagnosed with corticobasal syndrome (CBS). In vitro, CSF-1 stimulation resulted in the rapid autophosphorylation of selected tyrosine-residues in the kinase domain of wild-type but not mutant CSF1R, suggesting that HDLS may result from a partial loss of CSF1R function. Since CSF1R is a critical mediator of microglial proliferation and differentiation in the brain, our findings suggest an important role for microglial dysfunction in HDLS pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3267847  PMID: 22197934
16.  Experimentally Derived Metastasis Gene Expression Profile Predicts Recurrence and Death in Patients With Colon Cancer 
Gastroenterology  2009;138(3):958-968.
Staging inadequately predicts metastatic risk in patients with colon cancer. We used a gene expression profile derived from invasive, murine colon cancer cells that were highly metastatic in an immunocompetent mouse model to identify patients with colon cancer at risk of recurrence.
This phase 1, exploratory biomarker study used 55 patients with colorectal cancer from Vanderbilt Medical Center (VMC) as the training dataset and 177 patients from the Moffitt Cancer Center as the independent dataset. The metastasis-associated gene expression profile developed from the mouse model was refined with comparative functional genomics in the VMC gene expression profiles to identify a 34-gene classifier associated with high risk of metastasis and death from colon cancer. A metastasis score derived from the biologically based classifier was tested in the Moffitt dataset.
A high score was significantly associated with increased risk of metastasis and death from colon cancer across all pathologic stages and specifically in stage II and stage III patients. The metastasis score was shown to independently predict risk of cancer recurrence and death in univariate and multivariate models. For example, among stage III patients, a high score translated to increased relative risk of cancer recurrence (hazard ratio, 4.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.566–14.05). Furthermore, the metastasis score identified patients with stage III disease whose 5-year recurrence-free survival was >88% and for whom adjuvant chemotherapy did not increase survival time.
A gene expression profile identified from an experimental model of colon cancer metastasis predicted cancer recurrence and death, independently of conventional measures, in patients with colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3388775  PMID: 19914252
Gene Expression Profiling; Colon Cancer Prognosis; Predictive Gene Signature; Mouse Model
17.  Exome Sequencing and Genetic Testing for MODY 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38050.
Genetic testing for monogenic diabetes is important for patient care. Given the extensive genetic and clinical heterogeneity of diabetes, exome sequencing might provide additional diagnostic potential when standard Sanger sequencing-based diagnostics is inconclusive.
The aim of the study was to examine the performance of exome sequencing for a molecular diagnosis of MODY in patients who have undergone conventional diagnostic sequencing of candidate genes with negative results.
Research Design and Methods
We performed exome enrichment followed by high-throughput sequencing in nine patients with suspected MODY. They were Sanger sequencing-negative for mutations in the HNF1A, HNF4A, GCK, HNF1B and INS genes. We excluded common, non-coding and synonymous gene variants, and performed in-depth analysis on filtered sequence variants in a pre-defined set of 111 genes implicated in glucose metabolism.
On average, we obtained 45 X median coverage of the entire targeted exome and found 199 rare coding variants per individual. We identified 0–4 rare non-synonymous and nonsense variants per individual in our a priori list of 111 candidate genes. Three of the variants were considered pathogenic (in ABCC8, HNF4A and PPARG, respectively), thus exome sequencing led to a genetic diagnosis in at least three of the nine patients. Approximately 91% of known heterozygous SNPs in the target exomes were detected, but we also found low coverage in some key diabetes genes using our current exome sequencing approach. Novel variants in the genes ARAP1, GLIS3, MADD, NOTCH2 and WFS1 need further investigation to reveal their possible role in diabetes.
Our results demonstrate that exome sequencing can improve molecular diagnostics of MODY when used as a complement to Sanger sequencing. However, improvements will be needed, especially concerning coverage, before the full potential of exome sequencing can be realized.
PMCID: PMC3360646  PMID: 22662265
19.  A genome-scale map of expression for a mouse brain section obtained using voxelation 
Physiological Genomics  2007;30(3):313-321.
Gene expression signatures in the mammalian brain hold the key to understanding neural development and neurological diseases. We have reconstructed two-dimensional images of gene expression for 20,000 genes in a coronal slice of the mouse brain at the level of the striatum by using microarrays in combination with voxelation at a resolution of 1 mm3. Good reliability of the microarray results were confirmed using multiple replicates, subsequent quantitative RT-PCR voxelation, mass spectrometry voxelation, and publicly available in situ hybridization data. Known and novel genes were identified with expression patterns localized to defined substructures within the brain. In addition, genes with unexpected patterns were identified, and cluster analysis identified a set of genes with a gradient of dorsal/ventral expression not restricted to known anatomical boundaries. The genome-scale maps of gene expression obtained using voxelation will be a valuable tool for the neuroscience community.
PMCID: PMC3299369  PMID: 17504947
microarrays; genome; gradient of expression
20.  Exome sequencing supports a de novo mutational paradigm for schizophrenia 
Nature genetics  2011;43(9):864-868.
Despite high heritability, a large fraction of cases with schizophrenia do not have a family history of the disease (sporadic cases). Here, we examine the possibility that rare de novo protein-altering mutations contribute to the genetic component of schizophrenia by sequencing the exome of 53 sporadic cases, 22 unaffected controls and their parents. We identified 40 de novo mutations in 27 patients affecting 40 genes including a potentially disruptive mutation in DGCR2, a gene removed by the recurrent schizophrenia-predisposing 22q11.2 microdeletion. Comparison to rare inherited variants revealed that the identified de novo mutations show a large excess of nonsynonymous changes in cases, as well as a greater potential to affect protein structure and function. Our analysis reveals a major role of de novo mutations in schizophrenia and also a large mutational target, which together provide a plausible explanation for the high global incidence and persistence of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3196550  PMID: 21822266
21.  [No title available] 
A panel of bioinformaticians experienced in next-generation sequencing data analysis will host this round-table discussion group. With ever-increasing data output from next-generation sequencing platforms and a steady stream of new instruments on the market, the ability to proficiently handle this data is extremely critical to project success.
The four bioinformaticians on this panel have in-depth knowledge on sequence data analysis from a variety of platforms, including Roche/454, Illumina, SOLiD, PacBio, and Ion Torrent. While the discussion should be driven by attendee questions, topics may include de novo assembly for genomic and transcriptomic data, mapping and alignment, gene prediction and annotation, RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, metagenomic analysis, and SNP/SSR prediction as well as discussions on the latest available software tools. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions ranging from the basics to beyond. In-depth and detailed questions are welcomed.
PMCID: PMC3630588
22.  African Mitochondrial DNA Subhaplogroups and Peripheral Neuropathy during Antiretroviral Therapy 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(11):1703-1707.
Susceptibility to peripheral neuropathy during antiretroviral therapy with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) was previously associated with a European mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup among non-Hispanic white persons. To determine if NRTI-associated peripheral neuropathy was related to mtDNA variation in non-Hispanic black persons, we sequenced mtDNA of participants from AIDS Clinical Trials Group study 384. Of 156 non-Hispanic blacks with genomic data, 51 (33%) developed peripheral neuropathy. In a multivariate model, African mtDNA subhaplogroup L1c was an independent predictor of peripheral neuropathy (OR=3.7, 95% CI 1.1-12.0). An African mtDNA subhaplogroup is for the first time implicated in susceptibility to NRTI-associated toxicity.
PMCID: PMC2862090  PMID: 20402593
African-American; HIV; Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors; Peripheral Neuropathies; Drug Toxicity; Mitochondrial DNA; Pharmacogenetics
23.  Genome-wide association study of homocysteine levels in Filipinos provides evidence for CPS1 in women and a stronger MTHFR effect in young adults 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(10):2050-2058.
Plasma homocysteine (Hcy) level is associated with cardiovascular disease and may play an etiologic role in vascular damage, a precursor for atherosclerosis. We performed a genome-wide association study for Hcy in 1786 unrelated Filipino women from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey (CLHNS). The most strongly associated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs7422339, P = 4.7 × 10−13) encodes Thr1405Asn in the gene CPS1 and explained 3.0% of variation in the Hcy level. The widely studied MTHFR C677T SNP (rs1801133) was also highly significant (P = 8.7 × 10−10) and explained 1.6% of the trait variation. We also genotyped these two SNPs in 1679 CLHNS young adult offspring. The MTHFR C677T SNP was strongly associated with Hcy (P = 1.9 × 10−26) and explained ∼5.1% of the variation in the offspring. In contrast, the CPS1 variant was significant only in females (P = 0.11 in all; P = 0.0087 in females). Combined analysis of all samples confirmed that the MTHFR variant was more strongly associated with Hcy in the offspring (interaction P = 1.2 × 10−5). Furthermore, although there was evidence for a positive synergistic effect between the CPS1 and MTHFR SNPs in the offspring (interaction P = 0.0046), there was no significant evidence for an interaction in the mothers (P = 0.55). These data confirm a recent finding that CPS1 is a locus influencing Hcy levels in women and suggest that genetic effects on Hcy may differ across developmental stages.
PMCID: PMC2860887  PMID: 20154341
24.  Candidate exome capture identifies mutation of SDCCAG8 as the cause of a retinal-renal ciliopathy 
Nature genetics  2010;42(10):840-850.
Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are recessive disorders featuring dysplasia or degeneration preferentially in kidney, retina, and cerebellum. Here we combine homozygosity mapping with candidate gene analysis by performing “ciliopathy candidate exome capture” followed by massively-parallel sequencing. We detect 12 different truncating mutations of SDCCAG8 in 10 NPHP-RC families. We demonstrate that SDCCAG8 is localized at both centrioles and directly interacts with NPHP-RC-associated OFD1. Depletion of sdccag8 causes kidney cysts and a body axis defect in zebrafish and induces cell polarity defects in 3D renal cell cultures. This work identifies SDCCAG8 loss of function as a novel cause of a retinal-renal ciliopathy and validates exome capture analysis for broadly heterogeneous single-gene disorders.
PMCID: PMC2947620  PMID: 20835237
25.  The ADP/ATP translocator is not essential for the mitochondrial permeability transition pore 
Nature  2004;427(6973):461-465.
A sudden increase in permeability of the inner mitochondrial membrane, the so-called mitochondrial permeability transition, is a common feature of apoptosis and is mediated by the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mtPTP). It is thought that the mtPTP is a protein complex formed by the voltage-dependent anion channel, members of the pro- and anti-apoptotic BAX-BCL2 protein family, cyclophilin D, and the adenine nucleotide (ADP/ATP) translocators (ANTs)1,2. The latter exchange mitochondrial ATP for cytosolic ADP and have been implicated in cell death. To investigate the role of the ANTs in the mtPTP, we genetically inactivated the two isoforms of ANT3–5 in mouse liver and analysed mtPTP activation in isolated mitochondria and the induction of cell death in hepatocytes. Mitochondria lacking ANT could still be induced to undergo permeability transition, resulting in release of cytochrome c. However, more Ca2+ than usual was required to activate the mtPTP, and the pore could no longer be regulated by ANT ligands. Moreover, hepatocytes without ANT remained competent to respond to various initiators of cell death. Therefore, ANTs are non-essential structural components of the mtPTP, although they do contribute to its regulation.
PMCID: PMC3049806  PMID: 14749836

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