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1.  A New Sampling Method for Spleen Stiffness Measurement Based on Quantitative Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse Elastography for Noninvasive Assessment of Esophageal Varices in Newly Diagnosed HCV-Related Cirrhosis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:365982.
In our study, we evaluated the feasibility of a new sampling method for splenic stiffness (SS) measurement by Quantitative Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse Elastography (Virtual Touch Tissue Quantification (VTTQ)).We measured SS in 54 patients with HCV-related cirrhosis of whom 28 with esophageal varices (EV), 27 with Chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) F1–F3, and 63 healthy controls. VTTQ-SS was significantly higher among cirrhotic patients with EV (3.37 m/s) in comparison with controls (2.19 m/s, P < 0.001), CHC patients (2.37 m/s, P < 0.001), and cirrhotic patients without EV (2.7 m/s, P < 0.001). Moreover, VTTQ-SS was significantly higher among cirrhotic patients without EV in comparison with both controls (P < 0.001) and CHC patients (P < 0.01). The optimal VTTQ-SS cut-off value for predicting EV was 3.1 m/s (AUROC = 0.96, sensitivity 96.4%, specificity 88.5%, positive predictive value 90%, negative predictive value 96%, positive likelihood ratio 8.36, and negative likelihood ratio 0.04). In conclusion, VTTQ-SS is a promising noninvasive and reliable diagnostic tool to screen cirrhotic patients for EV and reduce the need for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. By using our cut-off value of 3.1 m/s, we would avoid endoscopy in around 45% of cirrhotic subjects, with significant time and cost savings.
doi:10.1155/2014/365982
PMCID: PMC3960519
2.  Exome capture reveals ZNF423 and CEP164 mutations, linking renal ciliopathies to DNA damage response signaling 
Chaki, Moumita | Airik, Rannar | Ghosh, Amiya K. | Giles, Rachel H. | Chen, Rui | Slaats, Gisela G. | Wang, Hui | Hurd, Toby W. | Zhou, Weibin | Cluckey, Andrew | Gee, Heon-Yung | Ramaswami, Gokul | Hong, Chen-Jei | Hamilton, Bruce A. | Červenka, Igor | Ganji, Ranjani Sri | Bryja, Vitezslav | Arts, Heleen H. | van Reeuwijk, Jeroen | Oud, Machteld M. | Letteboer, Stef J.F. | Roepman, Ronald | Husson, Hervé | Ibraghimov-Beskrovnaya, Oxana | Ysunaga, Takayuki | Walz, Gerd | Eley, Lorraine | Sayer, John A. | Schermer, Bernhard | Liebau, Max C. | Benzing, Thomas | Le Corre, Stephanie | Drummond, Iain | Joles, Jaap A. | Janssen, Sabine | Allen, Susan J. | Natarajan, Sivakumar | O Toole, John F. | Attanasio, Massimo | Saunier, Sophie | Antignac, Corinne | Koenekoop, Robert K. | Ren, Huanan | Lopez, Irma | Nayir, Ahmet | Stoetzel, Corinne | Dollfus, Helene | Massoudi, Rustin | Gleeson, Joseph G. | Andreoli, Sharon P. | Doherty, Dan G. | Lindstrad, Anna | Golzio, Christelle | Katsanis, Nicholas | Pape, Lars | Abboud, Emad B. | Al-Rajhi, Ali A. | Lewis, Richard A. | Lupski, James R. | Omran, Heymut | Lee, Eva | Wang, Shaohui | Sekiguchi, JoAnn M. | Saunders, Rudel | Johnson, Colin A. | Garner, Elizabeth | Vanselow, Katja | Andersen, Jens S. | Shlomai, Joseph | Nurnberg, Gudrun | Nurnberg, Peter | Levy, Shawn | Smogorzewska, Agata | Otto, Edgar A. | Hildebrandt, Friedhelm
Cell  2012;150(3):533-548.
SUMMARY
Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are degenerative recessive diseases that affect kidney, retina and brain. Genetic defects in NPHP gene products that localize to cilia and centrosomes defined them as ‘ciliopathies’. However, disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here we identify by whole exome resequencing, mutations of MRE11, ZNF423, and CEP164 as causing NPHP-RC. All three genes function within the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, hitherto not implicated in ciliopathies. We demonstrate that, upon induced DNA damage, the NPHP-RC proteins ZNF423, CEP164 and NPHP10 colocalize to nuclear foci positive for TIP60, known to activate ATM at sites of DNA damage. We show that knockdown of CEP164 or ZNF423 causes sensitivity to DNA damaging agents, and that cep164 knockdown in zebrafish results in dysregulated DDR and an NPHP-RC phenotype. We identify TTBK2, CCDC92, NPHP3 and DVL3 as novel CEP164 interaction partners. Our findings link degenerative diseases of kidney and retina, disorders of increasing prevalence, to mechanisms of DDR.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.06.028
PMCID: PMC3433835  PMID: 22863007
3.  Increased hedgehog signaling in postnatal kidney results in aberrant activation of nephron developmental programs 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(21):4155-4166.
Hedgehog (Hh) is a core signaling pathway implicated in fundamental processes during embryonic kidney development. We previously found that loss-of-function mutations in the transcription factor GLIS2, a putative vertebrate ortholog of Drosophila Ci, cause nephronophthisis type 7 in humans and mice. Kidney tubular cells in Glis2-knockout mice acquire mesenchymal phenotype, but the cellular mechanisms of this transition are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Glis2 is a functional component of Hh signaling and is necessary to suppress this pathway in the postnatal kidney. In the epithelial compartment, Glis2 opposes Gli1 activity by binding cis-acting regulatory sequences in the 5′ flanking regions of Snai1 and Wnt4, thereby inhibiting de-differentiation of tubular cells. We conclude that Glis2 is necessary to inhibit Hh signaling and to maintain the mature tubular epithelial phenotype in the adult kidney. This is the first description of a molecular mechanism that links the Hh signaling pathway to cystic kidney diseases and can open new avenues for the treatment of diverse ciliopathies.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr339
PMCID: PMC3188992  PMID: 21816948
4.  Uromodulin is expressed in renal primary cilia and UMOD mutations result in decreased ciliary uromodulin expression 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(10):1985-1997.
Uromodulin (UMOD) mutations are responsible for three autosomal dominant tubulo-interstitial nephropathies including medullary cystic kidney disease type 2 (MCKD2), familial juvenile hyperuricemic nephropathy and glomerulocystic kidney disease. Symptoms include renal salt wasting, hyperuricemia, gout, hypertension and end-stage renal disease. MCKD is part of the ‘nephronophthisis–MCKD complex’, a group of cystic kidney diseases. Both disorders have an indistinguishable histology and renal cysts are observed in either. For most genes mutated in cystic kidney disease, their proteins are expressed in the primary cilia/basal body complex. We identified seven novel UMOD mutations and were interested if UMOD protein was expressed in the primary renal cilia of human renal biopsies and if mutant UMOD would show a different expression pattern compared with that seen in control individuals. We demonstrate that UMOD is expressed in the primary cilia of renal tubules, using immunofluorescent studies in human kidney biopsy samples. The number of UMOD-positive primary cilia in UMOD patients is significantly decreased when compared with control samples. Additional immunofluorescence studies confirm ciliary expression of UMOD in cell culture. Ciliary expression of UMOD is also confirmed by electron microscopy. UMOD localization at the mitotic spindle poles and colocalization with other ciliary proteins such as nephrocystin-1 and kinesin family member 3A is demonstrated. Our data add UMOD to the group of proteins expressed in primary cilia, where mutations of the gene lead to cystic kidney disease.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq077
PMCID: PMC2860893  PMID: 20172860
5.  Mutation analysis of NPHP6/CEP290 in patients with Joubert syndrome and Senior–Løken syndrome 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2007;44(10):657-663.
Background
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) is an autosomal recessive cystic kidney disease that constitutes the most common genetic cause of renal failure in the first three decades of life. Using positional cloning, six genes (NPHP1‐6) have been identified as mutated in NPHP. In Joubert syndrome (JBTS), NPHP may be associated with cerebellar vermis aplasia/hypoplasia, retinal degeneration and mental retardation. In Senior–Løken syndrome (SLSN), NPHP is associated with retinal degeneration. Recently, mutations in NPHP6/CEP290 were identified as a new cause of JBTS.
Methods
Mutational analysis was performed on a worldwide cohort of 75 families with SLSN, 99 families with JBTS and 21 families with isolated nephronophthisis.
Results
Six novel and six known truncating mutations, one known missense mutation and one novel 3 bp pair in‐frame deletion were identified in a total of seven families with JBTS, two families with SLSN and one family with isolated NPHP.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2007.052027
PMCID: PMC2597962  PMID: 17617513
NPHP6/CEP290 ; Joubert syndrome; Senior–Løken syndrome; nephronophthisis; mutational analysis
7.  Individuals with mutations in XPNPEP3, which encodes a mitochondrial protein, develop a nephronophthisis-like nephropathy  
The autosomal recessive kidney disease nephronophthisis (NPHP) constitutes the most frequent genetic cause of terminal renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Ten causative genes (NPHP1–NPHP9 and NPHP11), whose products localize to the primary cilia-centrosome complex, support the unifying concept that cystic kidney diseases are “ciliopathies”. Using genome-wide homozygosity mapping, we report here what we believe to be a new locus (NPHP-like 1 [NPHPL1]) for an NPHP-like nephropathy. In 2 families with an NPHP-like phenotype, we detected homozygous frameshift and splice-site mutations, respectively, in the X-prolyl aminopeptidase 3 (XPNPEP3) gene. In contrast to all known NPHP proteins, XPNPEP3 localizes to mitochondria of renal cells. However, in vivo analyses also revealed a likely cilia-related function; suppression of zebrafish xpnpep3 phenocopied the developmental phenotypes of ciliopathy morphants, and this effect was rescued by human XPNPEP3 that was devoid of a mitochondrial localization signal. Consistent with a role for XPNPEP3 in ciliary function, several ciliary cystogenic proteins were found to be XPNPEP3 substrates, for which resistance to N-terminal proline cleavage resulted in attenuated protein function in vivo in zebrafish. Our data highlight an emerging link between mitochondria and ciliary dysfunction, and suggest that further understanding the enzymatic activity and substrates of XPNPEP3 will illuminate novel cystogenic pathways.
doi:10.1172/JCI40076
PMCID: PMC2827951  PMID: 20179356
8.  Nephronophthisis: Disease Mechanisms of a Ciliopathy 
Nephronophthisis (NPHP), a recessive cystic kidney disease, is the most frequent genetic cause of end-stage kidney disease in children and young adults. Positional cloning of nine genes (NPHP1-9) and functional characterization of their encoded proteins (nephrocystins) has contributed to a unifying theory that defines cystic kidney diseases as “ciliopathies”. The theory is based on the finding that all proteins mutated in cystic kidney diseases of humans or animal models are expressed in primary cilia or centrosomes of renal epithelial cells. Primary cilia are sensory organelles that connect mechanosensory, visual, and other stimuli to mechanisms of epithelial cell polarity and cell cycle control. Mutations in NPHP genes cause defects in signaling mechanisms that involve the non-canonical Wnt signaling pathway and the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway, resulting in defects of planar cell polarity and tissue maintenance. The ciliary theory explains the multiple organ involvement in NPHP, which includes retinal degeneration, cerebellar hypoplasia, liver fibrosis, situs inversus, and mental retardation. Positional cloning of dozens of unknown genes that cause NPHP will elucidate further signaling mechanisms involved. Nephrocystins are highly conserved in evolution, thus allowing the use of animal models to develop future therapeutic approaches.
doi:10.1681/ASN.2008050456
PMCID: PMC2807379  PMID: 19118152
nephronophthisis; cystic kidney disease; planar cell polarity; wnt signaling; hedgehog signaling; ciliopathies
9.  A Systematic Approach to Mapping Recessive Disease Genes in Individuals from Outbred Populations 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(1):e1000353.
The identification of recessive disease-causing genes by homozygosity mapping is often restricted by lack of suitable consanguineous families. To overcome these limitations, we apply homozygosity mapping to single affected individuals from outbred populations. In 72 individuals of 54 kindred ascertained worldwide with known homozygous mutations in 13 different recessive disease genes, we performed total genome homozygosity mapping using 250,000 SNP arrays. Likelihood ratio Z-scores (ZLR) were plotted across the genome to detect ZLR peaks that reflect segments of homozygosity by descent, which may harbor the mutated gene. In 93% of cases, the causative gene was positioned within a consistent ZLR peak of homozygosity. The number of peaks reflected the degree of inbreeding. We demonstrate that disease-causing homozygous mutations can be detected in single cases from outbred populations within a single ZLR peak of homozygosity as short as 2 Mb, containing an average of only 16 candidate genes. As many specialty clinics have access to cohorts of individuals from outbred populations, and as our approach will result in smaller genetic candidate regions, the new strategy of homozygosity mapping in single outbred individuals will strongly accelerate the discovery of novel recessive disease genes.
Author Summary
Many childhood diseases are caused by single-gene mutations of recessive genes, in which a child has inherited one mutated gene copy from each parent causing disease in the child, but not in the parents who are healthy heterozygous carriers. As the two mutations represent the disease cause, gene mapping helped understand disease mechanisms. “Homozygosity mapping” has been particularly useful. It assumes that the parents are related and that a disease-causing mutation together with a chromosomal segment of identical markers (i.e., homozygous markers) is transmitted to the affected child through the paternal and the maternal line from an ancestor common to both parents. Homozygosity mapping seeks out those homozygous regions to map the disease-causing gene. Homozygosity mapping requires families, in which the parents are knowingly related, and have multiple affected children. To overcome these limitations, we applied homozygosity mapping to single affected individuals from outbred populations. In 72 individuals with known homozygous mutations in 13 different recessive disease genes, we performed homozygosity mapping. In 93% we detected the causative gene in a segment of homozygosity. We demonstrate that disease-causing homozygous mutations can be detected in single cases from outbred populations. This will strongly accelerate the discovery of novel recessive disease genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000353
PMCID: PMC2621355  PMID: 19165332
10.  In-frame deletion in a novel centrosomal/ciliary protein CEP290/NPHP6 perturbs its interaction with RPGR and results in early-onset retinal degeneration in the rd16 mouse 
Human molecular genetics  2006;15(11):1847-1857.
Centrosome- and cilia-associated proteins play crucial roles in establishing polarity and regulating intracellular transport in post-mitotic cells. Using genetic mapping and positional candidate strategy, we have identified an in-frame deletion in a novel centrosomal protein CEP290 (also called NPHP6), leading to early-onset retinal degeneration in a newly identified mouse mutant, rd16. We demonstrate that CEP290 localizes primarily to centrosomes of dividing cells and to the connecting cilium of retinal photoreceptors. We show that, in the retina, CEP290 associates with several microtubule-based transport proteins including RPGR, which is mutated in ~15% of patients with retinitis pigmentosa. A truncated CEP290 protein (ΔCEP290) is detected in the rd16 retina, but in considerably reduced amounts; however, the mutant protein exhibits stronger association with specific RPGR isoform(s). Immunogold labeling studies demonstrate the redistribution of RPGR and of phototransduction proteins in the photoreceptors of rd16 retina. Our findings suggest a critical function for CEP290 in ciliary transport and provide insights into the mechanism of early-onset photoreceptor degeneration.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddl107
PMCID: PMC1592550  PMID: 16632484

Results 1-10 (10)