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1.  An Efficient and Comprehensive Strategy for Genetic Diagnostics of Polycystic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116680.
Renal cysts are clinically and genetically heterogeneous conditions. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most frequent life-threatening genetic disease and mainly caused by mutations in PKD1. The presence of six PKD1 pseudogenes and tremendous allelic heterogeneity make molecular genetic testing challenging requiring laborious locus-specific amplification. Increasing evidence suggests a major role for PKD1 in early and severe cases of ADPKD and some patients with a recessive form. Furthermore it is becoming obvious that clinical manifestations can be mimicked by mutations in a number of other genes with the necessity for broader genetic testing. We established and validated a sequence capture based NGS testing approach for all genes known for cystic and polycystic kidney disease including PKD1. Thereby, we demonstrate that the applied standard mapping algorithm specifically aligns reads to the PKD1 locus and overcomes the complication of unspecific capture of pseudogenes. Employing careful and experienced assessment of NGS data, the method is shown to be very specific and equally sensitive as established methods. An additional advantage over conventional Sanger sequencing is the detection of copy number variations (CNVs). Sophisticated bioinformatic read simulation increased the high analytical depth of the validation study and further demonstrated the strength of the approach. We further raise some awareness of limitations and pitfalls of common NGS workflows when applied in complex regions like PKD1 demonstrating that quality of NGS needs more than high coverage of the target region. By this, we propose a time- and cost-efficient diagnostic strategy for comprehensive molecular genetic testing of polycystic kidney disease which is highly automatable and will be of particular value when therapeutic options for PKD emerge and genetic testing is needed for larger numbers of patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116680
PMCID: PMC4315576  PMID: 25646624
2.  Novel findings in patients with primary hyperoxaluria type III and implications for advanced molecular testing strategies 
Identification of mutations in the HOGA1 gene as the cause of autosomal recessive primary hyperoxaluria (PH) type III has revitalized research in the field of PH and related stone disease. In contrast to the well-characterized entities of PH type I and type II, the pathophysiology and prevalence of type III is largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed a large cohort of subjects previously tested negative for type I/II by complete HOGA1 sequencing. Seven distinct mutations, among them four novel, were found in 15 patients. In patients of non-consanguineous European descent the previously reported c.700+5G>T splice-site mutation was predominant and represents a potential founder mutation, while in consanguineous families private homozygous mutations were identified throughout the gene. Furthermore, we identified a family where a homozygous mutation in HOGA1 (p.P190L) segregated in two siblings with an additional AGXT mutation (p.D201E). The two girls exhibiting triallelic inheritance presented a more severe phenotype than their only mildly affected p.P190L homozygous father. In silico analysis of five mutations reveals that HOGA1 deficiency is causing type III, yet reduced HOGA1 expression or aberrant subcellular protein targeting is unlikely to be the responsible pathomechanism. Our results strongly suggest HOGA1 as a major cause of PH, indicate a greater genetic heterogeneity of hyperoxaluria, and point to a favorable outcome of type III in the context of PH despite incomplete or absent biochemical remission. Multiallelic inheritance could have implications for genetic testing strategies and might represent an unrecognized mechanism for phenotype variability in PH.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.139
PMCID: PMC3548260  PMID: 22781098
primary hyperoxularia; HOGA1; calcium oxalate; stone disease
4.  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

Results 1-4 (4)