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1.  Genomic imbalances detected by array-CGH in patients with syndromal ocular developmental anomalies 
In 65 patients, who had unexplained ocular developmental anomalies (ODAs) with at least one other birth defect and/or intellectual disability, we performed oligonucleotide comparative genome hybridisation-based microarray analysis (array-CGH; 105A or 180K, Agilent Technologies). In four patients, array-CGH identified clinically relevant deletions encompassing a gene known to be involved in ocular development (FOXC1 or OTX2). In four other patients, we found three pathogenic deletions not classically associated with abnormal ocular morphogenesis, namely, del(17)(p13.3p13.3), del(10)(p14p15.3), and del(16)(p11.2p11.2). We also detected copy number variations of uncertain pathogenicity in two other patients. Rearranged segments ranged in size from 0.04 to 5.68 Mb. These results show that array-CGH provides a high diagnostic yield (15%) in patients with syndromal ODAs and can identify previously unknown chromosomal regions associated with these conditions. In addition to their importance for diagnosis and genetic counselling, these data may help identify genes involved in ocular development.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.233
PMCID: PMC3330214  PMID: 22234157
ocular developmental anomaly; array-CGH; OTX2; FOXC1; 16p11.2 deletion; YWHAE
2.  CCDC39 is required for assembly of inner dynein arms and the dynein regulatory complex and for normal ciliary motility in humans and dogs 
Nature genetics  2010;43(1):72-78.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an inherited disorder characterized by recurrent infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract, reduced fertility in males and situs inversus in about 50% of affected individuals (Kartagener syndrome). It is caused by motility defects in the respiratory cilia that are responsible for airway clearance, the flagella that propel sperm cells and the nodal monocilia that determine left-right asymmetry1. Recessive mutations that cause PCD have been identified in genes encoding components of the outer dynein arms, radial spokes and cytoplasmic pre-assembly factors of axonemal dyneins, but these mutations account for only about 50% of cases of PCD. We exploited the unique properties of dog populations to positionally clone a new PCD gene, CCDC39. We found that loss-of-function mutations in the human ortholog underlie a substantial fraction of PCD cases with axonemal disorganization and abnormal ciliary beating. Functional analyses indicated that CCDC39 localizes to ciliary axonemes and is essential for assembly of inner dynein arms and the dynein regulatory complex.
doi:10.1038/ng.726
PMCID: PMC3509786  PMID: 21131972
3.  Notable contribution of large CFTR gene rearrangements to the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in fetuses with bowel anomalies 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2010;18(10):1166-1169.
Grade III fetal bowel hyperechogenicity and/or loop dilatation observed at the second trimester of pregnancy can be due to several disease conditions, including cystic fibrosis (CF). Screening for frequent CF mutations is performed as a first step and, in certain situations, such as when a frequent CF mutation is found in the fetus, the increased risk of CF justifies an in-depth study of the second allele. To determine the contribution of large CFTR gene rearrangements in such cases, detected using a semiquantitative fluorescent multiplex PCR (QFM-PCR) assay, we collated data on 669 referrals related to suspicion of CF in fetuses from 1998 to 2009. Deletions were found in 5/70 cases in which QFM-PCR was applied, dele19, dele22_23, dele2_6b, dele14b_15 and dele6a_6b, of which the last three remain undescribed. In 3/5 cases, hyperechogenicity was associated with dilatation and/or gallbladder anomalies. Of the total cases of CF recognized in the subgroup of first-hand referrals, deletions represent 16.7% of CF alleles. Our study thus strengthens the need to consider large CFTR gene rearrangements in the diagnosis strategy of fetal bowel anomalies, in particular in the presence of multiple anomalies.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.80
PMCID: PMC2987450  PMID: 20512161
CFTR; cystic fibrosis; deletions; rearrangements; fetal bowel anomalies; hyperechogenic bowel
4.  Loss of constitutive activity of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor in familial short stature 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2006;116(3):760-768.
The growth hormone (GH) secretagogue receptor (GHSR) was cloned as the target of a family of synthetic molecules endowed with GH release properties. As shown recently through in vitro means, this receptor displays a constitutive activity whose clinical relevance is unknown. Although pharmacological studies have demonstrated that its endogenous ligand — ghrelin — stimulates, through the GHSR, GH secretion and appetite, the physiological importance of the GHSR-dependent pathways remains an open question that gives rise to much controversy. We report the identification of a GHSR missense mutation that segregates with short stature within 2 unrelated families. This mutation, which results in decreased cell-surface expression of the receptor, selectively impairs the constitutive activity of the GHSR, while preserving its ability to respond to ghrelin. This first description, to our knowledge, of a functionally significant GHSR mutation, which unveils the critical importance of the GHSR-associated constitutive activity, discloses an unusual pathogenic mechanism of growth failure in humans.
doi:10.1172/JCI25303
PMCID: PMC1386106  PMID: 16511605

Results 1-4 (4)