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1.  Somatic mutations in DROSHA and DICER1 impair microRNA biogenesis through distinct mechanisms in Wilms tumors 
Nature communications  2014;2:4802.
Wilms tumor is the most common childhood kidney cancer. Here we report the whole-exome sequencing of 44 Wilms tumors, identifying missense mutations in the microRNA (miRNA)-processing enzymes DROSHA and DICER1 and novel mutations in MYCN, SMARCA4 and ARID1A. Examination of tumor miRNA expression, in vitro processing assays, and genomic editing in human cells demonstrate that DICER1 and DROSHA mutations influence miRNA processing through distinct mechanisms. DICER1 RNase IIIB mutations preferentially impair processing of miRNAs deriving from the 5′ arm of pre-miRNA hairpins, while DROSHA RNase IIIB mutations globally inhibit miRNA biogenesis through a dominant-negative mechanism. Both DROSHA and DICER1 mutations impair expression of tumor-suppressing miRNAs including the let-7 family, important regulators of MYCN, LIN28 and other Wilms tumor oncogenes. These results provide new insights into the mechanisms through which mutations in miRNA biogenesis components reprogram miRNA expression in human cancer and suggest that these defects define a distinct subclass of Wilms tumors.
PMCID: PMC4159681  PMID: 25190313
2.  Osteoclast differentiation and function in aquaglyceroporin AQP9 null mice 
Background Information
Osteoclasts are cells specialized for bone resorption and play important roles in bone growth and calcium homeostasis. Differentiation of osteoclasts involves fusion of bone marrow macrophage mononuclear precursors in response to extracellular signals. A dramatic increase in osteoclast cell volume occurs during osteoclast biogenesis and is believed to be mediated by Aquaporin 9 (AQP9), a membrane protein that can rapidly transport water and other small neutral solutes across cell membranes.
Here we report an increase in expression of AQP9 during differentiation of a mouse macrophage cell line into osteoclasts. Bone marrow macrophages from wild type and AQP9 null mice differentiate into osteoclasts that have similar morphology, contain comparable numbers of nuclei, and digest synthetic bone to the same extent. Bones from wild type and AQP9 null mice contain similar numbers of osteoclasts and have comparable density and structure as measured by X-ray absorptiometry and micro-computed tomography.
Our data confirm that AQP9 expression rises during osteoclast biogenesis but indicate that AQP9 is not essential for osteoclast function or differentiation under normal physiological conditions.
PMCID: PMC4283492  PMID: 18666888
aquaporin; aquaglyceroporin; osteoclast; bone; AQP9
3.  A rare novel mutation in TECTA causes autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss in a Mongolian family 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:34.
The genetic basis of autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss is complex. Genetic factors are responsible for approximately 50% of cases with congenital hearing loss. However, no previous studies have documented the clinical phenotype and genetic basis of autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss in Mongolians.
In this study, we performed exon capture sequencing of a Mongolian family with hereditary hearing loss and identified a novel mutation in TECTA gene, which encodes α -tectorin, a major component of the inner ear extracellular matrix that contacts the specialized sensory hair cells.
The novel G → T missense mutation at nucleotide 6016 results in a substitution of amino acid aspartate at 2006 with tyrosine (Asp2006Tyr) in a highly conserved zona pellucida (ZP) domain of α-tectorin. The mutation is not found in control subjects from the same family with normal hearing and a genotype-phenotype correlation is observed.
A novel missense mutation c.6016 G > T (p.Asp2006Tyr) of TECTA gene is a characteristic TECTA-related mutation which causes autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss. Our result indicated that mutation in TECTA gene is responsible for the hearing loss in this Mongolian family.
PMCID: PMC3994966  PMID: 25008054
TECTA gene; Mongolian family; Autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss
4.  Missense mutations in the sodium borate co-transporter SLC4A11 cause late onset Fuchs corneal dystrophy 
Human mutation  2010;31(11):1261-1268.
Homozygous mutations in the sodium-bicarbonate transporter SLC4A11 cause two early onset corneal dystrophies: congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED) and Harboyan syndrome. More recently, four sporadic patients with late onset Fuchs corneal dystrophy (FCD), a common age-related disorder, were also reported to harbor heterozygous mutations at this locus. We therefore tested the hypothesis that SLC4A11 contributes to FCD and asked whether mutations in SLC4A11 are responsible for familial cases of late onset FCD. We sequenced SLC4A11 in 192 sporadic and small nuclear late-onset FCD families and found seven heterozygous missense novel variations that were absent from ethnically matched controls. Familial data available for one of these mutations showed segregation under a dominant model in a three-generational family. In silico analyses suggested that most of these substitutions are intolerant, while biochemical studies of the mutant protein indicated that these alleles impact the localization and/or post-translational modification of the protein. These results suggest that heterozygous in SLC4A11 are modest contributors to the pathogenesis of adult FCD, suggesting a causality continuum between FCD and CHED. Taken together with a recent model between FCD and yet another early onset corneal dystrophy, PPCD, our data suggest a shared pathomechanism and genetic overlap across several corneal dystrophies.
PMCID: PMC2970683  PMID: 20848555
SLC4A11; Fuchs corneal dystrophy; anterior segment; corneal endothelium
6.  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.
PMCID: PMC2827951  PMID: 20179356

Results 1-6 (6)