Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (49)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
more »
1.  MKS1 regulates ciliary INPP5E levels in Joubert syndrome 
Journal of medical genetics  2015;53(1):62-72.
Joubert syndrome (JS) is a recessive ciliopathy characterized by a distinctive brain malformation “the molar tooth sign”. Mutations in >27 genes cause JS, and mutations in 12 of these genes also cause Meckel syndrome (MKS). The goals of this work are to describe the clinical features of MKS1-related JS and determine whether disease causing MKS1 mutations affect cellular phenotypes such as cilium number, length and protein content as potential mechanisms underlying JS.
We measured cilium number, length and protein content (ARL13B and INPP5E) by immunofluorescence in fibroblasts from individuals with MKS1-related JS and in a 3D spheroid rescue assay to test the effects of disease-related MKS1 mutations.
We report MKS1 mutations (eight of them previously unreported) in nine individuals with JS. A minority of the individuals with MKS1-related JS have MKS features. In contrast to the truncating mutations associated with MKS, all of the individuals with MKS1-related JS carry ≥1 non-truncating mutation. Fibroblasts from individuals with MKS1-related JS make normal or fewer cilia than control fibroblasts, their cilia are more variable in length than controls, and show decreased ciliary ARL13B and INPP5E. Additionally, MKS1 mutant alleles have similar effects in 3D spheroids.
MKS1 functions in the transition zone at the base of the cilium to regulate ciliary INPP5E content, through an ARL13B-dependent mechanism. Mutations in INPP5E also cause JS, so our findings in patient fibroblasts support the notion that loss of INPP5E function, due to either mutation or mislocalization, is a key mechanism underlying JS, downstream of MKS1 and ARL13B.
PMCID: PMC5060087  PMID: 26490104
cilia; ciliopathy; transition zone; ARL13B; MKS1
2.  Large-scale targeted sequencing comparison highlights extreme genetic heterogeneity in nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies 
Journal of medical genetics  2015;53(3):208-214.
The term nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) describes a group of rare autosomal-recessive cystic kidney diseases, characterized by broad genetic and clinical heterogeneity. NPHP-RC is frequently associated with extrarenal manifestations and accounts for the majority of genetically caused chronic kidney disease (CKD) during childhood and adolescence. Generation of a molecular diagnosis has been impaired by this broad genetic heterogeneity. However, recently developed high-throughput exon sequencing techniques represent powerful and efficient tools to screen large cohorts for dozens of causative genes. Therefore, we performed massively multiplexed targeted sequencing using the modified molecular inversion probe (MIPs) strategy in an international cohort of 384 patients diagnosed with NPHP-RC. As a result, we established the molecular diagnoses in 81/384 unrelated individuals (21.1%). We detected 127 likely disease-causing mutations in 18 of 34 evaluated NPHP-RC genes, 22 of which were novel. We further compared a subgroup of current findings to the results of a previous study in which we used an array-based microfluidic PCR technology in the same cohort. While 78 likely disease-causing mutations were previously detected by the array-based microfluidic PCR, the MIPs approach identified 94 likely pathogenic mutations. Compared to the previous approach, MIPs re-detected 66 out of 78 variants and 28 previously unidentified variants, for a total of 94 variants. In summary, we demonstrate that the modified MIPs technology is a useful approach to screen large cohorts for a multitude of established NPHP genes in order to identify the underlying molecular cause. Combined application of two independent library preparation and sequencing techniques, however, may still be indicated for Mendelian diseases with extensive genetic heterogeneity in order to further increase diagnostic sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC5057575  PMID: 26673778
NPHP; ciliopathies; MIP; cystic kidney disease
3.  Whole exome sequencing identifies causative mutations in the majority of consanguineous or familial cases with childhood-onset increased renal echogenicity 
Kidney international  2016;89(2):468-475.
Chronically increased echogenicity on renal ultrasound is a sensitive early finding of chronic kidney disease that can be detected before manifestation of other symptoms. Increased echogenicity, however, is not specific for a certain etiology of chronic kidney disease. Here, we performed whole exome sequencing in 79 consanguineous or familial cases of suspected nephronophthisis in order to determine the underlying molecular disease cause. In 50 cases, there was a causative mutation in a known monogenic disease gene. In 32 of these cases whole exome sequencing confirmed the diagnosis of a nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy. In 8 cases it revealed the diagnosis of a renal tubulopathy. The remaining 10 cases were identified as Alport syndrome (4), autosomal-recessive polycystic kidney disease (2), congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (3), and APECED syndrome (1). In 5 families, in whom mutations in known monogenic genes were excluded, we applied homozygosity mapping for variant filtering, and identified 5 novel candidate genes (RBM48, FAM186B, PIAS1, INCENP, and RCOR1) for renal ciliopathies. Thus, whole exome sequencing allows the detection of the causative mutation in 2/3 of affected individuals, thereby presenting the etiologic diagnosis and allows identification of novel candidate genes.
PMCID: PMC4840095  PMID: 26489029
chronic kidney disease; pediatric nephrology; genetic kidney disease; whole exome sequencing; mutation analysis; monogenic diseases; increased renal echogenicity; nephronophthisis
4.  tarSVM: Improving the accuracy of variant calls derived from microfluidic PCR-based targeted next generation sequencing using a support vector machine 
BMC Bioinformatics  2016;17:233.
Targeted sequencing of discrete gene sets is a cost effective strategy to screen subjects for monogenic forms of disease. One method to achieve this pairs microfluidic PCR with next generation sequencing. The PCR step of this pipeline creates challenges in accurate variant calling. This includes that most reads targeting a specific exon are duplicates that have been amplified from the PCR step. To reduce false positive variant calls from these experiments, previous studies have used threshold-based filtering of alternative allele depth ratio and manual inspection of the alignments. However even after manual inspection and filtering, many variants fail to be validated via Sanger sequencing. To improve the accuracy of variant calling from these experiments, we are challenged to design a variant filtering strategy that sufficiently models microfluidic PCR-specific issues.
We developed an open source variant filtering pipeline, targeted sequencing support vector machine (“tarSVM”), that uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM) and a new score the normalized allele dosage test to identify high quality variants from microfluidic PCR data. tarSVM maximizes training knowledge by selecting variants that are likely true and likely false variants by incorporating knowledge from the 1000 Genomes and the Exome Aggregation Consortium projects. tarSVM improves on previous approaches by synthesizing variant features from the Genome Analysis Toolkit and allele dosage information. We compared the accuracy of tarSVM versus existing variant quality filtering strategies on two cohorts (n = 474 and n = 1152), and validated our method on a third cohort (n = 75). In the first cohort, our method achieved 84.5 % accuracy of predicting whether or not a variant would be validated with Sanger sequencing versus 78.8 % for the second most accurate method. In the second cohort, our method had an accuracy of 73.3 %, versus 61.5 % for the second best method. Finally, our method had a false discovery rate of 5 % for the validation cohort.
tarSVM increases the accuracy of variant calling when using microfluidic PCR based targeted sequencing approaches. This results in higher confidence downstream analyses, and ultimately reduces the costs Sanger validation. Our approach is less labor intensive than existing approaches, and is available as an open source pipeline for read trimming, aligning, variant calling, and variant quality filtering on GitHub at
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-016-1108-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4902911  PMID: 27287006
Microfluidic; PCR; Next-generation sequencing; Variant calling; Accuracy; Support vector machine; Nephrotic
5.  IFT81, encoding an IFT-B core protein, as a very rare cause of a ciliopathy phenotype 
Journal of medical genetics  2015;52(10):657-665.
Bidirectional intraflagellar transport (IFT) consists of two major protein complexes, IFT-A and IFT-B. In contrast to the IFT-B complex, all components of IFT-A have recently been linked to human ciliopathies when defective. We therefore hypothesized that mutations in additional IFT-B encoding genes can be found in patients with multisystemic ciliopathies.
We screened 1,628 individuals with reno-ocular ciliopathies by targeted next-generation sequencing of ciliary candidate genes, including all IFT-B encoding genes.
Consequently, we identified a homozygous mutation in IFT81 affecting an obligatory donor splice site in an individual with nephronophthisis and polydactyly. Further, we detected a loss-of-stop mutation with extension of the deduced protein by 10 amino acids in an individual with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis-1 (CLN1). This proband presented with retinal dystrophy and brain lesions including cerebellar atrophy, a phenotype to which the IFT81 variant might contribute. Cultured fibroblasts of this latter affected individual showed a significant decrease in ciliated cell abundance compared to controls and increased expression of the transcription factor GLI2 suggesting deranged sonic hedgehog signaling.
This work describes identification of mutations of IFT81 in individuals with symptoms consistent with the clinical spectrum of ciliopathies. It might represent the rare case of a core IFT-B complex protein found associated with human disease. Our data further suggest that defects in the IFT-B core are an exceedingly rare finding, probably due to its indispensable role for ciliary assembly in development.
PMCID: PMC4621372  PMID: 26275418
ciliopathies; nephronophthisis; retinal dystrophy; intraflagellar transport; IFT
6.  FAT1 mutations cause a glomerulotubular nephropathy 
Nature Communications  2016;7:10822.
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) causes 15% of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Here we show that recessive mutations in FAT1 cause a distinct renal disease entity in four families with a combination of SRNS, tubular ectasia, haematuria and facultative neurological involvement. Loss of FAT1 results in decreased cell adhesion and migration in fibroblasts and podocytes and the decreased migration is partially reversed by a RAC1/CDC42 activator. Podocyte-specific deletion of Fat1 in mice induces abnormal glomerular filtration barrier development, leading to podocyte foot process effacement. Knockdown of Fat1 in renal tubular cells reduces migration, decreases active RAC1 and CDC42, and induces defects in lumen formation. Knockdown of fat1 in zebrafish causes pronephric cysts, which is partially rescued by RAC1/CDC42 activators, confirming a role of the two small GTPases in the pathogenesis. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of SRNS and tubulopathy, linking FAT1 and RAC1/CDC42 to podocyte and tubular cell function.
Steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) can cause CKD and necessitate kidney transplant. Here the authors identify FAT1 mutations by homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing in families with SRNS and provide functional mouse and zebrafish evidence that FAT1 is required for normal glomerular and tubular function and that FAT1 mutations can cause SRNS.
PMCID: PMC4770090  PMID: 26905694
7.  Identification of 99 novel mutations in a worldwide cohort of 1,056 patients with a nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy 
Human genetics  2013;132(8):865-884.
Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are autosomal-recessive cystic kidney diseases. More than 13 genes are implicated in its pathogenesis to date, accounting for only 40 % of all cases. High-throughput mutation screenings of large patient cohorts represent a powerful tool for diagnostics and identification of novel NPHP genes. We here performed a new high-throughput mutation analysis method to study 13 established NPHP genes (NPHP1–NPHP13) in a worldwide cohort of 1,056 patients diagnosed with NPHP-RC. We first applied multiplexed PCR-based amplification using Fluidigm Access-Array™ technology followed by barcoding and next-generation resequencing on an Illumina platform. As a result, we established the molecular diagnosis in 127/1,056 independent individuals (12.0 %) and identified a single heterozygous truncating mutation in an additional 31 individuals (2.9 %). Altogether, we detected 159 different mutations in 11 out of 13 different NPHP genes, 99 of which were novel. Phenotypically most remarkable were two patients with truncating mutations in INVS/NPHP2 who did not present as infants and did not exhibit extrarenal manifestations. In addition, we present the first case of Caroli disease due to mutations in WDR19/NPHP13 and the second case ever with a recessive mutation in GLIS2/NPHP7. This study represents the most comprehensive mutation analysis in NPHP-RC patients, identifying the largest number of novel mutations in a single study worldwide.
PMCID: PMC4643834  PMID: 23559409
8.  IFT81, encoding an IFT-B core protein, as a very rare cause of a ciliopathy phenotype 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2015;52(10):657-665.
Bidirectional intraflagellar transport (IFT) consists of two major protein complexes, IFT-A and IFT-B. In contrast to the IFT-B complex, all components of IFT-A have recently been linked to human ciliopathies when defective. We therefore hypothesised that mutations in additional IFT-B encoding genes can be found in patients with multisystemic ciliopathies.
We screened 1628 individuals with reno-ocular ciliopathies by targeted next-generation sequencing of ciliary candidate genes, including all IFT-B encoding genes.
Consequently, we identified a homozygous mutation in IFT81 affecting an obligatory donor splice site in an individual with nephronophthisis and polydactyly. Further, we detected a loss-of-stop mutation with extension of the deduced protein by 10 amino acids in an individual with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis-1. This proband presented with retinal dystrophy and brain lesions including cerebellar atrophy, a phenotype to which the IFT81 variant might contribute. Cultured fibroblasts of this latter affected individual showed a significant decrease in ciliated cell abundance compared with controls and increased expression of the transcription factor GLI2 suggesting deranged sonic hedgehog signalling.
This work describes identification of mutations of IFT81 in individuals with symptoms consistent with the clinical spectrum of ciliopathies. It might represent the rare case of a core IFT-B complex protein found associated with human disease. Our data further suggest that defects in the IFT-B core are an exceedingly rare finding, probably due to its indispensable role for ciliary assembly in development.
PMCID: PMC4621372  PMID: 26275418
Genetics; Molecular genetics; Ophthalmology; Renal Medicine
9.  TMEM231, mutated in orofaciodigital and Meckel syndromes, organizes the ciliary transition zone 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2015;209(1):129-142.
TMEM231, a functional component of the MKS complex at the ciliary transition zone, is mutated in orofaciodigital syndrome type 3 and Meckel syndrome.
The Meckel syndrome (MKS) complex functions at the transition zone, located between the basal body and axoneme, to regulate the localization of ciliary membrane proteins. We investigated the role of Tmem231, a two-pass transmembrane protein, in MKS complex formation and function. Consistent with a role in transition zone function, mutation of mouse Tmem231 disrupts the localization of proteins including Arl13b and Inpp5e to cilia, resulting in phenotypes characteristic of MKS such as polydactyly and kidney cysts. Tmem231 and B9d1 are essential for each other and other complex components such as Mks1 to localize to the transition zone. As in mouse, the Caenorhabditis elegans orthologue of Tmem231 localizes to and controls transition zone formation and function, suggesting an evolutionarily conserved role for Tmem231. We identified TMEM231 mutations in orofaciodigital syndrome type 3 (OFD3) and MKS patients that compromise transition zone function. Thus, Tmem231 is critical for organizing the MKS complex and controlling ciliary composition, defects in which cause OFD3 and MKS.
PMCID: PMC4395494  PMID: 25869670
10.  KANK deficiency leads to podocyte dysfunction and nephrotic syndrome 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2015;125(6):2375-2384.
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) is a frequent cause of progressive renal function decline and affects millions of people. In a recent study, 30% of SRNS cases evaluated were the result of monogenic mutations in 1 of 27 different genes. Here, using homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing, we identified recessive mutations in kidney ankyrin repeat-containing protein 1 (KANK1), KANK2, and KANK4 in individuals with nephrotic syndrome. In an independent functional genetic screen of Drosophila cardiac nephrocytes, which are equivalents of mammalian podocytes, we determined that the Drosophila KANK homolog (dKank) is essential for nephrocyte function. RNAi-mediated knockdown of dKank in nephrocytes disrupted slit diaphragm filtration structures and lacuna channel structures. In rats, KANK1, KANK2, and KANK4 all localized to podocytes in glomeruli, and KANK1 partially colocalized with synaptopodin. Knockdown of kank2 in zebrafish recapitulated a nephrotic syndrome phenotype, resulting in proteinuria and podocyte foot process effacement. In rat glomeruli and cultured human podocytes, KANK2 interacted with ARHGDIA, a known regulator of RHO GTPases in podocytes that is dysfunctional in some types of nephrotic syndrome. Knockdown of KANK2 in cultured podocytes increased active GTP-bound RHOA and decreased migration. Together, these data suggest that KANK family genes play evolutionarily conserved roles in podocyte function, likely through regulating RHO GTPase signaling.
PMCID: PMC4497755  PMID: 25961457
Cell Biology; Genetics; Nephrology
11.  Whole Exome Sequencing Reveals Novel PHEX Splice Site Mutations in Patients with Hypophosphatemic Rickets 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130729.
Hypophosphatemic rickets (HR) is a heterogeneous genetic phosphate wasting disorder. The disease is most commonly caused by mutations in the PHEX gene located on the X-chromosome or by mutations in CLCN5, DMP1, ENPP1, FGF23, and SLC34A3. The aims of this study were to perform molecular diagnostics for four patients with HR of Indian origin (two independent families) and to describe their clinical features.
We performed whole exome sequencing (WES) for the affected mother of two boys who also displayed the typical features of HR, including bone malformations and phosphate wasting. B-lymphoblast cell lines were established by EBV transformation and subsequent RT-PCR to investigate an uncommon splice site variant found by WES. An in silico analysis was done to obtain accurate nucleotide frequency occurrences of consensus splice positions other than the canonical sites of all human exons. Additionally, we applied direct Sanger sequencing for all exons and exon/intron boundaries of the PHEX gene for an affected girl from an independent second Indian family.
WES revealed a novel PHEX splice acceptor mutation in intron 9 (c.1080-3C>A) in a family with 3 affected individuals with HR. The effect on splicing of this mutation was further investigated by RT-PCR using RNA obtained from a patient’s EBV-transformed lymphoblast cell line. RT-PCR revealed an aberrant splice transcript skipping exons 10-14 which was not observed in control samples, confirming the diagnosis of X-linked dominant hypophosphatemia (XLH). The in silico analysis of all human splice sites adjacent to all 327,293 exons across 81,814 transcripts among 20,345 human genes revealed that cytosine is, with 64.3%, the most frequent nucleobase at the minus 3 splice acceptor position, followed by thymidine with 28.7%, adenine with 6.3%, and guanine with 0.8%. We generated frequency tables and pictograms for the extended donor and acceptor splice consensus regions by analyzing all human exons. Direct Sanger sequencing of all PHEX exons in a sporadic case with HR from the Indian subcontinent revealed an additional novel PHEX mutation (c.1211_1215delACAAAinsTTTACAT, p.Asp404Valfs*5, de novo) located in exon 11.
Mutation analyses revealed two novel mutations and helped to confirm the clinical diagnoses of XLH in two families from India. WES helped to analyze all genes implicated in the underlying disease complex. Mutations at splice positions other than the canonical key sites need further functional investigation to support the assertion of pathogenicity.
PMCID: PMC4479593  PMID: 26107949
12.  Novel compound heterozygous mutations in AMN cause Imerslund-Gräsbeck syndrome in two half-sisters: a case report 
BMC Medical Genetics  2015;16:35.
Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome (IGS) is a rare autosomal recessive disease characterized by intestinal vitamin B12 malabsorption. Clinical features include megaloblastic anemia, recurrent infections, failure to thrive, and proteinuria. Recessive mutations in cubilin (CUBN) and in amnionless (AMN) have been shown to cause IGS. To date, there are only about 300 cases described worldwide with only 37 different mutations found in CUBN and 30 different in the AMN gene.
Case presentation
We collected pedigree structure, clinical data, and DNA samples from 2 Caucasian English half-sisters with IGS. Molecular diagnostics was performed by direct Sanger sequencing of all 62 exons of the CUBN gene and 12 exons of the AMN gene. Because of lack of parental DNA, cloning, and sequencing of multiple plasmid clones was performed to assess the allele of identified mutations. Genetic characterization revealed 2 novel compound heterozygous AMN mutations in both half-sisters with IGS. Trans-configuration of the mutations was confirmed.
We have identified novel compound heterozygous mutations in AMN in a family from the United Kingdom with clinical features of Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4630879  PMID: 26040326
Amnionless; Cobalamin deficiency; Anemia; Proteinuria; Vitamin B12; Mutation screening
13.  Mutations in RSPH1 Cause Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia with a Unique Clinical and Ciliary Phenotype 
Rationale: Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetically heterogeneous recessive disorder of motile cilia, but the genetic cause is not defined for all patients with PCD.
Objectives: To identify disease-causing mutations in novel genes, we performed exome sequencing, follow-up characterization, mutation scanning, and genotype-phenotype studies in patients with PCD.
Methods: Whole-exome sequencing was performed using NimbleGen capture and Illumina HiSeq sequencing. Sanger-based sequencing was used for mutation scanning, validation, and segregation analysis.
Measurements and Main Results: We performed exome sequencing on an affected sib-pair with normal ultrastructure in more than 85% of cilia. A homozygous splice-site mutation was detected in RSPH1 in both siblings; parents were carriers. Screening RSPH1 in 413 unrelated probands, including 325 with PCD and 88 with idiopathic bronchiectasis, revealed biallelic loss-of-function mutations in nine additional probands. Five affected siblings of probands in RSPH1 families harbored the familial mutations. The 16 individuals with RSPH1 mutations had some features of PCD; however, nasal nitric oxide levels were higher than in patients with PCD with other gene mutations (98.3 vs. 20.7 nl/min; P < 0.0003). Additionally, individuals with RSPH1 mutations had a lower prevalence (8 of 16) of neonatal respiratory distress, and later onset of daily wet cough than typical for PCD, and better lung function (FEV1), compared with 75 age- and sex-matched PCD cases (73.0 vs. 61.8, FEV1 % predicted; P = 0.043). Cilia from individuals with RSPH1 mutations had normal beat frequency (6.1 ± Hz at 25°C), but an abnormal, circular beat pattern.
Conclusions: The milder clinical disease and higher nasal nitric oxide in individuals with biallelic mutations in RSPH1 provides evidence of a unique genotype-phenotype relationship in PCD, and suggests that mutations in RSPH1 may be associated with residual ciliary function.
PMCID: PMC3983840  PMID: 24568568
cilia; Kartagener syndrome; ciliopathy; exome sequencing; RSPH1
14.  The kinetochore protein, CENPF, is mutated in human ciliopathy and microcephaly phenotypes 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2015;52(3):147-156.
Mutations in microtubule-regulating genes are associated with disorders of neuronal migration and microcephaly. Regulation of centriole length has been shown to underlie the pathogenesis of certain ciliopathy phenotypes. Using a next-generation sequencing approach, we identified mutations in a novel centriolar disease gene in a kindred with an embryonic lethal ciliopathy phenotype and in a patient with primary microcephaly.
Methods and results
Whole exome sequencing data from a non-consanguineous Caucasian kindred exhibiting mid-gestation lethality and ciliopathic malformations revealed two novel non-synonymous variants in CENPF, a microtubule-regulating gene. All four affected fetuses showed segregation for two mutated alleles [IVS5-2A>C, predicted to abolish the consensus splice-acceptor site from exon 6; c.1744G>T, p.E582X]. In a second unrelated patient exhibiting microcephaly, we identified two CENPF mutations [c.1744G>T, p.E582X; c.8692 C>T, p.R2898X] by whole exome sequencing. We found that CENP-F colocalised with Ninein at the subdistal appendages of the mother centriole in mouse inner medullary collecting duct cells. Intraflagellar transport protein-88 (IFT-88) colocalised with CENP-F along the ciliary axonemes of renal epithelial cells in age-matched control human fetuses but did not in truncated cilia of mutant CENPF kidneys. Pairwise co-immunoprecipitation assays of mitotic and serum-starved HEKT293 cells confirmed that IFT88 precipitates with endogenous CENP-F.
Our data identify CENPF as a new centriolar disease gene implicated in severe human ciliopathy and microcephaly related phenotypes. CENP-F has a novel putative function in ciliogenesis and cortical neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4345935  PMID: 25564561
Clinical genetics; Molecular genetics; CENPF; Ciliopathy; Microcephaly
15.  Whole exome resequencing distinguishes cystic kidney diseases from phenocopies in renal ciliopathies 
Kidney international  2013;85(4):880-887.
Rare single-gene disorders cause chronic disease. However, half of the 6,000 recessive single gene causes of disease are still unknown. Because recessive disease genes can illuminate, at least in part, disease pathomechanism, their identification offers direct opportunities for improved clinical management and potentially treatment. Rare diseases comprise the majority of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in children but are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Whole exome resequencing facilitates identification of recessive disease genes. However, its utility is impeded by the large number of genetic variants detected. We here overcome this limitation by combining homozygosity mapping with whole exome resequencing in 10 sib pairs with a nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy, which represents the most frequent genetic cause of CKD in the first three decades of life. In 7 of 10 sib-ships with a histologic or ultrasonographic diagnosis of nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy we detect the causative gene. In six sib-ships we identify mutations of known nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy genes, while in two additional sib-ships we found mutations in the known CKD-causing genes SLC4A1 and AGXT as phenocopies of nephronophthisis-related ciliopathy. Thus whole exome resequencing establishes an efficient, non-invasive approach towards early detection and causation-based diagnosis of rare kidney diseases. This approach can be extended to other rare recessive disorders, thereby providing accurate diagnosis and facilitating the study of disease mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3972265  PMID: 24257694
17.  Clinical Characterization and NPHP1 Mutations in Nephronophthisis and Associated Ciliopathies: A Single Center Experience 
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) is a recessive disorder of the kidney that is the leading genetic cause of end-stage renal failure in children. Egypt is a country with a high rate of consanguineous marriages; yet, only a few studies have investigated the clinical and molecular characteristics of NPHP and related ciliopathies in the Egyptian population. We studied 20 children, from 17 independent families, fulfilling the clinical and the ultrasonographic criteria of NPHP. Analysis for a homozygous deletion of the NPHP1 gene was performed by polymerase chain reaction on the genomic DNA of all patients. Patients were best categorized as 75% juvenile NPHP, 5% infantile NPHP, and 20% Joubert syndrome-related disorders (JSRD). The mean age at diagnosis was 87.5 + 45.4 months, which was significantly late as compared with the age at onset of symptoms, 43.8 ± 29.7 months (P <0.01). Homozygous NPHP1 deletions were detected in six patients from five of 17 (29.4%) studied families. Our study demonstrates the clinical phenotype of NPHP and related disorders in Egyptian children. Also, we report that homozygous NPHP1 deletions account for 29.4% of NPHP in the studied families in this cohort, thereby confir-ming the diagnosis of type-1 NPHP. Moreover, our findings confirm that NPHP1 deletions can indeed be responsible for JSRD.
PMCID: PMC4154542  PMID: 22982934
18.  Genotype-phenotype correlation in 440 patients with NPHP-related ciliopathies 
Kidney international  2011;80(11):1239-1245.
Nephronophthisis (NPHP), an autosomal recessive cystic kidney disease, is the most frequent genetic cause for end-stage renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Mutations in 13 genes (NPHP1-NPHP11, AHI1, and CC2D2A) cause NPHP with ubiquitous expression of the corresponding proteins consistent with the multiorgan involvement of NPHP-related diseases. The genotype-phenotype correlation in these ciliopathies can be explained by gene locus heterogeneity, allelism, and the impact of modifier genes. In some NPHP-related ciliopathies, the nature of the recessive mutations determines disease severity. In order to define the genotypephenotype correlation more clearly, we evaluated a worldwide cohort of 440 patients from 365 families with NPHP-related ciliopathies, in whom both disease-causing alleles were identified. The phenotypes were ranked in the order of severity from degenerative to degenerative/ dysplastic to dysplastic. A genotype of 2 null alleles caused a range of phenotypes with an increasing order of severity of NPHP1, NPHP3, NPHP4, NPHP5, NPHP2, NPHP10, NPHP6 to AHI1. Only NPHP6 showed allelic influences on the phenotypes; the presence of 2 null mutations caused dysplastic phenotypes, whereas at least one missense allele rescued it to a milder degenerative phenotype. We also found 9 novel mutations in the NPHP genes. Thus, our studies have important implications for genetic counseling and planning of renal replacement therapy.
PMCID: PMC4037742  PMID: 21866095
cystic kidney; end-stage renal disease; genetic renal disease; human genetics; pediatric nephrology
19.  Mutation Analysis of 18 Nephronophthisis-associated Ciliopathy Disease Genes using a DNA Pooling and Next-Generation Sequencing Strategy 
Journal of medical genetics  2010;48(2):105-116.
Nephronophthisis-associated ciliopathies (NPHP-AC) comprise a group of autosomal recessive cystic kidney diseases that includes nephronophthisis (NPHP), Senior-Loken syndrome (SLS), Joubert syndrome (JBTS), and Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS). To date, causative mutations in NPHP-AC have been described for 18 different genes, rendering mutation analysis tedious and expensive. To overcome the broad genetic locus heterogeneity we devised a strategy of DNA pooling with consecutive massively parallel resequencing (MPR).
In 120 patients with severe NPHP-AC phenotypes we prepared 5 pools of genomic DNA with 24 patients each which were used as templates in order to PCR-amplify all 376 exons of 18 NPHP-AC genes (NPHP1, INVS, NPHP3, NPHP4, IQCB1, CEP290, GLIS2, RPGRIP1L, NEK8, TMEM67, INPP5E, TMEM216, AHI1, ARL13B, CC2D2A, TTC21B, MKS1, and XPNPEP3). PCR products were then subjected to MPR on a Illumina Genome-Analyzer and mutations were subsequently assigned to their respective mutation carrier via CEL I endonuclease-based heteroduplex screening and confirmed by Sanger sequencing.
For proof of principle we used DNA from patients with known mutations and demonstrated the detection of 22 out of 24 different alleles (92% sensitivity). MPR led to the molecular diagnosis in 30/120 patients (25%) and we identified 54 pathogenic mutations (27 novel) in 7 different NPHP-AC genes. Additionally, in 24 patients we only found single heterozygous variants of unknown significance.
The combined approach of DNA pooling followed by MPR strongly facilitates mutation analysis in broadly heterogeneous single-gene disorders. The lack of mutations in 75% of patients in our cohort indicates further extensive heterogeneity in NPHP-AC.
PMCID: PMC3913043  PMID: 21068128
Next-generation sequencing; Ciliopathy; Nephronophthisis
20.  ANKS6 is a central component of a nephronophthisis module linking NEK8 to INVS and NPHP3 
Nature genetics  2013;45(8):951-956.
Nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal recessive cystic kidney disease that leads to renal failure in childhood or adolescence. Most NPHP gene products form molecular networks. We have identified ANKS6 as a new NPHP family member that connects NEK8 (NPHP9) to INVERSIN (INVS, NPHP2) and NPHP3 to form a distinct NPHP module. ANKS6 localizes to the proximal cilium and knockdown experiments in zebrafish and Xenopus confirmed a role in renal development. Genetic screening identified six families with ANKS6 mutations and NPH, including severe cardiovascular abnormalities, liver fibrosis and situs inversus. The oxygen sensor HIF1AN (FIH) hydroxylates ANKS6 and INVS, while knockdown of Hif1an in Xenopus resembled the loss of other NPHP proteins. HIF1AN altered the composition of the ANKS6/INVS/NPHP3 module. Network analyses, uncovering additional putative NPHP-associated genes, placed ANKS6 at the center of the NPHP module, explaining the overlapping disease manifestation caused by mutations of either ANKS6, NEK8, INVS or NPHP3.
PMCID: PMC3786259  PMID: 23793029
21.  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
22.  Identification of two novel CAKUT-causing genes by massively parallel exon resequencing of candidate genes in patients with unilateral renal agenesis 
Kidney international  2011;81(2):10.1038/ki.2011.315.
Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) constitute the most frequent cause of chronic kidney disease in children, accounting for ~50% of all cases. Although many forms of CAKUT are likely caused by single-gene defects, only few causative genes have been identified. To identify new causative genes many candidate genes need to be analyzed due to the broad genetic locus heterogeneity of CAKUT. We therefore applied our newly developed approach of DNA pooling with consecutive massively parallel exon resequencing to overcome this problem. We pooled DNA of 20 individuals and amplified by PCR all 313 exons of 30 CAKUT candidate genes. PCR products were then subjected to massively parallel exon resequencing. Mutation carriers were identified using Sanger sequencing. We repeated the experiment to cover 40 patients in total (29 with unilateral renal agenesis and 11 with other CAKUT phenotypes). We detected 5 heterozygous missense mutations in 2 candidate genes that were not previously implicated in non-syndromic CAKUT in humans, 4 mutations in the FRAS1 gene and 1 in FREM2. All mutations were absent from 96 healthy control individuals and had a PolyPhen score of >1.4 (“possibly damaging”). Recessive truncating mutations in FRAS1 and FREM2 were known to cause Fraser syndrome in humans and mice, whereas a phenotype in heterozygous carriers has not been described. We hereby identify heterozygous missense mutations in FRAS1 and FREM2 as a new cause of non-syndromic CAKUT in human.
PMCID: PMC3836012  PMID: 21900877
23.  Mutations in INVS encoding inversin cause nephronophthisis type 2, linking renal cystic disease to the function of primary cilia and left-right axis determination 
Nature genetics  2003;34(4):413-420.
Nephronophthisis (NPHP), an autosomal recessive cystic kidney disease, leads to chronic renal failure in children. The genes mutated in NPHP1 and NPHP4 have been identified, and a gene locus associated with infantile nephronophthisis (NPHP2) was mapped. The kidney phenotype of NPHP2 combines clinical features of NPHP and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Here, we identify inversin (INVS) as the gene mutated in NPHP2 with and without situs inversus. We show molecular interaction of inversin with nephrocystin, the product of the gene mutated in NPHP1 and interaction of nephrocystin with β-tubulin, a main component of primary cilia. We show that nephrocystin, inversin and β-tubulin colocalize to primary cilia of renal tubular cells. Furthermore, we produce a PKD-like renal cystic phenotype and randomization of heart looping by knockdown of invs expression in zebrafish. The interaction and colocalization in cilia of inversin, nephrocystin and β-tubulin connect pathogenetic aspects of NPHP to PKD, to primary cilia function and to left-right axis determination.
PMCID: PMC3732175  PMID: 12872123
24.  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
The New England journal of medicine  2011;365(4):295-306.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a kidney disease that presents with nephrotic syndrome and is often resistant to glucocorticosteroids and progresses to end-stage kidney disease in 50–70% of patients. Genetic studies in familial FSGS indicate that it is a disease of the podocytes, major components of the glomerular filtration barrier. However the molecular cause of over half of primary FSGS is unknown, and effective treatments have been elusive.
We performed whole-genome linkage analysis followed by high-throughput sequencing of the positive linkage area in a family with autosomal recessive FSGS and sequenced a newly discovered gene in 52 unrelated FSGS patients. Immunohistochemistry was performed in human kidney biopsies and cultured podocytes. Expression studies in vitro were performed to characterize the functional consequences of the mutations identified.
Two mutations (A159P and Y695X) in MYO1E, encoding the non-muscle class I myosin, myosin 1E (Myo1E), which segregated with FSGS in two independent pedigrees were identified. Patients were homozygous for the mutations and were resistant to glucocorticosteroids. Electron microscopy showed thickening and disorganization of the glomerular basement membrane. Normal expression of Myo1E was documented in control human kidney biopsies in vivo and in glomerular podocytes in vitro. Transfection studies revealed abnormal subcellular localization and function of A159P-Myo1E mutant. The Y695X mutation causes loss of calmodulin binding and the tail domains of Myo1E.
MYO1E mutations lead to childhood onset steroid-resistant FSGS. These data support a role of Myo1E in podocyte function and the consequent integrity of the glomerular permselectivity barrier.
PMCID: PMC3701523  PMID: 21756023

Results 1-25 (49)