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1.  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.
Background
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).
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2010.082552
PMCID: PMC3913043  PMID: 21068128
Next-generation sequencing; Ciliopathy; Nephronophthisis
2.  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.
doi:10.1038/ng.2681
PMCID: PMC3786259  PMID: 23793029
3.  Inversin/Nephrocystin-2 Is Required for Fibroblast Polarity and Directional Cell Migration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60193.
Inversin is a ciliary protein that critically regulates developmental processes and tissue homeostasis in vertebrates, partly through the degradation of Dishevelled (Dvl) proteins to coordinate Wnt signaling in planar cell polarity (PCP). Here, we investigated the role of Inversin in coordinating cell migration, which highly depends on polarity processes at the single-cell level, including the spatial and temporal organization of the cytoskeleton as well as expression and cellular localization of proteins in leading edge formation of migrating cells. Using cultures of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from inv−/− and inv+/+ animals, we confirmed that both inv−/− and inv+/+ MEFs form primary cilia, and that Inversin localizes to the primary cilium in inv+/+ MEFs. In wound healing assays, inv−/− MEFs were severely compromised in their migratory ability and exhibited cytoskeletal rearrangements, including distorted lamellipodia formation and cilia orientation. Transcriptome analysis revealed dysregulation of Wnt signaling and of pathways regulating actin organization and focal adhesions in inv−/− MEFs as compared to inv+/+ MEFs. Further, Dvl-1 and Dvl-3 localized to MEF primary cilia, and β-catenin/Wnt signaling was elevated in inv−/− MEFs, which moreover showed reduced ciliary localization of Dvl-3. Finally, inv−/− MEFs displayed dramatically altered activity and localization of RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42 GTPases, and aberrant expression and targeting of the Na+/H+ exchanger NHE1 and ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) proteins to the edge of cells facing the wound. Phosphorylation of β-catenin at the ciliary base and formation of well-defined lamellipodia with localization and activation of ERM to the leading edge of migrating cells were restored in inv−/− MEFs expressing Inv-GFP. Collectively, our findings point to the significance of Inversin in controlling cell migration processes, at least in part through transcriptional regulation of genes involved in Wnt signaling and pathways that control cytoskeletal organization and ion transport.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060193
PMCID: PMC3620528  PMID: 23593172
4.  Dishevelled stabilization by the ciliopathy protein Rpgrip1l is essential for planar cell polarity 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2012;198(5):927-940.
Rpgrip1l is required for planar localization of the basal body and acts within a ciliopathy protein complex by stabilizing dishevelled.
Cilia are at the core of planar polarity cellular events in many systems. However, the molecular mechanisms by which they influence the polarization process are unclear. Here, we identify the function of the ciliopathy protein Rpgrip1l in planar polarity. In the mouse cochlea and in the zebrafish floor plate, Rpgrip1l was required for positioning the basal body along the planar polarity axis. Rpgrip1l was also essential for stabilizing dishevelled at the cilium base in the zebrafish floor plate and in mammalian renal cells. In rescue experiments, we showed that in the zebrafish floor plate the function of Rpgrip1l in planar polarity was mediated by dishevelled stabilization. In cultured cells, Rpgrip1l participated in a complex with inversin and nephrocystin-4, two ciliopathy proteins known to target dishevelled to the proteasome, and, in this complex, Rpgrip1l prevented dishevelled degradation. We thus uncover a ciliopathy protein complex that finely tunes dishevelled levels, thereby modulating planar cell polarity processes.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201111009
PMCID: PMC3432770  PMID: 22927466
5.  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
6.  TTC21B contributes both causal and modifying alleles across the ciliopathy spectrum 
Nature genetics  2011;43(3):189-196.
Ciliary dysfunction leads to a broad range of overlapping phenotypes, termed collectively as ciliopathies. This grouping is underscored by genetic overlap, where causal genes can also contribute modifying alleles to clinically distinct disorders. Here we show that mutations in TTC21B/IFT139, encoding a retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT) protein, cause both isolated nephronophthisis (NPHP) and syndromic Jeune Asphyxiating Thoracic Dystrophy (JATD). Moreover, although systematic medical resequencing of a large, clinically diverse ciliopathy cohort and matched controls showed a similar frequency of rare changes, in vivo and in vitro evaluations unmasked a significant enrichment of pathogenic alleles in cases, suggesting that TTC21B contributes pathogenic alleles to ∼5% of ciliopathy patients. Our data illustrate how genetic lesions can be both causally associated with diverse ciliopathies, as well as interact in trans with other disease-causing genes, and highlight how saturated resequencing followed by functional analysis of all variants informs the genetic architecture of disorders.
doi:10.1038/ng.756
PMCID: PMC3071301  PMID: 21258341
7.  Mutations in TMEM216 perturb ciliogenesis and cause Joubert, Meckel and related syndromes 
Nature genetics  2010;42(7):619-625.
Joubert syndrome (JBTS), related disorders (JSRD) and Meckel syndrome (MKS) are ciliopathies. We now report that MKS2 and JBTS2 loci are allelic and due to mutations in TMEM216, encoding an uncharacterized tetraspan transmembrane protein. JBTS2 patients displayed frequent nephronophthisis and polydactytly, and two cases conformed to the Oro-Facio-Digital type VI phenotype, whereas skeletal dysplasia was common in MKS fetuses. A single p.R73L mutation was identified in all patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (n=10). TMEM216 localized to the base of primary cilia, and loss of TMEM216 in patient fibroblasts or following siRNA knockdown caused defective ciliogenesis and centrosomal docking, with concomitant hyperactivation of RhoA and Dishevelled. TMEM216 complexed with Meckelin, encoded by a gene also mutated in JSRD and MKS. Abrogation of tmem216 expression in zebrafish led to gastrulation defects that overlap with other ciliary morphants. The data implicate a new family of proteins in the ciliopathies, and further support allelism between ciliopathy disorders.
doi:10.1038/ng.594
PMCID: PMC2894012  PMID: 20512146
8.  CC2D2A mutations in Meckel and Joubert syndromes indicate a genotype-phenotype correlation 
Human mutation  2009;30(11):1574-1582.
The Meckel syndrome (MKS) is a lethal fetal disorder characterized by diffuse renal cystic dysplasia, polydactyly, a brain malformation that is usually occipital encephalocele and/or vermian agenesis, with intrahepatic biliary duct proliferation. Joubert syndrome (JBS) is a viable neurological disorder with a characteristic “molar tooth sign” (MTS) on axial images reflecting cerebellar vermian hypoplasia/dysplasia. Both conditions are classified as ciliopathies with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Allelism of MS and JBS has been reported for TMEM67/MKS3, CEP290/MKS4, and RPGRIP1L/MKS5. Recently, one homozygous splice mutation with a founder effect was reported in the CC2D2A gene in Finnish fetuses with MKS, defining the 6th locus for MKS. Shortly thereafter, CC2D2A mutations were reported in JBS also. The analysis of the CC2D2A gene in our series of MKS fetuses, identified 14 novel truncating mutations in 11 cases. These results confirm the involvement of CC2D2A in MKS and reveal a major contribution of CC2D2A to the disease. We also identified three missense CC2D2A mutations in two JBS cases. Therefore and in accordance with the data reported regarding RPGRIP1L, our results indicate phenotype-genotype correlations, as missense and presumably hypomorphic mutations lead to JBS while all null alleles lead to MKS.
doi:10.1002/humu.21116
PMCID: PMC2783384  PMID: 19777577
Meckel-Gruber syndrome; MKS; Joubert syndrome; JBS; CC2D2A; ciliopathy
9.  Nephrocystin-1 Forms a Complex with Polycystin-1 via a Polyproline Motif/SH3 Domain Interaction and Regulates the Apoptotic Response in Mammals 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12719.
Mutations in PKD1, the gene encoding for the receptor Polycystin-1 (PC-1), cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The cytoplasmic C-terminus of PC-1 contains a coiled-coil domain that mediates an interaction with the PKD2 gene product, Polycystin-2 (PC-2). Here we identify a novel domain in the PC-1 C-terminal tail, a polyproline motif mediating an interaction with Src homology domain 3 (SH3). A screen for interactions using the PC-1 C-terminal tail identified the SH3 domain of nephrocystin-1 (NPHP1) as a potential binding partner of PC-1. NPHP1 is the product of a gene that is mutated in a different form of renal cystic disease, nephronophthisis (NPHP). We show that in vitro pull-down assays and NMR structural studies confirmed the interaction between the PC-1 polyproline motif and the NPHP1 SH3 domain. Furthermore, the two full-length proteins interact through these domains; using a recently generated model system allowing us to track endogenous PC-1, we confirm the interaction between the endogenous proteins. Finally, we show that NPHP1 trafficking to cilia does not require PC-1 and that PC-1 may require NPHP1 to regulate resistance to apoptosis, but not to regulate cell cycle progression. In line with this, we find high levels of apoptosis in renal specimens of NPHP patients. Our data uncover a link between two different ciliopathies, ADPKD and NPHP, supporting the notion that common pathogenetic defects, possibly involving de-regulated apoptosis, underlie renal cyst formation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012719
PMCID: PMC2939065  PMID: 20856870
10.  Nephronophthisis 
Pediatric Nephrology (Berlin, Germany)  2008;24(12):2333-2344.
Nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by a chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis that progress to terminal renal failure during the second decade (juvenile form) or before the age of 5 years (infantile form). In the juvenile form, a urine concentration defect starts during the first decade, and a progressive deterioration of renal function is observed in the following years. Kidney size may be normal, but loss of corticomedullary differentiation is often observed, and cysts occur usually after patients have progressed to end-stage renal failure. Histologic lesions are characterized by tubular basement membrane anomalies, tubular atrophy, and interstitial fibrosis. The infantile form is characterized by cortical microcysts and progression to end-stage renal failure before 5 years of age. Some children present with extrarenal symptoms: retinitis pigmentosa (Senior-Løken syndrome), mental retardation, cerebellar ataxia, bone anomalies, or liver fibrosis. Positional cloning and candidate gene approaches led to the identification of eight causative genes (NPHP1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9) responsible for the juvenile NPH and one gene NPHP2 for the infantile form. NPH and associated disorders are considered as ciliopathies, as all NPHP gene products are expressed in the primary cilia, similarly to the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) proteins.
doi:10.1007/s00467-008-0840-z
PMCID: PMC2770134  PMID: 18607645
Nephronophthisis; Cystic kidney disease; Chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis; Chronic renal failure; Senior-Løken syndrome; Ciliopathy
11.  Nephrocystin-1 and nephrocystin-4 are required for epithelial morphogenesis and associate with PALS1/PATJ and Par6 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(24):4711-4723.
Nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by renal fibrosis, tubular basement membrane disruption and corticomedullary cyst formation leading to end-stage renal failure. The disease is caused by mutations in NPHP1-9 genes, which encode the nephrocystins, proteins localized to cell–cell junctions and centrosome/primary cilia. Here, we show that nephrocystin mRNA expression is dramatically increased during cell polarization, and shRNA-mediated knockdown of either NPHP1 or NPHP4 in MDCK cells resulted in delayed tight junction (TJ) formation, abnormal cilia formation and disorganized multi-lumen structures when grown in a three-dimensional collagen matrix. Some of these phenotypes are similar to those reported for cells depleted of the TJ proteins PALS1 or Par3, and interestingly, we demonstrate a physical interaction between these nephrocystins and PALS1 as well as their partners PATJ and Par6 and show their partial co-localization in human renal tubules. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the nephrocystins play an essential role in epithelial cell organization, suggesting a plausible mechanism by which the in vivo histopathologic features of NPH might develop.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddp434
PMCID: PMC2778369  PMID: 19755384
12.  Targeting of β-Arrestin2 to the Centrosome and Primary Cilium: Role in Cell Proliferation Control 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(11):e3728.
Background
The primary cilium is a sensory organelle generated from the centrosome in quiescent cells and found at the surface of most cell types, from where it controls important physiological processes. Specific sets of membrane proteins involved in sensing the extracellular milieu are concentrated within cilia, including G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Most GPCRs are regulated by β-arrestins, βarr1 and βarr2, which control both their signalling and endocytosis, suggesting that βarrs may also function at primary cilium.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In cycling cells, βarr2 was observed at the centrosome, at the proximal region of the centrioles, in a microtubule independent manner. However, βarr2 did not appear to be involved in classical centrosome-associated functions. In quiescent cells, both in vitro and in vivo, βarr2 was found at the basal body and axoneme of primary cilia. Interestingly, βarr2 was found to interact and colocalize with 14-3-3 proteins and Kif3A, two proteins known to be involved in ciliogenesis and intraciliary transport. In addition, as suggested for other centrosome or cilia-associated proteins, βarrs appear to control cell cycle progression. Indeed, cells lacking βarr2 were unable to properly respond to serum starvation and formed less primary cilia in these conditions.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results show that βarr2 is localized to the centrosome in cycling cells and to the primary cilium in quiescent cells, a feature shared with other proteins known to be involved in ciliogenesis or primary cilium function. Within cilia, βarr2 may participate in the signaling of cilia-associated GPCRs and, therefore, in the sensory functions of this cell “antenna”.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003728
PMCID: PMC2579577  PMID: 19008961

Results 1-12 (12)