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1.  CCBE1 Mutation in Two Siblings, One Manifesting Lymphedema-Cholestasis Syndrome, and the Other, Fetal Hydrops 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75770.
Lymphedema-cholestasis syndrome (LCS; Aagenaes syndrome) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by 1) neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis, often lessening and becoming intermittent with age, and 2) severe chronic lymphedema, mainly lower limb. LCS was originally described in a Norwegian kindred in which a locus, LCS1, was mapped to a 6.6cM region on chromosome 15. Mutations in CCBE1 on chromosome 18 have been reported in some cases of lymphatic dysplasia, but not in LCS.
Consanguineous parents of Mexican ancestry had a child with LCS who did not exhibit extended homozygosity in the LCS1 region. A subsequent pregnancy was electively terminated due to fetal hydrops. We performed whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping to identify regions of homozygosity in these siblings, and sequenced promising candidate genes.
Both siblings harbored a homozygous mutation in CCBE1, c.398 T>C, predicted to result in the missense change p.L133P. Regions containing known ‘cholestasis genes’ did not demonstrate homozygosity in the LCS patient.
Mutations in CCBE1 may yield a phenotype not only of lymphatic dysplasia, but also of LCS or fetal hydrops; however, the possibility that the sibling with LCS also carries a homozygous mutation in an unidentified gene influencing cholestasis cannot be excluded.
PMCID: PMC3784396  PMID: 24086631
2.  Persistent Mosaicism for 12p Duplication/Triplication Chromosome Structural Abnormality in Peripheral Blood 
Case Reports in Genetics  2013;2013:857926.
We present a rare case of mosaicism for a structural abnormality of chromosome 12 in a patient with phenotypic features of Pallister-Killian syndrome. A six-month-old child with dysmorphic features, exotropia, hypotonia, and developmental delay was mosaic for both a normal karyotype and a cell line with 12p duplication/triplication in 25 percent of metaphase cells. Utilization of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) identified three copies of probes from the end of the short arm of chromosome 12 (TEL(12p13) locus and the subtelomere (12p terminal)) on the structurally abnormal chromosome 12. Genome-wide SNP array analysis revealed that the regions of duplication and triplication were of maternal origin. The abnormal cell line in our patient was present at 25 percent at six months and 19 months of age in both metaphase and interphase cells from peripheral blood, where typically the isochromosome 12p is absent in the newborn. This may suggest that the gene(s) resulting in a growth disadvantage of abnormal cells in peripheral blood of patients with tetrasomy 12p may not have the same influence when present in only three copies.
PMCID: PMC3787625  PMID: 24151566
3.  Genome-wide SNP Genotyping Identifies the Stereocilin (STRC) Gene as a Major Contributor to Pediatric Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Impairment 
Hearing loss is the most prevalent sensory perception deficit in humans, affecting 1/500 newborns, can be syndromic or nonsyndromic and is genetically heterogeneous. Nearly 80% of inherited nonsyndromic bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (NBSNHI) is autosomal recessive. Although many causal genes have been identified, most are minor contributors, except for GJB2, which accounts for nearly 50% of all recessive cases of severe to profound congenital NBSNHI in some populations. More than 60% of children with a NBSNHI do not have an identifiable genetic cause. To identify genetic contributors, we genotyped 659 GJB2 mutation negative pediatric probands with NBSNHI and assayed for copy number variants (CNVs). After identifying 8 mild-moderate NBSNHI probands with a Chr15q15.3 deletion encompassing the Stereocilin (STRC) gene amongst this cohort, sequencing of STRC was undertaken in these probands as well as 50 probands and 14 siblings with mild-moderate NBSNHI and 40 probands with moderately severe-profound NBSNHI who were GJB2 mutation negative. The existence of a STRC pseudogene that is 99.6% homologous to the STRC coding region has made the sequencing interpretation complicated. We identified 7/50 probands in the mild-moderate cohort to have biallelic alterations in STRC, not including the 8 previously identified deletions. We also identified 2/40 probands to have biallelic alterations in the moderately severe-profound NBSNHI cohort, notably no large deletions in combination with another variant were found in this cohort. The data suggest that STRC may be a common contributor to NBSNHI among GJB2 mutation negative probands, especially in those with mild to moderate hearing impairment.
PMCID: PMC3264741  PMID: 22147502
Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss; SNHI; Chr15q15.3; Stereocilin; STRC; DFNB16; SNP genotyping array; copy number variation; CNV
4.  Mosaic Trisomy 17: Variable Clinical and Cytogenetic Presentation 
Mosaic trisomy 17 is rare with only 28 cases reported and the clinical presentation is highly variable. The diagnosis is most commonly made by prenatal karyotype and in most cases is followed by a normal postnatal karyotype on blood lymphocytes. We present two cases of mosaic trisomy 17 diagnosed prenatally, with follow up in multiple tissues at birth. In the first case, trisomy 17 was identified in all amniocytes, and at birth standard results of chromosome analysis in peripheral blood were normal, but mosaic trisomy 17 was identified (50–75%) in skin fibroblasts by genome-wide SNP array analysis. This patient presented with minor anomalies, congenital heart disease, asymmetry, intestinal malrotation and died on day 9 of life. In the second patient amniocentesis after ultrasound finding of tetralogy of Fallot showed mosaic trisomy 17. Postnatally, results of a SNP array were normal in blood, buccal mucosa and skin. It is possible that the cardiac defect is related to trisomy 17 in key tissues during heart development, although at birth the aneuploidy could not be identified in tissues that are routinely analyzed for diagnosis. These cases add to our understanding of mosaic trisomy 17, highlighting the failure to diagnose this aneuploidy in peripheral blood.
PMCID: PMC3197730  PMID: 21998853
Mosaic trisomy 17; SNP microarray analysis; tissue specific mosaicism
5.  Mechanisms of ring chromosome formation, ring instability and clinical consequences 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:171.
The breakpoints and mechanisms of ring chromosome formation were studied and mapped in 14 patients.
Several techniques were performed such as genome-wide array, MLPA (Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification) and FISH (Fluorescent in situ Hybridization).
The ring chromosomes of patients I to XIV were determined to be, respectively: r(3)(p26.1q29), r(4)(p16.3q35.2), r(10)(p15.3q26.2), r(10)(p15.3q26.13), r(13)(p13q31.1), r(13)(p13q34), r(14)(p13q32.33), r(15)(p13q26.2), r(18)(p11.32q22.2), r(18)(p11.32q21.33), r(18)(p11.21q23), r(22)(p13q13.33), r(22)(p13q13.2), and r(22)(p13q13.2). These rings were found to have been formed by different mechanisms, such as: breaks in both chromosome arms followed by end-to-end reunion (patients IV, VIII, IX, XI, XIII and XIV); a break in one chromosome arm followed by fusion with the subtelomeric region of the other (patients I and II); a break in one chromosome arm followed by fusion with the opposite telomeric region (patients III and X); fusion of two subtelomeric regions (patient VII); and telomere-telomere fusion (patient XII). Thus, the r(14) and one r(22) can be considered complete rings, since there was no loss of relevant genetic material. Two patients (V and VI) with r(13) showed duplication along with terminal deletion of 13q, one of them proved to be inverted, a mechanism known as inv-dup-del. Ring instability was detected by ring loss and secondary aberrations in all but three patients, who presented stable ring chromosomes (II, XIII and XIV).
We concluded that the clinical phenotype of patients with ring chromosomes may be related with different factors, including gene haploinsufficiency, gene duplications and ring instability. Epigenetic factors due to the circular architecture of ring chromosomes must also be considered, since even complete ring chromosomes can result in phenotypic alterations, as observed in our patients with complete r(14) and r(22).
PMCID: PMC3309960  PMID: 22188645
6.  Mechanisms of mosaicism, chimerism and uniparental disomy identified by single nucleotide polymorphism array analysis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(7):1263-1275.
Mosaic aneuploidy and uniparental disomy (UPD) arise from mitotic or meiotic events. There are differences between these mechanisms in terms of (i) impact on embryonic development; (ii) co-occurrence of mosaic trisomy and UPD and (iii) potential recurrence risks. We used a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array to study patients with chromosome aneuploidy mosaicism, UPD and one individual with XX/XY chimerism to gain insight into the developmental mechanism and timing of these events. Sixteen cases of mosaic aneuploidy originated mitotically, and these included four rare trisomies and all of the monosomies, consistent with the influence of selective factors. Five trisomies arose meiotically, and three of the five had UPD in the disomic cells, confirming increased risk for UPD in the case of meiotic non-disjunction. Evidence for the meiotic origin of aneuploidy and UPD was seen in the patterns of recombination visible during analysis with 1–3 crossovers per chromosome. The mechanisms of formation of the UPD included trisomy rescue, with and without concomitant trisomy, monosomy rescue, and mitotic formation of a mosaic segmental UPD. UPD was also identified in an XX/XY chimeric individual, with one cell line having complete maternal UPD consistent with a parthenogenetic origin. Utilization of SNP arrays allows simultaneous evaluation of genomic alterations and insights into aneuploidy and UPD mechanisms. Differentiation of mitotic and meiotic origins for aneuploidy and UPD supports existence of selective factors against full trisomy of some chromosomes in the early embryo and provides data for estimation of recurrence and disease mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3146011  PMID: 20053666
7.  Two Siblings with Alternate Unbalanced Recombinants Derived from a Large Cryptic Maternal Pericentric Inversion of Chromosome 20 
Two brothers, with dissimilar clinical features, were each found to have different abnormalities of chromosome 20 by subtelomere fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The proband had deletion of 20p subtelomere and duplication of 20q subtelomere, while his brother was found to have a duplication of 20p subtelomere and deletion of 20q subtelomere. Parental cytogenetic studies were initially thought to be normal, both by G-banding and by subtelomere FISH analysis. Since chromosome 20 is a metacentric chromosome and an inversion was suspected, we used anchored FISH to assist in identifying a possible inversion. This approach employed concomitant hybridization of a FISH probe to the short (p) arm of chromosome 20 with the 20q subtelomere probe. We identified a cytogenetically non-visible, mosaic pericentric inversion of one of the maternal chromosome 20 homologues, providing a mechanistic explanation for the chromosomal abnormalities present in these brothers. Array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) with both a custom-made BAC and cosmid-based subtelomere specific array (TEL array) and a commercially-available SNP-based array confirmed and further characterized these rearrangements, identifying this as the largest pericentric inversion of chromosome 20 described to date. TEL array data indicate that the 20p breakpoint is defined by BAC RP11-978M13, ~900 kb from the pter; SNP array data reveal this breakpoint to occur within BAC RP11-978M13. The 20q breakpoint is defined by BAC RP11-93B14, ~1.7 Mb from the qter, by TEL array; SNP array data refine this breakpoint to within a gap between BACs on the TEL array (i.e. between RP11-93B14 and proximal BAC RP11-765G16).
PMCID: PMC2840621  PMID: 20101690
FISH; subtelomere; array comparative genomic hybridization; array CGH; SNP; 20p; 20q; pericentric inversion; duplication; deletion
8.  SNP array mapping of 20p deletions: Genotypes, Phenotypes and Copy Number Variation 
Human mutation  2009;30(3):371-378.
The use of array technology to define chromosome deletions and duplications is bringing us closer to establishing a genotype/phenotype map of genomic copy number alterations. We studied 21 patients and 5 relatives with deletions of the short arm of chromosome 20 using the Illumina HumanHap550 SNP array to 1) more accurately determine the deletion sizes, 2) identify and compare breakpoints, 3) establish genotype/phenotype correlations and 4) investigate the use of the HumanHap550 platform for analysis of chromosome deletions. Deletions ranged from 95kb to 14.62Mb, and all of the breakpoints were unique. Eleven patients had deletions between 95kb and 4Mb and these individuals had normal development, with no anomalies outside of those associated with Alagille syndrome. The proximal and distal boundaries of these eleven deletions constitute a 5.4MB region, and we propose that haploinsufficiency for only 1 of the 12 genes in this region causes phenotypic abnormalities. This defines the JAG1 associated critical region, in which deletions do not confer findings other than those associated with Alagille syndrome. The other 10 patients had deletions between 3.28Mb and 14.62Mb, which extended outside the critical region, and notably, all of these patients, had developmental delay. This group had other findings such as autism, scoliosis and bifid uvula. We identified 47 additional polymorphic genome-wide copy number variants (>20 SNPs), with 0–5 variants called per patient. Deletions of the short arm of chromosome 20 are associated with relatively mild and limited clinical anomalies. The use of SNP arrays provides accurate high-resolution definition of genomic abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC2650004  PMID: 19058200
SNP array analysis; 20p deletion; copy number variants; Alagille syndrome; haploinsufficiency; JAG1
9.  Water structure in vitro and within Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast cells under conditions of heat shock 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2007;1780(1):41-50.
The OH stretch mode from water and organic hydroxyl groups have strong infrared absorption, the position of the band going to lower frequency with increased H-bonding. This band was used to study water in trehalose and glycerol solutions and in genetically modified yeast cells containing varying amounts of trehalose. Concentration-dependent changes in water structure induced by trehalose and glycerol in solution were detected, consistent with an increase of lower-energy H-bonds and interactions at the expense of higher-energy interactions. This result suggests that these molecules disrupt the water H-bond network in such a way as to strengthen molecule-water interactions while perturbing water-water interactions. The molecule-induced changes in the water H-bond network seen in solution do not translate to observable differences in yeast cells that are trehalose-deficient and trehalose-rich. Although comparison of yeast with low and high trehalose showed no observable effect on intracellular water structure, the structure of water in cells is different from that in bulk water. Cellular water exhibits a larger preference for lower-energy H-bonds or interactions over higher-energy interactions relative to that shown in bulk water. This effect is likely the result of the high concentration of biological molecules present in the cell. The ability of water to interact directly with polar groups on biological molecules may cause the preference seen for lower-energy interactions.
PMCID: PMC2231520  PMID: 17961925
infrared; heat shock; hydrogen bond; trehalose; glycerol; Saccharomyces cerevisiae
10.  The Natural Osmolyte Trehalose Is a Positive Regulator of the Heat-Induced Activity of Yeast Heat Shock Transcription Factor▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;27(4):1505-1515.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the intracellular concentration of trehalose increases rapidly in response to many environmental stresses, including heat shock. These high trehalose levels have been correlated with tolerance to adverse conditions and led to the model that trehalose functions as a chemical cochaperone. Here, we show that the transcriptional activity of Hsf1 during the heat shock response depends on trehalose. Strains with low levels of trehalose have a diminished transcriptional response to heat shock, while strains with high levels of trehalose have an enhanced transcriptional response to heat shock. The enhanced transcriptional response does not require the other heat-responsive transcription factors Msn2/4 but is dependent upon heat and Hsf1. In addition, the phosphorylation levels of Hsf1 correlate with both transcriptional activity and the presence of trehalose. These in vivo results support a new role for trehalose, where trehalose directly modifies the dynamic range of Hsf1 activity and therefore influences heat shock protein mRNA levels in response to stress.
PMCID: PMC1800720  PMID: 17145780

Results 1-10 (10)