Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous developmental disorder. Clinical features include growth retardation, intellectual disability, limb defects, typical facial dysmorphism, and other systemic involvement. The increased understanding of the genetic basis of CdLS has led to diagnostic improvement and expansion of the phenotype. Mutations in five genes (NIPBL, SMC1A, SMC3, RAD21, and HDAC8), all regulators or structural components of cohesin, have been identified. Approximately 60% of CdLS cases are due to NIPBL mutations, 5% caused by mutations in SMC1A, RAD21, and HDAC8 and one proband was found to carry a mutation in SMC3. To date, 311 CdLS-causing mutations are known including missense, nonsense, small deletions and insertions, splice site mutations, and genomic rearrangements. Phenotypic variability is seen both intra- and intergenically. This article reviews the spectrum of CdLS mutations with a particular emphasis on their correlation to the clinical phenotype.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome; NIPBL; SMC1A; SMC3; RAD21; HDAC8
Mutations in cohesin genes have been identified in Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), but its etiopathogenetic mechanisms are still poorly understood. To define biochemical pathways that are affected in CdLS we analyzed the proteomic profile of CdLS cell lines carrying mutations in the core cohesin genes, SMC1A and SMC3. Dysregulated protein expression was found in CdLS probands compared to controls. The proteomics analysis was able to discriminate between probands harboring mutations in the different domains of the SMC proteins. In particular, proteins involved in the response to oxidative stress were specifically down-regulated in hinge mutated probands. In addition, the finding that CdLS cell lines show an increase in global oxidative stress argues that it could contribute to some CdLS phenotypic features such as premature physiological aging and genome instability. Finally, the c-MYC gene represents a convergent hub lying at the center of dysregulated pathways, and is down-regulated in CdLS. This study allowed us to highlight, for the first time, specific biochemical pathways that are affected in CdLS, providing plausible causal evidence for some of the phenotypic features seen in CdLS.
Cohesin; Cornelia de Lange syndrome; SMC1A; SMC3; 2D-DIGE; proteomic profile; dysregulated protein expression; c-Myc
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) is a multisystem developmental disorder characterized by growth retardation, cognitive impairment, external and internal structural malformations, and characteristic facial features. Currently, there are no definitive prenatal screening measures that lead to the diagnosis of CdLS. In this study, documented prenatal findings in CdLS syndrome were analyzed towards the development of a prenatal profile predictive of CdLS. We reviewed 53 cases of CdLS (29 previously reported and 24 unreported) in which prenatal observations/findings were available. The review of these cases revealed a pattern of sonographic findings, including obvious associated structural defects, growth restriction, as well as a more subtle, but strikingly characteristic, facial profile, suggestive of a recognizable prenatal ultrasonographic profile for CdLS. In addition the maternal serum marker, PAPP-A, may be reduced and fetal nuchal translucency may be increased in some pregnancies when measured at an appropriate gestational age. In conclusion, CdLS can be prenatally diagnosed or readily ruled out in a family with a known mutation in a CdLS gene. The characteristic ultrasonographic profile may allow for prenatal diagnosis of CdLS in 1) subsequent pregnancies to a couple with a prior child with CdLS in whom a mutation has not been identified or 2) when there are unexplained pregnancy signs of fetal abnormality such as oligo- or polyhydramnios, a low maternal serum PAPP-A level and/or increased nuchal translucency, fetal growth retardation, or structural anomalies consistent with CdLS.
PAPP-A; IUGR; Cornelia de Lange Syndrome; CdLS; Prenatal screening
Alagille syndrome (ALGS) is a dominant, multisystem disorder caused by mutations in the Jagged1 (JAG1) ligand in 94% of patients, and in the NOTCH2 receptor in <1%. There are only two NOTCH2 families reported to date. This study hypothesised that additional NOTCH2 mutations would be present in patients with clinical features of ALGS without a JAG1 mutation.
The study screened a cohort of JAG1-negative individuals with clinical features suggestive or diagnostic of ALGS for NOTCH2 mutations.
Eight individuals with novel NOTCH2 mutations (six missense, one splicing, and one non-sense mutation) were identified. Three of these patients met classic criteria for ALGS and five patients only had a subset of features. The mutations were distributed across the extracellular (N=5) and intracellular domains (N=3) of the protein. Functional analysis of four missense, one nonsense, and one splicing mutation demonstrated decreased Notch signalling of these proteins. Subjects with NOTCH2 mutations demonstrated highly variable expressivity of the affected systems, as with JAG1 individuals. Liver involvement was universal in NOTCH2 probands and they had a similar prevalence of ophthalmologic and renal anomalies to JAG1 patients. There was a trend towards less cardiac involvement in the NOTCH2 group (60% vs 100% in JAG1). NOTCH2 (+) probands exhibited a significantly decreased penetrance of vertebral abnormalities (10%) and facial features (20%) when compared to the JAG1 (+) cohort.
This work confirms the importance of NOTCH2 as a second disease gene in ALGS and expands the repertoire of the NOTCH2 related disease phenotype.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetic disorder associated with delayed growth, intellectual disability, limb reduction defects and characteristic facial features. Germline mosaicism has been a described mechanism for CdLS when there are several affected offspring of apparently unaffected parents. Presently, the recurrence risk for CdLS has been estimated to be as high as 1.5%; however, this figure may be an underrepresentation. We report on the molecularly defined germline mosaicism cases from a large CdLS database, representing the first large case series on germline mosaicism in CdLS. Of the 12 families, eight have been previously described; however, four have not. No one specific gene mutation, either in the NIPBL or the SMC1A gene, was associated with an increased risk for germline mosaicism. Suspected or confirmed cases of germline mosaicism in our database range from a conservative 3.4% up to 5.4% of our total cohort. In conclusion, the potential reproductive recurrence risk due to germline mosiacism should be addressed in prenatal counseling for all families who have had a previously affected pregnancy or child with CdLS.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome; Germline Mosaicism; Germ Cell; Mosaicism; Genetic Counseling
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.
Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss; SNHI; Chr15q15.3; Stereocilin; STRC; DFNB16; SNP genotyping array; copy number variation; CNV
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a multisystem congenital anomaly disorder characterized by mental retardation, limb abnormalities, distinctive facial features, and hirsutism. Mutations in three genes involved in sister chromatid cohesion, NIPBL, SMC1A, and SMC3, account for ~55% of CdLS cases. The molecular etiology of a significant fraction of CdLS cases remains unknown. We hypothesized that large genomic rearrangements of cohesin complex subunit genes may play a role in the molecular etiology of this disorder.
Custom high-resolution oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization analyses interrogating candidate cohesin genes and breakpoint junction sequencing of identified genomic variants were performed.
Of the 162 patients with CdLS, for whom mutations in known CdLS genes were previously negative by sequencing, deletions containing NIPBL exons were observed in 7 subjects (~5%). Breakpoint sequences in five patients implicated microhomology-mediated replicative mechanisms—such as serial replication slippage and fork stalling and template switching/microhomology-mediated break-induced replication—as a potential predominant contributor to these copy number variations. Most deletions are predicted to result in haploinsuflciency due to heterozygous loss-of-function mutations; such mutations may result in a more severe CdLS phenotype.
Our findings suggest a potential clinical utility to testing for copy number variations involving NIPBL when clinically diagnosed CdLS cases are mutation-negative by DNA-sequencing studies.
aCGH; CdLS; CNV; genomic rearrangement; NIPBL
Pallister–Killian syndrome (PKS) is a rare, sporadic genetic disorder caused by tetrasomy 12p mosaicism associated with a supernumerary isochromosome. Craniofacial dysmorphism, learning impairment and seizures are considered characteristic. However, little is known of the seizure and epilepsy patterns seen in PKS. To better define the occurrence and nature of epileptic and non-epileptic paroxysmal events in PKS, we describe our experience with 5 patients and compare their features with data from a larger cohort of PKS patients ascertained via a web-based parental questionnaire. Three of the 5 patients have had definite epileptic seizures, and one other has had paroxysmal events as yet not clarified. Four of the 5 have also had either non-epileptic paroxysmal events or episodes of uncertain nature. In those with epilepsy, all have had some period of relatively refractory seizures, all have required more than one antiepileptic drug, but none experienced status epilepticus. Only one of the patients with epilepsy (the oldest) has gone into remission. In two of the four with non-epileptic events, video-electroencephalographic monitoring has been valuable in clarifying the nature of the events. EEG characteristics include a slow dominant frequency as well as generalized and focal epileptiform features. Brain MRI findings can be normal but are variable. These specific findings correspond well to information reported by parents in a larger cohort of 51 individuals with PKS. Better understanding of the nature of epileptic and non-epileptic events in PKS will result from a more detailed analysis of objective data obtained from this larger cohort, and from deeper understanding of the molecular impact of 12p tetrasomy in selected cell lines.
Pallister–Killian syndrome; 12p tetrasomy; Isochromosome 12p; Epilepsy; Non-epileptic paroxysmal events; Seizure semiology; Mosaicism
Congenital heart disease (CHD) has been reported to occur in 14–70% of individuals with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS, OMIM 122470) and accounts for significant morbidity and mortality when present. Charts from a cohort of 479 patients with CdLS were reviewed for cardiac evaluations, gene testing and information to determine phenotypic severity. Two hundred fifty-nine individuals had either documented structural defects or minor cardiac findings. The presence of CHD was then quantified as a function of mutation status and severity of CdLS: mild, moderate, or severe. Different types of CHD were also evaluated by mutation status to assess for any genotype –phenotype correlation. NIPBL, SMC1A, and SMC3 mutation-positive patients were equally likely to have CHD, although the number of SMC1A and SMC3 mutation-positive patients were small in comparison. Structural CHDs were more likely to be present in individuals with moderate and severe CdLS than in the mild phenotype. This study evaluates the trends of CHD seen in the CdLS population and correlates these findings with genotype.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS); congenital heart disease (CHD); mutation; phenotype; cohesin; NIPBL; SMC1A; SMC3
To identify causes of death (COD) in propositi with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) at various ages, and to develop guidelines to improve management and avoid morbidity and mortality, we retrospectively reviewed a total of 426 propositi with confirmed clinical diagnoses of CdLS in our database who died in a 41-year period between 1966–2007. Of these, 295 had an identifiable COD reported to us. Clinical, laboratory and complete autopsy data were completed on 41, of which 38 were obtainable, an additional 19 had autopsies that only documented the COD, and 45 propositi had surgical, imaging, or terminal event clinical documentation of their COD. Proband ages ranged from fetuses (21 to 40 weeks gestation) to 61 years. A literature review was undertaken to identify all reported causes of death in CdLS individuals.
In our cohort of 295 propositi with a known COD, respiratory causes including aspiration/reflux and pneumonias were the most common primary causes (31%), followed by gastrointestinal disease, including obstruction/volvulus (19%). Congenital anomalies accounted for 15% of deaths and included congenital diaphragmatic hernia and congenital heart defects. Acquired cardiac disease accounted for 3% of deaths. Neurological causes and accidents each accounted for 8%, sepsis for 4%, cancer for 2%, renal disease for 1.7%, and other causes, 9% of deaths. We also present 21 representative clinical cases for illustration.
This comprehensive review has identified important etiologies contributing to the morbidity and mortality in this population that will provide for an improved understanding of clinical complications, and management for children and adults with CdLS.
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome; Brachmann de Lange Syndrome; causes of death; mortality; autopsy; CdLS
Thrombocytopenia was first reported in Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) by Froster in 1993. Despite early reports, thrombocytopenia has been rarely reported in this disorder. We performed a retrospective analysis of a large cohort of patients with CdLS. We calculated prevalence of thrombocytopenia in 3 subsets of this cohort: the entire cohort (n=1740), a subset of subjects with substantial clinical records (n=695) and a subset of subjects with clinical information regarding platelet counts (n=85). This analysis revealed that 15 have had thrombocytopenia (18% of those with available blood counts); seven had Immune ThrombocytoPenia (ITP). The reported prevalence of pediatric ITP is between 5-13 per 100,000 persons. The prevalence of ITP in this cohort is between 7/1740 and 7/85, giving a relative risk of ITP of between 30 (CI 12 to 77) and 633 (CI 259-1549). Contrary to the reported cases in the literature, none of our patients have had progression of the thrombocytopenia nor have they developed other cytopenias. All 15 patients with thromobocytopenia had CdLS based on clinical criteria. Of the 10 patients tested for mutations in NIBPL, eight had mutations identified. These data support an increased incidence of thrombocytopenia and ITP in CdLS. Subsequently, patients are at risk for spontaneous hemorrhage, and likely increased risk secondary to the high frequency of self-injurious behavior. Although further studies are needed to better define the scope of the problem and to define the mechanisms of thrombocytopenia in CdLS, we would recommend screening for thrombocytopenia upon diagnosis and at five-year intervals thereafter.
cornelia de lange; thrombocytopenia; ITP; immune thrombocytopenia
Mutations in the Notch pathway ligand Jagged1 (JAG1) cause Alagille syndrome (AGS), as well as cardiac defects in seemingly non-syndromic, individuals. To estimate the frequency of JAG1 mutations in cases with right-sided cardiac defects not otherwise diagnosed with AGS, we screened 94 cases with tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and 50 with pulmonic stenosis/peripheral pulmonary stenosis (PS/PPS) or pulmonary valve atresia with intact ventricular septum (PA) for mutations. Sequence changes were identified in three TOF and three PS/PPS/PA patients,that were not present in 100 controls. We identified one frameshift and two missense mutations in the TOF cases, and one frameshift and two missense mutations in cases with PS/PPS/PA. The four missense mutations were assayed for their effect on protein localization, post-translational modification and ability to activate Notch signaling. The missense mutants displayed heterogeneous behavior in these assays, some with complete haploinsufficiency, suggesting that there are additional modifiers leading to organ specific features. We identified functionally significant mutations in 3% (2/94) of TOF patients and 4% (2/50) of PS/PPS/PA patients. Patients with right-sided cardiac defects should be carefully screened for features of AGS or a family history of cardiac defects that might suggest the presence of a JAG1 mutation.
Alagille syndrome; AGS; heart; variable expressivity; tetralogy of Fallot; pulmonary stenosis; Jagged1; JAG1; Notch signaling
Biliary atresia (BA) is a progressive, idiopathic obliteration of the extrahepatic biliary system occurring exclusively in the neonatal period. It is the most common disease leading to liver transplantation in children. The etiology of BA is unknown, although infectious, immune and genetic causes have been suggested. While the recurrence of BA in families is not common, there are more than 30 multiplex families reported and an underlying genetic susceptibility has been hypothesized. We screened a cohort of 35 BA patients for genomic alterations that might confer susceptibility to BA. DNA was genotyped on the Illumina Quad550 platform, which analyzes over 550,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for genomic deletions and duplications. Areas of increased and decreased copy number were compared to those found in control populations. In order to identify regions that could serve as susceptibility factors for BA, we searched for regions that were found in BA patients, but not in controls. We identified two unrelated BA patients with overlapping heterozygous deletions of 2q37.3. Patient 1 had a 1.76 Mb (280 SNP), heterozygous deletion containing thirty genes. Patient 2 had a 5.87 Mb (1,346 SNP) heterozygous deletion containing fifty-five genes. The overlapping 1.76 Mb deletion on chromosome 2q37.3 from 240,936,900 to 242,692,820 constitutes the critical region and the genes within this region could be candidates for susceptibility to BA.
Biliary atresia; copy number variation; deletion 2q37.3
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.
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).
FISH; subtelomere; array comparative genomic hybridization; array CGH; SNP; 20p; 20q; pericentric inversion; duplication; deletion
SMC1A encodes a structural component of the cohesin complex, which isnecessary for sister chromatid cohesion. In addition to its canonical role, cohesin has been shown to be involved in gene expression regulation and maintenance of genome stability. Recently, it has been demonstrated that mutations in the SMC1A gene are responsible for Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). CdLS is a genetically heterogeneous multisystem developmental disorder with variable expressivity, typically characterized by consistent facial dysmorphia, upper extremity malformations, hirsutism, cardiac defects, growth and cognitive retardation, gastrointestinal abnormalities and other systemic involvement. SMC1A mutations have also been identified in colorectal cancers. So far a total of 26 different mutations of the SMC1A gene have been reported. All mutations reported to date are either missense or small in frame deletions that maintain the open reading frame and presumably result in a protein with residual function. The mutations involve all domains of the protein but appear to cluster in key functional loci. At the functional level, elucidation of the effects that specific SMC1A mutations have on cohesin activity will be necessary to understand the etiopathology of CdLS and its possible involvement in tumorigenesis. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of SMC1A mutations.
Cohesin; SMC1A; Cornelia de Lange Syndrome; Cancer
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) is a dominantly inherited heterogeneous genetic disorder with multi-system abnormalities. 60% of probands with CdLS have heterozygous mutations in the Nipped-B- like (NIPBL) gene, 5% have mutations in the SMC1A gene, and 1 proband was found to have a mutation in the SMC3 gene. Cohesin is a multi-subunit complex consisting of a SMC1A and SMC3 heterodimer and two non-SMC subunits. SMC1A is located on the human X chromosome and is reported to escape X inactivation. We show that 29 unrelated CdLS probands with 21 unique SMC1A mutations have been identified by our group and others including 7 males. All mutations identified to date are either missense or small deletions with all presumably preserving the protein open reading frame. Both wild type and mutant alleles are expressed. Females quantitatively express twice the amount of SMC1A mRNA as compared to males. The transcriptional profiling of 23 selected genes is different in SMC1A mutant probands, controls and NIPBL mutant probands. These results suggest that mechanistically SMC1A-related CdLS is not due to altered levels of the SMC1A transcript, but rather that the mutant proteins maintain a residual function in males and enact a dominant negative effect in females.
SMC1A; CdLS; X-linked; Expression
Recurrent microdeletions and microduplications of a 600 kb genomic region of chromosome 16p11.2 have been implicated in childhood-onset developmental disorders1-3. Here we report the strong association of 16p11.2 microduplications with schizophrenia in two large cohorts. In the primary sample, the microduplication was detected in 12/1906 (0.63%) cases and 1/3971 (0.03%) controls (P=1.2×10-5, OR=25.8). In the replication sample, the microduplication was detected in 9/2645 (0.34%) cases and 1/2420 (0.04%) controls (P=0.022, OR=8.3). For the series combined, microduplication of 16p11.2 was associated with 14.5-fold increased risk of schizophrenia (95% C.I. [3.3, 62]). A meta-analysis of multiple psychiatric disorders showed a significant association of the microduplication with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. The reciprocal microdeletion was associated only with autism and developmental disorders. Analysis of patient clinical data showed that head circumference was significantly larger in patients with the microdeletion compared with patients with the microduplication (P = 0.0007). Our results suggest that the microduplication of 16p11.2 confers substantial risk for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, whereas the reciprocal microdeletion is associated with contrasting clinical features.
The literature abounds with reports of malformation syndromes in which human external ears are variously described as dysplastic, abnormal, large/small, low set, typical, or in some way unusual. Rarely is the ear well illustrated or described in meaningful detail. With few exceptions, such as Down syndrome, there is no real understanding of the degree to which ear morphology is affected in a specific syndrome. This paper describes a retrospective attempt to apply the recently published Elements of Morphology: Standard Terminology of the ear to compare a control sample of convenience with a group of patients with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) (all six papers in this issue are available online, open access at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121641055/issue).
Although this study has a number of limitations, it demonstrates that the method can be successfully applied and is capable of producing data that can be subjected to statistical analysis. The ears of the patients with CdLS were significantly different from the controls over a number of descriptors, the most significant of which included more frequent apparent posterior rotation, a shorter more serpiginous antihelical stem and sharper antihelical to inferior crus angle, a shorter crus helix, a more V-shaped incisura, and a smaller lobe.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome; ear dysmorphology; minor ear variants; anthropometry
The cohesin complex is crucial for chromosome segregation during mitosis and has recently also been implicated in transcriptional regulation and chromatin architecture. The NIPBL protein is required for the loading of cohesin onto chromatin, but how and where cohesin is loaded in vertebrate cells is unclear. Heterozygous mutations of NIPBL were found in 50% of the cases of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), a human developmental syndrome with a complex phenotype. However, no defects in the mitotic function of cohesin have been observed so far and the links between NIPBL mutations and the observed developmental defects are unclear. We show that NIPBL binds to chromatin in somatic cells with a different timing than cohesin. Further, we observe that high-affinity NIPBL binding sites localize to different regions than cohesin and almost exclusively to the promoters of active genes. NIPBL or cohesin knockdown reduce transcription of these genes differently, suggesting a cohesin-independent role of NIPBL for transcription. Motif analysis and comparison to published data show that NIPBL co-localizes with a specific set of other transcription factors. In cells derived from CdLS patients NIPBL binding levels are reduced and several of the NIPBL-bound genes have previously been observed to be mis-expressed in CdLS. In summary, our observations indicate that NIPBL mutations might cause developmental defects in different ways. First, defects of NIPBL might lead to cohesin-loading defects and thereby alter gene expression and second, NIPBL deficiency might affect genes directly via its role at the respective promoters.
The cohesin complex is crucial for chromosome segregation during cell divisions but was recently also implicated in transcriptional regulation and chromatin architecture. Cohesin's binding to chromatin depends on NIPBL, a factor that was found to be mutated in 50% of the cases of the human developmental disorder Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). To understand the role of NIPBL for cohesin, we need to know when and where the cohesin is loaded onto DNA. Our experiments have identified high-affinity NIPBL binding sites in different cells lines which do not overlap with cohesin-binding, but colocalize with specific transcription factors at active promoters. The activity of the respective genes depends on NIPBL but not cohesin. This is in contrast with other published data showing colocalization of NIPBL and cohesin, and we reveal the existence of different types of NIPBL binding sites that are detected differently by the antibodies used in the different studies. Our observations reveal a dual role for NIPBL in cohesin loading and as potential transcription co-factor, which yields novel insights into how NIPBL defects could cause Cornelia de Lange Syndrome since NIPBL mutations might directly influence developmentally important genes.
Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM), the most common human cerebellar malformation, has only one characterized associated locus1,2. Here we characterize a second DWM-linked locus on 6p25.3, showing that deletions or duplications encompassing FOXC1 are associated with cerebellar and posterior fossa malformations including cerebellar vermis hypoplasia (CVH), mega-cisterna magna (MCM) and DWM. Foxc1-null mice have embryonic abnormalities of the rhombic lip due to loss of mesenchyme-secreted signaling molecules with subsequent loss of Atoh1 expression in vermis. Foxc1 homozygous hypomorphs have CVH with medial fusion and foliation defects. Human FOXC1 heterozygous mutations are known to affect eye development, causing a spectrum of glaucoma-associated anomalies (Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, ARS; MIM no. 601631). We report the first brain imaging data from humans with FOXC1 mutations and show that these individuals also have CVH. We conclude that alteration of FOXC1 function alone causes CVH and contributes to MCM and DWM. Our results highlight a previously unrecognized role for mesenchyme-neuroepithelium interactions in the mid-hindbrain during early embryogenesis.
The cohesin complex has recently been shown to be a key regulator of eukaryotic gene expression, although the mechanisms by which it exerts its effects are poorly understood. We have undertaken a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in cohesin-deficient cell lines from probands with Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS). Heterozygous mutations in NIPBL, SMC1A and SMC3 genes account for ∼65% of individuals with CdLS. SMC1A and SMC3 are subunits of the cohesin complex that controls sister chromatid cohesion, whereas NIPBL facilitates cohesin loading and unloading. We have examined the methylation status of 27 578 CpG dinucleotides in 72 CdLS and control samples. We have documented the DNA methylation pattern in human lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) as well as identified specific differential DNA methylation in CdLS. Subgroups of CdLS probands and controls can be classified using selected CpG loci. The X chromosome was also found to have a unique DNA methylation pattern in CdLS. Cohesin preferentially binds to hypo-methylated DNA in control LCLs, whereas the differential DNA methylation alters cohesin binding in CdLS. Our results suggest that in addition to DNA methylation multiple mechanisms may be involved in transcriptional regulation in human cells and in the resultant gene misexpression in CdLS.
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.
SNP array analysis; 20p deletion; copy number variants; Alagille syndrome; haploinsufficiency; JAG1
The Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) (OMIM# 122470) is a dominantly inherited multisystem developmental disorder. The phenotype consists of characteristic facial features, hirsutism, abnormalities of the upper extremities ranging from subtle changes in the phalanges and metacarpal bones to oligodactyly and phocomelia, gastroesophageal dysfunction, growth retardation, and neurodevelopmental delay. Prevalence is estimated to be as high as 1 in 10,000. Recently, mutations in NIPBL were identified in sporadic and familial CdLS cases. To date, mutations in this gene have been identified in over 45% of individuals with CdLS. NIPBL is the human homolog of the Drosophila Nipped-B gene. Although its function in mammalian systems has not yet been elucidated, sequence homologs of Nipped-B in yeast (Scc2 and Mis4) are required for sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis, and a similar role was recently demonstrated for Nipped-B in Drosophila. In order to evaluate NIPBL role in sister chromatid cohesion in humans, metaphase spreads on 90 probands (40 NIPBL mutation positive and 50 NIPBL mutation negative) with CdLS were evaluated for evidence of precocious sister chromatid separation (PSCS). We screened 50 metaphases from each proband and found evidence of PSCS in 41% (compared to 9% in control samples). These studies indicate that NIPBL may play a role in sister chromatid cohesion in humans as has been reported for its homologs in Drosophila and yeast.
cornelia de Lange syndrome; CdLS; NIPBL; Nipped-B; precocious sister chromatid separation; PSCS