Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by deficits in cerebral metabolic rates of glucose in the posterior cingulate (PC) and precuneus in AD subjects, and in APOEε4 carriers, decades prior to the onset of measureable cognitive deficits. However, the cellular and molecular basis of this phenotype remains to be clarified. Given the roles of astrocytes in energy storage and brain immunity, we sought to characterize the transcriptome of AD PC astrocytes. Cells were laser capture microdissected from AD (n=10) and healthy elderly control (n=10) subjects for RNA sequencing. We generated >5.22 billion reads and compared sequencing data between controls and AD patients. We identified differentially expressed mitochondria-related genes including TRMT61B, FASTKD2, and NDUFA4L2, and using pathway and weighted gene co-expression analyses, we identified differentially expressed immune response genes. A number of these genes, including CLU, C3, and CD74, have been implicated in Abeta generation or clearance. This data provides key insights into astrocyte-specific contributions to AD and we present this data set as a publicly available resource.
Alzheimer’s disease; posterior cingulate; astrocytes; RNA sequencing; immune response; mitochondria
BACKGROUND: The genomic heterogeneity of glioblastoma likely underlies the low response rates (8-24%) for targeted agents among unselected populations. We tested whether NGS would be useful in identifying therapeutically-actionable genetic alterations; we sought to test if this translated into improved tumor control in a patient-derived GBM model. METHODS: Tumor specimens from each patient (n = 11) that were used for analyte extraction contained between 70-80% viable tumor cellularity. Genome sequence coverage was more than 30X for both tumor and germline genomes; tumor RNA sequencing included over 100 million reads. NGS of paired tumor and germline DNA enabled detection of single nucleotide variations (SNVs), indels, translocations, intra-chromosomal rearrangements, and copy number alterations. A custom drug-matching workflow utilizing publically available databases and curated literature on reported drug effects, pharmacokinetics, and blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration was used to map individual gene alterations in tumors with associated drug-response relationships. One specimen was tested in vitro and in vivo using a matched, patient-derived xenograft model. RESULTS: NGS for the 11 tumor panel found ∼30% of cases with EGFR amplification, p16, and/or PTEN deletion. Novel potentially actionable targets included a TRIM54-FGFR3 fusion, STAG2 mutation, KIF11 and KIF15 mutation, and BRAF amplification. One recurrent, MGMT-unmethylated GBM line with a TRIM54-FGFR3 fusion underwent chemovulnerability testing. Cyquant proliferation assays demonstrated sensitivity to the pan-FGFR1-3 inhibitor AZD4547 when compared to a line without FGFR alteration (IC50 3uM vs >10uM). Furthermore, a flank PDX study demonstrated significant activity by AZD4547 when compared with either placebo or temozolomide, resulting in near complete tumor stasis at 82+ days of dosing with AZD4547. CONCLUSIONS: These results support the notion that therapeutic planning for treatment of GBM can be individualized and predicted by genome- and transcription-based analysis on the primary tumor, with the ultimate goal to design individualized GBM therapy based upon genetic markers for treatment sensitivity.
Children with pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGG) including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) continue to have a dismal prognosis and, as a result, novel therapeutic approaches are needed. We evaluated whether genomic profiling, defined as sequencing of tumor and germline exomes and tumor RNA, can be used to identify distinct, actionable events that may guide treatment of children with pHGG. Tumor from eight archival cases were assessed to confirm high tumor cellularity of samples (>60%) and were evaluated by genomic profiling. Successfully sequenced tumor specimens originated from DIPG (n = 2), astrocytoma grade II (n = 1), astrocytoma grade III (n = 1), glioblastoma (n = 4). We generated average mapped coverages of >145X across all exomes and generated >190M reads for each tumor RNA. Identified alterations were matched to potential therapeutic options using a custom drug-matching pipeline utilizing a pharmacopeia that includes FDA-approved drugs, potential repositioned agents, and investigational compounds. Alterations in genes previously implicated in pediatric glioma were identified, including mutations in histone H3 (H3F3A), PDGFRA, TP53, and ATRX and copy number loss of CDKN2A. Alterations associated with potential sensitivity to FDA-approved oncology agents included frameshift and splice-site mutations in TSC2 and extracellular mutations in PDGFRA (E229K, C235Y mutations; previously reported in pHGG), with predicted sensitivity to mTOR inhibitors and PDGFRA inhibitors, respectively. Inclusion of repositioned therapies and agents in clinical development expanded the actionable roster to include: CDKN2A deletion, BRD4 gain, PRKCI gain, ATM mutation, and overexpression of EZH2, KIF11, MELK, PLK4, and WEE1, several of which are direct targets of investigational agents currently in clinical trials. In conclusion, potentially actionable alterations were uncovered by applying integrative sequencing strategies to pHGG patients. Future efforts will apply this strategy in children with DIPG utilizing pre-treatment biopsies to inform treatment options following initial radiotherapy.
Microcephaly is a fairly common feature observed in children with delayed development, defined as head circumference less than 2 standard deviations below the mean for age and gender. It may be the result of an acquired insult to the brain, such prenatal or perinatal brain injury (congenital infection or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy), or be a part of a genetic syndrome. There are over 1000 conditions listed in OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) where microcephaly is a key finding; many of these are associated with specific somatic features and non-CNS anomalies. The term primary microcephaly is used when microcephaly and delayed development are the primary features, and they are not part of another recognized syndrome.
In this case report, we present the clinical features of siblings (brother and sister) with primary microcephaly and delayed development, and subtle dysmorphic features. Both children had brain MRI studies that showed periventricular and subcortical T2/FLAIR hyperintensities, without signs of white matter volume loss, and no parenchymal calcifications by CT scan. The family was enrolled in a research study for whole exome sequencing of probands and parents. Analysis of variants determined that the children were compound heterozygotes for nonsense mutations, c.277C>T (p.Arg93*) and c.397C>T (p.Arg133*), in the
TRMT10A gene. Mutations in this gene have only recently been reported in children with microcephaly and early onset diabetes mellitus.
Our report adds to current knowledge of
TRMT10A related neurodevelopmental disorders and demonstrates imaging findings suggestive of delayed or abnormal myelination of the white matter in this disorder. Accurate diagnosis through genomic testing, as in the children described here, allows for early detection and management of medical complications, such as diabetes mellitus.
Primary microcephaly; Delayed development; Periventricular leukomalacia; White matter hyperintensities; Diabetes mellitus; TRMT10A; tRNA methyltransferase
A 3-year-old female patient presenting with an unknown syndrome of a neonatal progeroid appearance, lipodystrophy, pulmonary hypertension, cutis marmorata, feeding disorder and failure to thrive was investigated by whole-genome sequencing. This revealed a de novo, heterozygous, frame-shift mutation in the Caveolin1 gene (CAV1) (p.Phe160X). Mutations in CAV1, encoding the main component of the caveolae in plasma membranes, cause Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy type 3 (BSCL). Although BSCL is recessive, heterozygous carriers either show a reduced phenotype of partial lipodystrophy, pulmonary hypertension, or no phenotype. To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying this syndrome in more depth, we performed next generation RNA sequencing of peripheral blood, which showed several dysregulated pathways in the patient that might be related to the phenotypic progeroid features (apoptosis, DNA repair/replication, mitochondrial). Secondly, we found a significant down-regulation of known Cav1 interaction partners, verifying the dysfunction of CAV1. Other known progeroid genes and lipodystrophy genes were also dysregulated. Next, western blotting of lysates of cultured fibroblasts showed that the patient shows a significantly decreased expression of wild-type CAV1 protein, demonstrating a loss-of-function mutation, though her phenotype is more severe that other heterozygotes with similar mutations. This phenotypic variety could be explained by differences in genetic background. Indications for this are supported by additional rare variants we found in AGPAT2 and LPIN1 lipodystrophy genes. CAV1, AGPAT2 and LPIN1 all play an important role in triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis in adipose tissue, and the defective function in different parts of this pathway, though not all to the same extend, could contribute to a more severe lipoatrophic phenotype in this patient. In conclusion, we report, for the first time, an association of CAV1 dysfunction with a syndrome of severe premature aging and lipodystrophy. This may contribute to a better understanding of the aging process and pathogenic mechanisms that contribute to premature aging.
Neuromuscular diseases (NMD) account for a significant proportion of infant and childhood mortality and devastating chronic disease. Determining the specific diagnosis of NMD is challenging due to thousands of unique or rare genetic variants that result in overlapping phenotypes. We present four unique childhood myopathy cases characterized by relatively mild muscle weakness, slowly progressing course, mildly elevated creatine phosphokinase (CPK), and contractures. We also present two additional cases characterized by severe prenatal/neonatal myopathy. Prior extensive genetic testing and histology of these cases did not reveal the genetic etiology of disease. Here, we applied whole exome sequencing (WES) and bioinformatics to identify likely causal pathogenic variants in each pedigree. In two cases, we identified novel pathogenic variants in COL6A3. In a third case, we identified novel likely pathogenic variants in COL6A6 and COL6A3. We identified a novel splice variant in EMD in a fourth case. Finally, we classify two cases as calcium channelopathies with identification of novel pathogenic variants in RYR1 and CACNA1S. These are the first cases of myopathies reported to be caused by variants in COL6A6 and CACNA1S. Our results demonstrate the utility and genetic diagnostic value of WES in the broad class of NMD phenotypes.
Arthrogryposis; CACNA1S; central core disease; COL6A3; COL6A6; EMD; exome; muscular dystrophy; myopathy; RYR1
Cerebral small-vessel disease has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The retinal microvasculature enables the noninvasive visualization and evaluation of the systemic microcirculation. We evaluated retinal microvascular parameters in a case-control study of AD patients and cognitively normal controls.
Retinal images were computationally analyzed and quantitative retinal parameters (caliber, fractal dimension, tortuosity, and bifurcation) measured. Regression models were used to compute odds ratios (OR) and confidence intervals (CI) for AD with adjustment for confounders.
Retinal images were available in 213 AD participants and 294 cognitively normal controls. Persons with lower venular fractal dimension (OR per standard deviation [SD] increase, 0.77 [CI: 0.62–0.97]) and lower arteriolar tortuosity (OR per SD increase, 0.78 [CI: 0.63–0.97]) were more likely to have AD after appropriate adjustment.
Patients with AD have a sparser retinal microvascular network and retinal microvascular variation may represent similar pathophysiological events within the cerebral microvasculature of patients with AD.
Retina; Retinal vasculature; Alzheimer's disease; Microcirculation; Small-vessel disease
Matching molecularly targeted therapies with cancer subtype-specific gene mutations is revolutionizing oncology care. However, for rare cancers this approach is problematic due to the often poor understanding of the disease's natural history and phenotypic heterogeneity, making treatment of these cancers a particularly unmet medical need in clinical oncology. Advanced Sézary syndrome (SS), an aggressive, exceedingly rare variant of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is a prototypical example of a rare cancer. Through whole genome and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) of a SS patient's tumor we discovered a highly expressed gene fusion between CTLA4 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4) and CD28 (cluster of differentiation 28), predicting a novel stimulatory molecule on the surface of tumor T cells. Treatment with the CTLA4 inhibitor ipilimumab resulted in a rapid clinical response. Our findings suggest a novel driver mechanism for SS, and cancer in general, and exemplify an emerging model of cancer treatment using exploratory genomic analysis to identify a personally targeted treatment option when conventional therapies are exhausted.
CD28; CTLA4; Sézary syndrome
Small cell carcinoma of the ovary of hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is an extremely rare, aggressive cancer affecting children and young women. We identified germline and somatic inactivating mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling gene SMARCA4 in 69% (9/13) of SCCOHT cases in addition to SMARCA4 protein loss in 82% (14/17) of SCCOHT tumors but in only 0.4% (2/485) of other primary ovarian tumors. These data implicate SMARCA4 in SCCOHT oncogenesis.
In females, X chromosome inactivation (XCI) is an epigenetic, gene dosage compensatory mechanism by inactivation of one copy of X in cells. Random XCI of one of the parental chromosomes results in an approximately equal proportion of cells expressing alleles from either the maternally or paternally inherited active X, and is defined by the XCI ratio. Skewed XCI ratio is suggestive of non-random inactivation, which can play an important role in X-linked genetic conditions. Current methods rely on indirect, semi-quantitative DNA methylation-based assay to estimate XCI ratio. Here we report a direct approach to estimate XCI ratio by integrated, family-trio based whole-exome and mRNA sequencing using phase-by-transmission of alleles coupled with allele-specific expression analysis. We applied this method to in silico data and to a clinical patient with mild cognitive impairment but no clear diagnosis or understanding molecular mechanism underlying the phenotype. Simulation showed that phased and unphased heterozygous allele expression can be used to estimate XCI ratio. Segregation analysis of the patient's exome uncovered a de novo, interstitial, 1.7 Mb deletion on Xp22.31 that originated on the paternally inherited X and previously been associated with heterogeneous, neurological phenotype. Phased, allelic expression data suggested an 83∶20 moderately skewed XCI that favored the expression of the maternally inherited, cytogenetically normal X and suggested that the deleterious affect of the de novo event on the paternal copy may be offset by skewed XCI that favors expression of the wild-type X. This study shows the utility of integrated sequencing approach in XCI ratio estimation.
Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT), is a rare and understudied cancer with a dismal prognosis. SCCOHT's infrequency has hindered empirical study of its biology and clinical management. However, we and others have recently identified inactivating mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling gene SMARCA4 with concomitant loss of SMARCA4 protein in the majority of SCCOHT tumors.1–4 Here we summarize these findings and report SMARCA4 status by targeted sequencing and/or immunohistochemistry (IHC) in an additional 12 SCCOHT tumors, 3 matched germlines, and the cell line SCCOHT-1. We also report the identification of a homozygous inactivating mutation in the gene SMARCB1 in one SCCOHT tumor with wild-type SMARCA4, suggesting that SMARCB1 inactivation may also play a role in the pathogenesis of SCCOHT. To date, SMARCA4 mutations and protein loss have been reported in the majority of 69 SCCOHT cases (including 2 cell lines). These data firmly establish SMARCA4 as a tumor suppressor whose loss promotes the development of SCCOHT, setting the stage for rapid advancement in the biological understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of this rare tumor type.
BRG1; chromatin remodeling; small cell carcinoma of the ovary hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT); SMARCA4; SMARCB1; SNF5; ovarian cancer; SWI/SNF; tumorigenesis
Oncogenic fusion genes underlie the mechanism of several common cancers. Next-generation sequencing based RNA-seq analyses have revealed an increasing number of recurrent fusions in a variety of cancers. However, absence of a publicly available gene-fusion focused RNA-seq data impedes comparative assessment and collaborative development of novel gene fusions detection algorithms. We have generated nine synthetic poly-adenylated RNA transcripts that correspond to previously reported oncogenic gene fusions. These synthetic RNAs were spiked at known molarity over a wide range into total RNA prior to construction of next-generation sequencing mRNA libraries to generate RNA-seq data.
Leveraging a priori knowledge about replicates and molarity of each synthetic fusion transcript, we demonstrate utility of this dataset to compare multiple gene fusion algorithms’ detection ability. In general, more fusions are detected at higher molarity, indicating that our constructs performed as expected. However, systematic detection differences are observed based on molarity or algorithm-specific characteristics. Fusion-sequence specific detection differences indicate that for applications where specific sequences are being investigated, additional constructs may be added to provide quantitative data that is specific for the sequence of interest.
To our knowledge, this is the first publicly available synthetic RNA-seq data that specifically leverages known cancer gene-fusions. The proposed method of designing multiple gene-fusion constructs over a wide range of molarity allows granular performance analyses of multiple fusion-detection algorithms. The community can leverage and augment this publicly available data to further collaborative development of analytical tools and performance assessment frameworks for gene fusions from next-generation sequencing data.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-824) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
RNA-seq; Gene fusions; Cancer genomics
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are considered complex with both genetic and environmental factors implicated. To date, no major causative genes have been identified in humans despite several investigations. The first genomewide screen in NTDs (Rampersaud et al. 2005) demonstrated evidence of linkage to chromosomes 7 and 10. This screen included forty-four multiplex families and consisted of 402 microsatellite markers spaced approximately 10 cM apart. Further investigation of the genomic screen data identified a single large multiplex family, pedigree 8776, as primarily driving the linkage results on chromosome 7.
To investigate this family more thoroughly, a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) screen was performed. Two-point and multipoint linkage analyses were performed using both parametric and nonparametric methods.
For both the microsatellite and SNP markers, linkage analysis suggested the involvement of a locus or loci proximal to the telomeric regions of chromosomes 2q and 7p, with both regions having nonparametric lod* scores of ~3.0, yielding very similar evidence in favor of linkage.
The regions of strongest evidence for linkage map proximal to the telomeres on these two chromosomes. In addition to mutations and/or variants in a major gene, these loci may harbor a microdeletion and/or translocation; potentially, polygenic factors may also be involved. This single family may be promising for narrowing the search for NTD susceptibility genes.
Neural tube defects (NTDs); spina bifida; genetic mapping; linkage; genome screen
Multiple research groups have observed neuropathological phenotypes and molecular symptoms in vitro using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neural cell cultures (i.e. patient-specific neurons and glia). However, the global differences/similarities that may exist between in vitro neural cells and their tissue-derived counterparts remain largely unknown. In this study, we compared temporal series of iPSC-derived in vitro neural cell cultures to endogenous brain tissue from the same autopsy donor. Specifically, we utilized RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to evaluate the transcriptional progression of in vitro-differentiated neural cells (over a timecourse of 0, 35, 70, 105 and 140 days), and compared this with donor-identical temporal lobe tissue. We observed in vitro progression towards the reference brain tissue, and the following three results support this conclusion: (i) there was a significant increasing monotonic correlation between the days of our timecourse and the number of actively transcribed protein-coding genes and long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) (P < 0.05), consistent with the transcriptional complexity of the brain; (ii) there was an increase in CpG methylation after neural differentiation that resembled the epigenomic signature of the endogenous tissue; and (iii) there was a significant decreasing monotonic correlation between the days of our timecourse and the percent of in vitro to brain-tissue differences (P < 0.05) for tissue-specific protein-coding genes and all putative lincRNAs. Taken together, these results are consistent with in vitro neural development and physiological progression occurring predominantly by transcriptional activation of downregulated genes rather than deactivation of upregulated genes.
Rare mutations in AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 cause uncommon early onset forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and common variants in MAPT are associated with risk of other neurodegenerative disorders. We sought to establish whether common genetic variation in these genes confer risk to the common form of AD which occurs later in life (>65 years). We therefore tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms at these loci for association with late-onset AD (LOAD) in a large case-control sample consisting of 3,940 cases and 13,373 controls. Single-marker analysis did not identify any variants that reached genome-wide significance, a result which is supported by other recent genome-wide association studies. However, we did observe a significant association at the MAPT locus using a gene-wide approach (p = 0.009). We also observed suggestive association between AD and the marker rs9468, which defines the H1 haplotype, an extended haplotype that spans the MAPT gene and has previously been implicated in other neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. In summary common variants at AβPP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 and MAPT are unlikely to make strong contributions to susceptibility for LOAD. However, the gene-wide effect observed at MAPT indicates a possible contribution to disease risk which requires further study.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β protein precursor; genetics; human; MAPT protein; PSEN1 protein; PSEN2 protein
Interval timing is a key element of foraging theory, models of predator avoidance, and competitive interactions. Although interval timing is well documented in vertebrate species, it is virtually unstudied in invertebrates. In the present experiment, we used free-flying honey bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) as a model for timing behaviors. Subjects were trained to enter a hole in an automated artificial flower to receive a nectar reinforcer (i.e. reward). Responses were continuously reinforced prior to exposure to either a fixed interval (FI) 15-sec, FI 30-sec, FI 60-sec, or FI 120-sec reinforcement schedule. We measured response rate and post-reinforcement pause within each fixed interval trial between reinforcers. Honey bees responded at higher frequencies earlier in the fixed interval suggesting subject responding did not come under traditional forms of temporal control. Response rates were lower during FI conditions compared to performance on continuous reinforcement schedules, and responding was more resistant to extinction when previously reinforced on FI schedules. However, no “scalloped” or “break-and-run” patterns of group or individual responses reinforced on FI schedules were observed; no traditional evidence of temporal control was found. Finally, longer FI schedules eventually caused all subjects to cease returning to the operant chamber indicating subjects did not tolerate the longer FI schedules.
The outcome of patients with metastatic colorectal carcinoma (mCRC) following first line therapy is poor, with median survival of less than one year. The purpose of this study was to identify candidate therapeutically targetable somatic events in mCRC patient samples by whole genome sequencing (WGS), so as to obtain targeted treatment strategies for individual patients.
Four patients were recruited, all of whom had received > 2 prior therapy regimens. Percutaneous needle biopsies of metastases were performed with whole blood collection for the extraction of constitutional DNA. One tumor was not included in this study as the quality of tumor tissue was not sufficient for further analysis. WGS was performed using Illumina paired end chemistry on HiSeq2000 sequencing systems, which yielded coverage of greater than 30X for all samples. NGS data were processed and analyzed to detect somatic genomic alterations including point mutations, indels, copy number alterations, translocations and rearrangements.
All 3 tumor samples had KRAS mutations, while 2 tumors contained mutations in the APC gene and the PIK3CA gene. Although we did not identify a TCF7L2-VTI1A translocation, we did detect a TCF7L2 mutation in one tumor. Among the other interesting mutated genes was INPPL1, an important gene involved in PI3 kinase signaling. Functional studies demonstrated that inhibition of INPPL1 reduced growth of CRC cells, suggesting that INPPL1 may promote growth in CRC.
Our study further supports potential molecularly defined therapeutic contexts that might provide insights into treatment strategies for refractory mCRC. New insights into the role of INPPL1 in colon tumor cell growth have also been identified. Continued development of appropriate targeted agents towards specific events may be warranted to help improve outcomes in CRC.
Metastatic colorectal cancer; Whole genome sequencing; KRAS mutations
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
myeloma; CRBN; NR3C1; PSMG2; drug resistance
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The discovery and reliable detection of markers for neurodegenerative diseases have been complicated by the inaccessibility of the diseased tissue- such as the inability to biopsy or test tissue from the central nervous system directly. RNAs originating from hard to access tissues, such as neurons within the brain and spinal cord, have the potential to get to the periphery where they can be detected non-invasively. The formation and extracellular release of microvesicles and RNA binding proteins have been found to carry RNA from cells of the central nervous system to the periphery and protect the RNA from degradation. Extracellular miRNAs detectable in peripheral circulation can provide information about cellular changes associated with human health and disease. In order to associate miRNA signals present in cell-free peripheral biofluids with neurodegenerative disease status of patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, we assessed the miRNA content in cerebrospinal fluid and serum from postmortem subjects with full neuropathology evaluations. We profiled the miRNA content from 69 patients with Alzheimer's disease, 67 with Parkinson's disease and 78 neurologically normal controls using next generation small RNA sequencing (NGS). We report the average abundance of each detected miRNA in cerebrospinal fluid and in serum and describe 13 novel miRNAs that were identified. We correlated changes in miRNA expression with aspects of disease severity such as Braak stage, dementia status, plaque and tangle densities, and the presence and severity of Lewy body pathology. Many of the differentially expressed miRNAs detected in peripheral cell-free cerebrospinal fluid and serum were previously reported in the literature to be deregulated in brain tissue from patients with neurodegenerative disease. These data indicate that extracellular miRNAs detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid and serum are reflective of cell-based changes in pathology and can be used to assess disease progression and therapeutic efficacy.
Bipolar disorder is a common, heritable mental illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Despite considerable effort to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of bipolar disorder, causative genetic risk factors remain elusive. We conducted a comprehensive genomic analysis of bipolar disorder in a large Old Order Amish pedigree. Microsatellite genotypes and high-density SNP-array genotypes of 388 family members were combined with whole genome sequence data for 50 of these subjects, comprising 18 parent-child trios. This study design permitted evaluation of candidate variants within the context of haplotype structure by resolving the phase in sequenced parent-child trios and by imputation of variants into multiple unsequenced siblings. Non-parametric and parametric linkage analysis of the entire pedigree as well as on smaller clusters of families identified several nominally significant linkage peaks, each of which included dozens of predicted deleterious variants. Close inspection of exonic and regulatory variants in genes under the linkage peaks using family-based association tests revealed additional credible candidate genes for functional studies and further replication in population-based cohorts. However, despite the in-depth genomic characterization of this unique, large and multigenerational pedigree from a genetic isolate, there was no convergence of evidence implicating a particular set of risk loci or common pathways. The striking haplotype and locus heterogeneity we observed has profound implications for the design of studies of bipolar and other related disorders.
Bipolar disorder is a common, heritable mental illness characterized by recurrent episodes of mania and depression. Despite considerable efforts genetic studies have yet to reveal the precise genetic underpinnings of the disorder. In this study we have analyzed a large extended pedigree of Old Order Amish that segregates bipolar disorder. Our study design integrates both dense genotype and whole-genome sequence data. In a combined linkage and association analysis we identify five chromosomal regions with nominally significant or suggestive evidence for linkage, several of which constitute replication of earlier linkage findings for bipolar disorder in non-Amish families. Association analysis of genetic variants in each of the linkage regions yielded a number of plausible candidate genes for bipolar disorder. The striking genetic heterogeneity we observed in this genetic isolate has profound implications for the study of bipolar disorder in the general population.
Advanced cholangiocarcinoma continues to harbor a difficult prognosis and therapeutic options have been limited. During the course of a clinical trial of whole genomic sequencing seeking druggable targets, we examined six patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma. Integrated genome-wide and whole transcriptome sequence analyses were performed on tumors from six patients with advanced, sporadic intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (SIC) to identify potential therapeutically actionable events. Among the somatic events captured in our analysis, we uncovered two novel therapeutically relevant genomic contexts that when acted upon, resulted in preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity. Genome-wide structural analysis of sequence data revealed recurrent translocation events involving the FGFR2 locus in three of six assessed patients. These observations and supporting evidence triggered the use of FGFR inhibitors in these patients. In one example, preliminary anti-tumor activity of pazopanib (in vitro FGFR2 IC50≈350 nM) was noted in a patient with an FGFR2-TACC3 fusion. After progression on pazopanib, the same patient also had stable disease on ponatinib, a pan-FGFR inhibitor (in vitro, FGFR2 IC50≈8 nM). In an independent non-FGFR2 translocation patient, exome and transcriptome analysis revealed an allele specific somatic nonsense mutation (E384X) in ERRFI1, a direct negative regulator of EGFR activation. Rapid and robust disease regression was noted in this ERRFI1 inactivated tumor when treated with erlotinib, an EGFR kinase inhibitor. FGFR2 fusions and ERRFI mutations may represent novel targets in sporadic intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and trials should be characterized in larger cohorts of patients with these aberrations.
Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer that affects the bile ducts. Unfortunately, many patients diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma have disease that cannot be treated with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body, thus severely limiting treatment options. New advances in drug treatment have enabled treatment of these cancers with “targeted therapy” that exploits an error in the normal functioning of a tumor cell, compared to other cells in the body, thus allowing only tumor cells to be killed by the drug. We sought to identify changes in the genetic material of cholangiocarcinoma patient tumors in order to identify potential errors in cellular functioning by utilizing cutting edge genetic sequencing technology. We identified three patient tumors possessing an FGFR2 gene that was aberrantly fused to another gene. Two of these patients were able to receive targeted therapy for FGFR2 with resulting tumor shrinkage. A fourth tumor contained an error in a gene that controls a very important cellular mechanism in cancer, termed epidermal growth factor pathway (EGFR). This patient received therapy targeting this mechanism and also demonstrated response to treatment. Thus, we have been able to utilize cutting edge technology with targeted drug treatment to personalize medical treatment for cancer in cholangiocarcinoma patients.
Liposarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma, but little is known about the genomic basis of this disease. Given the low cell content of this tumor type, we utilized flow cytometry to isolate the diploid normal and aneuploid tumor populations from a well-differentiated liposarcoma prior to array comparative genomic hybridization and whole genome sequencing. This work revealed massive highly focal amplifications throughout the aneuploid tumor genome including MDM2, a gene that has previously been found to be amplified in well-differentiated liposarcoma. Structural analysis revealed massive rearrangement of chromosome 12 and 11 gene fusions, some of which may be part of double minute chromosomes commonly present in well-differentiated liposarcoma. We identified a hotspot of genomic instability localized to a region of chromosome 12 that includes a highly conserved, putative L1 retrotransposon element, LOC100507498 which resides within a gene cluster (NAV3, SYT1, PAWR) where 6 of the 11 fusion events occurred. Interestingly, a potential gene fusion was also identified in amplified DDR2, which is a potential therapeutic target of kinase inhibitors such as dastinib, that are not routinely used in the treatment of patients with liposarcoma. Furthermore, 7 somatic, damaging single nucleotide variants have also been identified, including D125N in the PTPRQ protein. In conclusion, this work is the first to report the entire genome of a well-differentiated liposarcoma with novel chromosomal rearrangements associated with amplification of therapeutically targetable genes such as MDM2 and DDR2.
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