A gradual loss of the correct patterning of 5-methyl cytosine marks in gene promoter regions has been implicated in aging and age-related diseases, most notably cancer. While a number of studies have examined DNA methylation in aging, there is no consensus on the magnitude of the effects, particularly at imprinted loci. Imprinted genes are likely candidate to undergo age-related changes because of their demonstrated plasticity in utero, for example, in response to environmental cues. Here we quantitatively analyzed a total of 100 individual CpG sites in promoter regions of 11 imprinted and non-imprinted genes in liver and cerebral cortex of young and old mice using mass spectrometry. The results indicate a remarkably high preservation of methylation marks during the aging process in both organs. To test if increased genotoxic stress associated with premature aging would destabilize DNA methylation we analyzed two DNA repair defective mouse models showing a host of premature aging symptoms in liver and brain. However, also in these animals, at the end of their life span, we found a similarly high preservation of DNA methylation marks. We conclude that patterns of DNA methylation in gene promoters of imprinted genes are surprisingly stable over time in normal, postmitotic tissues and that the multiple documented changes with age are likely to involve exceptions to this pattern, possibly associated with specific cellular responses to age-related changes other than genotoxic stress.
An exonic missense mutation, c.436C>G, in the PLP1 gene of a patient affected by the hypomyelinating leukodystrophy, Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease, has previously been found to be responsible for the alteration of the canonical alternative splicing profile of the PLP1 gene leading to the loss of the longer PLP isoform. Here we show that the presence of the c.436C>G mutation served to introduce regulatory motifs that appear to be responsible for the perturbed splicing pattern that led to loss of the major PLP transcript. With the aim of disrupting the interaction between the PLP1 splicing regulatory motifs and their cognate splicing factors, we designed an antisense oligonucleotide-based in vitro correction protocol that successfully restored PLP transcript production in oligodendrocyte precursor cells.
Multiple osteochondromas (MO) is an inherited skeletal disorder, and the molecular mechanism of MO remains elusive. Exome sequencing has high chromosomal coverage and accuracy, and has recently been successfully used to identify pathogenic gene mutations. In this study, exome sequencing followed by Sanger sequencing validation was first used to screen gene mutations in two representative MO patients from a Chinese family. After filtering the data from the 1000 Genome Project and the dbSNP database (build 132), the detected candidate gene mutations were further validated via Sanger sequencing of four other members of the same MO family and 200 unrelated healthy subjects. Immunohistochemisty and multiple sequence alignment were performed to evaluate the importance of the identified causal mutation. A novel frameshift mutation, c.1457insG at codon 486 of exon 6 of EXT1 gene, was identified, which truncated the glycosyltransferase domain of EXT1 gene. Multiple sequence alignment showed that codon 486 of EXT1 gene was highly conserved across various vertebrates. Immunohistochemisty demonstrated that the chondrocytes with functional EXT1 in MO were less than those in extragenetic solitary chondromas. The novel c.1457insG deleterious mutation of EXT1 gene reported in this study expands the causal mutation spectrum of MO, and may be helpful for prenatal genetic screening and early diagnosis of MO.
Progressive retinal degenerations are the most common causes of complete blindness both in human and in dogs. Canine progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) or degeneration resembles human retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and is characterized by a progressive loss of rod photoreceptor cells followed by a loss of cone function. The primary clinical signs are detected as vision impairment in a dim light. Although several genes have been associated with PRAs, there are still PRAs of unknown genetic cause in many breeds, including Papillons and Phalènes. We have performed a genome wide association and linkage studies in cohort of 6 affected Papillons and Phalènes and 14 healthy control dogs to map a novel PRA locus on canine chromosome 2, with a 1.9 Mb shared homozygous region in the affected dogs. Parallel exome sequencing of a trio identified an indel mutation, including a 1-bp deletion, followed by a 6-bp insertion in the CNGB1 gene. This mutation causes a frameshift and premature stop codon leading to probable nonsense mediated decay (NMD) of the CNGB1 mRNA. The mutation segregated with the disease and was confirmed in a larger cohort of 145 Papillons and Phalènes (PFisher = 1.4×10−8) with a carrier frequency of 17.2 %. This breed specific mutation was not present in 334 healthy dogs from 10 other breeds or 121 PRA affected dogs from 44 other breeds. CNGB1 is important for the photoreceptor cell function its defects have been previously associated with retinal degeneration in both human and mouse. Our study indicates that a frameshift mutation in CNGB1 is a cause of PRA in Papillons and Phalènes and establishes the breed as a large functional animal model for further characterization of retinal CNGB1 biology and possible retinal gene therapy trials. This study enables also the development of a genetic test for breeding purposes.
Somatic mutations identified on genes related to the cancer-developing signaling pathways have drawn attention in the field of personalized medicine in recent years. Treatments developed to target a specific signaling pathway may not be effective when tumor activating mutations occur downstream of the target and bypass the targeted mechanism. For instance, mutations detected in KRAS/BRAF/NRAS genes can lead to EGFR-independent intracellular signaling pathway activation. Most patients with these mutations do not respond well to anti-EGFR treatment. In an effort to detect various mutations in FFPE tissue samples among multiple solid tumor types for patient stratification many mutation assays were evaluated. Since there were more than 30 specific mutations among three targeted RAS/RAF oncogenes that could activate MAPK pathway genes, a custom designed Single Nucleotide Primer Extension (SNPE) multiplexing mutation assay was developed and analytically validated as a clinical trial assay. Throughout the process of developing and validating the assay we overcame many technical challenges which include: the designing of PCR primers for FFPE tumor tissue samples versus normal blood samples, designing of probes for detecting consecutive nucleotide double mutations, the kinetics and thermodynamics aspects of probes competition among themselves and against target PCR templates, as well as validating an assay when positive control tumor tissue or cell lines with specific mutations are not available. We used Next Generation sequencing to resolve discordant calls between the SNPE mutation assay and Sanger sequencing. We also applied a triplicate rule to reduce potential false positives and false negatives, and proposed special considerations including pre-define a cut-off percentage for detecting very low mutant copies in the wild-type DNA background.
The glutamate receptor, N-methyl D-aspartate 2A (GRIN2A) gene that encodes the 2A subunit of the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor was recently shown to be involved in the development of opiate addiction. Genetic polymorphisms in GRIN2A have a plausible role in modulating the risk of heroin addiction. An association of GRIN2A single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with heroin addiction was found earlier in African Americans. To identify markers that contribute to the genetic susceptibility to heroin addiction, we examined the potential association between heroin addiction and forty polymorphisms of the GRIN2A gene using the MassARRAY system and GeneScan in this study. The frequency of the (GT)26 repeats (rs3219790) in the heroin addiction group was significantly higher than that in the control group (χ2 = 5.360, P = 0.021). The allele frequencies of three polymorphisms (rs1102972, rs1650420, and rs3104703 in intron 3) were strongly associated with heroin addiction (P<0.001, 0.0002, and <0.001, after Bonferroni correction). Three additional SNPs from the same intron (rs1071502, rs6497730, and rs1070487) had nominally significant P values for association (P<0.05), but did not pass the threshold value. Haplotype analysis revealed that the G-C-T-C-C-T-A (block 6) and T-T (block 10) haplotypes of the GRIN2A gene displayed a protective effect (P = <0.001 and 0.003). These findings point to a role for GRIN2A polymorphisms in heroin addiction among the Han Chinese from Shaanxi province, and may be informative for future genetic or neurobiological studies on heroin addiction.
The determination of altered expression of genes in specific tumor types and their effect upon cellular processes may create insight in tumorigenesis and help to design better treatments. The Flatcoated retriever is a dog breed with an exceptionally high incidence of histiocytic sarcomas. The breed develops two distinct entities of histiocytic neoplasia, a soft tissue form and a visceral form. Gene expression studies of these tumors have value for comparable human diseases such as histiocytic/dendritic cell sarcoma for which knowledge is difficult to accrue due to their rare occurrence. In addition, such studies may help in the search for genetic aberrations underlying the genetic predisposition in this dog breed.
Microarray analysis and pathway analyses were performed on fresh-frozen tissues obtained from Flatcoated retrievers with localized, soft tissue histiocytic sarcomas (STHS) and disseminated, visceral histiocytic sarcomas (VHS) and on normal canine spleens from various breeds. Expression differences of nine genes were validated with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) analyses.
QPCR analyses identified the significantly altered expression of nine genes; PPBP, SpiC, VCAM1, ENPEP, ITGAD (down-regulated), and GTSF1, Col3a1, CD90 and LUM (up-regulated) in the comparison of both the soft tissue and the visceral form with healthy spleen. DAVID pathway analyses revealed 24 pathways that were significantly involved in the development of HS in general, most of which were involved in the DNA repair and replication process.
This study identified altered expression of nine genes not yet implicated in histiocytic sarcoma manifestations in the dog nor in comparable human histiocytic/dendritic sarcomas. Exploration of the downside effect of canine inbreeding strategies for the study of similar sarcomas in humans might also lead to the identification of genes related to these rare malignancies in the human.
Chiari Type I Malformation (CMI) is characterized by displacement of the cerebellar tonsils below the base of the skull, resulting in significant neurologic morbidity. Although multiple lines of evidence support a genetic contribution to disease, no genes have been identified. We therefore conducted the largest whole genome linkage screen to date using 367 individuals from 66 families with at least two individuals presenting with nonsyndromic CMI with or without syringomyelia. Initial findings across all 66 families showed minimal evidence for linkage due to suspected genetic heterogeneity. In order to improve power to localize susceptibility genes, stratified linkage analyses were performed using clinical criteria to differentiate families based on etiologic factors. Families were stratified on the presence or absence of clinical features associated with connective tissue disorders (CTDs) since CMI and CTDs frequently co-occur and it has been proposed that CMI patients with CTDs represent a distinct class of patients with a different underlying disease mechanism. Stratified linkage analyses resulted in a marked increase in evidence of linkage to multiple genomic regions consistent with reduced genetic heterogeneity. Of particular interest were two regions (Chr8, Max LOD = 3.04; Chr12, Max LOD = 2.09) identified within the subset of “CTD-negative” families, both of which harbor growth differentiation factors (GDF6, GDF3) implicated in the development of Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS). Interestingly, roughly 3–5% of CMI patients are diagnosed with KFS. In order to investigate the possibility that CMI and KFS are allelic, GDF3 and GDF6 were sequenced leading to the identification of a previously known KFS missense mutation and potential regulatory variants in GDF6. This study has demonstrated the value of reducing genetic heterogeneity by clinical stratification implicating several convincing biological candidates and further supporting the hypothesis that multiple, distinct mechanisms are responsible for CMI.
Nemaline myopathy (NM) is the most common disease entity among non-dystrophic skeletal muscle congenital diseases. Mutations in the skeletal muscle α-actin gene (ACTA1) account for ∼25% of all NM cases and are the most frequent cause of severe forms of NM. So far, the mechanisms underlying muscle weakness in NM patients remain unclear. Additionally, recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies reported a progressive fatty infiltration of skeletal muscle with a specific muscle involvement in patients with ACTA1 mutations. We investigated strictly noninvasively the gastrocnemius muscle function of a mouse model carrying a mutation in the ACTA1 gene (H40Y). Skeletal muscle anatomy (hindlimb muscles and fat volumes) and energy metabolism were studied using MRI and 31Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Skeletal muscle contractile performance was investigated while applying a force-frequency protocol (from 1–150 Hz) and a fatigue protocol (80 stimuli at 40 Hz). H40Y mice showed a reduction of both absolute (−40%) and specific (−25%) maximal force production as compared to controls. Interestingly, muscle weakness was associated with an improved resistance to fatigue (+40%) and an increased energy cost. On the contrary, the force frequency relationship was not modified in H40Y mice and the extent of fatty infiltration was minor and not different from the WT group. We concluded that the H40Y mouse model does not reproduce human MRI findings but shows a severe muscle weakness which might be related to an alteration of intrinsic muscular properties. The increased energy cost in H40Y mice might be related to either an impaired mitochondrial function or an alteration at the cross-bridges level. Overall, we provided a unique set of anatomic, metabolic and functional biomarkers that might be relevant for monitoring the progression of NM disease but also for assessing the efficacy of potential therapeutic interventions at a preclinical level.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM1) is a highly variable, multi-system disorder resulting from the expansion of an untranslated CTG tract in DMPK. In DM1 expanded CUG repeat RNAs form hairpin secondary structures that bind and aberrantly sequester the RNA splice regulator, MBNL1. RNA splice defects resulting as a consequence of MBNL1 depletion have been shown to play a key role in the development of DM1 pathology. In patient populations, both the number and severity of DM1 symptoms increase broadly as a function of CTG tract length. However significant variability in the DM1 phenotype is observed in patients encoding similar CTG repeat numbers. Here we demonstrate that a gradual decrease in MBNL1 levels results both in the expansion of the repertoire of splice defects and an increase in the severity of the splice alterations. Thus, MBNL1 loss does not have an all or none outcome but rather shows a graded effect on the number and severity of the ensuing splice defects. Our results suggest that once a critical threshold is reached, relatively small dose variations of free MBNL1 levels, which may reflect modest changes in the size of the CUG tract or the extent of hairpin secondary structure formation, can significantly alter the number and severity of splice abnormalities and thus contribute to the phenotype variability observed in DM1 patients.
The TP53 Arg72Pro polymorphism encodes two p53 variants with different biochemical properties. Here we investigated the impact of this polymorphism on the expression of key p53 target genes in a panel of human breast carcinomas, breast cancer risk, and age at onset.
The Arg72Pro polymorphism was genotyped in 270 breast cancer patients and 221 control subjects. In addition, the Arg72Pro genotype of 116 breast tumors was determined, and correlated with intratumoral mRNA expression of TP53 and its key target genes MDM2, p21, BAX, and PERP, as quantified by qRT-PCR. We found a significantly increased breast cancer risk associated with the Pro-allele (per-allele odds ratio, 1.46; 95% confidence interval, 1.08–1.99), and a significantly later mean age at breast cancer onset for Pro/Pro patients (63.2±18 years) compared to Arg/Arg patients (58.2±15 years). The frequency of somatic TP53 inactivation was 25.4% in Arg/Arg, 20.9% in Arg/Pro, and 16.7% in Pro/Pro patients, which may reflect a higher selective pressure to mutate the Arg-allele. The median mRNA levels of p21 and BAX in the tumors of Pro-allele carriers were significantly reduced to 55.7% and 76.9% compared to Arg/Arg patients, whereas p53, MDM2 and PERP expression were hardly altered.
The p5372Arg variant appears to be a more potent in vivo transcription factor and tumor suppressor in human breast cancer than the p5372Pro variant. The Arg72Pro genotype has no significant effects in patients with TP53 mutated tumors, in which p53 is non-functional.
Congenital reduction in nephron number (renal hypoplasia) is a predisposing factor for chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Despite identification of specific genes and pathways in nephrogenesis, determinants of final nephron endowment are poorly understood. Here, we report that mice with germ-line p53 deletion (p53−/−) manifest renal hypoplasia; the phenotype can be recapitulated by conditional deletion of p53 from renal progenitors in the cap mesenchyme (CMp53−/−). Mice or humans with germ-line heterozygous mutations in Pax2 exhibit renal hypoplasia. Since both transcription factors are developmentally expressed in the metanephros, we tested the hypothesis that p53 and Pax2 cooperate in nephrogenesis. In this study, we provide evidence for the presence of genetic epistasis between p53 and Pax2: a) p53−/− and CMp53−/−embryos express lower Pax2 mRNA and protein in nephron progenitors than their wild-type littermates; b) ChIP-Seq identified peaks of p53 occupancy in chromatin regions of the Pax2 promoter and gene in embryonic kidneys; c) p53 binding to Pax2 gene is significantly more enriched in Pax2 -expressing than non-expressing metanephric mesenchyme cells; d) in transient transfection assays, Pax2 promoter activity is stimulated by wild-type p53 and inhibited by a dominant negative mutant p53; e) p53 knockdown in cultured metanephric mesenchyme cells down-regulates endogenous Pax2 expression; f) reduction of p53 gene dosage worsens the renal hypoplasia in Pax2+/− mice. Bioinformatics identified a set of developmental renal genes likely to be co-regulated by p53 and Pax2. We propose that the cross-talk between p53 and Pax2 provides a transcriptional platform that promotes nephrogenesis, thus contributing to nephron endowment.
Acute myeloid leukemia patients with normal cytogenetics (CN-AML) account for almost half of AML cases. We aimed to study the frequency and relationship of a wide range of genes previously reported as mutated in AML (ASXL1, NPM1, FLT3, TET2, IDH1/2, RUNX1, DNMT3A, NRAS, JAK2, WT1, CBL, SF3B1, TP53, KRAS and MPL) in a series of 84 CN-AML cases. The most frequently mutated genes in primary cases were NPM1 (60.8%) and FLT3 (50.0%), and in secondary cases ASXL1 (48.5%) and TET2 (30.3%). We showed that 85% of CN-AML patients have mutations in at least one of ASXL1, NPM1, FLT3, TET2, IDH1/2 and/or RUNX1. Serial samples from 19 MDS/CMML cases that progressed to AML were analyzed for ASXL1/TET2/IDH1/2 mutations; seventeen cases presented mutations of at least one of these genes. However, there was no consistent pattern in mutation acquisition during disease progression. This report concerns the analysis of the largest number of gene mutations in CN-AML studied to date, and provides insight into the mutational profile of CN-AML.
Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the most common adult-onset muscular dystrophy with an estimated prevalence of 1/8000. There are two genetically distinct types, DM1 and DM2. DM2 is generally milder with more phenotypic variability than the classic DM1. Our previous data on co-segregation of heterozygous recessive CLCN1 mutations in DM2 patients indicated a higher than expected DM2 prevalence. The aim of this study was to determine the DM2 and DM1 frequency in the general population, and to explore whether the DM2 mutation functions as a modifier in other neuromuscular diseases (NMD) to account for unexplained phenotypic variability. We genotyped 5535 Finnish individuals: 4532 normal blood donors, 606 patients with various non-myotonic NMD, 221 tibial muscular dystrophy patients and their 176 healthy relatives for the DM2 and DM1 mutations. We also genotyped an Italian idiopathic non-myotonic proximal myopathy cohort (n=93) for the DM2 mutation. In 5496 samples analyzed for DM2, we found three DM2 mutations and two premutations. In 5511 samples analyzed for DM1, we found two DM1 mutations and two premutations. In the Italian cohort, we identified one patient with a DM2 mutation. We conclude that the DM2 mutation frequency is significantly higher in the general population (1/1830; P-value=0.0326) than previously estimated. The identification of DM2 mutations in NMD patients with clinical phenotypes not previously associated with DM2 is of particular interest and is in accord with the high overall prevalence. On the basis of our results, DM2 appears more frequent than DM1, with most DM2 patients currently undiagnosed with symptoms frequently occurring in the elderly population.
myotonic dystrophy; mutation frequency; prevalence; population
The transcription factor TCF21 is involved in mesenchymal-to-epithelial differentiation and was shown to be aberrantly hypermethylated in lung and head and neck cancers. Because of its reported high frequency of hypermethylation in lung cancer, we sought to characterize the stages and types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that are hypermethylated and to define the frequency of hypermethylation and associated “second hits”.
We determined TCF21 promoter hypermethylation in 105 NSCLC including various stages and histologies in smokers and nonsmokers. Additionally, we examined TCF21 loss-of-heterozygosity and mutational status. We also assayed 22 cancer cell lines from varied tissue origins. We validated and expanded our NSCLC results by examining TCF21 immunohistochemical expression on a tissue microarray containing 300 NSCLC cases.
Overall, 81% of NSCLC samples showed TCF21 promoter hypermethylation and 84% showed decreased TCF21 protein expression. Multivariate analysis showed that TCF21 expression, although below normal in both histologies, was lower in adenocarcinoma than squamous cell carcinoma, and was not independently correlated with gender, smoking and EGFR mutation status, or clinical outcome. Cell lines from other cancer types also showed frequent TCF21 promoter hypermethylation.
Hypermethylation and decreased expression of TCF21 were tumor-specific and very frequent in all NSCLC, even early-stage disease, thus making TCF21 a potential candidate methylation biomarker for early-stage NSCLC screening. TCF21 hypermethylation in a variety of tumor cell lines suggests it may also be a valuable methylation biomarker in other tumor types.
TCF21; methylation; biomarker; lung cancer; screening
Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet and are widespread constituents of fruits and beverages, such as tea, coffee or wine. Epidemiological, clinical and animal studies support a role of polyphenols in the prevention of various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers or neurodegenerative diseases. Recent findings suggest that polyphenols could interact with cellular signaling cascades regulating the activity of transcription factors and consequently affecting the expression of genes. However, the impact of polyphenol on the expression of microRNA, small non-coding RNAs, has not yet been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of dietary supplementation with polyphenols at nutritional doses on miRNA expression in the livers of apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (apoE−/−) jointly with mRNA expression profiling.
Using microarrays, we measured the global miRNA expression in the livers of wild-type (C57B6/J) mice or apoE−/− mice fed diets supplemented with one of nine different polyphenols or a control diet. This analysis revealed that knock-out of the apoE gene induced significant modulation in the expression of miRNA. Moreover, changes in miRNA expression were observed after polyphenol supplementation, and five miRNAs (mmu-miR-291b-5p, mmu-miR-296-5p, mmu-miR-30c-1*, mmu-miR-467b* and mmu-miR-374*) were identified as being commonly modulated by these polyphenols. We also observed that these polyphenols counteracted the modulation of miRNA expression induced by apoE mutation. Pathway analyses on these five miRNA-target genes revealed common pathways, some of which were also identified from a pathway analysis on mRNA profiles.
This in vivo study demonstrated for the first time that polyphenols at nutritional doses modulate the expression of miRNA in the liver. Even if structurally different, all polyphenols induced a similar miRNA expression profile. Common pathways were identified from both miRNA-target and mRNA analysis, revealing cellular functions that could be regulated by polyphenols at both the miRNA and mRNA level.
Eleven samples of DNA from choriocarcinomas were studied by high resolution CGH-array 244 K. They were studied after histopathological confirmation of the diagnosis, of the androgenic etiology and after a microsatellite marker analysis confirming the absence of contamination of tumor DNA from maternal DNA. Three cell lines, BeWo, JAR, JEG were also studied by this high resolution pangenomic technique. According to aCGH analysis, the de novo choriocarcinomas exhibited simple chromosomal rearrangements or normal profiles. The cell lines showed various and complex chromosomal aberrations. 23 Minimal Critical Regions were defined that allowed us to list the genes that were potentially implicated. Among them, unusually high numbers of microRNA clusters and imprinted genes were observed.
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) and their replications that have associated DNA variants with myocardial infarction (MI) and/or coronary artery disease (CAD) are predominantly based on populations of European or Eastern Asian descent. Replication of the most significantly associated polymorphisms in multiple populations with distinctive genetic backgrounds and lifestyles is crucial to the understanding of the pathophysiology of a multifactorial disease like CAD. We have used our Lebanese cohort to perform a replication study of nine previously identified CAD/MI susceptibility loci (LTA, CDKN2A-CDKN2B, CELSR2-PSRC1-SORT1, CXCL12, MTHFD1L, WDR12, PCSK9, SH2B3, and SLC22A3), and 88 genes in related phenotypes. The study was conducted on 2,002 patients with detailed demographic, clinical characteristics, and cardiac catheterization results. One marker, rs6922269, in MTHFD1L was significantly protective against MI (OR = 0.68, p = 0.0035), while the variant rs4977574 in CDKN2A-CDKN2B was significantly associated with MI (OR = 1.33, p = 0.0086). Associations were detected after adjustment for family history of CAD, gender, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and smoking. The parallel study of 88 previously published genes in related phenotypes encompassed 20,225 markers, three quarters of which with imputed genotypes The study was based on our genome-wide genotype data set, with imputation across the whole genome to HapMap II release 22 using HapMap CEU population as a reference. Analysis was conducted on both the genotyped and imputed variants in the 88 regions covering selected genes. This approach replicated HNRNPA3P1-CXCL12 association with CAD and identified new significant associations of CDKAL1, ST6GAL1, and PTPRD with CAD. Our study provides evidence for the importance of the multifactorial aspect of CAD/MI and describes genes predisposing to their etiology.
Epigenetic regulation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) has been shown to play a central role in melanomagenesis. By integrating gene expression and methylation array analysis we identified novel candidate genes frequently methylated in melanoma. We validated the methylation status of the most promising genes using highly sensitive Sequenom Epityper assays in a large panel of melanoma cell lines and resected melanomas, and compared the findings with those from cultured melanocytes. We found transcript levels of UCHL1, COL1A2, THBS1 and TNFRSF10D were inversely correlated with promoter methylation. For THBS1 and UCHL1 the effect of this methylation on expression was confirmed at the protein level. Identification of these candidate TSGs and future research designed to understand how their silencing is related to melanoma development will increase our understanding of the etiology of this cancer and may provide tools for its early diagnosis.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a heritable disorder that can increase the risk of premature coronary heart disease. Studies suggest there are substantial genetic heterogeneities for different populations. Here we tried to identify novel susceptibility loci for FH in a Chinese pedigree.
We performed a SNP-based genome-wide linkage scan with the Chinese FH pedigree. Two suggestive linkage loci not previously reported were identified on chromosomes 3q25.1-26.1 (NPL = 9.01, nominal P<0.00001, and simulated occurrence per genome scan = 1.08) and 21q22.3 (NPL = 8.95, nominal P<0.00001, and simulated occurrence per genome scan = 1.26). In the interaction analysis with a trimmed version of the pedigree, we obtained a significantly increased joint LOD score (2.70) compared with that obtained when assuming the two loci uncorrelated, suggesting that more than one locus was involved in this pedigree. Exon screening of two candidate genes ABCG1 and LSS from one of the suggestive region 21q22 didn't report any causative mutations.
These results confirm complex etiologies and suggest new genetic casual factors for the FH disorder. Further study of the two candidate regions is advocated.
Whole genome amplification can faithfully amplify genomic DNA (gDNA) with minimal bias and substantial genome coverage. Whole genome amplified DNA (wgaDNA) has been tested to be workable for high-throughput genotyping arrays. However, issues about whether wgaDNA would decrease genotyping performance at increasing multiplexing levels and whether the storage period of wgaDNA would reduce genotyping performance have not been examined. Using the Sequenom MassARRAY iPLEX Gold assays, we investigated 174 single nucleotide polymorphisms for 3 groups of matched samples: group 1 of 20 gDNA samples, group 2 of 20 freshly prepared wgaDNA samples, and group 3 of 20 stored wgaDNA samples that had been kept frozen at −70°C for 18 months. MassARRAY is a medium-throughput genotyping platform with reaction chemistry different from those of high-throughput genotyping arrays. The results showed that genotyping performance (efficiency and accuracy) of freshly prepared wgaDNA was similar to that of gDNA at various multiplexing levels (17-plex, 21-plex, 28-plex and 36-plex) of the MassARRAY assays. However, compared with gDNA or freshly prepared wgaDNA, stored wgaDNA was found to give diminished genotyping performance (efficiency and accuracy) due to potentially inferior quality. Consequently, no matter whether gDNA or wgaDNA was used, better genotyping efficiency would tend to have better genotyping accuracy.
Familial aggregation of ischemic stroke derives from shared genetic and environmental factors. We present a meta-analysis of genome-wide association scans (GWAS) from 3 cohorts to identify the contribution of common variants to ischemic stroke risk.
This study involved 1464 ischemic stroke cases and 1932 controls. Cases were genotyped using the Illumina 610 or 660 genotyping arrays; controls, with Illumina HumanHap 550Kv1 or 550Kv3 genotyping arrays. Imputation was performed with the 1000 Genomes European ancestry haplotypes (August 2010 release) as a reference. A total of 5,156,597 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were incorporated into the fixed effects meta-analysis. All SNPs associated with ischemic stroke (P<1×10−5) were incorporated into a multivariate risk profile model.
No SNP reached genome-wide significance for ischemic stroke (P<5×10−8). Secondary analysis identified a significant cumulative effect for age at onset of stroke (first versus fifth quintile of cumulative profiles based on SNPs associated with late onset, ß = 14.77 [10.85,18.68], P = 5.5×10−12), as well as a strong effect showing increased risk across samples with a high propensity for stroke among samples with enriched counts of suggestive risk alleles (P<5×10−6). Risk profile scores based only on genomic information offered little incremental prediction.
There is little evidence of a common genetic variant contributing to moderate risk of ischemic stroke. Quintiles based on genetic loading of alleles associated with a younger age at onset of ischemic stroke revealed a significant difference in age at onset between those in the upper and lower quintiles. Using common variants from GWAS and imputation, genomic profiling remains inferior to family history of stroke for defining risk. Inclusion of genomic (rare variant) information may be required to improve clinical risk profiling.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is linked to the formation of insoluble fibrillar aggregates of the presynaptic protein α-Synuclein (αS) in neurons. The appearance of such aggregates coincides with severe motor deficits in human patients. These deficits are often preceded by non-motor symptoms such as sleep-related problems in the patients. PD-like motor deficits can be recapitulated in model organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster when αS is pan-neurally expressed. Interestingly, both these deficits are more severe when αS mutants with reduced aggregation properties are expressed in flies. This indicates that that αS aggregation is not the primary cause of the PD-like motor symptoms. Here we describe a model for PD in Drosophila which utilizes the targeted expression of αS mutants in a subset of dopadecarboxylase expressing serotonergic and dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Our results show that targeted expression of pre-fibrillar αS mutants not only recapitulates PD-like motor symptoms but also the preceding non-motor symptoms such as an abnormal sleep-like behavior, altered locomotor activity and abnormal circadian periodicity. Further, the results suggest that the observed non-motor symptoms in flies are caused by an early impairment of neuronal functions rather than by the loss of neurons due to cell death.
The integrated analysis of genotypic and expression data for association with complex traits could identify novel genetic pathways involved in complex traits. We profiled 19,573 expression probes in Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 299 twins and correlated these with 44 quantitative traits (QTs). For 939 expressed probes correlating with more than one QT, we investigated the presence of eQTL associations in three datasets of 57 CEU HapMap founders and 86 unrelated twins. Genome-wide association analysis of these probes with 2.2 m SNPs revealed 131 potential eQTLs (1,989 eQTL SNPs) overlapping between the HapMap datasets, five of which were in cis (58 eQTL SNPs). We then tested 535 SNPs tagging the eQTL SNPs, for association with the relevant QT in 2,905 twins. We identified nine potential SNP-QT associations (P<0.01) but none significantly replicated in five large consortia of 1,097–16,129 subjects. We also failed to replicate previous reported eQTL associations with body mass index, plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides levels derived from lymphocytes, adipose and liver tissue. Our results and additional power calculations suggest that proponents may have been overoptimistic in the power of LCLs in eQTL approaches to elucidate regulatory genetic effects on complex traits using the small datasets generated to date. Nevertheless, larger tissue-specific expression data sets relevant to specific traits are becoming available, and should enable the adoption of similar integrated analyses in the near future.
Forkhead Box M1 (Foxm1) is a transcription factor essential for organ morphogenesis and development of various cancers. Although complete deletion of Foxm1 in Foxm1−/− mice caused embryonic lethality due to severe abnormalities in multiple organ systems, requirements for Foxm1 in cardiomyocytes remain to be determined. This study was designed to elucidate the cardiomyocyte-autonomous role of Foxm1 signaling in heart development. We generated a new mouse model in which Foxm1 was specifically deleted from cardiomyocytes (Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/f mice). Deletion of Foxm1 from cardiomyocytes was sufficient to disrupt heart morphogenesis and induce embryonic lethality in late gestation. Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/fl hearts were dilated with thinning of the ventricular walls and interventricular septum, as well as disorganization of the myocardium which culminated in cardiac fibrosis and decreased capillary density. Cardiomyocyte proliferation was diminished in Nkx2.5-Cre/Foxm1fl/fl hearts owing to altered expression of multiple cell cycle regulatory genes, such as Cdc25B, Cyclin B1, Plk-1, nMyc and p21cip1. In addition, Foxm1 deficient hearts displayed reduced expression of CaMKIIδ, Hey2 and myocardin, which are critical mediators of cardiac function and myocardial growth. Our results indicate that Foxm1 expression in cardiomyocytes is critical for proper heart development and required for cardiomyocyte proliferation and myocardial growth.