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1.  Accurate genetic diagnosis of Finnish pulmonary arterial hypertension patients using oligonucleotide-selective sequencing 
The genetic basis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) among Finnish PAH patients is poorly understood. We adopted a novel-targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach called Oligonucleotide-Selective Sequencing (OS-Seq) and developed a custom data analysis and interpretation pipeline to identify pathogenic base substitutions, insertions, and deletions in seven genes associated with PAH (BMPR2, BMPR1B, ACVRL1, ENG, SMAD9, CAV1, and KCNK3) from Finnish PAH patients. This study represents the first clinical study with OS-Seq technology on patients suffering from a rare genetic disorder. We analyzed DNA samples from 21 Finnish PAH patients, whose BMPR2 and ACVRL1 mutation status had been previously studied using Sanger sequencing. Our sequencing panel covered 100% of the targeted base pairs with >15× sequencing depth. Pathogenic base substitutions were identified in the BMPR2 gene in 29% of the Finnish PAH cases. Two of the pathogenic variant-positive patients had been previously tested negative using Sanger sequencing. No clinically significant variants were identified in the six other PAH genes. Our study validates the use of targeted OS-Seq for genetic diagnostics of PAH and revealed pathogenic variants that had been previously missed using Sanger sequencing.
PMCID: PMC4521970  PMID: 26247051
BMPR2; genetic diagnostics; genetics; OS-Seq; pulmonary arterial hypertension
2.  Genetics and genotype–phenotype correlations in Finnish patients with dilated cardiomyopathy 
European Heart Journal  2015;36(34):2327-2337.
Genetic analysis among patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is becoming an important part of clinical assessment, as it is in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The genetics of DCM is complex and therefore next-generation sequencing strategies are essential when providing genetic diagnostics. To achieve maximum yield, the diagnostic approach should include comprehensive clinical phenotyping combined with high-quality, high-coverage deep sequencing of DCM-associated genes and clinical variant classification as a basis for defining true yield in genetic testing. Our study has combined a novel sequencing strategy and clinical interpretation to analyse the yield and genotype–phenotype correlations among well-phenotyped Finnish DCM patients.
Despite our increased understanding of the genetic basis of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the clinical utility and yield of clinically meaningful findings of comprehensive next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based genetic diagnostics in DCM has been poorly described. We utilized a high-quality oligonucleotide-selective sequencing (OS-Seq)-based targeted sequencing panel to investigate the genetic landscape of DCM in Finnish population and to evaluate the utility of OS-Seq technology as a novel comprehensive diagnostic tool.
Methods and results
Using OS-Seq, we targeted and sequenced the coding regions and splice junctions of 101 genes associated with cardiomyopathies in 145 unrelated Finnish patients with DCM. We developed effective bioinformatic variant filtering strategy and implemented strict variant classification scheme to reveal diagnostic yield and genotype–phenotype correlations. Implemented OS-Seq technology provided high coverage of the target region (median coverage 410× and 99.42% of the nucleotides were sequenced at least 15× read depth). Diagnostic yield was 35.2% (familial 47.6% and sporadic 25.6%, P = 0.004) when both pathogenic and likely pathogenic variants are considered as disease causing. Of these, 20 (53%) were titin (TTN) truncations (non-sense and frameshift) affecting all TTN transcripts. TTN truncations accounted for 20.6% and 14.6% of the familial and sporadic DCM cases, respectively.
Panel-based, high-quality NGS enables high diagnostic yield especially in the familial form of DCM, and bioinformatic variant filtering is a reliable step in the process of interpretation of genomic data in a clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC4561350  PMID: 26084686
Dilated cardiomyopathy; Genetics; Diagnosis
3.  Differences in the Nemosis Response of Normal and Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts from Patients with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(9):e6879.
Tumor-stroma reaction is associated with activation of fibroblasts. Nemosis is a novel type of fibroblast activation. It leads to an increased production of growth factors and proinflammatory and proteolytic proteins, while at the same time cytoskeletal proteins are degraded. Here we used paired normal skin fibroblasts and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) and primary and recurrent oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells to study the nemosis response.
Principal Findings
Fibroblast nemosis was analyzed by protein and gene expression and the paracrine regulation with colony formation assay. One of the normal fibroblast strains, FB-43, upregulated COX-2 in nemosis, but FB-74 cells did not. In contrast, CAF-74 spheroids expressed COX-2 but CAF-43 cells did not. Alpha-SMA protein was expressed in both CAF strains and in FB-74 cells, but not in FB-43 fibroblasts. Its mRNA levels were downregulated in nemosis, but the CAFs started to regain the expression. FSP1 mRNA was downregulated in normal fibroblasts and CAF-74 cells, but not in CAF-43 fibroblasts. Serine protease FAP was upregulated in all fibroblasts, more so in nemotic CAFs. VEGF, HGF/SF and FGF7 mRNA levels were upregulated to variable degree in nemosis. CAFs increased the colony formation of primary tumor cell lines UT-SCC-43A and UT-SCC-74A, but normal fibroblasts inhibited the anchorage-independent growth of recurrent UT-SCC-43B and UT-SCC-74B cells.
Nemosis response, as observed by COX-2 and growth factor induction, and expression of CAF markers α-SMA, FSP1 and FAP, varies between fibroblast populations. The expression of CAF markers differs between normal fibroblasts and CAFs in nemosis. These results emphasize the heterogeneity of fibroblasts and the evolving tumor-promoting properties of CAFs.
PMCID: PMC2730537  PMID: 19721715

Results 1-3 (3)