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author:("Waters, alife")
2.  The kinetochore protein, CENPF, is mutated in human ciliopathy and microcephaly phenotypes 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2015;52(3):147-156.
Mutations in microtubule-regulating genes are associated with disorders of neuronal migration and microcephaly. Regulation of centriole length has been shown to underlie the pathogenesis of certain ciliopathy phenotypes. Using a next-generation sequencing approach, we identified mutations in a novel centriolar disease gene in a kindred with an embryonic lethal ciliopathy phenotype and in a patient with primary microcephaly.
Methods and results
Whole exome sequencing data from a non-consanguineous Caucasian kindred exhibiting mid-gestation lethality and ciliopathic malformations revealed two novel non-synonymous variants in CENPF, a microtubule-regulating gene. All four affected fetuses showed segregation for two mutated alleles [IVS5-2A>C, predicted to abolish the consensus splice-acceptor site from exon 6; c.1744G>T, p.E582X]. In a second unrelated patient exhibiting microcephaly, we identified two CENPF mutations [c.1744G>T, p.E582X; c.8692 C>T, p.R2898X] by whole exome sequencing. We found that CENP-F colocalised with Ninein at the subdistal appendages of the mother centriole in mouse inner medullary collecting duct cells. Intraflagellar transport protein-88 (IFT-88) colocalised with CENP-F along the ciliary axonemes of renal epithelial cells in age-matched control human fetuses but did not in truncated cilia of mutant CENPF kidneys. Pairwise co-immunoprecipitation assays of mitotic and serum-starved HEKT293 cells confirmed that IFT88 precipitates with endogenous CENP-F.
Our data identify CENPF as a new centriolar disease gene implicated in severe human ciliopathy and microcephaly related phenotypes. CENP-F has a novel putative function in ciliogenesis and cortical neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4345935  PMID: 25564561
Clinical genetics; Molecular genetics; CENPF; Ciliopathy; Microcephaly
3.  Clinico-pathological correlations of congenital and infantile nephrotic syndrome over twenty years 
Pediatric Nephrology (Berlin, Germany)  2014;29(11):2173-2180.
Nephrotic syndrome (NS) presenting early in life is caused by heterogeneous glomerular diseases. We retrospectively evaluated whether histological diagnosis in children presenting with NS in the first year of life predicts remission or progression to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).
This is a single centre retrospective review of all children diagnosed with NS before one year of age between 1990 and 2009. All subjects had a renal biopsy, which was independently blindly reviewed by a single renal pathologist for the purpose of this study.
Forty-nine children (25 female) who presented at 0.1–11.6 (median 1.6) months were included with 31 presenting within the first three months of life. Histopathological review diagnostic categories were; 13 Mesangial proliferative glomerulopathy (MesGN), 12 Focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), 11 Finnish type changes, eight Diffuse Mesangial Sclerosis (DMS), three Minimal change disease (MCD) and one each of Dense Deposit Disease (DDD) and Membranous nephropathy. Two children died from haemorrhagic complications of the biopsy. Eight children achieved remission (four MesGN, one Finnish type changes, one FSGS, one MCD and one membranous) with patient and renal survival of 73 % and 43 %, respectively, at follow-up duration of 5–222 (median 73) months (with five lost to follow-up). All children with Finnish-type histopathological changes presented within five months of age. Due to the historical nature of the cohort, genetic testing was only available for 14 children, nine of whom had an identifiable genetic basis (seven NPHS1, one PLCE1 and one ITGA3) with none of these nine children achieving remission. All of them had presented within four months of age and required renal replacement therapy, and two died.
Histopathological findings are varied in children presenting with NS early in life. Whilst groups of histological patterns of disease are associated with differing outcomes, accurate prediction of disease course in a specific case is difficult and more widespread genetic testing may improve the understanding of this group of diseases and their optimal management
PMCID: PMC4176949  PMID: 24902943
Congenital nephrotic syndrome; Infantile nephrotic syndrome; Histopathology; Genetics; Outcome
4.  The CONSENSUS study: protocol for a mixed methods study to establish which outcomes should be included in a core outcome set for oropharyngeal cancer 
Trials  2014;15:168.
The incidence of oropharyngeal cancer is increasing in the developed world. This has led to a large rise in research activity and clinical trials in this area, yet there is no consensus on which outcomes should be measured. As a result, the outcomes measured often differ between trials of comparable interventions, making the combination or comparison of results between trials impossible. Outcomes may also be ‘cherry-picked’, such that favourable results are reported, and less favourable results withheld. The development of a minimum outcome reporting standard, known as a core outcome set, goes some way to addressing these problems. Core outcome sets are ideally developed using a patient-centred approach so that the outcomes measured are relevant to patients and clinical practice. Core outcome sets drive up the quality and relevance of research by ensuring that the right outcomes are consistently measured and reported in trials in specific areas of health or healthcare.
This is a mixed methods study involving three phases to develop a core outcome set for oropharyngeal cancer clinical trials. Firstly, a systematic review will establish which outcomes are measured in published oropharyngeal cancer randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Secondly, qualitative interviews with patients and carers in the UK and the USA will aim to establish which outcomes are important to these stakeholders. Data from these first two stages will be used to develop a comprehensive list of outcomes to be considered for inclusion in the core outcome set. In the third stage, patients and clinicians will participate in an iterative consensus exercise known as a Delphi study to refine the contents of the core outcome set. This protocol lays out the methodology to be implemented in the CONSENSUS study.
A core outcome set defines a minimum outcome reporting standard for clinical trials in a particular area of health or healthcare. Its consistent implementation in oropharyngeal cancer clinical trials will improve the quality and relevance of research.
Trials and registration
This study is registered at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) portfolio, ID 13823 (17 January 2013).
PMCID: PMC4023496  PMID: 24885068
Core outcome set; Consensus; Delphi; Oropharyngeal cancer; Head and neck cancer
6.  Characterisation and Validation of Insertions and Deletions in 173 Patient Exomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51292.
Recent advances in genomics technologies have spurred unprecedented efforts in genome and exome re-sequencing aiming to unravel the genetic component of rare and complex disorders. While in rare disorders this allowed the identification of novel causal genes, the missing heritability paradox in complex diseases remains so far elusive. Despite rapid advances of next-generation sequencing, both the technology and the analysis of the data it produces are in its infancy. At present there is abundant knowledge pertaining to the role of rare single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in rare disorders and of common SNVs in common disorders. Although the 1,000 genome project has clearly highlighted the prevalence of rare variants and more complex variants (e.g. insertions, deletions), their role in disease is as yet far from elucidated.
We set out to analyse the properties of sequence variants identified in a comprehensive collection of exome re-sequencing studies performed on samples from patients affected by a broad range of complex and rare diseases (N = 173). Given the known potential for Loss of Function (LoF) variants to be false positive, we performed an extensive validation of the common, rare and private LoF variants identified, which indicated that most of the private and rare variants identified were indeed true, while common novel variants had a significantly higher false positive rate. Our results indicated a strong enrichment of very low-frequency insertion/deletion variants, so far under-investigated, which might be difficult to capture with low coverage and imputation approaches and for which most of study designs would be under-powered. These insertions and deletions might play a significant role in disease genetics, contributing specifically to the underlining rare and private variation predicted to be discovered through next generation sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3522676  PMID: 23251486
7.  Integrin α3 Mutations with Kidney, Lung, and Skin Disease 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(16):1508-1514.
Integrin α3 is a transmembrane integrin receptor subunit that mediates signals between the cells and their microenvironment. We identified three patients with homozygous mutations in the integrin α3 gene that were associated with disrupted basement-membrane structures and compromised barrier functions in kidney, lung, and skin. The patients had a multiorgan disorder that included congenital nephrotic syndrome, interstitial lung disease, and epidermolysis bullosa. The renal and respiratory features predominated, and the lung involvement accounted for the lethal course of the disease. Although skin fragility was mild, it provided clues to the diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3341404  PMID: 22512483
8.  Mutations in the lectin complement pathway genes COLEC11 and MASP1 cause 3MC syndrome 
Nature genetics  2011;43(3):197-203.
3MC syndrome has been proposed as a unifying term to integrate the overlapping Carnevale, Mingarelli, Malpuech and Michels syndromes. These rare autosomal recessive disorders of unknown cause comprise a spectrum of developmental features including characteristic facial dysmorphism, cleft lip and/or palate, craniosynostosis, learning disability, and genital, limb and vesicorenal anomalies. In a cohort of eleven 3MC families, we identified two mutated genes COLEC11 and MASP1 both of which encode proteins within the lectin complement pathway (CL-K1 and MASP-1 & −3 respectively). CL-K1 is highly expressed in embryonic murine craniofacial cartilage, heart, bronchi, kidney, and vertebral bodies. Zebrafish morphants develop pigment defects and severe craniofacial abnormalities.
Here, we show that CL-K1 serves as a key guidance cue for neural crest cell migration thus demonstrating for the first time, a role for complement pathway factors in fundamental developmental processes and the origin of 3MC syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3045628  PMID: 21258343
10.  Ciliopathies: an expanding disease spectrum 
Ciliopathies comprise a group of disorders associated with genetic mutations encoding defective proteins, which result in either abnormal formation or function of cilia. As cilia are a component of almost all vertebrate cells, cilia dysfunction can manifest as a constellation of features that include characteristically, retinal degeneration, renal disease and cerebral anomalies. Additional manifestations include congenital fibrocystic diseases of the liver, diabetes, obesity and skeletal dysplasias. Ciliopathic features have been associated with mutations in over 40 genes to date. However, with over 1,000 polypeptides currently identified within the ciliary proteome, several other disorders associated with this constellation of clinical features will likely be ascribed to mutations in other ciliary genes. The mechanisms underlying many of the disease phenotypes associated with ciliary dysfunction have yet to be fully elucidated. Several elegant studies have crucially demonstrated the dynamic ciliary localisation of components of the Hedgehog and Wnt signalling pathways during signal transduction. Given the critical role of the cilium in transducing “outside-in” signals, it is not surprising therefore, that the disease phenotypes consequent to ciliary dysfunction are a manifestation of aberrant signal transduction. Further investigation is now needed to explore the developmental and physiological roles of aberrant signal transduction in the manifestation of ciliopathy phenotypes. Utilisation of conditional and inducible murine models to delete or overexpress individual ciliary genes in a spatiotemporal and organ/cell-specific manner should help clarify some of the functional roles of ciliary proteins in the manifestation of phenotypic features.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00467-010-1731-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
PMCID: PMC3098370  PMID: 21210154
Ciliopathy; Renal disease; Retinal disease; Heterogeneous
11.  aHUS caused by complement dysregulation: new therapies on the horizon 
Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is a heterogeneous disease that is caused by defective complement regulation in over 50% of cases. Mutations have been identified in genes encoding both complement regulators [complement factor H (CFH), complement factor I (CFI), complement factor H-related proteins (CFHR), and membrane cofactor protein (MCP)], as well as complement activators [complement factor B (CFB) and C3]. More recently, mutations have also been identified in thrombomodulin (THBD), an anticoagulant glycoprotein that plays a role in the inactivation of C3a and C5a. Inhibitory autoantibodies to CFH account for an additional 5–10% of cases and can occur in isolation or in association with mutations in CFH, CFI, CFHR 1, 3, 4, and MCP. Plasma therapies are considered the mainstay of therapy in aHUS secondary to defective complement regulation and may be administered as plasma infusions or plasma exchange. However, in certain cases, despite initiation of plasma therapy, renal function continues to deteriorate with progression to end-stage renal disease and renal transplantation. Recently, eculizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against C5, has been described as an effective therapeutic strategy in the management of refractory aHUS that has failed to respond to plasma therapy. Clinical trials are now underway to further evaluate the efficacy of eculizumab in the management of both plasma-sensitive and plasma-resistant aHUS.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00467-010-1556-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2991208  PMID: 20556434
Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome; Defective complement regulation; Plasma therapy; Eculizumab
12.  Childhood Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, United Kingdom and Ireland 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(4):590-596.
The risk for diarrhea-associated HUS was higher for children infected with Escherichia coli O157 phage type (PT) 2 and PT21/28 than for those infected with other PTs.
We conducted prospective surveillance of childhood hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) from 1997 to 2001 to describe disease incidence and clinical, epidemiologic and microbiologic characteristics. We compared our findings, where possible, with those of a previous study conducted from 1985 to 1988. The average annual incidence of HUS for the United Kingdom and Ireland (0.71/100,000) was unchanged from 1985 to 1988. The overall early mortality had halved, but the reduction in mortality was almost entirely accounted for by improved outcome in patients with diarrhea-associated HUS. The principal infective cause of diarrhea-associated HUS was Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157), although in the 1997–2001 survey STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 had replaced STEC O157 PT2 as the predominant PT. The risk of developing diarrhea-associated HUS was significantly higher in children infected with STEC O157 PT 2 and PT 21/28 compared with other PTs. Hypertension as a complication of HUS was greatly reduced in patients with diarrhea-associated HUS.
PMCID: PMC3320351  PMID: 15829199
Morbidity; mortality; zoonoses; pediatrics; population surveillance; hemolytic uremic syndrome; diarrhea; Escherichia coli O157; United Kingdom; Ireland; gastroenteritis; research

Results 1-12 (12)