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1.  Comprehensive molecular diagnosis of 179 Leber congenital amaurosis and juvenile retinitis pigmentosa patients by targeted next generation sequencing 
Journal of medical genetics  2013;50(10):674-688.
Background
Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) and juvenile retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are inherited retinal diseases that cause early onset severe visual impairment. An accurate molecular diagnosis can refine the clinical diagnosis and allow gene specific treatments.
Methods
We developed a capture panel that enriches the exonic DNA of 163 known retinal disease genes. Using this panel, we performed targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) for a large cohort of 179 unrelated and prescreened patients with the clinical diagnosis of LCA or juvenile RP. Systematic NGS data analysis, Sanger sequencing validation, and segregation analysis were utilised to identify the pathogenic mutations. Patients were revisited to examine the potential phenotypic ambiguity at the time of initial diagnosis.
Results
Pathogenic mutations for 72 patients (40%) were identified, including 45 novel mutations. Of these 72 patients, 58 carried mutations in known LCA or juvenile RP genes and exhibited corresponding phenotypes, while 14 carried mutations in retinal disease genes that were not consistent with their initial clinical diagnosis. We revisited patients in the latter case and found that homozygous mutations in PRPH2 can cause LCA/juvenile RP. Guided by the molecular diagnosis, we reclassified the clinical diagnosis in two patients.
Conclusions
We have identified a novel gene and a large number of novel mutations that are associated with LCA/juvenile RP. Our results highlight the importance of molecular diagnosis as an integral part of clinical diagnosis.
doi:10.1136/jmedgenet-2013-101558
PMCID: PMC3932025  PMID: 23847139
2.  Next-Generation Sequencing–Based Molecular Diagnosis of a Chinese Patient Cohort With Autosomal Recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa 
Purpose.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a highly heterogeneous genetic disease; therefore, an accurate molecular diagnosis is essential for appropriate disease treatment and family planning. The prevalence of RP in China had been reported at 1 in 3800, resulting in an estimated total of 340,000 Chinese RP patients. However, genetic studies of Chinese RP patients have been very limited. To date, no comprehensive molecular diagnosis has been done for Chinese RP patients. With the emergence of next-generation sequencing (NGS), comprehensive molecular diagnosis of RP is now within reach. The purpose of this study was to perform the first NGS-based comprehensive molecular diagnosis for Chinese RP patients.
Methods.
Thirty-one well-characterized autosomal recessive RP (arRP) families were recruited. For each family, the DNA sample from one affected member was sequenced using our custom capture panel, which includes 163 retinal disease genes. Variants were called, filtered, and annotated by our in-house automatic pipeline.
Results.
Twelve arRP families were successfully molecular diagnosed, achieving a diagnostic rate of approximately 40%. Interestingly, approximately 63% of the pathogenic mutations we identified are novel, which is higher than that observed in a similar study on European descent (45%). Moreover, the clinical diagnoses of two families were refined based on the pathogenic mutations identified in the patients.
Conclusions.
We conclude that comprehensive molecular diagnosis can be vital for an accurate clinical diagnosis of RP. Applying this tool on patients from different ethnic groups is essential for enhancing our knowledge of the global spectrum of RP disease-causing mutations.
Next-generation sequencing–based comprehensive molecular diagnosis of 31 families with autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (arRP) was performed. This is the first such study of a Chinese arRP patient cohort, revealing a total of 10 novel putatively pathogenic mutations.
doi:10.1167/iovs.13-11672
PMCID: PMC3684217  PMID: 23661369
retinitis pigmentosa; next-generation sequencing; molecular diagnosis; Chinese population
3.  Functional polycystin-1 dosage governs autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease severity 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(11):4257-4273.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is caused by mutations to PKD1 or PKD2, triggering progressive cystogenesis and typically leading to end-stage renal disease in midlife. The phenotypic spectrum, however, ranges from in utero onset to adequate renal function at old age. Recent patient data suggest that the disease is dosage dependent, where incompletely penetrant alleles influence disease severity. Here, we have developed a knockin mouse model matching a likely disease variant, PKD1 p.R3277C (RC), and have proved that its functionally hypomorphic nature modifies the ADPKD phenotype. While Pkd1+/null mice are normal, Pkd1RC/null mice have rapidly progressive disease, and Pkd1RC/RC animals develop gradual cystogenesis. These models effectively mimic the pathophysiological features of in utero–onset and typical ADPKD, respectively, correlating the level of functional Pkd1 product with disease severity, highlighting the dosage dependence of cystogenesis. Additionally, molecular analyses identified p.R3277C as a temperature-sensitive folding/trafficking mutant, and length defects in collecting duct primary cilia, the organelle central to PKD pathogenesis, were clearly detected for the first time to our knowledge in PKD1. Altogether, this study highlights the role that in trans variants at the disease locus can play in phenotypic modification of dominant diseases and provides a truly orthologous PKD1 model, optimal for therapeutic testing.
doi:10.1172/JCI64313
PMCID: PMC3484456  PMID: 23064367
4.  Structural Basis of Ubiquitin Recognition by Translesion Synthesis DNA Polymerase ι† 
Biochemistry  2010;49(47):10198-10207.
Cells have evolved mutagenic bypass mechanisms that prevent stalling of the replication machinery at DNA lesions. This process, translesion DNA synthesis (TLS), involves switching from high-fidelity DNA polymerases to specialized DNA polymerases that replicate through a variety of DNA lesions. In eukaryotes, polymerase switching during TLS is regulated by the DNA damage-triggered monoubiquitylation of PCNA. How the switch operates is unknown, but all TLS polymerases of the so-called Y-family possess PCNA and ubiquitin-binding domains that are important for their function. To gain insight into the structural mechanisms underlying the regulation of TLS by ubiquitylation, we have probed the interaction of ubiquitin with a conserved ubiquitin-binding motif (UBM2) of Y-family polymerase Polι. Using NMR spectroscopy, we have determined the structure of a complex of human Polι UBM2 and ubiquitin, revealing a novel ubiquitin recognition fold consisting of two α-helices separated by a central trans-proline residue conserved in all UBMs. We show that, different from the majority of ubiquitin complexes characterized to date, ubiquitin residue Ile44 only plays a modest role in the association of ubiquitin with Polι UBM2. Instead, binding of UBM2 is centered on the recognition of Leu8 in ubiquitin, which is essential for the interaction.
doi:10.1021/bi101303t
PMCID: PMC2995291  PMID: 21049971
5.  Preliminary neutron and ultrahigh-resolution X-ray diffraction studies of the aspartic proteinase endothiapepsin cocrystallized with a gem-diol inhibitor 
Three data sets have been collected on endothiapepsin complexed with the gem-diol inhibitor PD-135,040: a high-resolution synchrotron X-ray data set, a room-temperature X-ray data set and a neutron diffraction data set. Until recently, it has been impossible to grow large protein crystals of endothiapepsin with any gem-diol inhibitor that are suitable for neutron diffraction.
Endothiapepsin has been cocrystallized with the gem-diol inhibitor PD-135,040 in a low solvent-content (39%) unit cell, which is unprecedented for this enzyme–inhibitor complex and enables ultrahigh-resolution (1.0 Å) X-ray diffraction data to be collected. This atomic resolution X-ray data set will be used to deduce the protonation states of the catalytic aspartate residues. A room-temperature neutron data set has also been collected for joint refinement with a room-temperature X-ray data set in order to locate the H/D atoms at the active site.
doi:10.1107/S1744309107061283
PMCID: PMC2344097  PMID: 18084100
endothiapepsin; gem-diol inhibitors; neutron diffraction
7.  Preliminary neutron and ultrahigh-resolution X-ray diffraction studies of the aspartic proteinase endothiapepsin cocrystallized with a gem-diol inhibitor 
Endothiapepsin has been cocrystallized with the gem-diol inhibitor PD-135,040 in a low solvent-content (39%) unit cell, which is unprecedented for this enzyme—inhibitor complex and enables ultrahigh-resolution (1.0 Å) X-ray diffraction data to be collected. This atomic resolution X-ray data set will be used to deduce the protonation states of the catalytic aspartate residues. A room-temperature neutron data set has also been collected for joint refinement with a room-temperature X-ray data set in order to locate the H/D atoms at the active site.
doi:10.1107/S1744309107061283
PMCID: PMC2344097  PMID: 18084100

Results 1-7 (7)