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1.  Pathogenic substitution of IVS15 + 5G > A in SLC26A4 in patients of Okinawa Islands with enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome or Pendred syndrome 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:56.
Background
Pendred syndrome (PS) and nonsyndromic hearing loss associated with enlarged vestibular aqueduct (EVA) are caused by SLC26A4 mutations. The Okinawa Islands are the southwestern-most islands of the Japanese archipelago. And ancestral differences have been reported between people from Okinawa Island and those from the main islands of Japan. To confirm the ethnic variation of the spectrum of SLC26A4 mutations, we investigated the frequencies of SLC26A4 mutations and clinical manifestations of patients with EVA or PS living in the Okinawa Islands.
Methods
We examined 22 patients with EVA or PS from 21 unrelated families in Okinawa Islands. The patient’s clinical history, findings of physical and otoscopic examinations, hearing test, and computed tomography (CT) scan of the temporal bones were recorded. To detect mutations, all 21 exons and the exon–intron junctions of SLC26A4 were sequenced for all subjects. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) for SLC26A4 and calculations using the comparative CT (2−ΔΔCT) method were used to determine the pathogenicity associated with gene substitutions.
Results
SLC26A4 mutations were identified in 21 of the 22 patients. We found a compound heterozygous mutation for IVS15 + 5G > A/H723R in nine patients (41%), a homozygous substitution of IVS15 + 5G > A in six patients (27%), and homozygous mutation for H723R in five patients (23%). The most prevalent types of SLC26A4 alleles were IVS15 + 5G > A and H723R, which both accounted for 15/22 (68%) of the patients. There were no significant correlations between the types of SLC26A4 mutation and clinical manifestations. Based on qRT-PCR results, expression of SLC26A4 was not identified in patients with the homozygous substitution of IVS15 + 5G > A.
Conclusions
The substitution of IVS15 + 5G > A in SLC26A4 was the most common mutation in uniquely found in patients with PS and EVA in Okinawa Islands. This suggested that the spectrum of SLC26A4 mutation differed from main islands of Japan and other East Asian countries. The substitution of IVS15 + 5G > A leads to a loss of SLC26A expression and results in a phenotype of PS and EVA.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-14-56
PMCID: PMC3664218  PMID: 23705809
2.  Identification of Four Novel Synonymous Substitutions in the X-Linked Genes Neuroligin 3 and Neuroligin 4X in Japanese Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorder 
Autism Research and Treatment  2012;2012:724072.
Mutations in the X-linked genes neuroligin 3 (NLGN3) and neuroligin 4X (NLGN4X) were first implicated in the pathogenesis of X-linked autism in Swedish families. However, reports of mutations in these genes in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients from various ethnic backgrounds present conflicting results regarding the etiology of ASD, possibly because of genetic heterogeneity and/or differences in their ethnic background. Additional mutation screening study on another ethnic background could help to clarify the relevance of the genes to ASD. We scanned the entire coding regions of NLGN3 and NLGN4X in 62 Japanese patients with ASD by polymerase chain reaction-high-resolution melting curve and direct sequencing analyses. Four synonymous substitutions, one in NLGN3 and three in NLGN4X, were identified in four of the 62 patients. These substitutions were not present in 278 control X-chromosomes from unrelated Japanese individuals and were not registered in the database of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms build 132 or in the Japanese Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms database, indicating that they were novel and specific to ASD. Though further analysis is necessary to determine the physiological and clinical importance of such substitutions, the possibility of the relevance of both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions with the etiology of ASD should be considered.
doi:10.1155/2012/724072
PMCID: PMC3420546  PMID: 22934180
3.  Spectrum of MLL2 (ALR) mutations in 110 cases of Kabuki syndrome 
Kabuki syndrome is a rare, multiple malformation disorder characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, cardiac anomalies, skeletal abnormalities, and mild to moderate intellectual disability. Simplex cases make up the vast majority of the reported cases with Kabuki syndrome, but parent-to-child transmission in more than a half-dozen instances indicates that it is an autosomal dominant disorder. We recently reported that Kabuki syndrome is caused by mutations in MLL2, a gene that encodes a Trithorax-group histone methyltransferase, a protein important in the epigenetic control of active chromatin states. Here, we report on the screening of 110 families with Kabuki syndrome. MLL2 mutations were found in 81/110 (74%) of families. In simplex cases for which DNA was available from both parents, 25 mutations were confirmed to be de novo, while a transmitted MLL2 mutation was found in two of three familial cases. The majority of variants found to cause Kabuki syndrome were novel nonsense or frameshift mutations that are predicted to result in haploinsufficiency. The clinical characteristics of MLL2 mutation-positive cases did not differ significantly from MLL2 mutation-negative cases with the exception that renal anomalies were more common in MLL2 mutation-positive cases. These results are important for understanding the phenotypic consequences of MLL2 mutations for individuals and their families as well as for providing a basis for the identification of additional genes for Kabuki syndrome.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.34074
PMCID: PMC3121928  PMID: 21671394
Kabuki syndrome; MLL2; ALR; Trithorax group histone methyltransferase

Results 1-3 (3)