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1.  Interstitial 7q31.1 copy number variations disrupting IMMP2L gene are associated with a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders 
Since the introduction of the array-CGH technique in the diagnostic workup of mental retardation, new recurrent copy number variations and novel microdeletion/microduplication syndromes were identified. These findings suggest that some genomic disorders have high penetrance but a wide range of phenotypic severity.
We present the clinical and molecular description of four unrelated patients affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and overlapping 7q31.1 microdeletion/microduplication, identified by array-CGH and involving only part of the IMMP2L gene.
IMMP2L encodes an inner mitochondrial membrane protease-like protein, which is required for processing of cytochromes inside mitochondria. Numerous studies reported that this gene is implicated in behavioural disorders such as autistic spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, and Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. We discuss the functions of the gene suggesting that IMMP2L may act as risk factor for neurological disease.
PMCID: PMC4255718  PMID: 25478008
IMMP2L; Neurodevelopmental disorders; Copy number variation; Array-CGH
2.  De novo deletion of chromosome 11q12.3 in monozygotic twins affected by Poland Syndrome 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:63.
Poland Syndrome (PS) is a rare disorder characterized by hypoplasia/aplasia of the pectoralis major muscle, variably associated with thoracic and upper limb anomalies. Familial recurrence has been reported indicating that PS could have a genetic basis, though the genetic mechanisms underlying PS development are still unknown.
Case presentation
Here we describe a couple of monozygotic (MZ) twin girls, both presenting with Poland Syndrome. They carry a de novo heterozygous 126 Kbp deletion at chromosome 11q12.3 involving 5 genes, four of which, namely HRASLS5, RARRES3, HRASLS2, and PLA2G16, encode proteins that regulate cellular growth, differentiation, and apoptosis, mainly through Ras-mediated signaling pathways.
Phenotype concordance between the monozygotic twin probands provides evidence supporting the genetic control of PS. As genes controlling cell growth and differentiation may be related to morphological defects originating during development, we postulate that the observed chromosome deletion could be causative of the phenotype observed in the twin girls and the deleted genes could play a role in PS development.
PMCID: PMC4051386  PMID: 24885342
Chromosome 11q deletion; Congenital abnormalities; Monozygotic twins; Poland syndrome; CNV; HRASLS5; HRASLS2; RARRES3; PLA2G16
3.  Modelling and rescuing neurodevelopmental defect of Down syndrome using induced pluripotent stem cells from monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2013;6(2):259-277.
Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is the most common viable chromosomal disorder with intellectual impairment and several other developmental abnormalities. Here, we report the generation and characterization of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21 in order to eliminate the effects of the variability of genomic background. The alterations observed by genetic analysis at the iPSC level and at first approximation in early development illustrate the developmental disease transcriptional signature of Down syndrome. Moreover, we observed an abnormal neural differentiation of Down syndrome iPSCs in vivo when formed teratoma in NOD-SCID mice, and in vitro when differentiated into neuroprogenitors and neurons. These defects were associated with changes in the architecture and density of neurons, astroglial and oligodendroglial cells together with misexpression of genes involved in neurogenesis, lineage specification and differentiation. Furthermore, we provide novel evidence that dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A ( DYRK1A) on chromosome 21 likely contributes to these defects. Importantly, we found that targeting DYRK1A pharmacologically or by shRNA results in a considerable correction of these defects.
PMCID: PMC3927959  PMID: 24375627
disease modelling; Down syndrome; DYRK1A; induced pluripotent stem cells; neurodevelopment
4.  A rare 3q13.31 microdeletion including GAP43 and LSAMP genes 
Interstitial deletions affecting the proximal long arm of chromosome 3 have been rarely reported in the literature. The deleted segments vary in localization and size with different breakpoints making genotype-phenotype correlation very difficult. Until now, a girl with a 1.9-Mb interstitial deletion of 3q13.2q13.31 and 14 novel patients with deletions in 3q11q23 have been reported.
Here we report on a 7-year-old girl with neuropsychiatric disorders and renal, vascular and skeletal anomalies. Array-CGH analysis revealed a small rare inherited 3q13.31 deletion containing only two genes, GAP43 and LSAMP. The mutation analysis of the two genes was negative on the other non-deleted chromosome. GAP43 is considered a crucial component for an effective regenerative response in the nervous system and its mRNA is localized exclusively to nerve tissue where the protein is linked to the synaptosomal membrane. LSAMP is a 64- to 68-kD neuronal surface glycoprotein found in cortical and subcortical regions of the limbic system that acts as an adhesion molecule and guides the development of specific patterns of neuronal connection. The deleted region is adjacent to a “desert gene” region extending 2.099 Mb.
We discuss the effects of GAP43 and LSAMP haploinsufficiency, proposing that their deletion may be responsible for the main phenotype. Further cases with similar microdeletion are expected to be diagnosed and will help to better characterize the clinical spectrum of phenotypes associated with 3q13.31 microdeletion.
PMCID: PMC3906914  PMID: 24279697
3q31.31microdeletion; GAP43 gene; LSAMP gene; Genotype-phenotype correlation
5.  Genotype-Phenotype Correlation of 2q37 Deletions Including NPPC Gene Associated with Skeletal Malformations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66048.
Coordinated bone growth is controlled by numerous mechanisms which are only partially understood because of the involvement of many hormones and local regulators. The C-type Natriuretic Peptide (CNP), encoded by NPPC gene located on chromosome 2q37.1, is a molecule that regulates endochondral ossification of the cartilaginous growth plate and influences longitudinal bone growth. Two independent studies have described three patients with a Marfan-like phenotype presenting a de novo balanced translocation involving the same chromosomal region 2q37.1 and overexpression of NPPC. We report on two partially overlapping interstitial 2q37 deletions identified by array CGH. The two patients showed opposite phenotypes characterized by short stature and skeletal overgrowth, respectively. The patient with short stature presented a 2q37 deletion causing the loss of one copy of the NPPC gene and the truncation of the DIS3L2 gene with normal CNP plasma concentration. The deletion identified in the patient with a Marfan-like phenotype interrupted the DIS3L2 gene without involving the NPPC gene. In addition, a strongly elevated CNP plasma concentration was found in this patient. A possible role of NPPC as causative of the two opposite phenotypes is discussed in this study.
PMCID: PMC3689787  PMID: 23805197
6.  Identification of an Interstitial 18p11.32-p11.31 Duplication Including the EMILIN2 Gene in a Family with Porokeratosis of Mibelli 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61311.
Porokeratosis is a rare disease of epidermal keratinization characterized by the histopathological feature of the cornoid lamella, a column of tightly fitted parakeratocytic cells, whose etiology is still unclear. Porokeratosis of Mibelli is a subtype of porokeratosis presenting a single plaque or a small number of plaques of variable size located unilaterally on limbs. It frequently appears in childhood and occurs with a higher incidence in males. Cytogenetic analyses were performed in all members of the family on lesioned and uninvolved skin. An array-CGH analysis was also performed utilizing the Human Genome CGH Microarray Kit G3 400 with 5.3 KB overall median probe spacing. Gene expression was performed on skin fibroblasts. In this study, we describe a Caucasian healthy 4-year-old child and his father showing features of porokeratosis of Mibelli. Array-CGH analysis revealed an interstitial 429.5 Kb duplication of chromosome 18p11.32-p11.3 containing four genes, namely: SMCHD1, EMILIN2, LPIN2, and MYOM1 both in patient and his father. EMILIN2 resulted overexpressed on skin fibroblasts. Also other members of this family, without evident signs of porokeratosis, carried the same duplication. Among these genes, we focused our attention on elastin microfibril interfacer 2 (EMILIN2) gene. Apoptosis plays a fundamental role in maintaining epidermal homeostasis, balancing keratinocytes proliferation, and forming the stratum corneum. EMILIN2 is known to trigger the apoptosis of different cell lines negatively affecting cell survival. It is expressed in the skin. We could speculate that the duplication and overexpression of EMILIN2 cause an abnormal apoptosis of epidermal keratinocytes and alter the process of keratinization, even if other epigenetic and genetic factors could also be involved. Our results could contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of porokeratosis of Mibelli.
PMCID: PMC3622678  PMID: 23593459
7.  Parental Imbalances Involving Chromosomes 15q and 22q May Predispose to the Formation of De Novo Pathogenic Microdeletions and Microduplications in the Offspring 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57910.
Microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) led to the discovery of genetic abnormalities among patients with complex phenotype and normal karyotype. Also several apparently normal individuals have been found to be carriers of cryptic imbalances, hence the importance to perform parental investigations after the identification of a deletion/duplication in a proband. Here, we report the molecular cytogenetic characterization of two individuals in which the microdeletions/duplications present in their parents could have predisposed and facilitated the formation of de novo pathogenic different copy number variations (CNVs). In family 1, a 4-year-old girl had a de novo pathogenic 10.5 Mb duplication at 15q21.2q22.2, while her mother showed a 2.262 Mb deletion at 15q13.2q13.3; in family 2, a 9-year-old boy had a de novo 1.417 Mb deletion at 22q11.21 and a second paternal deletion of 247 Kb at 22q11.23 on the same chromosome 22. Chromosome 22 at band q11.2 and chromosome 15 at band q11q13 are considered unstable regions. We could hypothesize that 15q13.2q13.3 and 22q11.21 deletions in the two respective parents might have increased the risk of rearrangements in their children. This study highlights the difficulty to make genetic counseling and predict the phenotypic consequences in these situations.
PMCID: PMC3590287  PMID: 23483941
8.  Identification of a rare 17p13.3 duplication including the BHLHA9 and YWHAE genes in a family with developmental delay and behavioural problems 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:93.
Deletions and duplications of the PAFAH1B1 and YWHAE genes in 17p13.3 are associated with different clinical phenotypes. In particular, deletion of PAFAH1B1 causes isolated lissencephaly while deletions involving both PAFAH1B1 and YWHAE cause Miller-Dieker syndrome. Isolated duplications of PAFAH1B1 have been associated with mild developmental delay and hypotonia, while isolated duplications of YWHAE have been associated with autism. In particular, different dysmorphic features associated with PAFAH1B1 or YWHAE duplication have suggested the need to classify the patient clinical features in two groups according to which gene is involved in the chromosomal duplication.
We analyze the proband and his family by classical cytogenetic and array-CGH analyses. The putative rearrangement was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization.
We have identified a family segregating a 17p13.3 duplication extending 329.5 kilobases by FISH and array-CGH involving the YWHAE gene, but not PAFAH1B1, affected by a mild dysmorphic phenotype with associated autism and mental retardation. We propose that BHLHA9, YWHAE, and CRK genes contribute to the phenotype of our patient. The small chromosomal duplication was inherited from his mother who was affected by a bipolar and borderline disorder and was alcohol addicted.
We report an additional familial case of small 17p13.3 chromosomal duplication including only BHLHA9, YWHAE, and CRK genes. Our observation and further cases with similar microduplications are expected to be diagnosed, and will help better characterise the clinical spectrum of phenotypes associated with 17p13.3 microduplications.
PMCID: PMC3495055  PMID: 23035971
Familial 17p13.3 duplication syndrome; PAFAH1B1 and YWHAE genes; Array-CGH
9.  Molecular Mechanisms Generating and Stabilizing Terminal 22q13 Deletions in 44 Subjects with Phelan/McDermid Syndrome 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(7):e1002173.
In this study, we used deletions at 22q13, which represent a substantial source of human pathology (Phelan/McDermid syndrome), as a model for investigating the molecular mechanisms of terminal deletions that are currently poorly understood. We characterized at the molecular level the genomic rearrangement in 44 unrelated patients with 22q13 monosomy resulting from simple terminal deletions (72%), ring chromosomes (14%), and unbalanced translocations (7%). We also discovered interstitial deletions between 17–74 kb in 9% of the patients. Haploinsufficiency of the SHANK3 gene, confirmed in all rearrangements, is very likely the cause of the major neurological features associated with PMS. SHANK3 mutations can also result in language and/or social interaction disabilities. We determined the breakpoint junctions in 29 cases, providing a realistic snapshot of the variety of mechanisms driving non-recurrent deletion and repair at chromosome ends. De novo telomere synthesis and telomere capture are used to repair terminal deletions; non-homologous end-joining or microhomology-mediated break-induced replication is probably involved in ring 22 formation and translocations; non-homologous end-joining and fork stalling and template switching prevail in cases with interstitial 22q13.3. For the first time, we also demonstrated that distinct stabilizing events of the same terminal deletion can occur in different early embryonic cells, proving that terminal deletions can be repaired by multistep healing events and supporting the recent hypothesis that rare pathogenic germline rearrangements may have mitotic origin. Finally, the progressive clinical deterioration observed throughout the longitudinal medical history of three subjects over forty years supports the hypothesis of a role for SHANK3 haploinsufficiency in neurological deterioration, in addition to its involvement in the neurobehavioral phenotype of PMS.
Author Summary
Terminal chromosome deletions are among the most commonly observed rearrangements detected by cytogenetics and may result in several well-known genetic syndromes. We used 22q13 deletions to study how these types of chromosome abnormalities arise. Children with Phelan/McDermid syndrome, caused by deletion of the terminal portion of chromosome 22, experience developmental delay, absent or severely delayed speech, and frequent behavioral problems. Lack of one copy of SHANK3, a key gene for the correct development and organization of brain synapses, is very likely the basis of the syndrome's major neurological features. Deletion of additional genes probably causes more complex phenotypes in subjects with larger deletions. We also studied patients who only lack a portion of SHANK3 and demonstrated that small, hard-to-detect deletions of this gene may cause substantial clinical problems. Until now, the 22q distal deletion had been only diagnosed in very young people. We studied a large group of patients of different ages and discovered that all adult patients face progressive cognitive decline. Our study demonstrates that deletion of the terminal portion of chromosome 22, a prototype for terminal deletions in human chromosomes, can occur in several ways. Mosaic deletions of different size can also form in early embryogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3136441  PMID: 21779178
10.  Microarray based analysis of an inherited terminal 3p26.3 deletion, containing only the CHL1 gene, from a normal father to his two affected children 
terminal deletions of the distal portion of the short arm of chromosome 3 cause a rare contiguous gene disorder characterized by growth retardation, developmental delay, mental retardation, dysmorphisms, microcephaly and ptosis. The phenotype of individuals with deletions varies from normal to severe. It was suggested that a 1,5 Mb minimal terminal deletion including the two genes CRBN and CNTN4 is sufficient to cause the syndrome.
In addition the CHL1 gene, mapping at 3p26.3 distally to CRBN and CNTN4, was proposed as candidate gene for a non specific mental retardation because of its high level of expression in the brain.
Methods and Results
we describe two affected siblings in which array-CGH analysis disclosed an identical discontinuous terminal 3p26.3 deletion spanning less than 1 Mb. The deletion was transmitted from their normal father and included only the CHL1 gene. The two brothers present microcephaly, light mental retardation, learning and language difficulties but not the typical phenotype manifestations described in 3p- syndrome.
a terminal 3p26.3 deletion including only the CHL1 gene is a very rare finding previously reported only in one family. The phenotype of the affected individuals in the two families is very similar and the deletion has been inherited from an apparently normal parent. As already described for others recurrent syndromes with variable phenotype, these findings are challenging in genetic counselling because of an evident variable penetrance.
PMCID: PMC3090742  PMID: 21457564
11.  A Teratocarcinoma-Like Human Embryonic Stem Cell (hESC) Line and Four hESC Lines Reveal Potentially Oncogenic Genomic Changes 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10263.
The first Swiss human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line, CH-ES1, has shown features of a malignant cell line. It originated from the only single blastomere that survived cryopreservation of an embryo, and it more closely resembles teratocarcinoma lines than other hESC lines with respect to its abnormal karyotype and its formation of invasive tumors when injected into SCID mice. The aim of this study was to characterize the molecular basis of the oncogenicity of CH-ES1 cells, we looked for abnormal chromosomal copy number (by array Comparative Genomic Hybridization, aCGH) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). To see how unique these changes were, we compared these results to data collected from the 2102Ep teratocarcinoma line and four hESC lines (H1, HS293, HS401 and SIVF-02) which displayed normal G-banding result. We identified genomic gains and losses in CH-ES1, including gains in areas containing several oncogenes. These features are similar to those observed in teratocarcinomas, and this explains the high malignancy. The CH-ES1 line was trisomic for chromosomes 1, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20 and X. Also the karyotypically (based on G-banding) normal hESC lines were also found to have several genomic changes that involved genes with known roles in cancer. The largest changes were found in the H1 line at passage number 56, when large 5 Mb duplications in chromosomes 1q32.2 and 22q12.2 were detected, but the losses and gains were seen already at passage 22. These changes found in the other lines highlight the importance of assessing the acquisition of genetic changes by hESCs before their use in regenerative medicine applications. They also point to the possibility that the acquisition of genetic changes by ESCs in culture may be used to explore certain aspects of the mechanisms regulating oncogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2859053  PMID: 20428235
12.  Presence of 1q gain and absence of 7p gain are new predictors of local or metastatic relapse in localized resectable neuroblastoma 
Neuro-Oncology  2009;11(2):192-200.
We have addressed the search of novel genetic prognostic markers in a selected cohort of patients with stroma-poor localized resectable neuroblastoma (NB) who underwent relapse or progression (group 1) or complete remission (group 2) over a minimum follow-up of 32 months from diagnosis. Twenty-three Italian patients with localized resectable NB (stages 1 and 2) diagnosed from 1994 through 2005 were studied. All patients received surgical treatment. Chemotherapy was administered only to the three stage 2 patients who had MYCN-amplified tumors. High-resolution array-comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) DNA copy-number analysis technology was used to identify novel prognostic markers. Chromosome 1p36.22p36.32 loss and 1q22qter gain, detected almost exclusively in group 1 patients, were significantly associated with poor event-free survival (EFS) (p = 0.0024 and p = 0.024, respectively). In contrast, patients with 7p11.2p22 gain, who belonged predominantly to group 2, had a significantly better EFS (p = 0.015). The frequency of 17q gain or 3p and 11q losses did not differ significantly in group 1 versus group 2 NBs. The sensitive technique allowed us to define the smallest region of 1p deletion. In conclusion, 1q22qter gain and 7p11.2p22 gain might represent new prognostic markers in localized resectable NB, but the small study size and the retrospective nature of the findings warrant further validation of the results in larger studies.
PMCID: PMC2718991  PMID: 18923191
1q gain; 7p gain; array-CGH; localized resectable neuroblastoma; prognostic markers
13.  13q Deletion and central nervous system anomalies: further insights from karyotype–phenotype analyses of 14 patients 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2007;44(1):e60.
Chromosome 13q deletion is associated with varying phenotypes, which seem to depend on the location of the deleted segment. Although various attempts have been made to link the 13q deletion intervals to distinct phenotypes, there is still no acknowledged consensus correlation between the monosomy of distinct 13q regions and specific clinical features.
14 Italian patients carrying partial de novo 13q deletions were studied. Molecular–cytogenetic characterisation was carried out by means of array‐comparative genomic hybridisation (array‐CGH) or fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH).
Our 14 patients showed mental retardation ranging from profound–severe to moderate–mild: eight had central nervous system (CNS) anomalies, including neural tube defects (NTDs), six had eye abnormalities, nine had facial dysmorphisms and 10 had hand or feet anomalies. The size of the deleted regions varied from 4.2 to 75.7 Mb.
This study is the first systematic molecular characterisation of de novo 13q deletions, and offers a karyotype–phenotype correlation based on detailed clinical studies and molecular determinations of the deleted regions. Analyses confirm that patients lacking the 13q32 band are the most seriously affected, and critical intervals have been preliminarily assigned for CNS malformations. Dose‐sensitive genes proximal to q33.2 may be involved in NTDs. The minimal deletion interval associated with the Dandy–Walker malformation (DWM) was narrowed to the 13q32.2–33.2 region, in which the ZIC2 and ZIC5 genes proposed as underlying various CNS malformations are mapped.
PMCID: PMC2597907  PMID: 17209130
14.  Recurrent microdeletion at 17q12 as a cause of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome: two case reports 
Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH) consists of congenital aplasia of the uterus and the upper part of vagina due to anomalous development of Müllerian ducts, either isolated or associated with other congenital malformations, including renal, skeletal, hearing and heart defects. This disorder has an incidence of approximately 1 in 4500 newborn girls and the aetiology is poorly understood.
Methods and Results
we report on two patients affected by MRKH syndrome in which array-CGH analysis disclosed an identical deletion spanning 1.5 Mb of genomic DNA at chromosome 17q12. One patient was affected by complete absence of uterus and vagina, with bilaterally normal ovaries, while the other displayed agenesis of the upper part of vagina, right unicornuate uterus, non cavitating rudimentary left horn and bilaterally multicystic kidneys. The deletion encompassed two candidate genes, TCF2 and LHX1. Mutational screening of these genes in a selected group of 20 MRKH females without 17q12 deletion was negative.
Deletion 17q12 is a rare albeit recurrent anomaly mediated by segmental duplications, previously reported in subjects with developmental kidney abnormalities and diabetes. The present two patients expand the clinical spectrum associated with this imbalance and suggest that this region is a candidate locus for a subset of MRKH syndrome individuals, with or without renal defects.
PMCID: PMC2777856  PMID: 19889212
15.  The tumor suppressor gene TRC8/RNF139 is disrupted by a constitutional balanced translocation t(8;22)(q24.13;q11.21) in a young girl with dysgerminoma 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:52.
RNF139/TRC8 is a potential tumor suppressor gene with similarity to PTCH, a tumor suppressor implicated in basal cell carcinomas and glioblastomas. TRC8 has the potential to act in a novel regulatory relationship linking the cholesterol/lipid biosynthetic pathway with cellular growth control and has been identified in families with hereditary renal (RCC) and thyroid cancers. Haploinsufficiency of TRC8 may facilitate development of clear cell-RCC in association with VHL mutations, and may increase risk for other tumor types. We report a paternally inherited balanced translocation t(8;22) in a proposita with dysgerminoma.
The translocation was characterized by FISH and the breakpoints cloned, sequenced, and compared. DNA isolated from normal and tumor cells was checked for abnormalities by array-CGH. Expression of genes TRC8 and TSN was tested both on dysgerminoma and in the proposita and her father.
The breakpoints of the translocation are located within the LCR-B low copy repeat on chromosome 22q11.21, containing the palindromic AT-rich repeat (PATRR) involved in recurrent and non-recurrent translocations, and in an AT-rich sequence inside intron 1 of the TRC8 tumor-suppressor gene at 8q24.13. TRC8 was strongly underexpressed in the dysgerminoma. Translin is underexpressed in the dysgerminoma compared to normal ovary.
TRC8 is a target of Translin (TSN), a posttranscriptional regulator of genes transcribed by the transcription factor CREM-tau in postmeiotic male germ cells.
A role for TRC8 in dysgerminoma may relate to its interaction with Translin. We propose a model in which one copy of TRC8 is disrupted by a palindrome-mediated translocation followed by complete loss of expression through suppression, possibly mediated by miRNA.
PMCID: PMC2727492  PMID: 19642973
16.  Recurrent Rearrangements of Chromosome 1q21.1 and Variable Pediatric Phenotypes 
Mefford, Heather C. | Sharp, Andrew J. | Baker, Carl | Itsara, Andy | Jiang, Zhaoshi | Buysse, Karen | Huang, Shuwen | Maloney, Viv K. | Crolla, John A. | Baralle, Diana | Collins, Amanda | Mercer, Catherine | Norga, Koen | de Ravel, Thomy | Devriendt, Koen | Bongers, Ernie M.H.F. | de Leeuw, Nicole | Reardon, William | Gimelli, Stefania | Bena, Frederique | Hennekam, Raoul C. | Male, Alison | Gaunt, Lorraine | Clayton-Smith, Jill | Simonic, Ingrid | Park, Soo Mi | Mehta, Sarju G. | Nik-Zainal, Serena | Woods, C. Geoffrey | Firth, Helen V. | Parkin, Georgina | Fichera, Marco | Reitano, Santina | Giudice, Mariangela Lo | Li, Kelly E. | Casuga, Iris | Broomer, Adam | Conrad, Bernard | Schwerzmann, Markus | Räber, Lorenz | Gallati, Sabina | Striano, Pasquale | Coppola, Antonietta | Tolmie, John L. | Tobias, Edward S. | Lilley, Chris | Armengol, Lluis | Spysschaert, Yves | Verloo, Patrick | De Coene, Anja | Goossens, Linde | Mortier, Geert | Speleman, Frank | van Binsbergen, Ellen | Nelen, Marcel R. | Hochstenbach, Ron | Poot, Martin | Gallagher, Louise | Gill, Michael | McClellan, Jon | King, Mary-Claire | Regan, Regina | Skinner, Cindy | Stevenson, Roger E. | Antonarakis, Stylianos E. | Chen, Caifu | Estivill, Xavier | Menten, Björn | Gimelli, Giorgio | Gribble, Susan | Schwartz, Stuart | Sutcliffe, James S. | Walsh, Tom | Knight, Samantha J.L. | Sebat, Jonathan | Romano, Corrado | Schwartz, Charles E. | Veltman, Joris A. | de Vries, Bert B.A. | Vermeesch, Joris R. | Barber, John C.K. | Willatt, Lionel | Tassabehji, May | Eichler, Evan E.
The New England journal of medicine  2008;359(16):1685-1699.
Duplications and deletions in the human genome can cause disease or predispose persons to disease. Advances in technologies to detect these changes allow for the routine identification of submicroscopic imbalances in large numbers of patients.
We tested for the presence of microdeletions and microduplications at a specific region of chromosome 1q21.1 in two groups of patients with unexplained mental retardation, autism, or congenital anomalies and in unaffected persons.
We identified 25 persons with a recurrent 1.35-Mb deletion within 1q21.1 from screening 5218 patients. The microdeletions had arisen de novo in eight patients, were inherited from a mildly affected parent in three patients, were inherited from an apparently unaffected parent in six patients, and were of unknown inheritance in eight patients. The deletion was absent in a series of 4737 control persons (P = 1.1×10−7). We found considerable variability in the level of phenotypic expression of the microdeletion; phenotypes included mild-to-moderate mental retardation, microcephaly, cardiac abnormalities, and cataracts. The reciprocal duplication was enriched in the nine children with mental retardation or autism spectrum disorder and other variable features (P = 0.02). We identified three deletions and three duplications of the 1q21.1 region in an independent sample of 788 patients with mental retardation and congenital anomalies.
We have identified recurrent molecular lesions that elude syndromic classification and whose disease manifestations must be considered in a broader context of development as opposed to being assigned to a specific disease. Clinical diagnosis in patients with these lesions may be most readily achieved on the basis of genotype rather than phenotype.
PMCID: PMC2703742  PMID: 18784092
17.  Complex pathogenesis of Hirschsprung's disease in a patient with hydrocephalus, vesico-ureteral reflux and a balanced translocation t(3;17)(p12;q11) 
Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR), a congenital complex disorder of intestinal innervation, is often associated with other inherited syndromes. Identifying genes involved in syndromic HSCR cases will not only help understanding the specific underlying diseases, but it will also give an insight into the development of the most frequent isolated HSCR. The association between hydrocephalus and HSCR is not surprising as a large number of patients have been reported to show the same clinical association, most of them showing mutations in the L1CAM gene, encoding a neural adhesion molecule often involved in isolated X-linked hydrocephalus. L1 defects are believed to be necessary but not sufficient for the occurrence of the intestinal phenotype in syndromic cases. In this paper, we have carried out the molecular characterization of a patient affected with Hirschsprung's disease and X-linked hydrocephalus, with a de novo reciprocal balanced translocation t(3;17)(p12;q21). In particular, we have taken advantage of this chromosomal defect to gain access to the predisposing background possibly leading to Hirschsprung's disease. Detailed analysis of the RET and L1CAM genes, and molecular characterization of MYO18A and TIAF1, the genes involved in the balanced translocation, allowed us to identify, besides the L1 mutation c.2265delC, different additional factors related to RET-dependent and -independent pathways which may have contributed to the genesis of enteric phenotype in the present patient.
PMCID: PMC2986215  PMID: 19300444
Hirschsprung's disease; Hydrocephalus; RET; L1CAM; TIAF1
18.  Mutations in SOX17 are Associated with Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and the Urinary Tract 
Human Mutation  2010;31(12):1352-1359.
Congenital anomalies of the kidney and the urinary tract (CAKUT) represent a major source of morbidity and mortality in children. Several factors (PAX, SOX,WNT, RET, GDFN, and others) play critical roles during the differentiation process that leads to the formation of nephron epithelia. We have identified mutations in SOX17, an HMG-box transcription factor and Wnt signaling antagonist, in eight patients with CAKUT (seven vesico-ureteric reflux, one pelvic obstruction). One mutation, c.775T>A (p.Y259N), recurred in six patients. Four cases derived from two small families; renal scars with urinary infection represented the main symptom at presentation in all but two patients. Transfection studies indicated a 5–10-fold increase in the levels of the mutant protein relative to wild-type SOX17 in transfected kidney cells. Moreover we observed a corresponding increase in the ability of SOX17 p.Y259N to inhibit Wnt/β-catenin transcriptional activity, which is known to regulate multiple stages of kidney and urinary tract development. In conclusion, SOX17 p.Y259N mutation is recurrent in patients with CAKUT. Our data shows that this mutation correlates with an inappropriate accumulation of SOX17-p.Y259N protein and inhibition of the β-catenin/Wnt signaling pathway. These data indicate a role of SOX17 in human kidney and urinary tract development and implicate the SOX17–p.Y259N mutation as a causative factor in CAKUT.
Hum Mutat 31:1352–1359, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
PMCID: PMC3056145  PMID: 20960469
congenital anomalies of the kidney; CAKUT; SOX17; Wnt

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