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1.  De Novo variants in the KMT2A (MLL) gene causing atypical Wiedemann-Steiner syndrome in two unrelated individuals identified by clinical exome sequencing 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:49.
Background
Wiedemann-Steiner Syndrome (WSS) is characterized by short stature, a variety of dysmorphic facial and skeletal features, characteristic hypertrichosis cubiti (excessive hair on the elbows), mild-to-moderate developmental delay and intellectual disability. [MIM#: 605130]. Here we report two unrelated children for whom clinical exome sequencing of parent-proband trios was performed at UCLA, resulting in a molecular diagnosis of WSS and atypical clinical presentation.
Case presentation
For patient 1, clinical features at 9 years of age included developmental delay, craniofacial abnormalities, and multiple minor anomalies. Patient 2 presented at 1 year of age with developmental delay, microphthalmia, partial 3–4 left hand syndactyly, and craniofacial abnormalities. A de novo missense c.4342T>C variant and a de novo splice site c.4086+G>A variant were identified in the KMT2A gene in patients 1 and 2, respectively.
Conclusions
Based on the clinical and molecular findings, both patients appear to have novel presentations of WSS. As the hallmark hypertrichosis cubiti was not initially appreciated in either case, this syndrome was not suspected during the clinical evaluation. This report expands the phenotypic spectrum of the clinical phenotypes and KMT2A variants associated with WSS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-15-49
PMCID: PMC4072606  PMID: 24886118
Wiedemann-Steiner syndrome; Clinical exome sequencing; KMT2A; Intellectual disability; Developmental delay
2.  Whole exome sequencing detects homozygosity for ABCA4 p.Arg602Trp missense mutation in a pediatric patient with rapidly progressive retinal dystrophy 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:11.
Background
A pediatric patient presented with rapidly progressive vision loss, nyctalopia and retinal dystrophy. This is the first report of homozygosity for the p.Arg602Trp mutation in the ABCA4 gene. The child became legally blind within a period of 2 years.
Case presentation
An eight year-old Hispanic female presented with bilateral decreased vision following a febrile gastrointestinal illness with nausea and vomiting. Extensive workup involved pediatric infectious disease and rheumatology consultations.
Initial visual acuity was 20/60 at distance and 20/30 at near in both eyes. Rapidly progressive vision loss occurred during a 2-year period resulting in visual acuities of 20/200 at distance in both eyes. Fundus exam disclosed attenuated vessels and multiple subretinal blister-like elevations. Optical coherence tomography showed far more lesions than were clinically evident with different levels of elevation. Autofluorescence imagery showed dramatic and widespread geographic areas of atrophy. The deposits that appeared drusen-like on clinical exam were hyperfluorescent, consistent with lipofuscin deposits containing A2e (N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine) indicative of RPE cell dysfunction. Electroretinography was consistent with cone dystrophy, with relative preservation of rod function. Blood analysis and rheumatology evaluation found no evidence of a diffuse post-infectious/inflammatory process. The unique and rapid progression of her subretinal blister-like lesions was documented by fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, autofluorescence imagery, and fundus photography. Family pedigree history disclosed consanguinity, her parents being first cousins. DNA analysis by whole exomic sequencing revealed homozygosity of p.Arg602Trp in the ABCA4 gene.
Conclusion
The pediatric patient presented with a striking clinical appearance and dramatic rate of progression that was clinically more characteristic of an infectious or inflammatory process. This case expands the diverse range of phenotypes attributed to ABCA4 mutations and further supports the role of whole exome sequencing as a powerful new tool available to aid clinicians in establishing diagnosis for challenging cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-15-11
PMCID: PMC3905103  PMID: 24444108
ABCA4 retinopathy; Pediatric; Homozygosity; Consanguinity
3.  Interactions between commensal fungi and the C-type lectin receptor Dectin-1 influence colitis 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;336(6086):1314-1317.
The intestinal microflora, typically equated with bacteria, influences diseases such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here we show that the mammalian gut contains a rich fungal community that interacts with the immune system through the innate immune receptor Dectin-1. Mice lacking Dectin-1 exhibited increased susceptibility t chemically-induced colitis, which was the result of altered responses to indigenous fungi. In humans we identified a polymorphism in the gene for Dectin-1 (CLEC7A) that is strongly linked to a severe form of ulcerative colitis. Together our findings reveal a novel eukaryotic fungal community in the gut (the “mycobiome”) that coexists with bacteria and substantially expands the repertoire of organisms interacting with the intestinal immune system to influence health and disease.
doi:10.1126/science.1221789
PMCID: PMC3432565  PMID: 22674328
4.  Molecular diagnosis of putative Stargardt disease probands by exome sequencing 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:67.
Background
The commonest genetic form of juvenile or early adult onset macular degeneration is Stargardt Disease (STGD) caused by recessive mutations in the gene ABCA4. However, high phenotypic and allelic heterogeneity and a small but non-trivial amount of locus heterogeneity currently impede conclusive molecular diagnosis in a significant proportion of cases.
Methods
We performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of nine putative Stargardt Disease probands and searched for potentially disease-causing genetic variants in previously identified retinal or macular dystrophy genes. Follow-up dideoxy sequencing was performed for confirmation and to screen for mutations in an additional set of affected individuals lacking a definitive molecular diagnosis.
Results
Whole exome sequencing revealed seven likely disease-causing variants across four genes, providing a confident genetic diagnosis in six previously uncharacterized participants. We identified four previously missed mutations in ABCA4 across three individuals. Likely disease-causing mutations in RDS/PRPH2, ELOVL, and CRB1 were also identified.
Conclusions
Our findings highlight the enormous potential of whole exome sequencing in Stargardt Disease molecular diagnosis and research. WES adequately assayed all coding sequences and canonical splice sites of ABCA4 in this study. Additionally, WES enables the identification of disease-related alleles in other genes. This work highlights the importance of collecting parental genetic material for WES testing as the current knowledge of human genome variation limits the determination of causality between identified variants and disease. While larger sample sizes are required to establish the precision and accuracy of this type of testing, this study supports WES for inherited early onset macular degeneration disorders as an alternative to standard mutation screening techniques.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-13-67
PMCID: PMC3459799  PMID: 22863181
Stargardt Disease; Macular Degeneration; Exome; Mutation Screening; Molecular Diagnostics; ABCA4; PRPH2
5.  “High Density SNP Association Study of the 17q21 Chromosomal Region Linked to Autism Identifies CACNA1G as a Novel Candidate Gene” 
Molecular psychiatry  2009;15(10):996-1005.
Chromosome 17q11-q21 is a region of the genome likely to harbor susceptibility to autism (MIM[209850]) based on prior evidence of linkage to the disorder. This linkage is specific to multiplex pedigrees containing only male probands (MO) within the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Previously, Stone et al.1 completed a high-density SNP association study of 13.7Mb within this interval, but common variant association was not sufficient to account for the linkage signal. Here we extend this SNP-based association study to complete the coverage of the 2 LOD support interval around the chromosome 17q linkage peak by testing the majority of common alleles in 284 MO trios.
CONCLUSIONS
Markers within an interval containing the gene CACNA1G were found to be associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a locally significant level (p = 1.9 × 10-5). While establishing CACNA1G as a novel candidate for autism, these alleles do not contribute sufficient genetic effect to explain the observed linkage, indicating there is substantial genetic heterogeneity despite the clear linkage signal. The region thus likely harbors a combination of multiple common and rare alleles contributing to the genetic risk. These data, along with previous studies of Chromosomes 5 and 7q3, suggest few if any major common risk alleles account for ASD risk under major linkage peaks in the AGRE sample. This provides important evidence for strategies to identify ASD genes, suggesting they should focus on identifying rare variants and common variants of small effect.
doi:10.1038/mp.2009.41
PMCID: PMC2889141  PMID: 19455149
Autism; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Association; Chromosome 17q; CACNA1G
6.  Disease Gene Characterization through Large-Scale Co-Expression Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8491.
Background
In the post genome era, a major goal of biology is the identification of specific roles for individual genes. We report a new genomic tool for gene characterization, the UCLA Gene Expression Tool (UGET).
Results
Celsius, the largest co-normalized microarray dataset of Affymetrix based gene expression, was used to calculate the correlation between all possible gene pairs on all platforms, and generate stored indexes in a web searchable format. The size of Celsius makes UGET a powerful gene characterization tool. Using a small seed list of known cartilage-selective genes, UGET extended the list of known genes by identifying 32 new highly cartilage-selective genes. Of these, 7 of 10 tested were validated by qPCR including the novel cartilage-specific genes SDK2 and FLJ41170. In addition, we retrospectively tested UGET and other gene expression based prioritization tools to identify disease-causing genes within known linkage intervals. We first demonstrated this utility with UGET using genetically heterogeneous disorders such as Joubert syndrome, microcephaly, neuropsychiatric disorders and type 2 limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD2) and then compared UGET to other gene expression based prioritization programs which use small but discrete and well annotated datasets. Finally, we observed a significantly higher gene correlation shared between genes in disease networks associated with similar complex or Mendelian disorders.
Discussion
UGET is an invaluable resource for a geneticist that permits the rapid inclusion of expression criteria from one to hundreds of genes in genomic intervals linked to disease. By using thousands of arrays UGET annotates and prioritizes genes better than other tools especially with rare tissue disorders or complex multi-tissue biological processes. This information can be critical in prioritization of candidate genes for sequence analysis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008491
PMCID: PMC2797297  PMID: 20046828

Results 1-6 (6)