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1.  Delineation of the Clinical, Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Novel JAM3 Mutations Underlying the Autosomal Recessive Hemorrhagic Destruction of the Brain, Subependymal Calcification and Congenital Cataracts 
Human mutation  2013;34(3):498-505.
We have recently shown that the hemorrhagic destruction of the brain, subependymal calcification and congenital cataracts is caused by biallelic mutations in the gene encoding junctional adhesion molecule 3 (JAM3) protein. Affected members from three new families underwent detailed clinical examination including imaging of the brain. Affected individuals presented with a distinctive phenotype comprising hemorrhagic destruction of the brain, subependymal calcification and congenital cataracts. All patients had a catastrophic clinical course resulting in death in 7 out of 10 affected individuals. Sequencing the coding exons of JAM3 revealed three novel homozygous mutations: c.2T>G (p.M1R), c.346G>A (p.E116K) and c.656G>A (p.C219Y). The p.M1R mutation affects the start codon and therefore is predicted to impair protein synthesis. Cellular studies showed that the p.C219Y mutation resulted in a significant retention of the mutated protein in the endoplasmic reticulum, suggesting a trafficking defect. The p.E116K mutant traffics normally to the plasma membrane as the wild type and may have lost its function due to the lack of interaction with an interacting partner. Our data further support the importance of JAM3 in the development and function of the vascular system and the brain.
doi:10.1002/humu.22263
PMCID: PMC3951164  PMID: 23255084
brain; subependymal calcification; congenital cataract; JAM3
2.  Identification of New Alleles and the Determination of Alleles and Genotypes Frequencies at the CYP2D6 Gene in Emiratis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28943.
CYP2D6 belongs to the cytochrome P450 superfamily of enzymes and plays an important role in the metabolism of 20–25% of clinically used drugs including antidepressants. It displays inter-individual and inter-ethnic variability in activity ranging from complete absence to excessive activity which causes adverse drug reactions and toxicity or therapy failure even at normal drug doses. This variability is due to genetic polymorphisms which form poor, intermediate, extensive or ultrarapid metaboliser phenotypes. This study aimed to determine CYP2D6 alleles and their frequencies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) local population. CYP2D6 alleles and genotypes were determined by direct DNA sequencing in 151 Emiratis with the majority being psychiatric patients on antidepressants. Several new alleles have been identified and in total we identified seventeen alleles and 49 genotypes. CYP2D6*1 (wild type) and CYP2D6*2 alleles (extensive metaboliser phenotype) were found with frequencies of 39.1% and 12.2%, respectively. CYP2D6*41 (intermediate metaboliser) occurred in 15.2%. Homozygous CYP2D6*4 allele (poor metaboliser) was found with a frequency of 2% while homozygous and heterozygous CYP2D6*4 occurred with a frequency of 9%. CYP2D6*2xn, caused by gene duplication (ultrarapid metaboliser) had a frequency of 4.3%. CYP2D6 gene duplication/multiduplication occurred in 16% but only 11.2% who carried more than 2 active functional alleles were considered ultrarapid metabolisers. CYP2D6 gene deletion in one copy occurred in 7.5% of the study group. In conclusion, CYP2D6 gene locus is heterogeneous in the UAE national population and no significant differences have been identified between the psychiatric patients and controls.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028943
PMCID: PMC3245235  PMID: 22216145
3.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Quality Control Is Involved in the Mechanism of Endoglin-Mediated Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26206.
Hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant genetic condition affecting the vascular system and is characterised by epistaxis, arteriovenous malformations and mucocutaneous and gastrointestinal telangiectases. This disorder affects approximately 1 in 8,000 people worldwide. Significant morbidity is associated with this condition in affected individuals, and anaemia can be a consequence of repeated haemorrhages from telangiectasia in the gut and nose. In the majority of the cases reported, the condition is caused by mutations in either ACVRL1 or endoglin genes, which encode components of the TGF-beta signalling pathway. Numerous missense mutations in endoglin have been reported as causative defects for HHT but the exact underlying cellular mechanisms caused by these mutations have not been fully established despite data supporting a role for the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) quality control machinery. For this reason, we examined the subcellular trafficking of twenty-five endoglin disease-causing missense mutations. The mutant proteins were expressed in HeLa and HEK293 cell lines, and their subcellular localizations were established by confocal fluorescence microscopy alongside the analysis of their N-glycosylation profiles. ER quality control was found to be responsible in eight (L32R, V49F, C53R, V125D, A160D, P165L, I271N and A308D) out of eleven mutants located on the orphan extracellular domain in addition to two (C363Y and C382W) out of thirteen mutants in the Zona Pellucida (ZP) domain. In addition, a single intracellular domain missense mutant was examined and found to traffic predominantly to the plasma membrane. These findings support the notion of the involvement of the ER's quality control in the mechanism of a significant number, but not all, missense endoglin mutants found in HHT type 1 patients. Other mechanisms including loss of interactions with signalling partners as well as adverse effects on functional residues are likely to be the cause of the mutant proteins' loss of function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026206
PMCID: PMC3194820  PMID: 22022569
4.  Trafficking defects and loss of ligand binding are the underlying causes of all reported DDR2 missense mutations found in SMED-SL patients 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(11):2239-2250.
Spondylo-meta-epiphyseal dysplasia (SMED) with short limbs and abnormal calcifications (SMED-SL) is a rare, autosomal recessive human growth disorder, characterized by disproportionate short stature, short limbs, short broad fingers, abnormal metaphyses and epiphyses, platyspondyly and premature calcifications. Recently, three missense mutations and one splice-site mutation in the DDR2 gene were identified as causative genetic defects for SMED-SL, but the underlying cellular and biochemical mechanisms were not explored. Here we report a novel DDR2 missense mutation, c.337G>A (p.E113K), that causes SMED-SL in two siblings in the United Arab Emirates. Another DDR2 missense mutation, c.2254C>T (p.R752C), matching one of the previously reported SMED-SL mutations, was found in a second affected family. DDR2 is a plasma membrane receptor tyrosine kinase that functions as a collagen receptor. We expressed DDR2 constructs with the identified point mutations in human cell lines and evaluated their localization and functional properties. We found that all SMED-SL missense mutants were defective in collagen-induced receptor activation and that the three previously reported mutants (p.T713I, p.I726R and p.R752C) were retained in the endoplasmic reticulum. The novel mutant (p.E113K), in contrast, trafficked normally, like wild-type DDR2, but failed to bind collagen. This finding is in agreement with our recent structural data identifying Glu113 as an important amino acid in the DDR2 ligand-binding site. Our data thus demonstrate that SMED-SL can result from at least two different loss-of-function mechanisms: namely defects in DDR2 targeting to the plasma membrane or the loss of its ligand-binding activity.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq103
PMCID: PMC2865377  PMID: 20223752

Results 1-4 (4)