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author:("cadogan, Anna")
1.  Quantifying penetrance in a dominant disease gene using large population control cohorts 
Science translational medicine  2016;8(322):322ra9.
More than 100,000 genetic variants are reported to cause Mendelian disease in humans, but the penetrance - the probability that a carrier of the purported disease-causing genotype will indeed develop the disease - is generally unknown. Here we assess the impact of variants in the prion protein gene (PRNP) on the risk of prion disease by analyzing 16,025 prion disease cases, 60,706 population control exomes, and 531,575 individuals genotyped by 23andMe, Inc. We show that missense variants in PRNP previously reported to be pathogenic are at least 30× more common in the population than expected based on genetic prion disease prevalence. While some of this excess can be attributed to benign variants falsely assigned as pathogenic, other variants have genuine effects on disease susceptibility but confer lifetime risks ranging from <0.1% to ~100%. We also show that truncating variants in PRNP have position-dependent effects, with true loss-of-function alleles found in healthy older individuals, supporting the safety of therapeutic suppression of prion protein expression.
PMCID: PMC4774245  PMID: 26791950
2.  Incidence and spectrum of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease variants with mixed phenotype and co-occurrence of PrPSc types: an updated classification 
Acta Neuropathologica  2009;118(5):659-671.
Six subtypes of sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease with distinctive clinico-pathological features have been identified largely based on two types of the abnormal prion protein, PrPSc, and the methionine (M)/valine (V) polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein. The existence of affected subjects showing mixed phenotypic features and concurrent PrPSc types has been reported but with inconsistencies among studies in both results and their interpretation. The issue currently complicates diagnosis and classification of cases and also has implications for disease pathogenesis. To explore the issue in depth, we carried out a systematic regional study in a large series of 225 cases. PrPSc types 1 and 2 concurrence was detected in 35% of cases and was higher in MM than in MV or VV subjects. The deposition of either type 1 or 2, when concurrent, was not random and always characterized by the coexistence of phenotypic features previously described in the pure subtypes. PrPSc type 1 accumulation and related pathology predominated in MM and MV cases, while the type 2 phenotype prevailed in VVs. Neuropathological examination best identified the mixed types 1 and 2 features in MMs and most MVs, and also uniquely revealed the co-occurrence of pathological variants sharing PrPSc type 2. In contrast, molecular typing best detected the concurrent PrPSc types in VV subjects and MV cases with kuru plaques. The present data provide an updated disease classification and are of importance for future epidemiologic and transmission studies aimed to identify etiology and extent of strain variation in sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.
PMCID: PMC2773124  PMID: 19718500
Prion protein; Brain mapping; Molecular typing; Neurodegeneration; Classification
3.  Revisiting the Heidenhain Variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Evidence for Prion Type Variability Influencing Clinical Course and Laboratory Findings 
Journal of Alzheimer's Disease  null;50(2):465-476.
The Heidenhain variant defines a peculiar clinical presentation of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) characterized by isolated visual disturbances at disease onset and reflecting the early targeting of prions to the occipital cortex. Molecular and histopathological typing, thus far performed in 23 cases, has linked the Heidenhain variant to the MM1 sCJD type. To contribute a comprehensive characterization of cases with the Heidenhain variant, we reviewed a series of 370 definite sCJD cases. Eighteen patients (4.9%) fulfilled the selection criteria. Fourteen of them belonging to sCJD types MM1 or MM1+2C had a short duration of isolated visual symptoms and overall clinical disease, a high prevalence of periodic sharp-wave complexes in EEG, and a marked increase of cerebrospinal fluid proteins t-tau and 14-3-3 levels. In contrast, three cases of the MM 2C or MM 2+1C types showed a longer duration of isolated visual symptoms and overall clinical disease, non-specific EEG findings, and cerebrospinal fluid concentration below threshold for the diagnosis of “probable” CJD of both 14-3-3 and t-tau. However, a brain DWI-MRI disclosed an occipital cortical hyperintensity in the majority of examined cases of both groups. While confirming the strong linkage with the methionine genotype at the polymorphic codon 129 of the prion protein gene, our results definitely establish that the Heidenhain variant can also be associated with the MM 2C sCJD type in addition to the more common MM1 type. Likewise, our results highlight the significant differences in clinical evolution and laboratory findings between cases according to the dominant PrPSc type (type 1 versus type 2).
PMCID: PMC4927903  PMID: 26682685
Dementia; molecular typing; neurodegenerative diseases; occipital cortex; prion diseases; prion protein

Results 1-3 (3)