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1.  Novel SPAST deletion and reduced DPY30 expression in a Spastic Paraplegia type 4 kindred 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:39.
The hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are pleiomorphic disorders of motor pathway and a large number of affected genes have been discovered. Yet, mutations in SPG4/SPAST represent the most frequent molecular etiology in autosomal dominant (AD) patients and sporadic cases. We describe a large, AD-HSP Sardinian family where 5 out of several living members harbored a novel deletion affecting also the 5′UTR of SPAST and resulting in reduced expression of DPY30, the gene located upstream SPAST in a head-to-head manner.
Case presentation
A 54-year-old woman manifested leg stiffness at age 39 and required a cane to walk at age 50. Neurological examination disclosed mild spasticity and weakness in the legs, hyperreflexia in all limbs, and bilateral Babinski sign. She also complained of urinary urgency, but no additional neurological symptoms or signs were detected at examination. The clinical examination of 24 additional relatives disclosed three further affected individuals, two men and one woman. In the four symptomatic patients the initial manifestations were walking abnormalities and leg stiffness with a mean age at onset (SD) of 46.75 (5.44) years (range 39–51). The mean disease duration was 13.2 (13.4) years (range 6–35), and it correlated well with clinical severity (SPRS score) (r = 0.975, p = 0.005). One patient was confined to bed and displayed knee and ankle contractures, another case needed a cane to walk, and two individuals were able to walk without aids. Interestingly, a patient had also had a miscarriage during her first pregnancy.
Gene testing revealed an heterozygous deletion spanning from the 5′-UTR to intron 4 of SPAST in the affected individuals and in one clinically unaffected woman. In three affected patients, the deletion also determined low mRNA levels of SPAST and DPY30, a component of the Set1-like multiprotein histone methyltransferase complex located upstream, head-to-head with SPAST.
Together with data described in a Japanese family, our findings seem to suggest that genes close to spastin might be candidates in modulating the clinical phenotype. This report endorses future research on the role of neighboring genes as potential players in SPG4 disease variability.
PMCID: PMC3974227  PMID: 24690193
SPG4; DPY30; Genetic modifier; Deletion
2.  Compound heterozygous mutations in glycyl-tRNA synthetase are a proposed cause of systemic mitochondrial disease 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:36.
Glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS) is an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (ARS) that links the amino acid glycine to its corresponding tRNA prior to protein translation and is one of three bifunctional ARS that are active within both the cytoplasm and mitochondria. Dominant mutations in GARS cause rare forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and distal spinal muscular atrophy.
Case presentation
We report a 12-year old girl who presented with clinical and biochemical features of a systemic mitochondrial disease including exercise-induced myalgia, non-compaction cardiomyopathy, persistent elevation of blood lactate and alanine and MRI evidence of mild periventricular leukomalacia. Using exome sequencing she was found to harbor compound heterozygous mutations within the glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS) gene; c.1904C > T; p.Ser635Leu and c.1787G > A; p.Arg596Gln. Each mutation occurred at a highly conserved site within the anticodon binding domain.
Our findings suggest that recessive mutations in GARS may cause systemic mitochondrial disease. This phenotype is distinct from patients with previously reported dominant mutations in this gene, thereby expanding the spectrum of disease associated with GARS dysregulation.
PMCID: PMC3973608  PMID: 24669931
Glycyl-tRNA synthetase; Amino acyl-tRNA synthetase; Cardiomyopathy; Charcot-Marie-tooth disease
3.  A coalescence of two syndromes in a girl with terminal deletion and inverted duplication of chromosome 5 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:21.
Rearrangements involving chromosome 5p often result in two syndromes, Cri-du-chat (CdC) and Trisomy 5p, caused by a deletion and duplication, respectively. The 5p15.2 has been defined as a critical region for CdC syndrome; however, genotype-phenotype studies allowed isolation of particular characteristics such as speech delay, cat-like cry and mental retardation, caused by distinct deletions of 5p. A varied clinical outcome was also observed in patients with Trisomy 5p. Duplications of 5p10-5p13.1 manifest themselves in a more severe phenotype, while trisomy of regions distal to 5p13 mainly causes mild and indistinct features. Combinations of a terminal deletion and inverted duplication of 5p are infrequent in literature. Consequences of these chromosomal rearrangements differ, depending on size of deletion and duplication in particular cases, although authors mainly describe the deletion as the cause of the observed clinical picture.
Case presentation
Here we present a 5-month-old Slovenian girl, with de novo terminal deletion and inverted duplication of chromosome 5p. Our patient presents features of both CdC and Trisomy 5. The most prominent features observed in our patient are a cat-like cry and severe malformations of the right ear.
The cat-like cry, characteristic of CdC syndrome, is noted in our patient despite the fact that the deletion is not fully consistent with previously defined cat-like cry critical region in this syndrome. Features like dolichocephaly, macrocephaly and ear malformations, associated with duplication of the critical region of Trisomy 5p, are also present, although this region has not been rearranged in our case. Therefore, the true meaning of the described chromosomal rearrangements is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3923007  PMID: 24517234
Deletion with inverted duplication of 5p; Cri-du-chat syndrome; Trisomy 5p; Cat-like cry; Ear agenesis
4.  Type II diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance due to severe hyperinsulinism in patients with 1p36 deletion syndrome and a Prader-Willi-like phenotype 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:16.
Deletion of the subtelomeric region of 1p36 is one of the most common subtelomeric deletion syndromes. In monosomy 1p36, the presence of obesity is poorly defined, and glucose metabolism deficiency is rarely reported. However, the presence of a typical Prader-Willi-like phenotype in patients with monosomy 1p36 is controversial.
Case presentation
In this report, we describe two female patients, one who is 6 years 2 months of age and another who is 10 years 1 month of age, both referred to our hospital for obesity and a Prader-Willi-like phenotype. These patients presented with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] was 26.4 and 27.7, respectively), hyperphagia and developmental delay. Analysis of basal hormone levels showed normal thyroid function and adrenal function but considerable basal hyperinsulinism (the insulin levels were 54.5 and 49.2 μU/ml, respectively). In patient 1, glycaemia was 75 mg/dl (HOMA-R 10.09), and the HbA1c level was 6.1%; in patient 2, glycaemia was 122 mg/dl, and the HbA1c level was 6.6% (HOMA-R 14.82). An oral glucose tolerance test demonstrated impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus with marked insulin resistance (the peak insulin level for each patient was 197 and 279 μU/mL, respectively, while the 120’ insulin level of each patient was 167 and 234 μU/mL, respectively).
some patients with monosomy 1p36 may show Prader-Willi-like physical and physiologic characteristics such as obesity and hyperinsulinism with impaired glucose metabolism, which can cause type II diabetes mellitus. Further studies are necessary to evaluate these findings.
PMCID: PMC3916307  PMID: 24479866
Monosomy 1p36; Deletion 1p36; Developmental delay; Mental retardation; Seizures; Obesity; Hyperinsulinism; Impaired glucose tolerance; Hyperphagia; Prader-Willi-like phenotype
5.  Bronchial isomerism in a Kabuki syndrome patient with a novel mutation in MLL2 gene 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:15.
Kabuki syndrome (KS) is a rare, multiple congenital anomalies/intellectual disability syndrome caused by mutations of MLL2 gene, which codifies for a histone methyltrasferase that regulates the embryogenesis and the tissue development. Left-bronchial isomerism is a rare congenital abnormality that can be defined as the absence of the normal lateralizing features which distinguish right and left-sides in the lungs. To date, this is the first report of left-bronchial isomerism in association with KS.
Case presentation
A one-month-old Caucasian male patient underwent our attention for microcephaly, dysmorphic features (long palpebral fissures, eyebrows with sparse lateral third, everted lower eyelids, blue sclerae, large dysplastic ears, lower lip pits), persistent fetal fingertip pads, short stature, heart defects (interventricular defect and aortic coarctation), unilateral cryptorchidism, hypotonia and delay in gross motor skills. These features suggested a diagnosis of KS and a molecular analysis confirmed a novel frame-shift mutation in the exon 11 of MLL2 gene. Subsequently, given recurrent respiratory infections with a normal immunological status, he underwent a chest CT scan that showed a left bronchial isomerism.
We report a patient affected by KS, with a novel MLL2 mutation and an atypical phenotype characterized by left-side bronchial isomerism. Interestingly, genes involved in the heterotaxia/isomerism such as ROCK2 and SHROOM3 are known to interact with MLL2 gene. In order to achieve a correct diagnosis and an appropriate therapy, the presence of pulmonary anatomical variations should be investigated in KS patients with respiratory signs not associated to immunological deficiency. Finally, our findings support the hypothesis that the mutations leading to a complete loss of function of MLL2 gene is often associated with complex visceral malformations.
PMCID: PMC3925134  PMID: 24472332
Kabuki syndrome; Isomerism; Respiratory distress
6.  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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3905103  PMID: 24444108
ABCA4 retinopathy; Pediatric; Homozygosity; Consanguinity
7.  Adult phenotype and further phenotypic variability in SRD5A3-CDG 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:10.
SRD5A3 is responsible for SRD5A3-CDG, a type of congenital disorder of glycosylation, and mutations have been reported in 15 children. All the mutations are recessive and truncating.
Case presentation
We present 2 brothers at the age of 38 and 40 years with an initial diagnosis of cerebellar ataxia. We found the candidate disease loci via linkage analysis using data from single nucleotide polymorphism genome scans and homozygous truncating mutation SRD5A3 p.W19X, which was previously reported in 3 unrelated children, by exome sequencing.
Clinical investigations included physical and ocular examinations and blood tests. Severe ocular involvement with retinal bone spicule pigmentation and optic atrophy are the most prominent disabling clinical features of the disease. The serum transferrin isoelectric focusing (TIEF) pattern is abnormal in the patient investigated.
Our patients are older, with later onset and milder clinical phenotypes than all patients with SRD5A3-CDG reported so far. They also have atypical ocular findings and variable phenotypes. Our findings widen the spectrum of phenotypes resulting from SRD5A3 mutations and the clinical variability of SRD5A3-CDG, and suggest screening for SRD5A3 mutations in new patients with at least a few of the clinical symptoms of SRD5A3-CDG.
PMCID: PMC3898029  PMID: 24433453
SRD5A3; SRD5A3-CDG; CDG; Glycosylation defect
8.  The novel p.Cys65Tyr mutation in NR5A1 gene in three 46,XY siblings with normal testosterone levels and their mother with primary ovarian insufficiency 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:7.
Disorders of sex development (DSD) is the term used for congenital conditions in which development of chromosomal, gonadal, or phenotypic sex is atypical. Nuclear receptor subfamily 5, group A, member 1 gene (NR5A1) encodes steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1), a transcription factor that is involved in gonadal development and regulates adrenal steroidogenesis. Mutations in the NR5A1 gene may lead to different 46,XX or 46,XY DSD phenotypes with or without adrenal failure. We report a Brazilian family with a novel NR5A1 mutation causing ambiguous genitalia in 46,XY affected individuals without Müllerian derivatives and apparently normal Leydig function after birth and at puberty, respectively. Their mother, who is also heterozygous for the mutation, presents evidence of primary ovarian insufficiency.
Case presentation
Three siblings with 46,XY DSD, ambiguous genitalia and normal testosterone production were included in the study. Molecular analyses for AR, SRD5A2 genes did not reveal any mutation. However, NR5A2 sequence analysis indicated that all three siblings were heterozygous for the p.Cys65Tyr mutation which was inherited from their mother. In silico analysis was carried out to elucidate the role of the amino acid change on the protein function. After the mutation was identified, all sibs and the mother had been reevaluated. Basal hormone concentrations were normal except that ACTH levels were slightly elevated. After 1 mcg ACTH stimulation test, only the older sib showed subnormal cortisol response.
The p.Cys65Tyr mutation located within the second zinc finger of DNA binding domain was considered deleterious upon analysis with predictive algorithms. The identification of heterozygous individuals with this novel mutation may bring additional knowledge on structural modifications that may influence NR5A1 DNA-binding ability, and may also contribute to genotype-phenotype correlations in DSD. The slightly elevated ACTH basal levels in all three patients with 46,XY DSD and the subnormal cortisol response after 1 mcg ACTH stimulation in the older sib indicate that a long-term follow-up for adrenal function is important for these patients. Our data reinforce that NR5A1 analysis must also be performed in 46,XY DSD patients with normal testosterone levels without AR mutations.
PMCID: PMC3900668  PMID: 24405868
Disorders of sex development; NR5A1 mutation; Primary ovarian insufficiency
9.  Recurrent exercise-induced acute renal failure in a young Pakistani man with severe renal hypouricemia and SLC2A9 compound heterozygosity 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:3.
Familial renal hypouricemia (RHUC) is a hereditary disease characterized by hypouricemia, high renal fractional excretion of uric acid (FE-UA) and can be complicated by acute kidney failure and nephrolithiasis. Loss-of-function mutations in the SLC22A12 gene cause renal hypouricemia type 1 (RHUC1), whereas renal hypouricemia type 2 (RHUC2) is caused by mutations in the SLC2A9 gene.
Case presentation
We describe a 24-year-old Pakistani man who was admitted twice to our hospital for severe exercise-induced acute renal failure (EIARF), abdominal pain and fever; he had very low serum UA levels (0.2 mg/dl the first time and 0.09 mg/dl the second time) and high FE-UA (200% and 732% respectively), suggestive of RHUC. Mutational analyses of both urate transporters revealed a new compound heterozygosity for two distinct missense mutations in the SLC2A9 gene: p.Arg380Trp, already identified in heterozygosity, and p.Gly216Arg, previously found in homozygosity or compound heterozygosity in some RHUC2 patients. Compared with previously reported patients harbouring these mutations, our proband showed the highest FE-UA levels, suggesting that the combination of p.Arg380Trp and p.Gly216Arg mutations most severely affects the renal handling of UA.
The clinical and molecular findings from this patient and a review of the literature provide new insights into the genotype-phenotype correlation of this disorder, supporting the evidence of an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern for RHUC2. Further investigations into the functional properties of GLUT9, URAT1 and other urate transporters are required to assess their potential research and clinical implications.
PMCID: PMC3890613  PMID: 24397858
Renal hypouricemia; Exercise-induced acute renal failure; SLC2A9 mutations; p.Arg380Trp; p.Gly216Arg
10.  Multiplex genetic cancer testing identifies pathogenic mutations in TP53 and CDH1 in a patient with bilateral breast and endometrial adenocarcinoma 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:129.
Germline genetic testing for familial cancer syndromes is usually performed serially for the most likely genetic causes. In recent years the way genetic testing carried out has changed, as next generation sequencing now allows the simultaneous testing of multiple susceptibility genes at low costs.
Case presentation
Here, we present a female with bilateral breast cancer and endometrial adenocarcinoma. After simultaneous sequencing of 150 genes (890 kb) associated with hereditary cancer we identified pathogenic mutations in two high-penetrance genes, i.e. TP53 and CDH1 that would most likely not have been elucidated by serial screening of candidate genes.
As the two mutated genes are located on different chromosomes and cause different cancer syndromes these findings had a tremendous impact not only on genetic counseling of the index patient and her family but also on subsequent surveillance strategies.
PMCID: PMC3913615  PMID: 24373500
Multiplex genetic testing; Cancer susceptibility; TP53; CDH1; Next generation sequencing; NGS
11.  Dopamine-agonist responsive Parkinsonism in a patient with the SANDO syndrome caused by POLG mutation 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:105.
Disorders of oxidative phosphorylation affects 1/5000 individuals and present heterogeneous involvement of tissues highly dependent upon ATP production.
Case presentation
Here we present the case of a 48-year-old woman carrying a homozygous mutation (p.A899T) in mitochondrial polymerase gamma (POLG) and manifesting with a complex neurological phenotype including Dopamine-agonist responsive Parkinsonism.
This case report is further evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction might play a role in Parkinson’s Disease pathogenesis and helps in identification of apparent mutation-specific clinical characteristics. Mutations in POLG should be looked for in cases of Parkinsonism, especially when multisystem neurological involvement is found.
PMCID: PMC3851930  PMID: 24099403
POLG; Parkinsonism; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Ataxia; Progressive external ophthalmoparesis
12.  Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 1A - evidence for “double trouble” overlapping syndromes 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:92.
We report on a patient with genetically confirmed overlapping diagnoses of CMT1A and FSHD. This case adds to the increasing number of unique patients presenting with atypical phenotypes, particularly in FSHD. Even if a mutation in one disease gene has been found, further genetic testing might be warranted in cases with unusual clinical presentation.
Case presentation
The reported 53 years old male patient suffered from walking difficulties and foot deformities first noticed at age 20. Later on, he developed scapuloperoneal and truncal muscle weakness, along with atrophy of the intrinsic hand and foot muscles, pes cavus, claw toes and a distal symmetric hypoesthesia. Motor nerve conduction velocities were reduced to 20 m/s in the upper extremities, and not educible in the lower extremities, sensory nerve conduction velocities were not attainable. Electromyography showed both, myopathic and neurogenic changes. A muscle biopsy taken from the tibialis anterior muscle showed a mild myopathy with some neurogenic findings and hypertrophic type 1 fibers. Whole-body muscle MRI revealed severe changes in the lower leg muscles, tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles were highly replaced by fatty tissue. Additionally, fatty degeneration of shoulder girdle and straight back muscles, and atrophy of dorsal upper leg muscles were seen. Taken together, the presenting features suggested both, a neuropathy and a myopathy. Patient’s family history suggested an autosomal dominant inheritance.
Molecular testing revealed both, a hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type 1A (HMSN1A, also called Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 1A, CMT1A) due to a PMP22 gene duplication and facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) due to a partial deletion of the D4Z4 locus (19 kb).
Molecular testing in hereditary neuromuscular disorders has led to the identification of an increasing number of atypical phenotypes. Nevertheless, finding the right diagnosis is crucial for the patient in order to obtain adequate medical care and appropriate genetic counseling, especially in the background of arising curative therapies.
PMCID: PMC3848428  PMID: 24041033
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy; Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy 1A; Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy; Overlapping syndrome; Double trouble
13.  Novel PTRF mutation in a child with mild myopathy and very mild congenital lipodystrophy 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:89.
Mutations in the PTRF gene, coding for cavin-1, cause congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4 (CGL4) associated with myopathy. In CGL4, symptoms are variable comprising, in addition to myopathy, smooth and skeletal muscle hypertrophy, cardiac arrhythmias, and skeletal abnormalities. Secondary features are atlantoaxial instability, acanthosis nigricans, hepatomegaly, umbilical prominence and metabolic abnormalities related to insulin resistance, such as diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis.
Case presentation
We describe a 3 year-old child of Moroccan origin with mild muscle phenotype, mainly characterized by mounding, muscle pain, hyperCKemia and mild caveolin 3 reduction on muscle biopsy. No CAV3 gene mutation was detected; instead we found a novel mutation, a homozygous single base pair deletion, in the PTRF gene. Only after detection of this mutation a mild generalized loss of subcutaneous fat, at first underestimated, was noticed and the diagnosis of lipodystrophy inferred.
The PTRF gene should be investigated in patients with hyperCKemia, mild myopathy associated with spontaneous or percussion-induced muscle contractions like rippling or mounding, and no CAV3 mutation. The analysis should be performed even if cardiac or metabolic alterations are absent, particularly in young patients in whom lipodystrophy may be difficult to ascertain.
PMCID: PMC3846852  PMID: 24024685
Congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4; Cavin-1; PTRF/CAVIN; Muscle mounding; HyperCKemia
14.  Heterozygous p.Asp50Asn mutation in the GJB2 gene in two Cameroonian patients with keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness (KID) syndrome 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:81.
Keratitis-Ichthyosis-Deafness (KID) syndrome (OMIM 148210) is a congenital ectodermal defect that consists of an atypical ichthyosiform erythroderma associated with congenital sensorineural deafness. KID appears to be genetically heterogeneous and most cases are caused by GJB2 mutations. Mutations in African patients have been rarely described.
Case presentation
We report on two unrelated Cameroonian individuals affected with sporadic KID, presenting with the classic phenotypic triad. The two patients were heterozygous for the most frequent p.Asp50Asn mutation. This first report in patients from sub-Saharan African origin supports the hypothesis that the occurrence of KID due to p.Asp50Asn mutation in GJB2 seems not to be population specific.
Our finding has implication in medical genetic practice, specifically in the molecular diagnosis of KID in Africans. These cases also reveal and emphasize the urgent need to develop appropriate policies to care for patients with rare/orphan diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa, as many of these cases become more and more recognizable.
PMCID: PMC3750395  PMID: 23924173
KID syndrome; GJB2 gene; p.Asp50Asn mutation; Africa; Cameroon
15.  Dystonia, facial dysmorphism, intellectual disability and breast cancer associated with a chromosome 13q34 duplication and overexpression of TFDP1: case report 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:70.
Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary sustained muscle contractions causing twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Some cases of primary and neurodegenerative dystonia have been associated with mutations in individual genes critical to the G1-S checkpoint pathway (THAP1, ATM, CIZ1 and TAF1). Secondary dystonia is also a relatively common clinical sign in many neurogenetic disorders. However, the contribution of structural variation in the genome to the etiopathogenesis of dystonia remains largely unexplored.
Case presentation
Cytogenetic analyses with the Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 identified a chromosome 13q34 duplication in a 36 year-old female with global developmental delay, facial dysmorphism, tall stature, breast cancer and dystonia, and her neurologically-normal father. Dystonia improved with bilateral globus pallidus interna (GPi) deep brain stimulation (DBS). Genomic breakpoint analysis, quantitative PCR (qPCR) and leukocyte gene expression were used to characterize the structural variant. The 218,345 bp duplication was found to include ADPRHL1, DCUN1D2, and TMCO3, and a 69 bp fragment from a long terminal repeat (LTR) located within Intron 3 of TFDP1. The 3' breakpoint was located within Exon 1 of a TFDP1 long non-coding RNA (NR_026580.1). In the affected subject and her father, gene expression was higher for all three genes located within the duplication. However, in comparison to her father, mother and neurologically-normal controls, the affected subject also showed marked overexpression (2×) of the transcription factor TFDP1 (NM_007111.4). Whole-exome sequencing identified an SGCE variant (c.1295G > A, p.Ser432His) that could possibly have contributed to the development of dystonia in the proband. No pathogenic mutations were identified in BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Overexpression of TFDP1 has been associated with breast cancer and may also be linked to the tall stature, dysmorphism and dystonia seen in our patient.
PMCID: PMC3722009  PMID: 23849371
Dystonia; Chromosome 13q34; Duplication; TFDP1; Breast cancer; G1-S Checkpoint pathway
16.  Compound heterozygosity of predicted loss-of-function DES variants in a family with recessive desminopathy 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:68.
Variants in the desmin gene (DES) are associated with desminopathy; a myofibrillar myopathy mainly characterized by muscle weakness, conduction block, and dilated cardiomyopathy. To date, only ~50 disease-associated variants have been described, and the majority of these lead to dominant-negative effects. However, the complete genotypic spectrum of desminopathy is not well established.
Case presentation
Next-generation sequencing was performed on 51 cardiac disease genes in a proband with profound skeletal myopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and respiratory dysfunction. Our analyses revealed compound heterozygous DES variants, both of which are predicted to lead to a loss-of-function. Consistent with recessive inheritance, each variant was identified in an unaffected parent.
This case report serves to broaden the variant spectrum of desminopathies and provides insight into the molecular mechanisms of desminopathy, supporting distinct dominant-negative and loss-of-function etiologies.
PMCID: PMC3711885  PMID: 23815709
Desminopathy; Myopathy; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Clinical genetics; Genetic testing
17.  Inherited KIF21A and PAX6 gene mutations in a boy with congenital Fibrosis of extraocular muscles and aniridia 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:63.
Mutations in the KIF21A gene are detected in the patients with congenital fibrosis of the extraocular muscles. Mutations in the PAX6 gene are detected in the patients with congenital aniridia.
Case presentation
Herein we report a boy with both congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles and aniridia. Sequence analysis of his KIF21A and PAX6 genes reveals a 1-bp deletion (c.745delC) in the PAX6 gene and a missense mutation of c.2860C > T (p.Arg954Trp) in KIF21A.
This study demonstrates that the occurrence of independent mutations in more than a single gene in a patient may lead to a complex phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3704937  PMID: 23799907
18.  Characterization of a rare case of Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy due to truncating mutations within the COL6A1 gene C-Terminal domain: a case report 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:59.
Mutations within the C-terminal region of the COL6A1 gene are only detected in Ullrich/Bethlem patients on extremely rare occasions.
Case presentation
Herein we report two Brazilian brothers with a classic Ullrich phenotype and compound heterozygous for two truncating mutations in COL6A1 gene, expected to result in the loss of the α1(VI) chain C2 subdomain. Despite the reduction in COL6A1 RNA level due to nonsense RNA decay, three truncated alpha1 (VI) chains were produced as protein variants encoded by different out-of-frame transcripts. Collagen VI matrix was severely decreased and intracellular protein retention evident.
The altered deposition of the fibronectin network highlighted abnormal interactions of the mutated collagen VI, lacking the α1(VI) C2 domain, within the extracellular matrix, focusing further studies on the possible role played by collagen VI in fibronectin deposition and organization.
PMCID: PMC3681647  PMID: 23738969
Ullrich congenital dystrophy; Collagen VI; C-terminal truncating mutations
19.  The clinical impact of chromosomal rearrangements with breakpoints upstream of the SOX9 gene: two novel de novo balanced translocations associated with acampomelic campomelic dysplasia 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:50.
The association of balanced rearrangements with breakpoints near SOX9 [SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 9] with skeletal abnormalities has been ascribed to the presumptive altering of SOX9 expression by the direct disruption of regulatory elements, their separation from SOX9 or the effect of juxtaposed sequences.
Case presentation
We report on two sporadic apparently balanced translocations, t(7;17)(p13;q24) and t(17;20)(q24.3;q11.2), whose carriers have skeletal abnormalities that led to the diagnosis of acampomelic campomelic dysplasia (ACD; MIM 114290). No pathogenic chromosomal imbalances were detected by a-CGH. The chromosome 17 breakpoints were mapped, respectively, 917–855 kb and 601–585 kb upstream of the SOX9 gene. A distal cluster of balanced rearrangements breakpoints on chromosome 17 associated with SOX9-related skeletal disorders has been mapped to a segment 932–789 kb upstream of SOX9. In this cluster, the breakpoint of the herein described t(17;20) is the most telomeric to SOX9, thus allowing the redefining of the telomeric boundary of the distal breakpoint cluster region related to skeletal disorders to 601–585 kb upstream of SOX9. Although both patients have skeletal abnormalities, the t(7;17) carrier presents with relatively mild clinical features, whereas the t(17;20) was detected in a boy with severe broncheomalacia, depending on mechanical ventilation. Balanced and unbalanced rearrangements associated with disorders of sex determination led to the mapping of a regulatory region of SOX9 function on testicular differentiation to a 517–595 kb interval upstream of SOX9, in addition to TESCO (Testis-specific enhancer of SOX9 core). As the carrier of t(17;20) has an XY sex-chromosome constitution and normal male development for his age, the segment of chromosome 17 distal to the translocation breakpoint should contain the regulatory elements for normal testis development.
These two novel translocations illustrate the clinical variability in carriers of balanced translocations with breakpoints near SOX9. The translocation t(17;20) breakpoint provides further evidence for an additional testis-specific SOX9 enhancer 517 to 595 kb upstream of the SOX9 gene.
PMCID: PMC3658899  PMID: 23648064
Apparently balanced translocation; Acampomelic campomelic dysplasia; SOX9 regulatory region; Testis-specific SOX9 enhancer
20.  Deletions within COL11A1 in Type 2 stickler syndrome detected by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:48.
COL11A1 is a large complex gene around 250 kb in length and consisting of 68 exons. Pathogenic mutations in the gene can result in Stickler syndrome, Marshall syndrome or Fibrochondrogenesis. Many of the mutations resulting in either Stickler or Marshall syndrome alter splice sites and result in exon skipping, which because of the exon structure of collagen genes usually leaves the message in-frame. The mutant protein then exerts a dominant negative effect as it co-assembles with other collagen gene products. To date only one large deletion of 40 kb in the COL11A1, which was detected by RT-PCR, has been characterized. However, commonly used screening protocols, utilizing genomic amplification and exon sequencing, are unlikely to detect such large deletions. Consequently the frequency of this type of mutation is unknown.
Case presentations
We have used Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) in conjunction with exon amplification and sequencing, to analyze patients with clinical features of Stickler syndrome, and have detected six novel deletions that were not found by exon sequencing alone.
Exon deletions appear to represent a significant proportion of type 2 Stickler syndrome. This observation was previously unknown and so diagnostic screening of COL11A1 should include assays capable of detecting both large and small deletions, in addition to exon sequencing.
PMCID: PMC3652776  PMID: 23621912
COL11A1; MLPA; Molecular analysis; Stickler syndrome
21.  Disruption of AP3B1 by a chromosome 5 inversion: a new disease mechanism in Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 2 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:42.
Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome 2 (HPS2; OMIM #608233) is a rare, autosomal recessive disorder caused by loss-of-function genetic variations affecting AP3B1, which encodes the β3A subunit of the adaptor-related protein complex 3 (AP3). Phenotypic characteristics include reduced pigmentation, absent platelet dense granule secretion, neutropenia and reduced cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) and natural killer (NK) cell function. To date HPS2 has been associated with non-synonymous, stop-gain or deletion-insertion nucleotide variations within the coding region of AP3B1.
Case presentation
We describe a consanguineous female infant with reduced pigmentation, neutropenia and recurrent infections. Platelets displayed reduced aggregation and absent ATP secretion in response to collagen and ADP, indicating a platelet dense granule defect. There was increased basal surface expression of CD107a (lysosome-associated membrane protein 1(LAMP-1)) on NK cells and CTLs from the study subject and a smaller increase in the percentage of CD107a positive cells after stimulation compared to most healthy controls. Immunoblotting of protein extracts from EBV-transformed lymphoblasts from the index case showed absent expression of full-length AP-3 β3A subunit protein, confirming a phenotypic diagnosis of HPS2.
The index case displayed a homozygous pericentric inv(5)(p15.1q14.1), which was also detected as a heterozygous defect in both parents of the index case. No loss of genetic material was demonstrated by microarray comparative genome hybridisation at 60kb resolution. Fluorescence in-situ hybridisation using the 189.6kb probe RP11-422I12, which maps to 5q14.1, demonstrated dual hybridisation to both 5q14.1 and 5p15.1 regions of the inverted Chr5. The RP11-422I12 probe maps from intron 1 to intron 16 of AP3B1, thus localising the 5q inversion breakpoint to within AP3B1. The probe RP11-211K15, which corresponds to an intergenic region on 5p also showed dual hybridisation, enabling localisation of the 5p inversion breakpoint.
This case report extends the phenotypic description of the very rare disorder HPS2. Our demonstration of a homozygous Chr5 inversion predicted to disrupt AP3B1 gene provides a novel pathogenic mechanism for this disorder.
PMCID: PMC3663694  PMID: 23557002
Chromosome 5 inversion; Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome type 2; Adaptor-related protein complex 3 β3A subunit; Fluorescence in situ hybridisation
22.  Novel cAMP binding protein-BP (CREBBP) mutation in a girl with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, GH deficiency, Arnold Chiari malformation and pituitary hypoplasia 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:28.
Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS) is a rare autosomal dominant disorder (prevalence 1:125,000) characterised by broad thumbs and halluces, facial dysmorphism, psychomotor development delay, skeletal defects, abnormalities in the posterior fossa and short stature. The known genetic causes are point mutations or deletions of the cAMP-response element binding protein-BP (CREBBP) (50-60% of the cases) and of the homologous gene E1A-binding protein (EP300) (5%).
Case presentation
We describe, for the first time in literature, a RTS Caucasian girl, 14-year-old, with growth hormone (GH) deficiency, pituitary hypoplasia, Arnold Chiari malformation type 1, double syringomyelic cavity and a novel CREBBP mutation (c.3546insCC).
We hypothesize that CREBBP mutation we have identified in this patient could be responsible also for RTS atypical features as GH deficiency and pituitary hypoplasia.
PMCID: PMC3598247  PMID: 23432975
Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome; GH deficiency; Arnold Chiari malformation; Syrinx; Pituitary hypoplasia
23.  Bilateral radial agenesis with absent thumbs, complex heart defect, short stature, and facial dysmorphism in a patient with pure distal microduplication of 5q35.2-5q35.3 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:13.
A partial duplication of the distal long arm of chromosome 5 (5q35-- > qter) is known to be associated with a distinct phenotype referred to as Hunter-McAlpine syndrome. Clinical spectrum of this disorder mainly consists of mental retardation, microcephaly, short stature, skeletal anomalies, and craniofacial dysmorphism featuring flat facies, micrognathia, large, low-set dysplastic ears, hypertelorism, almond-shaped, down-slanted palpebral fissures, epicanthal folds, small nose, long philtrum, small mouth, and thin upper lip. Less frequent remarkable findings include craniosynostosis, heart defect, hypoplastic phalanges, preaxial polydactyly, hypospadias, cryptorchidism, and inguinal hernia. In most patients with a partial duplication of 5q the aberration occurred due to an inherited unbalanced translocation, therefore the phenotype was not reflective of pure trisomy 5q.
Case presentation
We report on a 9.5-year-old boy with some feature of Hunter-McAlpine syndrome including short stature, complex heart defect (dextrocardia, dextroversion, PFO), bilateral cryptorchidism, hypothyroidism, and craniofacial dysmorphism. Additionally, bilateral radial agenesis with complete absence of Ist digital rays, ulnar hypoplasia with bowing, choroidal and retinal coloboma, abnormal biliary vesicle were identified, which have never been noted in 5q trisomy patients. Karyotype analysis, sequencing and MLPA for TBX5 and SALL4 genes were unremarkable. Array comparative genomic hybridization detected a duplication on 5q35.2-5q35.3, resulting from a de novo chromosomal rearrangement. Our proband carried the smallest of all previously reported pure distal 5q trisomies encompassing terminal 5.4-5.6 Mb and presented with the most severe limb malformation attributed to the increased number of distal 5q copies.
We postulate that a terminal distal trisomy of 5q35.2-5q35.3, which maps 1.1 Mb telomeric to the MSX2 gene is causative for both radial agenesis and complex heart defect in our proband. A potential candidate gene causative for limb malformation in our proband could be FGFR4, which maps relatively in the closest position to the chromosomal breakage site (about 1.3 Mb) from all known 5q duplications. Since the limb malformation as well as the underlying genetic defect are distinct from other 5q trisomy patient we propose that a position effect resulting in altered long-range regulation of the FGFR4 (alternatively MSX2) may be responsible for the limb malformation in our proband.
PMCID: PMC3576294  PMID: 23342975
Pure distal trisomy 5q; Distal 5q duplication; Dup (5)(q35.2q35.3); Hunter-McAlpine syndrome; MSX2; FGFR4; Radial agenesis; Absent thumbs
24.  A study of two Chinese patients with tetrasomy and pentasomy 15q11q13 including Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome critical region present with developmental delays and mental impairment 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:9.
The proximal chromosome 15q is prone to unequal crossover, leading to rearrangements. Although 15q11q13 duplications are common in patients with developmental delays and mental impairment, 15q aneusomies resulting in greater or equal to 4 copies of 15q11q13 are rare and no pentasomy 15q11q13 has been reported in the literature. Thus far, all reported high copy number 15q11q13 cases are from the West populations and no such study in Chinese patients have been documented. Dosage-response pattern of high copy number 15q11q13 on clinical presentations is still a subject for further study.
Case Presentation
In this study, we characterized two Han Chinese patients with high copy number 15q11q13. Using chromosome banding, high resolution SNP-based cytogenomic array, Fluorescence in situ hybridization, and PCR-based microsatellite analysis, we identified two patients with tetrasomy 15q11q13 and pentasomy 15q11q13. Both 15q11q13 aneusomies resulted from a maternally inherited supernumerary marker chromosome 15, and each was composed of two different sized 15q11q13 segments covering the Prader-Willi/Angelman critical region: one being about 10 Mb with breakpoints at BP1 and BP5 regions on 15q11 and 15q13, respectively, and another about 8 Mb in size with breakpoints at BP1 and BP4 regions on 15q. Both patients presented with similar clinical features that included neurodevelopmental delays, mental impairment, speech and autistic behavior, and mild dysmorphism. The patient with pentasomy 15q11q13 was more severely affected than the patient with tetrasomy 15q11q13. Low birth weight was noted in patient with pentasomy 15q1q13.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of pentasomy 15q11q13 and the first study of high copy number 15q11q13 in Han Chinese patients. Our findings demonstrate that patients with tetrasomy and pentasomy of chromosome 15q11q13 share similar spectrum of phenotypes reported in other high copy number 15q11q13 patients in the West, and positive correlation between 15q11q13 copy number and degree of severity of clinical phenotypes. Low birth weight observed in the pentasomy 15q11q13 patient was not reported in other patients with high copy number 15q11q13. Additional studies would be necessary to further characterize high copy number 15q11q13 aneusomies.
PMCID: PMC3598341  PMID: 23320815
Chromosome 15; Cytogenomic array; Copy number; Pentasomy; Tetrasomy
25.  1031-1034delTAAC (Leu125Stop): a novel familial UBE3A mutation causing Angelman syndrome in two siblings showing distinct phenotypes 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:124.
More than 50 mutations in the UBE3A gene (E6-AP ubiquitin protein ligase gene) have been found in Angelman syndrome patients with no deletion, no uniparental disomy, and no imprinting defect.
Case Presentation
We here describe a novel UBE3A frameshift mutation in two siblings who have inherited it from their asymptomatic mother. Despite carrying the same UBE3A mutation, the proband shows a more severe phenotype whereas his sister shows a milder phenotype presenting the typical AS features.
We hypothesized that the mutation Leu125Stop causes both severe and milder phenotypes. Potential mechanisms include: i) maybe the proband has an additional problem (genetic or environmental) besides the UBE3A mutation; ii) since the two siblings have different fathers, the UBE3A mutation is interacting with a different genetic variant in the proband that, by itself, does not cause problems but in combination with the UBE3A mutation causes the severe phenotype; iii) this UBE3A mutation alone can cause either typical AS or the severe clinical picture seen in the proband.
PMCID: PMC3543165  PMID: 23256887
Angelman syndrome; UBE3A gene; Imprinting; Novel mutation; Distinct phenotypes; HRM

Results 1-25 (33)