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Brain Commun ; 3(3): fcab162, 2021.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34466801

Pathogenic NR2F1 variants cause a rare autosomal dominant neurodevelopmental disorder referred to as the Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf Optic Atrophy Syndrome. Although visual loss is a prominent feature seen in affected individuals, the molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to visual impairment are still poorly characterized. We conducted a deep phenotyping study on a cohort of 22 individuals carrying pathogenic NR2F1 variants to document the neurodevelopmental and ophthalmological manifestations, in particular the structural and functional changes within the retina and the optic nerve, which have not been detailed previously. The visual impairment became apparent in early childhood with small and/or tilted hypoplastic optic nerves observed in 10 cases. High-resolution optical coherence tomography imaging confirmed significant loss of retinal ganglion cells with thinning of the ganglion cell layer, consistent with electrophysiological evidence of retinal ganglion cells dysfunction. Interestingly, for those individuals with available longitudinal ophthalmological data, there was no significant deterioration in visual function during the period of follow-up. Diffusion tensor imaging tractography studies showed defective connections and disorganization of the extracortical visual pathways. To further investigate how pathogenic NR2F1 variants impact on retinal and optic nerve development, we took advantage of an Nr2f1 mutant mouse disease model. Abnormal retinogenesis in early stages of development was observed in Nr2f1 mutant mice with decreased retinal ganglion cell density and disruption of retinal ganglion cell axonal guidance from the neural retina into the optic stalk, accounting for the development of optic nerve hypoplasia. The mutant mice showed significantly reduced visual acuity based on electrophysiological parameters with marked conduction delay and decreased amplitude of the recordings in the superficial layers of the visual cortex. The clinical observations in our study cohort, supported by the mouse data, suggest an early neurodevelopmental origin for the retinal and optic nerve head defects caused by NR2F1 pathogenic variants, resulting in congenital vision loss that seems to be non-progressive. We propose NR2F1 as a major gene that orchestrates early retinal and optic nerve head development, playing a key role in the maturation of the visual system.

Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34045287

Withdrawal of life-sustaining support on the neonatal unit presents a set of unique challenges specific in this age group of patients. This article aims to provide an overview of the key factors that should be considered during this process. It explores the practicalities of care delivery that reflects the psychological impact of undergoing end-of-life care on parents and team members. It will also highlight the role of clinical genetics that can be used to understand the underlying disease pathology and therefore can be a valuable tool in the difficult decision-making process.

Am J Med Genet A ; 182(7): 1637-1654, 2020 07.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32319732

With advances in genetic testing and improved access to such advances, whole exome sequencing is becoming a first-line investigation in clinical work-up of children with developmental delay/intellectual disability (ID). As a result, the need to understand the importance of genetic variants and its effect on the clinical phenotype is increasing. Here, we report on the largest cohort of patients with HNRNPU variants. These 21 patients follow on from the previous study published by Yates et al. in 2017 from our group predominantly identified from the Deciphering Developmental Disorders study that reported seven patients with HNRNPU variants. All the probands reported here have a de novo loss-of-function variant. These probands have craniofacial dysmorphic features, in the majority including widely spaced teeth, microcephaly, high arched eyebrows, and palpebral fissure abnormalities. Many of the patients in the group also have moderate to severe ID and seizures that tend to start in early childhood. This series has allowed us to define a novel neurodevelopmental syndrome, with a likely mechanism of haploinsufficiency, and expand substantially on already published literature on HNRNPU-related neurodevelopmental syndrome.

Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein U/genetics , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/etiology , Adolescent , Brain/diagnostic imaging , Child , Child, Preschool , Craniofacial Abnormalities/etiology , Female , Haploinsufficiency/genetics , Humans , Infant , Intellectual Disability/genetics , Male , Microcephaly/etiology , Neurodevelopmental Disorders/genetics , Pregnancy , Seizures/genetics , Syndrome
Front Mol Neurosci ; 13: 12, 2020.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32116545

Multiple TREX mRNA export complex subunits (e.g., THOC1, THOC2, THOC5, THOC6, THOC7) have now been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), neurodegeneration and cancer. We previously implicated missense and splicing-defective THOC2 variants in NDDs and a broad range of other clinical features. Here we report 10 individuals from nine families with rare missense THOC2 variants including the first case of a recurrent variant (p.Arg77Cys), and an additional individual with an intragenic THOC2 microdeletion (Del-Ex37-38). Ex vivo missense variant testing and patient-derived cell line data from current and published studies show 9 of the 14 missense THOC2 variants result in reduced protein stability. The splicing-defective and deletion variants result in a loss of small regions of the C-terminal THOC2 RNA binding domain (RBD). Interestingly, reduced stability of THOC2 variant proteins has a flow-on effect on the stability of the multi-protein TREX complex; specifically on the other NDD-associated THOC subunits. Our current, expanded cohort refines the core phenotype of THOC2 NDDs to language disorder and/or ID, with a variable severity, and disorders of growth. A subset of affected individuals' has severe-profound ID, persistent hypotonia and respiratory abnormalities. Further investigations to elucidate the pathophysiological basis for this severe phenotype are warranted.

Genet Med ; 21(6): 1295-1307, 2019 06.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30349098

PURPOSE: Pathogenic variants in ARID1B are one of the most frequent causes of intellectual disability (ID) as determined by large-scale exome sequencing studies. Most studies published thus far describe clinically diagnosed Coffin-Siris patients (ARID1B-CSS) and it is unclear whether these data are representative for patients identified through sequencing of unbiased ID cohorts (ARID1B-ID). We therefore sought to determine genotypic and phenotypic differences between ARID1B-ID and ARID1B-CSS. In parallel, we investigated the effect of different methods of phenotype reporting. METHODS: Clinicians entered clinical data in an extensive web-based survey. RESULTS: 79 ARID1B-CSS and 64 ARID1B-ID patients were included. CSS-associated dysmorphic features, such as thick eyebrows, long eyelashes, thick alae nasi, long and/or broad philtrum, small nails and small or absent fifth distal phalanx and hypertrichosis, were observed significantly more often (p < 0.001) in ARID1B-CSS patients. No other significant differences were identified. CONCLUSION: There are only minor differences between ARID1B-ID and ARID1B-CSS patients. ARID1B-related disorders seem to consist of a spectrum, and patients should be managed similarly. We demonstrated that data collection methods without an explicit option to report the absence of a feature (such as most Human Phenotype Ontology-based methods) tended to underestimate gene-related features.

DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , DNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Transcription Factors/genetics , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Abnormalities, Multiple/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Child , Child, Preschool , Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone/genetics , Exome , Face/abnormalities , Female , Genetic Association Studies/methods , Genetic Variation/genetics , Hand Deformities, Congenital/genetics , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Intellectual Disability/genetics , Male , Micrognathism/genetics , Middle Aged , Mutation , Neck/abnormalities , Penetrance
Front Genet ; 9: 149, 2018.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29922329

Repeats in coding and non-coding regions have increasingly been associated with many human genetic disorders, such as Richieri-Costa-Pereira syndrome (RCPS). RCPS, mostly characterized by midline cleft mandible, Robin sequence and limb defects, is an autosomal-recessive acrofacial dysostosis mainly reported in Brazilian patients. This disorder is caused by decreased levels of EIF4A3, mostly due to an increased number of repeats at the EIF4A3 5'UTR. EIF4A3 5'UTR alleles are CG-rich and vary in size and organization of three types of motifs. An exclusive allelic pattern was identified among affected individuals, in which the CGCA-motif is the most prevalent, herein referred as "disease-associated CGCA-20nt motif." The origin of the pathogenic alleles containing the disease-associated motif, as well as the functional effects of the 5'UTR motifs on EIF4A3 expression, to date, are entirely unknown. Here, we characterized 43 different EIF4A3 5'UTR alleles in a cohort of 380 unaffected individuals. We identified eight heterozygous unaffected individuals harboring the disease-associated CGCA-20nt motif and our haplotype analyses indicate that there are more than one haplotype associated with RCPS. The combined analysis of number, motif organization and haplotypic diversity, as well as the observation of two apparently distinct haplotypes associated with the disease-associated CGCA-20nt motif, suggest that the RCPS alleles might have arisen from independent unequal crossing-over events between ancient alleles at least twice. Moreover, we have shown that the number and sequence of motifs in the 5'UTR region is associated with EIF4A3 repression, which is not mediated by CpG methylation. In conclusion, this study has shown that the large number of repeats in EIF4A3 does not represent a dynamic mutation and RCPS can arise in any population harboring alleles with the CGCA-20nt motif. We also provided further evidence that EIF4A3 5'UTR is a regulatory region and the size and sequence type of the repeats at 5'UTR may contribute to clinical variability in RCPS.

Am J Hum Genet ; 100(4): 650-658, 2017 Apr 06.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28343630

Intellectual disability (ID) is a highly heterogeneous disorder involving at least 600 genes, yet a genetic diagnosis remains elusive in ∼35%-40% of individuals with moderate to severe ID. Recent meta-analyses statistically analyzing de novo mutations in >7,000 individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders highlighted mutations in PPM1D as a possible cause of ID. PPM1D is a type 2C phosphatase that functions as a negative regulator of cellular stress-response pathways by mediating a feedback loop of p38-p53 signaling, thereby contributing to growth inhibition and suppression of stress-induced apoptosis. We identified 14 individuals with mild to severe ID and/or developmental delay and de novo truncating PPM1D mutations. Additionally, deep phenotyping revealed overlapping behavioral problems (ASD, ADHD, and anxiety disorders), hypotonia, broad-based gait, facial dysmorphisms, and periods of fever and vomiting. PPM1D is expressed during fetal brain development and in the adult brain. All mutations were located in the last or penultimate exon, suggesting escape from nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Both PPM1D expression analysis and cDNA sequencing in EBV LCLs of individuals support the presence of a stable truncated transcript, consistent with this hypothesis. Exposure of cells derived from individuals with PPM1D truncating mutations to ionizing radiation resulted in normal p53 activation, suggesting that p53 signaling is unaffected. However, a cell-growth disadvantage was observed, suggesting a possible effect on the stress-response pathway. Thus, we show that de novo truncating PPM1D mutations in the last and penultimate exons cause syndromic ID, which provides additional insight into the role of cell-cycle checkpoint genes in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Exons , Intellectual Disability/genetics , Mutation , Protein Phosphatase 2C/genetics , Adolescent , Cell Cycle , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Intellectual Disability/pathology , Young Adult
Am J Hum Genet ; 100(1): 91-104, 2017 Jan 05.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27939640

Identification of over 500 epigenetic regulators in humans raises an interesting question regarding how chromatin dysregulation contributes to different diseases. Bromodomain and PHD finger-containing protein 1 (BRPF1) is a multivalent chromatin regulator possessing three histone-binding domains, one non-specific DNA-binding module, and several motifs for interacting with and activating three lysine acetyltransferases. Genetic analyses of fish brpf1 and mouse Brpf1 have uncovered an important role in skeletal, hematopoietic, and brain development, but it remains unclear how BRPF1 is linked to human development and disease. Here, we describe an intellectual disability disorder in ten individuals with inherited or de novo monoallelic BRPF1 mutations. Symptoms include infantile hypotonia, global developmental delay, intellectual disability, expressive language impairment, and facial dysmorphisms. Central nervous system and spinal abnormalities are also seen in some individuals. These clinical features overlap with but are not identical to those reported for persons with KAT6A or KAT6B mutations, suggesting that BRPF1 targets these two acetyltransferases and additional partners in humans. Functional assays showed that the resulting BRPF1 variants are pathogenic and impair acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 23, an abundant but poorly characterized epigenetic mark. We also found a similar deficiency in different lines of Brpf1-knockout mice. These data indicate that aberrations in the chromatin regulator gene BRPF1 cause histone H3 acetylation deficiency and a previously unrecognized intellectual disability syndrome.

Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Chromatin/metabolism , Histones/metabolism , Intellectual Disability/genetics , Mutation , Nuclear Proteins/genetics , Acetylation , Adolescent , Alleles , Animals , Carrier Proteins/genetics , Child , Chromatin/chemistry , DNA-Binding Proteins , Developmental Disabilities/genetics , Face/abnormalities , Female , Histone Acetyltransferases/genetics , Humans , Lysine/metabolism , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Muscle Hypotonia/genetics , Syndrome
Am J Hum Genet ; 99(1): 125-38, 2016 07 07.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27374770

DNA replication precisely duplicates the genome to ensure stable inheritance of genetic information. Impaired licensing of origins of replication during the G1 phase of the cell cycle has been implicated in Meier-Gorlin syndrome (MGS), a disorder defined by the triad of short stature, microtia, and a/hypoplastic patellae. Biallelic partial loss-of-function mutations in multiple components of the pre-replication complex (preRC; ORC1, ORC4, ORC6, CDT1, or CDC6) as well as de novo stabilizing mutations in the licensing inhibitor, GMNN, cause MGS. Here we report the identification of mutations in CDC45 in 15 affected individuals from 12 families with MGS and/or craniosynostosis. CDC45 encodes a component of both the pre-initiation (preIC) and CMG helicase complexes, required for initiation of DNA replication origin firing and ongoing DNA synthesis during S-phase itself, respectively, and hence is functionally distinct from previously identified MGS-associated genes. The phenotypes of affected individuals range from syndromic coronal craniosynostosis to severe growth restriction, fulfilling diagnostic criteria for Meier-Gorlin syndrome. All mutations identified were biallelic and included synonymous mutations altering splicing of physiological CDC45 transcripts, as well as amino acid substitutions expected to result in partial loss of function. Functionally, mutations reduce levels of full-length transcripts and protein in subject cells, consistent with partial loss of CDC45 function and a predicted limited rate of DNA replication and cell proliferation. Our findings therefore implicate the preIC as an additional protein complex involved in the etiology of MGS and connect the core cellular machinery of genome replication with growth, chondrogenesis, and cranial suture homeostasis.

Cell Cycle Proteins/genetics , Congenital Microtia/genetics , Craniosynostoses/genetics , Growth Disorders/genetics , Micrognathism/genetics , Mutation , Patella/abnormalities , Adolescent , Adult , Alleles , Alternative Splicing/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Amnion/cytology , Cell Cycle Proteins/chemistry , Cell Cycle Proteins/deficiency , Cell Cycle Proteins/metabolism , Cell Line , Cells, Cultured , Child , Child, Preschool , DNA Mutational Analysis , DNA Replication , Exome/genetics , Exons/genetics , Female , Genetic Association Studies , Humans , Male , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , Syndrome , Young Adult