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To characterize the role of rare complete human knockouts in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), we identify genes with homozygous or compound heterozygous loss-of-function (LoF) variants (defined as nonsense and essential splice sites) from exome sequencing of 933 cases and 869 controls. We identify a 2-fold increase in complete knockouts of autosomal genes with low rates of LoF variation (≤ 5% frequency) in cases and estimate a 3% contribution to ASD risk by these events, confirming this observation in an independent set of 563 probands and 4,605 controls. Outside the pseudoautosomal regions on the X chromosome, we similarly observe a significant 1.5-fold increase in rare hemizygous knockouts in males, contributing to another 2% of ASDs in males. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence that rare autosomal and X chromosome complete gene knockouts are important inherited risk factors for ASD.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Polymerase-γ (POLG) is a major human disease gene and may account for up to 25% of all mitochondrial diseases in the UK and in Italy. To date, >150 different pathogenic mutations have been described in POLG. Some mutations behave as both dominant and recessive alleles, but an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern is much more common. The most frequently detected pathogenic POLG mutation in the Caucasian population is c.1399G>A leading to a p.Ala467Thr missense mutation in the linker domain of the protein. Although many patients are homozygous for this mutation, clinical presentation is highly variable, ranging from childhood-onset Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome to adult-onset sensory ataxic neuropathy dysarthria and ophthalmoparesis. The reasons for this are not clear, but familial clustering of phenotypes suggests that modifying factors may influence the clinical manifestation. In this study, we collected clinical, histological and biochemical data from 68 patients carrying the homozygous p.Ala467Thr mutation from eight diagnostic centres in Europe and the USA. We performed DNA analysis in 44 of these patients to search for a genetic modifier within POLG and flanking regions potentially involved in the regulation of gene expression, and extended our analysis to other genes affecting mitochondrial DNA maintenance (POLG2, PEO1 and ANT1). The clinical presentation included almost the entire phenotypic spectrum of all known POLG mutations. Interestingly, the clinical presentation was similar in siblings, implying a genetic basis for the phenotypic variability amongst homozygotes. However, the p.Ala467Thr allele was present on a shared haplotype in each affected individual, and there was no correlation between the clinical presentation and genetic variants in any of the analysed nuclear genes. Patients with mitochondrial DNA haplogroup U developed epilepsy significantly less frequently than patients with any other mitochondrial DNA haplotype. Epilepsy was reported significantly more frequently in females than in males, and also showed an association with one of the chromosomal markers defining the POLG haplotype. In conclusion, our clinical results show that the homozygous p.Ala467Thr POLG mutation does not cause discrete phenotypes, as previously suggested, but rather there is a continuum of clinical symptoms. Our results suggest that the mitochondrial DNA background plays an important role in modifying the disease phenotype but nuclear modifiers, epigenetic and environmental factors may also influence the severity of disease.
BACKGROUND - Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), an ethanol-inducible enzyme, has been shown to metabolically activate various carcinogens, which is critical for the development and progression of cancers. It has demonstrated that CYP2E1 polymorphisms alter the transcriptional activity of the gene. However, studies on the association between CYP2E1 polymorphisms (PstI/RsaI or DraI) and gastric cancer have reported conflicting results. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether CYP2E1 polymorphisms is associated with the development and progression of gastric cancer and its prognosis in Chinese patients.
METHODS - A case-control study was conducted in which CYP2E1 PstI/RsaI and DraI polymorphisms were analyzed in 510 Chinese patients with gastric cancer and 510 age- and sex- matched healthy controls by PCR-RFLP. Odds ratios were estimated by multivariate logistic regression, and the lifetime was calculated by Kaplan-Meier survival curves. In addition, a meta-analysis was also conducted to verify the findings.
RESULTS - For CYP2E1 PstI/RsaI polymorphism, C2C2 homozygotes (OR = 2.15; CI: 1.18-3.94) and C2 carriers (OR = 1.48; CI: 1.13-1.96) were associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer when compared with C1C1 homozygotes. Both C1C2 and C2C2 genotypes were associated with advanced stage, but not the grade of gastric cancer. Moreover, C2C2 genotype was identified as an independent marker of poor overall survival for gastric cancer. However, there was not any significant association between CYP2E1 DraI polymorphism and the risk of gastric cancer. In the meta-analysis, pooled data from 13 studies confirmed that the CYP2E1 PstI/RsaI polymorphism was associated with a significantly increased risk of gastric cancer.
CONCLUSION - CYP2E1 PstI/RsaI polymorphism is associated with increased risk of development, progression and poor prognosis of gastric cancer in Chinese patients. Pooled data from 13 studies, mainly in Asian countries, are in agreement with our findings.
Autosomal dominant mutations S326fs328X and A322D in the GABA(A) receptor α1 subunit are associated with human absence epilepsy and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, respectively. Because these mutations substantially reduce α1 subunit protein expression in vitro, it was hypothesized that they produce epilepsy by causing α1 subunit haploinsufficiency. However, in a mixed background strain of mice, α1 subunit deletion does not reduce viability or cause visually apparent seizures; the effects of α1 subunit deletion on electroencephalography (EEG) waveforms were not investigated. Here, we determined the effects of α1 subunit loss on viability, EEG spike-wave discharges and seizures in congenic C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice. Deletion of α1 subunit caused strain- and sex-dependent reductions in viability. Heterozygous mice experienced EEG discharges and absence-like seizures within both background strains, and exhibited a sex-dependent effect on the discharges and viability in the C57BL/6J strain. These findings suggest that α1 subunit haploinsufficiency can produce epilepsy and may be a major mechanism by which the S326fs328X and A322D mutations cause these epilepsy syndromes.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2012 International League Against Epilepsy.
The Forkhead box transcription factors, Foxc1 and Foxc2, are crucial for development of the eye, cardiovascular network, and other physiological systems, but their cell-type specific and postdevelopmental functions are unknown, in part because conventional (i.e., whole-organism) homozygous-null mutations of either factor result in perinatal death. Here, we describe the generation of mice with conditional-null Foxc1(flox) and Foxc2(flox) mutations that are induced via Cre-mediated recombination. Mice homozygous for the unrecombined alleles are viable and fertile, indicating that the conditional alleles retain their wild-type function. The embryos of Foxc1(flox) or Foxc2(flox) mice crossed with Cre-deleter mice that are homozygous for the recombined allele (i.e., Foxc1(Δ/Δ) or Foxc2(Δ/Δ) embryos) lack expression of the corresponding gene and show the same developmental defects observed in conventional homozygous mutant embryos. We expect these conditional mutations to enable characterization of the cell-type specific functions of Foxc1 and Foxc2 in development, disease, and adult animals.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
AIMS - Orthostatic hypotension (OH), an independent predictor of mortality and cardiovascular events, strongly correlates with hypertension. Recent genome-wide studies have identified new loci influencing blood pressure (BP) in populations, but their impact on OH remains unknown.
METHODS AND RESULTS - A total of 38 970 men and women of European ancestry from five population-based cohorts were included, of whom 2656 (6.8%) met the diagnostic criteria for OH (systolic/diastolic BP drop ≥ 20/10 mmHg within 3 min of standing). Thirty-one recently discovered BP-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were examined using an additive genetic model and the major allele as referent. Relations between OH, orthostatic systolic BP response, and genetic variants were assessed by inverse variance-weighted meta-analysis. We found Bonferroni adjusted (P < 0.0016) significant evidence for association between OH and the EBF1 locus (rs11953630, per-minor-allele odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: 0.90, 0.85-0.96; P = 0.001), and nominal evidence (P < 0.05) for CYP17A1 (rs11191548: 0.85, 0.75-0.95; P = 0.005), and NPR3-C5orf23 (rs1173771: 0.92, 0.87-0.98; P= 0.009) loci. Among subjects not taking BP-lowering drugs, three SNPs within the NPPA/NPPB locus were nominally associated with increased risk of OH (rs17367504: 1.13, 1.02-1.24; P = 0.02, rs198358: 1.10, 1.01-1.20; P = 0.04, and rs5068: 1.22, 1.04-1.43; P = 0.01). Moreover, an ADM variant was nominally associated with continuous orthostatic systolic BP response in the adjusted model (P= 0.04).
CONCLUSION - The overall association between common gene variants in BP loci and OH was generally weak and the direction of effect inconsistent with resting BP findings. These results suggest that OH and resting BP share few genetic components.
Mice with endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) deletions have defined the crucial role of eNOS in vascular development, homeostasis, and pathology. However, cell specific eNOS function has not been determined, although an important role of eNOS has been suggested in multiple cell types. Here, we have generated a floxed eNOS allele in which exons 9-12, encoding the sites essential to eNOS activity, are flanked with loxP sites. Mice homozygous for the floxed allele showed normal eNOS protein levels and no overt phenotype. Conversely, homozygous mice with Cre-deleted alleles displayed truncated eNOS protein, lack of vascular NO production, and exhibited similar phenotype to eNOS knockout mice, including hypertension, low heart rate, and focal renal scarring. These findings demonstrate that the floxed allele is normal and it can be converted to a non-functional eNOS allele through Cre recombination. This mouse will allow time- and cell-specific eNOS deletion.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
PURPOSE - Return of individual genetic results to research participants, including participants in archives and biorepositories, is receiving increased attention. However, few groups have deliberated on specific results or weighed deliberations against relevant local contextual factors.
METHODS - The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network, which includes five biorepositories conducting genome-wide association studies, convened a return of results oversight committee to identify potentially returnable results. Network-wide deliberations were then brought to local constituencies for final decision making.
RESULTS - Defining results that should be considered for return required input from clinicians with relevant expertise and much deliberation. The return of results oversight committee identified two sex chromosomal anomalies, Klinefelter syndrome and Turner syndrome, as well as homozygosity for factor V Leiden, as findings that could warrant reporting. Views about returning findings of HFE gene mutations associated with hemochromatosis were mixed due to low penetrance. Review of electronic medical records suggested that most participants with detected abnormalities were unaware of these findings. Local considerations relevant to return varied and, to date, four sites have elected not to return findings (return was not possible at one site).
CONCLUSION - The eMERGE experience reveals the complexity of return of results decision making and provides a potential deliberative model for adoption in other collaborative contexts.
PURPOSE - Carbonyl reductases (CBRs) catalyze reduction of anthracyclines to cardiotoxic alcohol metabolites. Polymorphisms in CBR1 and CBR3 influence synthesis of these metabolites. We examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms in CBR1 (CBR1 1096G>A) and/or CBR3 (CBR3 V244M) modified the dose-dependent risk of anthracycline-related cardiomyopathy in childhood cancer survivors.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - One hundred seventy survivors with cardiomyopathy (patient cases) were compared with 317 survivors with no cardiomyopathy (controls; matched on cancer diagnosis, year of diagnosis, length of follow-up, and race/ethnicity) using conditional logistic regression techniques.
RESULTS - A dose-dependent association was observed between cumulative anthracycline exposure and cardiomyopathy risk (0 mg/m(2): reference; 1 to 100 mg/m(2): odds ratio [OR], 1.65; 101 to 150 mg/m(2): OR, 3.85; 151 to 200 mg/m(2): OR, 3.69; 201 to 250 mg/m(2): OR, 7.23; 251 to 300 mg/m(2): OR, 23.47; > 300 mg/m(2): OR, 27.59; P(trend) < .001). Among individuals carrying the variant A allele (CBR1:GA/AA and/or CBR3:GA/AA), exposure to low- to moderate-dose anthracyclines (1 to 250 mg/m(2)) did not increase the risk of cardiomyopathy. Among individuals with CBR3 V244M homozygous G genotypes (CBR3:GG), exposure to low- to moderate-dose anthracyclines increased cardiomyopathy risk when compared with individuals with CBR3:GA/AA genotypes unexposed to anthracyclines (OR, 5.48; P = .003), as well as exposed to low- to moderate-dose anthracyclines (OR, 3.30; P = .006). High-dose anthracyclines (> 250 mg/m(2)) were associated with increased cardiomyopathy risk, irrespective of CBR genotype status.
CONCLUSION - This study demonstrates increased anthracycline-related cardiomyopathy risk at doses as low as 101 to 150 mg/m(2). Homozygosis for G allele in CBR3 contributes to increased cardiomyopathy risk associated with low- to moderate-dose anthracyclines, such that there seems to be no safe dose for patients homozygous for the CBR3 V244M G allele. These results suggest a need for targeted intervention for those at increased risk of cardiomyopathy.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (~90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.