(searched for: doi:10.1186/s12881-020-01166-z)
Cells, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10092317
Genomic studies are increasingly revealing that neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by underlying genomic alterations. Chromosomal microarray testing has been used to reliably detect minute changes in genomic copy numbers. The genes located in the aberrated regions identified in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders may be associated with the phenotypic features. In such cases, haploinsufficiency is considered to be the mechanism, when the deletion of a gene is related to neurodevelopmental delay. The loss-of-function mutation in such genes may be evaluated using next-generation sequencing. On the other hand, the patients with increased copy numbers of the genes may exhibit different clinical symptoms compared to those with loss-of-function mutation in the genes. In such cases, the additional copies of the genes are considered to have a dominant negative effect, inducing cell stress. In other cases, not the copy number changes, but mutations of the genes are responsible for causing the clinical symptoms. This can be explained by the dominant negative effects of the gene mutations. Currently, the diagnostic yield of genomic alterations using comprehensive analysis is less than 50%, indicating the existence of more subtle alterations or genomic changes in the untranslated regions. Copy-neutral inversions and insertions may be related. Hence, better analytical algorithms specialized for the detection of such alterations are required for higher diagnostic yields.
PLoS ONE, Volume 16; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253987
Autosomal dominant optic atrophy is one of the most common inherited optic neuropathies. This disease is genetically heterogeneous, but most cases are due to pathogenic variants in the OPA1 gene: depending on the population studied, 32–90% of cases harbor pathogenic variants in this gene. The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive overview of the entire spectrum of likely pathogenic variants in the OPA1 gene in a large cohort of patients. Over a period of 20 years, 755 unrelated probands with a diagnosis of bilateral optic atrophy were referred to our laboratory for molecular genetic investigation. Genetic testing of the OPA1 gene was initially performed by a combined analysis using either single-strand conformation polymorphism or denaturing high performance liquid chromatography followed by Sanger sequencing to validate aberrant bands or melting profiles. The presence of copy number variations was assessed using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Since 2012, genetic testing was based on next-generation sequencing platforms. Genetic screening of the OPA1 gene revealed putatively pathogenic variants in 278 unrelated probands which represent 36.8% of the entire cohort. A total of 156 unique variants were identified, 78% of which can be considered null alleles. Variant c.2708_2711del/p.(V903Gfs*3) was found to constitute 14% of all disease-causing alleles. Special emphasis was placed on the validation of splice variants either by analyzing cDNA derived from patients´ blood samples or by heterologous splice assays using minigenes. Splicing analysis revealed different aberrant splicing events, including exon skipping, activation of exonic or intronic cryptic splice sites, and the inclusion of pseudoexons. Forty-eight variants that we identified were novel. Nine of them were classified as pathogenic, 34 as likely pathogenic and five as variant of uncertain significance. Our study adds a significant number of novel variants to the mutation spectrum of the OPA1 gene and will thereby facilitate genetic diagnostics of patients with suspected dominant optic atrophy.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22105396
Mutations in POC1B are a rare cause of inherited retinal degeneration. In this study, we present a thorough phenotypic and genotypic characterization of three individuals harboring putatively pathogenic variants in the POC1B gene. All patients displayed a similar, slowly progressive retinopathy (cone dystrophy or cone-rod dystrophy) with normal funduscopy but disrupted outer retinal layers on optical coherence tomography and variable age of onset. Other symptoms were decreased visual acuity and photophobia. Whole genome sequencing revealed a novel homozygous frameshift variant in one patient. Another patient was shown to harbor a novel deep intronic variant in compound heterozygous state with a previously reported canonical splice site variant. The third patient showed a novel nonsense variant and a novel non-canonical splice site variant. We aimed to validate the effect of the deep intronic variant and the non-canonical splice site variant by means of in vitro splice assays. In addition, direct RNA analysis was performed in one patient. Splicing analysis revealed that the non-canonical splice site variant c.561-3T>C leads to exon skipping while the novel deep intronic variant c.1033-327T>A causes pseudoexon activation. Our data expand the genetic landscape of POC1B mutations and confirm the benefit of genome sequencing in combination with downstream functional validation using minigene assays for the analysis of putative splice variants. In addition, we provide clinical multimodal phenotyping of the affected individuals.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22042089
We present a long-term follow-up in autosomal dominant gyrate atrophy-like choroidal dystrophy (adGALCD) and propose a possible genotype/phenotype correlation. Ophthalmic examination of six patients from two families revealed confluent areas of choroidal atrophy resembling gyrate atrophy, starting in the second decade of life. Progression continued centrally, reaching the fovea at about 60 years of age. Subretinal deposits, retinal pigmentation or choroidal neovascularization as seen in late-onset retinal degeneration (LORD) were not observed. Whole genome sequencing revealed a novel missense variant in the C1QTNF5 gene (p.(Q180E)) which was found in heterozygous state in all affected subjects. Haplotype analysis showed that this variant found in both families is identical by descent. Three-dimensional modeling of the possible supramolecular assemblies of C1QTNF5 revealed that the p.(Q180E) variant led to the destabilization of protein tertiary and quaternary structures, affecting both the stability of the single protomer and the entire globular head, thus exerting detrimental effects on the formation of C1QTNF5 trimeric globular domains and their interaction. In conclusion, we propose that the p.(Q180E) variant causes a specific phenotype, adGALCD, that differs in multiple clinical aspects from LORD. Disruption of optimal cell-adhesion mechanisms is expected when analyzing the effects of the point mutation at the protein level.