The Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD®) is a comprehensive collection of germline mutations in nuclear genes that underlie, or are associated with, human inherited disease. By June 2013, the database contained over 141,000 different lesions detected in over 5,700 different genes, with new mutation entries currently accumulating at a rate exceeding 10,000 per annum. HGMD was originally established in 1996 for the scientific study of mutational mechanisms in human genes. However, it has since acquired a much broader utility as a central unified disease-oriented mutation repository utilized by human molecular geneticists, genome scientists, molecular biologists, clinicians and genetic counsellors as well as by those specializing in biopharmaceuticals, bioinformatics and personalized genomics. The public version of HGMD ( http://www.hgmd.org ) is freely available to registered users from academic institutions/non-profit organizations whilst the subscription version (HGMD Professional) is available to academic, clinical and commercial users under license via BIOBASE GmbH.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a devastating form of retinal degeneration, with significant social and professional consequences. Molecular genetic information is invaluable for an accurate clinical diagnosis of RP due to its high genetic and clinical heterogeneity. Using a gene capture panel that covers 163 of the currently known retinal disease genes, including 48 RP genes, we performed a comprehensive molecular screening in a collection of 123 RP unsettled probands from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, including 113 unrelated simplex and 10 autosomal recessive RP (arRP) cases. As a result, 61 mutations were identified in 45 probands, including 38 novel pathogenic alleles. Interestingly, we observed that phenotype and genotype were not in full agreement in 21 probands. Among them, eight probands were clinically reassessed, resulting in refinement of clinical diagnoses for six of these patients. Finally, recessive mutations in CLN3 were identified in five retinal degeneration patients, including four RP probands and one cone-rod dystrophy patient, suggesting that CLN3 is a novel non-syndromic retinal disease gene. Collectively, our results underscore that, due to the high molecular and clinical heterogeneity of RP, comprehensive screening of all retinal disease genes is effective in identifying novel pathogenic mutations and provides an opportunity to discover new genotype-phenotype correlations. Information gained from this genetic screening will directly aid in patient diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, as well as allowing appropriate family planning and counseling.
The role of the mitochondria in disease, general health and aging has drawn much attention over the years. Several attempts have been made to describe how the numbers of mitochondria correlate with age, although with inconclusive results. In this study, the relative quantity of mitochondrial DNA compared to nuclear DNA, i.e. the mitochondrial DNA copy number, was measured by PCR technology and used as a proxy for the content of mitochondria copies. In 1,067 Danish twins and singletons (18–93 years of age), with the majority being elderly individuals, the estimated mean mitochondrial DNA copy number in peripheral blood cells was similar for those 18–48 years of age [mean relative mtDNA content: 61.0; 95 % CI (52.1; 69.9)], but declined by −0.54 mtDNA 95 % CI (−0.63; −0.45) every year for those older than approximately 50 years of age. However, the longitudinal, yearly decline within an individual was more than twice as steep as observed in the cross-sectional analysis [decline of mtDNA content: −1.27; 95 % CI (−1.71; −0.82)]. Subjects with low mitochondrial DNA copy number had poorer outcomes in terms of cognitive performance, physical strength, self-rated health, and higher all-cause mortality than subjects with high mitochondrial DNA copy number, also when age was controlled for. The copy number mortality association can contribute to the smaller decline in a cross-sectional sample of the population compared to the individual, longitudinal decline. This study suggests that high mitochondrial DNA copy number in blood is associated with better health and survival among elderly.
We review the data pertinent to the hypothesis we proposed three decades ago, that all embryos that survive gestation as women with Turner syndrome and have an ostensibly non-mosaic 45,X karyotype, actually are cryptic mosaics for a “rescue line” that includes a viable karyotype. Reanalysis of the prevalence and frequency of 45,X in available data on spontaneous abortuses, and livebirths, confirms prior estimates that 1 % to 1.5 % of all recognizable pregnancies start as an apparent non-mosaic 45,X but about 99 % do not survive gestation. From the rates of 45,X in early embryos, which are notably higher than the inferred rate of gametes hypohaploid for a sex chromosome, as well as the negative maternal age association with 45,X of maternal origin we deduce, in agreement with but on independent grounds from Hall et al. (2006), that a very large proportion of 45,X embryos acquired their 45,X line after fertilization. Results of a search for mosaic cell lines in patients with “Turner syndrome” in several reports indicate that not only does the detection rate of a mosaic line depend upon the number and sensitivity of the markers used, and the number of different tissues examined, but also upon the severity of the phenotype of those cases studied, and the number of cells karyotyped initially. Such factors may explain variation in the extent of detected “cryptic” mosaicism in 45,X individuals (currently at least 50 %). We note a report by Urbach and Benvenitsy (2009) of a gene necessary for placental function, PSF2RA, which lies in the pseudoautosomal-one region of the X and Y chromosomes. Deletion of such a gene could account for the high embryonic lethality in 45,X conceptions, and a rescue line in the placenta could account for embryonic and fetal survival of those cases in which a cryptic mosaic line cannot be found in the usual studies of blood and other tissues from affected individuals. Our primary conclusions are 1) all 45,X individuals with Turner syndrome are cryptic mosaics, 2) absence of the X chromosome in 45,X embryos is caused primarily by mitotic factors, and 3) the placenta is a strong candidate for the location of the rescue line in apparently non-mosaic 45,X individuals.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the most common and highly heterogeneous form of hereditary retinal degeneration. This study was to identify mutations in the 60 genes that were known to be associated with RP in 157 unrelated Chinese families with RP. Genomic DNA from probands was initially analyzed by whole exome sequencing. Sanger sequencing was used to confirm potential candidate variants affecting the encoded residues in the 60 genes, including heterozygous variants from genes that are related to autosomal dominant RP, homozygous or compound heterozygous variants from genes that are related to autosomal recessive RP, and hemizygous variants from genes that are related to X-linked RP. Synonymous and intronic variants were also examined to confirm whether they could affect splicing. A total of 244 candidate variants were detected by exome sequencing. Sanger sequencing confirmed 240 variants out of the 244 candidates. Informatics and segregation analyses suggested 110 potential pathogenic mutations in 28 out of the 60 genes involving 79 of the 157 (50 %) families, including 31 (39 %, 31/79) families with heterozygous mutations in autosomal dominant genes, 37 (47 %, 37/79) families with homozygous (9) or compound heterozygous (28) mutations in autosomal recessive genes, and 11 (14 %, 11/79) families with hemizygous mutations in X-linked genes. Of the 110 identified variants, 74 (67 %) were novel. The genetic defects in approximately half of the 157 studies families were detected by exome sequencing. A comprehensive analysis of the 60 known genes not only expanded the mutation spectrum and frequency of the 60 genes in Chinese patients with RP, but also provided an overview of the molecular etiology of RP in Chinese patients. The analysis of the known genes also supplied the foundation and clues for discovering novel causative RP genes.
Platelets are enucleated cell fragments derived from megakaryocytes that play key roles in hemostasis and in the pathogenesis of atherothrombosis and cancer. Platelet traits are highly heritable and identification of genetic variants associated with platelet traits and assessing their pleiotropic effects may help to understand the role of underlying biological pathways. We conducted an electronic medical record (EMR)-based study to identify common variants that influence inter-individual variation in the number of circulating platelets (PLT) and mean platelet volume (MPV), by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS). We characterized genetic variants associated with MPV and PLT using functional, pathway and disease enrichment analyses; we assessed pleiotropic effects of such variants by performing a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) with a wide range of EMR-derived phenotypes. A total of 13,582 participants in the electronic MEdical Records and GEnomic network had data for PLT and 6,291 participants had data for MPV. We identified five chromosomal regions associated with PLT and eight associated with MPV at genome-wide significance (P < 5E−8). In addition, we replicated 20 SNPs [out of 56 SNPs (α: 0.05/56 = 9E−4)] influencing PLT and 22 SNPs [out of 29 SNPs (α: 0.05/29 = 2E−3)] influencing MPV in a published meta-analysis of GWAS of PLT and MPV. While our GWAS did not find any new associations, our functional analyses revealed that genes in these regions influence thrombopoiesis and encode kinases, membrane proteins, proteins involved in cellular trafficking, transcription factors, proteasome complex subunits, proteins of signal transduction pathways, proteins involved in megakaryocyte development, and platelet production and hemostasis. PheWAS using a single-SNP Bonferroni correction for 1,368 diagnoses (0.05/1368 = 3.6E−5) revealed that several variants in these genes have pleiotropic associations with myocardial infarction, autoimmune, and hematologic disorders. We conclude that multiple genetic loci influence interindividual variation in platelet traits and also have significant pleiotropic effects; the related genes are in multiple functional pathways including those relevant to thrombopoiesis.
The majority of the human genome is transcribed but not translated, giving rise to noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), including long ncRNAs (lncRNAs, >200 nt) that perform a wide range of functions in gene regulation. The Fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene is a microsatellite locus that in the general population contains <55 CGG repeats in its 5′-untranslated region. Expansion of this repeat region to a size of 55-200 CGG repeats, known as premutation, is associated with Fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Further expansion beyond 200 CGG repeats, or full mutation, leads to FMR1 gene silencing and results in Fragile X syndrome (FXS). Using a novel technology called “Deep-RACE”, which combines rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) with next generation sequencing, we systematically interrogated the FMR1 gene locus for the occurrence of novel lncRNAs. We discovered two transcripts, FMR5 and FMR6. FMR5 is a sense lncRNA transcribed upstream of the FMR1 promoter, whereas FMR6 is an antisense transcript overlapping the 3′ region of FMR1. FMR5 was expressed in several human brain regions from unaffected individuals and from full and premutation patients. FMR6 was silenced in full mutation and, unexpectedly, in premutation carriers suggesting abnormal transcription and/or chromatin remodeling prior to transition to the full mutation. These lncRNAs may thus be useful as biomarkers, allowing for early detection and therapeutic intervention in FXS and FXTAS. Finally we show that FMR5 and FMR6 are expressed in peripheral blood leukocytes and propose future studies that correlate lncRNA expression with clinical outcomes.
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor for glaucoma and is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) reported associations with IOP at TMCO1 and GAS7, and with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) at CDKN2B-AS1, CAV1/CAV2, and SIX1/SIX6. To identify novel genetic variants and replicate the published findings, we performed GWAS and meta-analysis of IOP in >6,000 subjects of European ancestry collected in three datasets: the NEI Glaucoma Human genetics collaBORation, GLAUcoma Genes and ENvironment study, and a subset of the Age-related Macular Degeneration-Michigan, Mayo, AREDS and Pennsylvania study. While no signal achieved genome-wide significance in individual datasets, a meta-analysis identified significant associations with IOP at TMCO1 (rs7518099-G, p = 8.0 × 10−8). Focused analyses of five loci previously reported for IOP and/or POAG, i.e., TMCO1, CDKN2B-AS1, GAS7, CAV1/CAV2, and SIX1/SIX6, revealed associations with IOP that were largely consistent across our three datasets, and replicated the previously reported associations in both effect size and direction. These results confirm the involvement of common variants in multiple genomic regions in regulating IOP and/or glaucoma risk.
Fostering data sharing is a scientific and ethical imperative. Health gains can be achieved more comprehensively and quickly by combining large, information-rich datasets from across conventionally siloed disciplines and geographic areas. While collaboration for data sharing is increasingly embraced by policymakers and the international biomedical community, we lack a common ethical and legal framework to connect regulators, funders, consortia, and research projects so as to facilitate genomic and clinical data linkage, global science collaboration, and responsible research conduct. Governance tools can be used to responsibly steer the sharing of data for proper stewardship of research discovery, genomics research resources, and their clinical applications. In this article, we propose that an international code of conduct be designed to enable global genomic and clinical data sharing for biomedical research. To give this proposed code universal application and accountability, however, we propose to position it within a human rights framework. This proposition is not without precedent: international treaties have long recognized that everyone has a right to the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, and a right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific productions. It is time to apply these twin rights to internationally collaborative genomic and clinical data sharing.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital malformation, with evidence of a strong genetic component. We analyzed data from 223 consecutively ascertained families, each consisting of at least one child affected by a conotruncal defect (CNT) or hypoplastic left heart disease (HLHS) and both parents. The NimbleGen HD2-2.1 comparative genomic hybridization platform was used to identify de novo and rare inherited copy number variants (CNVs). Excluding 10 cases with 22q11.2 DiGeorge deletions, we validated de novo CNVs in 8 % of 148 probands with CNTs, 12.7 % of 71 probands with HLHS and none in 4 probands with both. Only 2 % of control families showed a de novo CNV. We also identified a group of ultra-rare inherited CNVs that occurred de novo in our sample, contained a candidate gene for CHD, recurred in our sample or were present in an affected sibling. We confirmed the contribution to CHD of copy number changes in genes such as GATA4 and NODAL and identified several genes in novel recurrent CNVs that may point to novel CHD candidate loci. We also found CNVs previously associated with highly variable phenotypes and reduced penetrance, such as dup 1q21.1, dup 16p13.11, dup 15q11.2-13, dup 22q11.2, and del 2q23.1. We found that the presence of extra-cardiac anomalies was not related to the frequency of CNVs, and that there was no significant difference in CNV frequency or specificity between the probands with CNT and HLHS. In agreement with other series, we identified likely causal CNVs in 5.6 % of our total sample, half of which were de novo.
The existence of pleiotropy in disorders with multi-organ involvement can suggest therapeutic targets that could ameliorate overall disease severity. Here we assessed pleiotropy of modifier genes in cystic fibrosis (CF). CF, caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, affects the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestines. However, modifier genes contribute to variable disease severity across affected organs, even in individuals with the same CFTR genotype. We sought to determine whether SLC26A9, SLC9A3 and SLC6A14, that contribute to meconium ileus in CF, are pleiotropic for other early-affecting CF co-morbidities. In the Canadian CF population, we assessed evidence for pleiotropic effects on (1) pediatric lung disease severity (n = 815), (2) age at first acquisition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) (n = 730), and (3) prenatal pancreatic damage measured by immunoreactive trypsinogen (n = 126). A multiple-phenotype analytic strategy assessed evidence for pleiotropy in the presence of phenotypic correlation. We required the same alleles to be associated with detrimental effects. SLC26A9 was pleiotropic for meconium ileus and pancreatic damage (p = 0.002 at rs7512462), SLC9A3 for meconium ileus and lung disease (p = 1.5 × 10−6 at rs17563161), and SLC6A14 for meconium ileus and both lung disease and age at first P. aeruginosa infection (p = 0.0002 and p = 0.006 at rs3788766, respectively). The meconium ileus risk alleles in SLC26A9, SLC9A3 and SLC6A14 are pleiotropic, increasing risk for other early CF co-morbidities. Furthermore, co-morbidities affecting the same organ tended to associate with the same genes. The existence of pleiotropy within this single disorder suggests that complementary therapeutic strategies to augment solute transport will benefit multiple CF-associated tissues.
Alternative splicing is a major cellular mechanism in metazoans for generating proteomic diversity. A large proportion of protein-coding genes in multicellular organisms undergo alternative splicing, and in humans, it has been estimated that nearly 90 % of protein-coding genes—much larger than expected—are subject to alternative splicing. Genomic analyses of alternative splicing have illuminated its universal role in shaping the evolution of genomes, in the control of developmental processes, and in the dynamic regulation of the transcriptome to influence phenotype. Disruption of the splicing machinery has been found to drive pathophysiology, and indeed reprogramming of aberrant splicing can provide novel approaches to the development of molecular therapy. This review focuses on the recent progress in our understanding of alternative splicing brought about by the unprecedented explosive growth of genomic data and highlights the relevance of human splicing variation on disease and therapy.
The Hennekam lymphangiectasia-lymphedema syndrome is a genetically heterogeneous disorder. It can be caused by mutations in CCBE1 which are found in approximately 25 % of cases. We used homozygosity mapping and whole-exome sequencing in the original HS family with multiple affected individuals in whom no CCBE1 mutation had been detected, and identified a homozygous mutation in the FAT4 gene. Subsequent targeted mutation analysis of FAT4 in a cohort of 24 CCBE1 mutation-negative Hennekam syndrome patients identified homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in four additional families. Mutations in FAT4 have been previously associated with Van Maldergem syndrome. Detailed clinical comparison between van Maldergem syndrome and Hennekam syndrome patients shows that there is a substantial overlap in phenotype, especially in facial appearance. We conclude that Hennekam syndrome can be caused by mutations in FAT4 and be allelic to Van Maldergem syndrome
This study is the first to describe age-related changes in a large cohort of patients with Phelan–McDermid syndrome (PMS), also known as 22q13 deletion syndrome. Over a follow-up period of up to 12 years, physical examinations and structured interviews were conducted for 201 individuals diagnosed with PMS, 120 patients had a focused, high-resolution 22q12q13 array CGH, and 92 patients’ deletions were assessed for parent-of-origin. 22q13 genomic anomalies include terminal deletions of 22q13 (89 %), terminal deletions and interstitial duplications (9 %), and interstitial deletions (2 %). Considering different age groups, in older patients, behavioral problems tended to subside, developmental abilities improved, and some features such as large or fleshy hands, full or puffy eyelids, hypotonia, lax ligaments, and hyperextensible joints were less frequent. However, the proportion reporting an autism spectrum disorder, seizures, and cellulitis, or presenting with lymphedema or abnormal reflexes increased with age. Some neurologic and dysmorphic features such as speech and developmental delay and macrocephaly correlated with deletion size. Deletion sizes in more recently diagnosed patients tend to be smaller than those diagnosed a decade earlier. Seventy-three percent of de novo deletions were of paternal origin. Seizures were reported three times more often among patients with a de novo deletion of the maternal rather than paternal chromosome 22. This analysis improves the understanding of the clinical presentation and natural history of PMS and can serve as a reference for the prevalence of clinical features in the syndrome.
Heterozygous loss of function mutations in CHD7 (chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 7) lead to CHARGE syndrome, a complex developmental disorder affecting craniofacial structures, cranial nerves and several organ systems. Recently, it was demonstrated that CHD7 is essential for the formation of multipotent migratory neural crest cells, which migrate from the neural tube to many regions of the embryo, where they differentiate into various tissues including craniofacial and heart structures. So far, only few CHD7 target genes involved in neural crest cell development have been identified and the role of CHD7 in neural crest cell guidance and the regulation of mesenchymal-epithelial transition are unknown. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide microarray expression analysis on wild-type and CHD7 deficient (Chd7 (Whi/+) and Chd7 (Whi/Whi) ) mouse embryos at day 9.5, a time point of neural crest cell migration. We identified 98 differentially expressed genes between wild-type and Chd7 (Whi/Whi) embryos. Interestingly, many misregulated genes are involved in neural crest cell and axon guidance such as semaphorins and ephrin receptors. By performing knockdown experiments for Chd7 in Xenopus laevis embryos, we found abnormalities in the expression pattern of Sema3a, a protein involved in the pathogenesis of Kallmann syndrome, in vivo. In addition, we detected non-synonymous SEMA3A variations in 3 out of 45 CHD7-negative CHARGE patients. In summary, we discovered for the first time that Chd7 regulates genes involved in neural crest cell guidance, demonstrating a new aspect in the pathogenesis of CHARGE syndrome. Furthermore, we showed for Sema3a a conserved regulatory mechanism across different species, highlighting its significance during development. Although we postulated that the non-synonymous SEMA3A variants which we found in CHD7-negative CHARGE patients alone are not sufficient to produce the phenotype, we suggest an important modifier role for SEMA3A in the pathogenesis of this multiple malformation syndrome.
GDF5 encodes an extracellular signalling molecule that is essential for normal skeletal development. The rs144383 C to T SNP located in the 5ʹUTR of this gene is functional and has a pleiotropic effect on the musculoskeletal system, being a risk factor for knee-osteoarthritis (OA), congenital hip dysplasia, lumbar disc degeneration and Achilles tendon pathology. rs143383 exerts a joint-wide effect on GDF5 expression, with expression of the OA-associated T allele being significantly reduced relative to the C allele, termed allelic expression imbalance. We have previously reported that the GDF5 locus is subject to DNA methylation and that allelic imbalance of rs143383 is mediated by SP1, SP3 and DEAF1 transcriptional repressors. In this study, we have assayed GDF5 methylation in normal and osteoarthritic cartilage, and investigated the effect of methylation on the allelic imbalance of rs143383. We observed demethylation of the GDF5 5ʹUTR in OA knee cartilage relative to both OA (p = 0.009) and non-OA (p = 0.001) hip cartilage, with the most significant demethylation observed at the highly conserved +37 CpG site located 4 bp upstream of rs143383. Methylation modulates the level and direction of allelic imbalance of rs143383, with methylation of the +37 CpG dinucleotide within the SP1/SP3 binding site having an allele-specific effect on SP1 and SP3 binding. Furthermore, methylation attenuated the repressive effects of SP1, SP3 and DEAF1 on GDF5 promoter activity. This data suggest that the differential methylation of the +37 CpG site between osteoarthritic hip and knee cartilage may be responsible for the knee-specific effect of rs143383 on OA susceptibility.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal disorders characterized by progressive photoreceptor degeneration. An accurate molecular diagnosis is essential for disease characterization and clinical prognoses. A retinal capture panel that enriches 186 known retinal disease genes, including 55 known RP genes, was developed. Targeted next-generation sequencing was performed for a cohort of 82 unrelated RP cases from Northern Ireland, including 46 simplex cases and 36 familial cases. Disease-causing mutations were identified in 49 probands, including 28 simplex cases and 21 familial cases, achieving a solving rate of 60 %. In total, 65 pathogenic mutations were found, and 29 of these were novel. Interestingly, the molecular information of 12 probands was neither consistent with their initial inheritance pattern nor clinical diagnosis. Further clinical reassessment resulted in a refinement of the clinical diagnosis in 11 patients. This is the first study to apply next-generation sequencing-based, comprehensive molecular diagnoses to a large number of RP probands from Northern Ireland. Our study shows that molecular information can aid clinical diagnosis, potentially changing treatment options, current family counseling and management.
Variability in the susceptibility to infectious disease and its clinical manifestation can be determined by variation in the environment and by genetic variation in the pathogen and the host. Despite several successes based on candidate gene studies, defining the host variation affecting infectious disease has not been as successful as for other multifactorial diseases. Both single nucleotide variation and copy number variation (CNV) of the host contribute to the host’s susceptibility to infectious disease. In this review we focus on CNV, particularly on complex multiallelic CNV that is often not well characterised either directly by hybridisation methods or indirectly by analysis of genotypes and flanking single nucleotide variants. We summarise the well-known examples, such as α-globin deletion and susceptibility to severe malaria, as well as more recent controversies, such as the extensive CNV of the chemokine gene CCL3L1 and HIV infection. We discuss the potential biological mechanisms that could underly any genetic association and reflect on the extensive complexity and functional variation generated by a combination of CNV and sequence variation, as illustrated by the Fc gamma receptor genes FCGR3A, FCGR3B and FCGR2C. We also highlight some understudied areas that might prove fruitful areas for further research.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease characterized by distinctive changes in pulmonary arterioles that lead to progressive elevation of pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, right ventricular failure, and a high mortality rate. The etiology of PAH is heterogeneous and incompletely understood. Based on clinical classification, WHO Group 1 PAH includes sporadic disease (idiopathic PAH), inherited PAH (heritable PAH), and association with certain medical conditions (associated PAH). Genes play an important role in idiopathic and heritable PAH. Mutations in bone morphogenetic protein receptor 2 (BMPR2), a member of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) superfamily of receptors, have been identified in 70 % of cases of familial PAH, as well as in 10–40 % of cases of idiopathic PAH. Mutations in ALK-1, ENG, SMAD4 and SMAD8, other TGFβ family members, are additional rare causes of PAH. CAV1 regulates SMAD2/3 phosphorylation, and mutations in CAV1 are a rare cause of PAH. KCNK3 is a member of the two-pore domain potassium channels expressed in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, and mutations in KCNK3 are a rare cause of both familial and IPAH. The genetics of PAH are complex due to incomplete penetrance and genetic heterogeneity. In addition to rare mutations as a monogenic cause of HPAH, common variants in cerebellin 2 (CBLN2) increase the risk of PAH by approximately twofold. PAH in children is much more heterogeneous than in adults and can be associated with several genetic syndromes, specifically syndromes with congenital heart disease, vascular disease, and hepatic disease. Clinical genetic testing is available for PAH and should be considered in families to allow for more definitive risk stratification and allow for reproductive planning.
Defects in centrosome, centrosomal-associated and spindle-associated proteins are the most frequent cause of primary microcephaly (PM) and microcephalic primordial dwarfism (MPD) syndromes in humans. Mitotic progression and segregation defects, microtubule spindle abnormalities and impaired DNA damage-induced G2-M cell cycle checkpoint proficiency have been documented in cell lines from these patients. This suggests that impaired mitotic entry, progression and exit strongly contribute to PM and MPD. Considering the vast protein networks involved in coordinating this cell cycle stage, the list of potential target genes that could underlie novel developmental disorders is large. One such complex network, with a direct microtubule-mediated physical connection to the centrosome, is the kinetochore. This centromeric-associated structure nucleates microtubule attachments onto mitotic chromosomes. Here, we described novel compound heterozygous variants in CENPE in two siblings who exhibit a profound MPD associated with developmental delay, simplified gyri and other isolated abnormalities. CENPE encodes centromere-associated protein E (CENP-E), a core kinetochore component functioning to mediate chromosome congression initially of misaligned chromosomes and in subsequent spindle microtubule capture during mitosis. Firstly, we present a comprehensive clinical description of these patients. Then, using patient cells we document abnormalities in spindle microtubule organization, mitotic progression and segregation, before modeling the cellular pathogenicity of these variants in an independent cell system. Our cellular analysis shows that a pathogenic defect in CENP-E, a kinetochore-core protein, largely phenocopies PCNT-mutated microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism-type II patient cells. PCNT encodes a centrosome-associated protein. These results highlight a common underlying pathomechanism. Our findings provide the first evidence for a kinetochore-based route to MPD in humans.