PURPOSE: To identify the molecular cause in five unrelated families with a distinct autosomal dominant ocular systemic disorder we called ROSAH syndrome due to clinical features of retinal dystrophy, optic nerve edema, splenomegaly, anhidrosis, and migraine headache. METHODS: Independent discovery exome and genome sequencing in families 1, 2, and 3, and confirmation in families 4 and 5. Expression of wild-type messenger RNA and protein in human and mouse tissues and cell lines. Ciliary assays in fibroblasts from affected and unaffected family members. RESULTS: We found the heterozygous missense variant in the ɑ-kinase gene, ALPK1, (c.710C>T, [p.Thr237Met]), segregated with disease in all five families. All patients shared the ROSAH phenotype with additional low-grade ocular inflammation, pancytopenia, recurrent infections, and mild renal impairment in some. ALPK1 was notably expressed in retina, retinal pigment epithelium, and optic nerve, with immunofluorescence indicating localization to the basal body of the connecting cilium of the photoreceptors, and presence in the sweat glands. Immunocytofluorescence revealed expression at the centrioles and spindle poles during metaphase, and at the base of the primary cilium. Affected family member fibroblasts demonstrated defective ciliogenesis. CONCLUSION: Heterozygosity for ALPK1, p.Thr237Met leads to ROSAH syndrome, an autosomal dominant ocular systemic disorder.
The system of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated nuclease (Cas)9 is an effective instrument for revising the genome with great accuracy. This system has been widely employed to generate mutants in genomes from plants to human cells. Rapid improvements in Cas9 specificity in eukaryotic cells have opened great potential for the use of this technology as a therapeutic. Herein, we summarize the recent advancements of CRISPR-Cas9 use in research on human cells and animal models, and outline a basic and clinical pipeline for CRISPR-Cas9-based treatments of genetic eye diseases.
The retinal expression patterns were analyzed following the injection of serotype 8 adeno-associated virus (AAV8) vectors that utilize two broadly active and commonly used sets of transcription regulatory sequences. These include the human cytomegalovirus (CMV) immediate early (IE) enhancer/promoter and the hybrid CAG element (also known as CAGGS or CBA) composed of a partial human CMV IE enhancer and the chicken β-actin promoter and intron. Subretinal delivery to postnatal day 0 (P0) or 6 (P6) mouse eyes resulted in efficient labeling of retinal cells, but with very distinct patterns. With P0 delivery, AAV8-CMV-GFP selectively labelled photoreceptors, while AAV8-CAG-GFP efficiently labeled both outer and inner retinal neurons, including photoreceptors, horizontal cells, amacrine cells and retinal ganglion cells. With P6 delivery, both vectors led to efficient labeling of photoreceptors and Müller glia cells, but not of inner retinal neurons. Our results suggest that the cell types that express the genes encoded by subretinally delivered AAV8 vectors are determined by both the timing of the injection and the regulatory sequences.
Precise control of gene expression plays fundamental roles in brain development, but the roles of chromatin regulators in neuronal connectivity have remained poorly understood. We report that depletion of the NuRD complex by in vivo RNAi and conditional knockout of the core NuRD subunit Chd4 profoundly impairs the establishment of granule neuron parallel fiber/Purkinje cell synapses in the rodent cerebellar cortex in vivo. By interfacing genome-wide sequencing of transcripts and ChIP-seq analyses, we uncover a network of repressed genes and distinct histone modifications at target gene promoters that are developmentally regulated by the NuRD complex in the cerebellum in vivo. Finally, in a targeted in vivo RNAi screen of NuRD target genes, we identify a program of NuRD-repressed genes that operate as critical regulators of presynaptic differentiation in the cerebellar cortex. Our findings define NuRD-dependent promoter decommissioning as a developmentally regulated programming mechanism that drives synaptic connectivity in the mammalian brain.
The genome sequence of a simian adenovirus from a cynomolgus macaque, denoted CynAdV-1, is presented here. Phylogenetic analysis supports CynAdV-1 in an independent clade, comprising a new simian adenovirus (SAdV) species. These genome data are critical for understanding the evolution and relationships of primate adenoviruses, including zoonosis and emergent human pathogens.
Proteomic analysis of the mouse photoreceptor sensory cilium identified a set of cilia proteins, including Poc1 centriolar protein b (Poc1b). Previous functional studies in human cells and zebrafish embryos implicated that Poc1b plays important roles in centriole duplication and length control, as well as ciliogenesis. To study the function of Poc1b in photoreceptor sensory cilia and other primary cilia, we expressed a tagged recombinant Poc1b protein in cultured renal epithelial cells and rat retina. Poc1b was localized to the centrioles and spindle bundles during cell cycle progression, and to the basal body of photoreceptor sensory cilia. A morpholino knockdown and complementation assay of poc1b in zebrafish showed that loss of poc1b led to a range of morphological anomalies of cilia commonly associated with human ciliopathies. In the retina, the development of retinal laminae was significantly delayed and the length of photoreceptor outer segments was shortened. Visual behavior studies revealed impaired visual function in the poc1b morphants. In addition, ciliopathy-associated developmental defects, such as small eyes, curved body axis, heart defects, and shortened cilia in Kupffer's vesicle, were observed as well. These data suggest that poc1b is required for normal development and ciliogenesis of retinal photoreceptor sensory cilia and other cilia. Furthermore, this conclusion is supported by recent findings that mutations in POC1B gene have been identified in patients with inherited retinal dystrophy and syndromic retinal ciliopathy.
Human adenovirus type 14 (HAdV-B14p) was originally identified as an acute respiratory disease (ARD) pathogen in The Netherlands in 1955. For approximately fifty years, few sporadic infections were observed. In 2005, HAdV-B14p1, a genomic variant, re-emerged and was associated with several large ARD outbreaks across the U.S. and, subsequently, in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and China. This strain was associated with an unusually higher fatality rate than previously reported for both this prototype and other HAdV types in general. In China, HAdV-B14 was first observed in 2010, when two unrelated HAdV-B14-associated ARD cases were reported in Southern China (GZ01) and Northern China (BJ430), followed by three subsequent outbreaks. While comparative genomic analysis, including indel analysis, shows that the three China isolates, with whole genome data available, are similar to the de Wit prototype, all are divergent from the U.S. strain (303600; 2007). Although the genomes of strains GZ01 and BJ430 are nearly identical, as per their genome type characterization and percent identities, they are subtly divergent in their genome mutation patterns. These genomes indicate possibly two lineages of HAdV-B14 and independent introductions into China from abroad, or subsequent divergence from one; CHN2012 likely represents a separate sub-lineage. Observations of these simultaneously reported emergent strains in China add to the understanding of the circulation, epidemiology, and evolution of these HAdV pathogens, as well as provide a foundation for developing effective vaccines and public health strategies, including nationwide surveillance in anticipation of larger outbreaks with potentially higher fatality rates associated with HAdV-B14p1.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a helper-dependent parvovirus which has not been linked with human disease. This aspect, in combination with its broad cell and tissue tropism, and limited viral host response has made it an attractive vector system for gene therapy. The viral protein capsid, the primary interface with the host, is the main determinant for these phenotypes, is highly variable, and is most subject to pressures during replication. Here, we explore the evolutionary path of AAV and other parvoviruses in respect to these phenotypes, as well as directed evolution and engineering strategies that have exploited the lessons learned from natural selection in order to address remaining limitations of AAV as a therapeutic gene transfer platform.