Genomics Publications

Rossin EJ, Sobrin L, Kim LA. Single-cell RNA sequencing: An overview for the ophthalmologist. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;:1-7.Abstract
Understanding the molecular composition of pathogenic tissues is a critical step in understanding the pathophysiology of disease and designing therapeutics. First described in 2009, single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) is a methodology whereby thousands of cells are simultaneously isolated into individual micro-environments that can be altered experimentally and the genome-wide RNA expression of each cell is captured. It has undergone significant technological improvement over the last decade and gained tremendous popularity. scRNAseq is an improvement over prior pooled RNA analyses which cannot identify the cellular composition and heterogeneity of a tissue of interest. This new approach offers new opportunity for new discovery, as tissue samples can now be sub-categorized into groups of cell types based on genome-wide gene expression in an unbiased fashion. As ophthalmologists, we are uniquely positioned to obtain pathologic samples from the eye for further study. ScRNAseq has already been applied in ophthalmology to characterize retinal tissue, and it may offer the key to understanding various pathological processes in the future.
Cogné B, Latypova X, Senaratne LDS, Martin L, Koboldt DC, Kellaris G, Fievet L, Le Meur G, Caldari D, Debray D, Nizon M, Frengen E, Bowne SJ, Consortium L99, Cadena EL, Daiger SP, Bujakowska KM, Pierce EA, Gorin M, Katsanis N, Bézieau S, Petersen-Jones SM, Occelli LM, Lyons LA, Legeai-Mallet L, Sullivan LS, Davis EE, Isidor B. Mutations in the Kinesin-2 Motor KIF3B Cause an Autosomal-Dominant Ciliopathy. Am J Hum Genet 2020;106(6):893-904.Abstract
Kinesin-2 enables ciliary assembly and maintenance as an anterograde intraflagellar transport (IFT) motor. Molecular motor activity is driven by a heterotrimeric complex comprised of KIF3A and KIF3B or KIF3C plus one non-motor subunit, KIFAP3. Using exome sequencing, we identified heterozygous KIF3B variants in two unrelated families with hallmark ciliopathy phenotypes. In the first family, the proband presents with hepatic fibrosis, retinitis pigmentosa, and postaxial polydactyly; he harbors a de novo c.748G>C (p.Glu250Gln) variant affecting the kinesin motor domain encoded by KIF3B. The second family is a six-generation pedigree affected predominantly by retinitis pigmentosa. Affected individuals carry a heterozygous c.1568T>C (p.Leu523Pro) KIF3B variant segregating in an autosomal-dominant pattern. We observed a significant increase in primary cilia length in vitro in the context of either of the two mutations while variant KIF3B proteins retained stability indistinguishable from wild type. Furthermore, we tested the effects of KIF3B mutant mRNA expression in the developing zebrafish retina. In the presence of either missense variant, rhodopsin was sequestered to the photoreceptor rod inner segment layer with a concomitant increase in photoreceptor cilia length. Notably, impaired rhodopsin trafficking is also characteristic of recessive KIF3B models as exemplified by an early-onset, autosomal-recessive, progressive retinal degeneration in Bengal cats; we identified a c.1000G>A (p.Ala334Thr) KIF3B variant by genome-wide association study and whole-genome sequencing. Together, our genetic, cell-based, and in vivo modeling data delineate an autosomal-dominant syndromic retinal ciliopathy in humans and suggest that multiple KIF3B pathomechanisms can impair kinesin-driven ciliary transport in the photoreceptor.
Hysi PG, Choquet H, Khawaja AP, Wojciechowski R, Tedja MS, Yin J, Simcoe MJ, Patasova K, Mahroo OA, Thai KK, Cumberland PM, Melles RB, Verhoeven VJM, Vitart V, Segre A, Stone RA, Wareham N, Hewitt AW, Mackey DA, Klaver CCW, Macgregor S, for and Myopia CRE, Khaw PT, Foster PJ, and Consortium UKEV, Guggenheim JA, Guggenheim JA, Rahi JS, Jorgenson E, Hammond CJ. Meta-analysis of 542,934 subjects of European ancestry identifies new genes and mechanisms predisposing to refractive error and myopia. Nat Genet 2020;52(4):401-407.Abstract
Refractive errors, in particular myopia, are a leading cause of morbidity and disability worldwide. Genetic investigation can improve understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie abnormal eye development and impaired vision. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that involved 542,934 European participants and identified 336 novel genetic loci associated with refractive error. Collectively, all associated genetic variants explain 18.4% of heritability and improve the accuracy of myopia prediction (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.75). Our results suggest that refractive error is genetically heterogeneous, driven by genes that participate in the development of every anatomical component of the eye. In addition, our analyses suggest that genetic factors controlling circadian rhythm and pigmentation are also involved in the development of myopia and refractive error. These results may enable the prediction of refractive error and the development of personalized myopia prevention strategies in the future.
Almeida LM, Lebreton F, Gaca A, Bispo PM, Saavedra JT, Calumby RN, Grillo LM, Nascimento TG, Filsner PH, Moreno AM, Gilmore MS. Transferable Resistance Gene in Enterococcus faecalis from Swine in Brazil. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2020;64(6)Abstract
OptrA is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC)-F protein that confers resistance to oxazolidinones and phenicols and can be either plasmid-encoded or chromosomally encoded. Here, we isolated 13 strains possessing a linezolid MIC of ≥4 mg/liter from nursery pigs in swine herds located across Brazil. Genome sequence comparison showed that these strains possess in different genetic contexts occurring in 5 different sequence type backgrounds. The gene invariably occurred in association with an regulator and a gene encoding a hypothetical protein. In some contexts, this genetic island was able to excise and form a covalently closed circle within the cell; this circle appeared to occur in high abundance and to be transmissible by coresident plasmids.
Bronstein R, Capowski EE, Mehrotra S, Jansen AD, Navarro-Gomez D, Maher M, Place E, Sangermano R, Bujakowska KM, Gamm DM, Pierce EA. A combined RNA-seq and whole genome sequencing approach for identification of non-coding pathogenic variants in single families. Hum Mol Genet 2020;29(6):967-979.Abstract
Inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) are at the focus of current genetic therapeutic advancements. For a genetic treatment such as gene therapy to be successful, an accurate genetic diagnostic is required. Genetic diagnostics relies on the assessment of the probability that a given DNA variant is pathogenic. Non-coding variants present a unique challenge for such assessments as compared to coding variants. For one, non-coding variants are present at much higher number in the genome than coding variants. In addition, our understanding of the rules that govern the non-coding regions of the genome is less complete than our understanding of the coding regions. Methods that allow for both the identification of candidate non-coding pathogenic variants and their functional validation may help overcome these caveats allowing for a greater number of patients to benefit from advancements in genetic therapeutics. We present here an unbiased approach combining whole genome sequencing (WGS) with patient-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived retinal organoids (ROs) transcriptome analysis. With this approach, we identified and functionally validated a novel pathogenic non-coding variant in a small family with a previously unresolved genetic diagnosis.
Levy JM, Yeh W-H, Pendse N, Davis JR, Hennessey E, Butcher R, Koblan LW, Comander J, Liu Q, Liu DR. Cytosine and adenine base editing of the brain, liver, retina, heart and skeletal muscle of mice via adeno-associated viruses. Nat Biomed Eng 2020;4(1):97-110.Abstract
The success of base editors for the study and treatment of genetic diseases depends on the ability to deliver them in vivo to the relevant cell types. Delivery via adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) is limited by AAV packaging capacity, which precludes the use of full-length base editors. Here, we report the application of dual AAVs for the delivery of split cytosine and adenine base editors that are then reconstituted by trans-splicing inteins. Optimized dual AAVs enable in vivo base editing at therapeutically relevant efficiencies and dosages in the mouse brain (up to 59% of unsorted cortical tissue), liver (38%), retina (38%), heart (20%) and skeletal muscle (9%). We also show that base editing corrects, in mouse brain tissue, a mutation that causes Niemann-Pick disease type C (a neurodegenerative ataxia), slowing down neurodegeneration and increasing lifespan. The optimized delivery vectors should facilitate the efficient introduction of targeted point mutations into multiple tissues of therapeutic interest.
Perez-Cervantes C, Smith LA, Nadadur RD, Hughes AEO, Wang S, Corbo JC, Cepko C, Lonfat N, Moskowitz IP. Enhancer transcription identifies -regulatory elements for photoreceptor cell types. Development 2020;147(3)Abstract
Identification of cell type-specific regulatory elements (CREs) is crucial for understanding development and disease, although identification of functional regulatory elements remains challenging. We hypothesized that context-specific CREs could be identified by context-specific non-coding RNA (ncRNA) profiling, based on the observation that active CREs produce ncRNAs. We applied ncRNA profiling to identify rod and cone photoreceptor CREs from wild-type and mutant mouse retinas, defined by presence or absence, respectively, of the rod-specific transcription factor (TF) -dependent ncRNA expression strongly correlated with epigenetic profiles of rod and cone photoreceptors, identified thousands of candidate rod- and cone-specific CREs, and identified motifs for rod- and cone-specific TFs. Colocalization of NRL and the retinal TF CRX correlated with rod-specific ncRNA expression, whereas CRX alone favored cone-specific ncRNA expression, providing quantitative evidence that heterotypic TF interactions distinguish cell type-specific CRE activity. We validated the activity of novel -dependent ncRNA-defined CREs in developing cones. This work supports differential ncRNA profiling as a platform for the identification of cell type-specific CREs and the discovery of molecular mechanisms underlying TF-dependent CRE activity.
Shakhmantsir I, Dooley SJ, Kishore S, Chen D, Pierce E, Bennett J, Sehgal A. RNA Splicing Factor Mutations That Cause Retinitis Pigmentosa Result in Circadian Dysregulation. J Biol Rhythms 2020;35(1):72-83.Abstract
Circadian clocks regulate multiple physiological processes in the eye, but their requirement for retinal health remains unclear. We previously showed that Drosophila homologs of spliceosome proteins implicated in human retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the most common genetically inherited cause of blindness, have a role in the brain circadian clock. In this study, we report circadian phenotypes in murine models of RP. We found that mice carrying a homozygous H2309P mutation in () display a lengthened period of the circadian wheel-running activity rhythm. We show also that the daily cycling of circadian gene expression is dampened in the retina of H2309P mice. Surprisingly, molecular rhythms are intact in the eye cup, which includes the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), even though the RPE is thought to be the primary tissue affected in this form of RP. Downregulation of , another RNA splicing factor implicated in RP, leads to period lengthening in a human cell culture model. The period of circadian bioluminescence in primary fibroblasts of human RP patients is not significantly altered. Together, these studies link a prominent retinal disorder to circadian deficits, which could contribute to disease pathology.
Dudek AM, Zabaleta N, Zinn E, Pillay S, Zengel J, Porter C, Franceschini JS, Estelien R, Carette JE, Zhou GL, Vandenberghe LH. GPR108 Is a Highly Conserved AAV Entry Factor. Mol Ther 2020;28(2):367-381.Abstract
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a highly promising gene transfer vector, yet major cellular requirements for AAV entry are poorly understood. Using a genome-wide CRISPR screen for entry of evolutionarily divergent serotype AAVrh32.33, we identified GPR108, a member of the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily, as an AAV entry factor. Of greater than 20 divergent AAVs across all AAV clades tested in human cell lines, only AAV5 transduction was unaffected in the GPR108 knockout (KO). GPR108 dependency was further shown in murine and primary cells in vitro. These findings are further validated in vivo, as the Gpr108 KO mouse demonstrates 10- to 100-fold reduced expression for AAV8 and rh32.33 but not AAV5. Mechanistically, both GPR108 N- and C-terminal domains are required for transduction, and on the capsid, a VP1 unique domain that is not conserved on AAV5 can be transferred to confer GPR108 independence onto AAV2 chimeras. In vitro binding and fractionation studies indicate reduced nuclear import and cytosolic accumulation in the absence of GPR108. We thus have identified the second of two AAV entry factors that is conserved between mice and humans relevant both in vitro and in vivo, further providing a mechanistic understanding to the tropism of AAV gene therapy vectors.
Choquet H, Wiggs JL, Khawaja AP. Clinical implications of recent advances in primary open-angle glaucoma genetics. Eye (Lond) 2020;34(1):29-39.Abstract
Over the last decade, genetic studies, including genome-wide association studies (GWAS), have accelerated the discovery of genes and genomic regions contributing to primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), a leading cause of irreversible vision loss. Here, we review the findings of genetic studies of POAG published in English prior to September 2019. In total, 74 genomic regions have been associated at a genome-wide level of significance with POAG susceptibility. Recent POAG GWAS provide not only insight into global and ethnic-specific genetic risk factors for POAG susceptibility across populations of diverse ancestry, but also important functional insights underlying biological mechanisms of glaucoma pathogenesis. In this review, we also summarize the genetic overlap between POAG, glaucoma endophenotypes, such as intraocular pressure and vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), and other eye disorders. We also discuss approaches recently developed to increase power for POAG locus discovery and to predict POAG risk. Finally, we discuss the recent development of POAG gene-based therapies and future strategies to treat glaucoma effectively. Understanding the genetic architecture of POAG is essential for an earlier diagnosis of this common eye disorder, predictive testing of at-risk patients, and design of gene-based targeted medical therapies none of which are currently available.
Thomas MG, Maconachie GDE, Constantinescu CS, Chan W-M, Barry B, Hisaund M, Sheth V, Kuht HJ, Dineen RA, Harieaswar S, Engle EC, Gottlob I. Congenital monocular elevation deficiency associated with a novel gene variant. Br J Ophthalmol 2020;104(4):547-550.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The genetic basis of monocular elevation deficiency (MED) is unclear. It has previously been considered to arise due to a supranuclear abnormality. METHODS: Two brothers with MED were referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary, UK from the local opticians. Their father had bilateral ptosis and was unable to elevate both eyes, consistent with the diagnosis of congenital fibrosis of extraocular muscles (CFEOM). Candidate sequencing was performed in all family members. RESULTS: Both affected siblings (aged 7 and 12 years) were unable to elevate the right eye. Their father had bilateral ptosis, left esotropia and bilateral limitation of elevation. Chin up head posture was present in the older sibling and the father. Bell's phenomenon and vertical rotational vestibulo-ocular reflex were absent in the right eye for both children. Mild bilateral facial nerve palsy was present in the older sibling and the father. Both siblings had slight difficulty with tandem gait. MRI revealed hypoplastic oculomotor nerve. Left anterior insular focal cortical dysplasia was seen in the older sibling. Sequencing of revealed a novel heterozygous variant (c.1263G>C, p.E421D) segregating with the phenotype. This residue is in the C-terminal H12 α-helix of β-tubulin and is one of three putative kinesin binding sites. CONCLUSION: We show that familial MED can arise from a variant and could be considered a limited form of CFEOM. Neurological features such as mild facial palsy and cortical malformations can be present in patients with MED. Thus, in individuals with congenital MED, consideration may be made for mutation screening.
Gaier ED, Sahai I, Wiggs JL, McGeeney B, Hoffman J, Peeler CE. Novel homozygous mutation in an Afghani family with 3-methylglutaconic aciduria type III and optic atrophy. Ophthalmic Genet 2019;40(6):570-573.Abstract
: To describe and distinguish clinical phenotypes with the overlapping feature of optic atrophy caused by distinct mutations in the same gene, OPA3. We report 3 affected siblings in a consanguineous family harboring a novel OPA3 mutation causing 3-methylglutaconic aciduria type III with optic atrophy.: Retrospective case series.: Three siblings (2 male, 1 female) among 6 children in a consanguineous Afghani family developed decreased vision from early childhood. Both parents and all extended family members were unaffected. All 3 affected siblings suffered from severe visual impairment ranging from visual acuities of 20/150 to counting fingers. All had spastic lower extremity weakness and ataxia. Two of the three affected siblings also had a history of seizures, and the female sibling had limited cognition with diffuse atrophic changes on brain MRI. Two of the three individuals also had migraine-like headaches. Urine organic acid analysis revealed mildly elevated 3-methylglutaconic acid for the male siblings. Whole exome sequencing and subsequent PCR confirmation revealed a novel variant in OPA3 (intron1, c.142 + 2_142 + 3dupTG), affecting the consensus sequence of the splice site, for which all 3 clinically affected siblings were homozygous.: Mutations in OPA3 can cause optic atrophy in a dominant pattern of inheritance associated with cataract or in a recessive pattern associated with spastic paresis and ataxia. The novel recessive mutation and clinical presentations described herein further support how different mutation types affecting OPA3 can produce distinct clinical phenotypes and underscore the critical and susceptible role of mitochondrial health in optic nerve function.
Espinosa-Medina I, Garcia-Marques J, Cepko C, Lee T. High-throughput dense reconstruction of cell lineages. Open Biol 2019;9(12):190229.Abstract
The first meeting exclusively dedicated to the 'High-throughput dense reconstruction of cell lineages' took place at Janelia Research Campus (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) from 14 to 18 April 2019. Organized by Tzumin Lee, Connie Cepko, Jorge Garcia-Marques and Isabel Espinosa-Medina, this meeting echoed the recent eruption of new tools that allow the reconstruction of lineages based on the phylogenetic analysis of DNA mutations induced during development. Combined with single-cell RNA sequencing, these tools promise to solve the lineage of complex model organisms at single-cell resolution. Here, we compile the conference consensus on the technological and computational challenges emerging from the use of the new strategies, as well as potential solutions.
Amamoto R, Garcia MD, West ER, Choi J, Lapan SW, Lane EA, Perrimon N, Cepko CL. Probe-Seq enables transcriptional profiling of specific cell types from heterogeneous tissue by RNA-based isolation. Elife 2019;8Abstract
Recent transcriptional profiling technologies are uncovering previously-undefined cell populations and molecular markers at an unprecedented pace. While single cell RNA (scRNA) sequencing is an attractive approach for unbiased transcriptional profiling of all cell types, a complementary method to isolate and sequence specific cell populations from heterogeneous tissue remains challenging. Here, we developed Probe-Seq, which allows deep transcriptional profiling of specific cell types isolated using RNA as the defining feature. Dissociated cells are labeled using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) for RNA, and then isolated by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS). We used Probe-Seq to purify and profile specific cell types from mouse, human, and chick retinas, as well as from midguts. Probe-Seq is compatible with frozen nuclei, making cell types within archival tissue immediately accessible. As it can be multiplexed, combinations of markers can be used to create specificity. Multiplexing also allows for the isolation of multiple cell types from one cell preparation. Probe-Seq should enable RNA profiling of specific cell types from any organism.
Menon M, Mohammadi S, Davila-Velderrain J, Goods BA, Cadwell TD, Xing Y, Stemmer-Rachamimov A, Shalek AK, Love JC, Kellis M, Hafler BP. Single-cell transcriptomic atlas of the human retina identifies cell types associated with age-related macular degeneration. Nat Commun 2019;10(1):4902.Abstract
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in the elderly. However, it has been challenging to identify the cell types associated with AMD given the genetic complexity of the disease. Here we perform massively parallel single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of human retinas using two independent platforms, and report the first single-cell transcriptomic atlas of the human retina. Using a multi-resolution network-based analysis, we identify all major retinal cell types, and their corresponding gene expression signatures. Heterogeneity is observed within macroglia, suggesting that human retinal glia are more diverse than previously thought. Finally, GWAS-based enrichment analysis identifies glia, vascular cells, and cone photoreceptors to be associated with the risk of AMD. These data provide a detailed analysis of the human retina, and show how scRNA-seq can provide insight into cell types involved in complex, inflammatory genetic diseases.