Genomics

Igo RP, Cooke Bailey JN, Romm J, Haines JL, Wiggs JL. Quality Control for the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip. Curr Protoc Hum Genet 2016;90:2.14.1-2.14.16.Abstract

The Illumina HumanExome BeadChip and other exome-based genotyping arrays offer inexpensive genotyping of some 240,000 mostly nonsynonymous coding variants across the human genome. The HumanExome chip, with its highly non-uniform distribution of markers and emphasis on rare coding variants, presents some unique challenges for quality control (QC) and data cleaning. Here, we describe QC procedures for HumanExome data, with examples of challenges specific to exome arrays from our experience cleaning a data set of ∼7,500 samples from the NEIGHBORHOOD Consortium. We focus on standard procedures for QC of genome-wide array data including genotype calling, sex verification, sample identity verification, relationship checking, and population structure that are complicated by the HumanExome panel's enrichment in rare, exonic variation. © 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Greenwald SH, Charette JR, Staniszewska M, Shi LY, Brown SDM, Stone L, Liu Q, Hicks WL, Collin GB, Bowl MR, Krebs MP, Nishina PM, Pierce EA. Mouse Models of NMNAT1-Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA9) Recapitulate Key Features of the Human Disease. Am J Pathol 2016;186(7):1925-38.Abstract

The nicotinamide nucleotide adenylyltransferase 1 (NMNAT1) enzyme is essential for regenerating the nuclear pool of NAD(+) in all nucleated cells in the body, and mounting evidence also suggests that it has a separate role in neuroprotection. Recently, mutations in the NMNAT1 gene were associated with Leber congenital amaurosis, a severe retinal degenerative disease that causes blindness during infancy. Availability of a reliable mammalian model of NMNAT1-Leber congenital amaurosis would assist in determining the mechanisms through which disruptions in NMNAT1 lead to retinal cell degeneration and would provide a resource for testing treatment options. To this end, we identified two separate N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-generated mouse lines that harbor either a p.V9M or a p.D243G mutation. Both mouse models recapitulate key aspects of the human disease and confirm the pathogenicity of mutant NMNAT1. Homozygous Nmnat1 mutant mice develop a rapidly progressing chorioretinal disease that begins with photoreceptor degeneration and includes attenuation of the retinal vasculature, optic atrophy, and retinal pigment epithelium loss. Retinal function deteriorates in both mouse lines, and, in the more rapidly progressing homozygous Nmnat1(V9M) mutant mice, the electroretinogram becomes undetectable and the pupillary light response weakens. These mouse models offer an opportunity for investigating the cellular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis, evaluating potential therapies for NMNAT1-Leber congenital amaurosis, and conducting in situ studies on NMNAT1 function and NAD(+) metabolism.

Joshi AD, Andersson C, Buch S, Stender S, Noordam R, Weng L-C, Weeke PE, Auer PL, Boehm B, Chen C, Choi H, Curhan G, Denny JC, De Vivo I, Eicher JD, Ellinghaus D, Folsom AR, Fuchs C, Gala M, Haessler J, Hofman A, Hu F, Hunter DJ, Janssen HLA, Kang JH, Kooperberg C, Kraft P, Kratzer W, Lieb W, Lutsey PL, Darwish Murad S, Nordestgaard BG, Pasquale LR, Reiner AP, Ridker PM, Rimm E, Rose LM, Shaffer CM, Schafmayer C, Tamimi RM, Uitterlinden AG, Völker U, Völzke H, Wakabayashi Y, Wiggs JL, Zhu J, Roden DM, Stricker BH, Tang W, Teumer A, Hampe J, Tybjærg-Hansen A, Chasman DI, Chan AT, Johnson AD. Four Susceptibility Loci for Gallstone Disease Identified in a Meta-analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies. Gastroenterology 2016;151(2):351-363.e28.Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 280 cases identified the hepatic cholesterol transporter ABCG8 as a locus associated with risk for gallstone disease, but findings have not been reported from any other GWAS of this phenotype. We performed a large-scale, meta-analysis of GWASs of individuals of European ancestry with available prior genotype data, to identify additional genetic risk factors for gallstone disease. METHODS: We obtained per-allele odds ratio (OR) and standard error estimates using age- and sex-adjusted logistic regression models within each of the 10 discovery studies (8720 cases and 55,152 controls). We performed an inverse variance weighted, fixed-effects meta-analysis of study-specific estimates to identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms that were associated independently with gallstone disease. Associations were replicated in 6489 cases and 62,797 controls. RESULTS: We observed independent associations for 2 single-nucleotide polymorphisms at the ABCG8 locus: rs11887534 (OR, 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.54-1.86; P = 2.44 × 10(-60)) and rs4245791 (OR, 1.27; P = 1.90 × 10(-34)). We also identified and/or replicated associations for rs9843304 in TM4SF4 (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.08-1.16; P = 6.09 × 10(-11)), rs2547231 in SULT2A1 (encodes a sulfoconjugation enzyme that acts on hydroxysteroids and cholesterol-derived sterol bile acids) (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.12-1.21; P = 2.24 × 10(-10)), rs1260326 in glucokinase regulatory protein (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.07-1.17; P = 2.55 × 10(-10)), and rs6471717 near CYP7A1 (encodes an enzyme that catalyzes conversion of cholesterol to primary bile acids) (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.08-1.15; P = 8.84 × 10(-9)). Among individuals of African American and Hispanic American ancestry, rs11887534 and rs4245791 were associated positively with gallstone disease risk, whereas the association for the rs1260326 variant was inverse. CONCLUSIONS: In this large-scale GWAS of gallstone disease, we identified 4 loci in genes that have putative functions in cholesterol metabolism and transport, and sulfonylation of bile acids or hydroxysteroids.

Bennett J, Wellman J, Marshall KA, McCague S, Ashtari M, DiStefano-Pappas J, Elci OU, Chung DC, Sun J, Wright FJ, Cross DR, Aravand P, Cyckowski LL, Bennicelli JL, Mingozzi F, Auricchio A, Pierce EA, Ruggiero J, Leroy BP, Simonelli F, High KA, Maguire AM. Safety and durability of effect of contralateral-eye administration of AAV2 gene therapy in patients with childhood-onset blindness caused by RPE65 mutations: a follow-on phase 1 trial. Lancet 2016;Abstract

BACKGROUND: Safety and efficacy have been shown in a phase 1 dose-escalation study involving a unilateral subretinal injection of a recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector containing the RPE65 gene (AAV2-hRPE65v2) in individuals with inherited retinal dystrophy caused by RPE65 mutations. This finding, along with the bilateral nature of the disease and intended use in treatment, prompted us to determine the safety of administration of AAV2-hRPE65v2 to the contralateral eye in patients enrolled in the phase 1 study. METHODS: In this follow-on phase 1 trial, one dose of AAV2-hRPE65v2 (1·5 × 10(11) vector genomes) in a total volume of 300 μL was subretinally injected into the contralateral, previously uninjected, eyes of 11 children and adults (aged 11-46 years at second administration) with inherited retinal dystrophy caused by RPE65 mutations, 1·71-4·58 years after the initial subretinal injection. We assessed safety, immune response, retinal and visual function, functional vision, and activation of the visual cortex from baseline until 3 year follow-up, with observations ongoing. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01208389. FINDINGS: No adverse events related to the AAV were reported, and those related to the procedure were mostly mild (dellen formation in three patients and cataracts in two). One patient developed bacterial endophthalmitis and was excluded from analyses. We noted improvements in efficacy outcomes in most patients without significant immunogenicity. Compared with baseline, pooled analysis of ten participants showed improvements in mean mobility and full-field light sensitivity in the injected eye by day 30 that persisted to year 3 (mobility p=0·0003, white light full-field sensitivity p<0·0001), but no significant change was seen in the previously injected eyes over the same time period (mobility p=0·7398, white light full-field sensitivity p=0·6709). Changes in visual acuity from baseline to year 3 were not significant in pooled analysis in the second eyes or the previously injected eyes (p>0·49 for all time-points compared with baseline). INTERPRETATION: To our knowledge, AAV2-hRPE65v2 is the first successful gene therapy administered to the contralateral eye. The results highlight the use of several outcome measures and help to delineate the variables that contribute to maximal benefit from gene augmentation therapy in this disease. FUNDING: Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Spark Therapeutics, US National Institutes of Health, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, Research to Prevent Blindness, Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics, Mackall Foundation Trust, F M Kirby Foundation, and The Research Foundation-Flanders.

Wang YE, Kakigi C, Barbosa D, Porco T, Chen R, Wang S, Li Y, Singh K, Pasquale LR, Lin SC. Oral Contraceptive Use and Prevalence of Self-Reported Glaucoma or Ocular Hypertension in the United States. Ophthalmology 2016;123(4):729-36.Abstract

PURPOSE: To investigate the association between oral contraceptive (OC) use and glaucoma prevalence in the United States. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 3406 female participants, aged 40 years or older, from the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, who reported a presence or absence of glaucoma or ocular hypertension completed both the vision and the reproductive health questionnaires and underwent eye examinations. METHODS: Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the correlation between OC use and self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension (n = 231 cases), controlling for potential confounders, including age, ethnicity, systemic comorbidities such as hypertension and stroke, ocular diseases such as cataract and diabetic retinopathy, and reproductive health factors, including age at menopause, age at menarche, history of hormone replacement therapy, and gynecological surgical history. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcome variable was self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension. RESULTS: After adjusting for confounders, those with ≥3 years of OC use had greater odds (odds ratio, 1.94; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-3.07) of self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Other factors associated with higher glaucoma or ocular hypertension prevalence included older age, African American race, and later age at menarche. CONCLUSIONS: Oral contraceptive use may be associated with increased risk of self-reported glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

Tang S, Hemberg M, Cansizoglu E, Belin S, Kosik K, Kreiman G, Steen H, Steen J. f-divergence cutoff index to simultaneously identify differential expression in the integrated transcriptome and proteome. Nucleic Acids Res 2016;44(10):e97.Abstract

The ability to integrate 'omics' (i.e. transcriptomics and proteomics) is becoming increasingly important to the understanding of regulatory mechanisms. There are currently no tools available to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) across different 'omics' data types or multi-dimensional data including time courses. We present fCI (f-divergence Cut-out Index), a model capable of simultaneously identifying DEGs from continuous and discrete transcriptomic, proteomic and integrated proteogenomic data. We show that fCI can be used across multiple diverse sets of data and can unambiguously find genes that show functional modulation, developmental changes or misregulation. Applying fCI to several proteogenomics datasets, we identified a number of important genes that showed distinctive regulation patterns. The package fCI is available at R Bioconductor and http://software.steenlab.org/fCI/.

Gao S, Jakobs TC. Mice Homozygous for a Deletion in the Glaucoma Susceptibility Locus INK4 Show Increased Vulnerability of Retinal Ganglion Cells to Elevated Intraocular Pressure. Am J Pathol 2016;186(4):985-1005.Abstract

A genomic region located on chromosome 9p21 is associated with primary open-angle glaucoma and normal tension glaucoma in genome-wide association studies. The genomic region contains the gene for a long noncoding RNA called CDKN2B-AS, two genes that code for cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors 2A and 2B (CDKN2A/p16(INK4A) and CDKN2B/p15(INK4B)) and an additional protein (p14(ARF)). We used a transgenic mouse model in which 70 kb of murine chromosome 4, syntenic to human chromosome 9p21, are deleted to study whether this deletion leads to a discernible phenotype in ocular structures implicated in glaucoma. Homozygous mice of this strain were previously reported to show persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous. Fundus photography and optical coherence tomography confirmed that finding but showed no abnormalities for heterozygous mice. Optokinetic response, eletroretinogram, and histology indicated that the heterozygous and mutant retinas were normal functionally and morphologically, whereas glial cells were activated in the retina and optic nerve head of mutant eyes. In quantitative PCR, CDKN2B expression was reduced by approximately 50% in the heterozygous mice and by 90% in the homozygous mice, which suggested that the CDKN2B knock down had no deleterious consequences for the retina under normal conditions. However, compared with wild-type and heterozygous animals, the homozygous mice are more vulnerable to retinal ganglion cell loss in response to elevated intraocular pressure.

Brownstein CA, Kleiman RJ, Engle EC, Towne MC, D'Angelo EJ, Yu TW, Beggs AH, Picker J, Fogler JM, Carroll D, Schmitt RCO, Wolff RR, Shen Y, Lip V, Bilguvar K, Kim A, Tembulkar S, O'Donnell K, Gonzalez-Heydrich J. Overlapping 16p13.11 deletion and gain of copies variations associated with childhood onset psychosis include genes with mechanistic implications for autism associated pathways: Two case reports. Am J Med Genet A 2016;170(5):1165-73.Abstract

Copy number variability at 16p13.11 has been associated with intellectual disability, autism, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adolescent/adult- onset psychosis has been reported in a subset of these cases. Here, we report on two children with CNVs in 16p13.11 that developed psychosis before the age of 7. The genotype and neuropsychiatric abnormalities of these patients highlight several overlapping genes that have possible mechanistic relevance to pathways previously implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorders, including the mTOR signaling and the ubiquitin-proteasome cascades. A careful screening of the 16p13.11 region is warranted in patients with childhood onset psychosis. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Fritsche LG, Igl W, Bailey JCN, Grassmann F, Sengupta S, Bragg-Gresham JL, Burdon KP, Hebbring SJ, Wen C, Gorski M, Kim IK, Cho D, Zack D, Souied E, Scholl HPN, Bala E, Lee KE, Hunter DJ, Sardell RJ, Mitchell P, Merriam JE, Cipriani V, Hoffman JD, Schick T, Lechanteur YTE, Guymer RH, Johnson MP, Jiang Y, Stanton CM, Buitendijk GHS, Zhan X, Kwong AM, Boleda A, Brooks M, Gieser L, Ratnapriya R, Branham KE, Foerster JR, Heckenlively JR, Othman MI, Vote BJ, Liang HH, Souzeau E, McAllister IL, Isaacs T, Hall J, Lake S, Mackey DA, Constable IJ, Craig JE, Kitchner TE, Yang Z, Su Z, Luo H, Chen D, Ouyang H, Flagg K, Lin D, Mao G, Ferreyra H, Stark K, von Strachwitz CN, Wolf A, Brandl C, Rudolph G, Olden M, Morrison MA, Morgan DJ, Schu M, Ahn J, Silvestri G, Tsironi EE, Park KH, Farrer LA, Orlin A, Brucker A, Li M, Curcio CA, Mohand-Saïd S, Sahel J-A, Audo I, Benchaboune M, Cree AJ, Rennie CA, Goverdhan SV, Grunin M, Hagbi-Levi S, Campochiaro P, Katsanis N, Holz FG, Blond F, Blanché H, Deleuze J-F, Igo RP, Truitt B, Peachey NS, Meuer SM, Myers CE, Moore EL, Klein R, Hauser MA, Postel EA, Courtenay MD, Schwartz SG, Kovach JL, Scott WK, Liew G, Tan AG, Gopinath B, Merriam JC, Smith TR, Khan JC, Shahid H, Moore AT, McGrath AJ, Laux R, Brantley MA, Agarwal A, Ersoy L, Caramoy A, Langmann T, Saksens NTM, de Jong EK, Hoyng CB, Cain MS, Richardson AJ, Martin TM, Blangero J, Weeks DE, Dhillon B, van Duijn CM, Doheny KF, Romm J, Klaver CCW, Hayward C, Gorin MB, Klein ML, Baird PN, den Hollander AI, Fauser S, Yates JRW, Allikmets R, Wang JJ, Schaumberg DA, Klein BEK, Hagstrom SA, Chowers I, Lotery AJ, Léveillard T, Zhang K, Brilliant MH, Hewitt AW, Swaroop A, Chew EY, Pericak-Vance MA, DeAngelis M, Stambolian D, Haines JL, Iyengar SK, Weber BHF, Abecasis GR, Heid IM. A large genome-wide association study of age-related macular degeneration highlights contributions of rare and common variants. Nat Genet 2016;48(2):134-43.Abstract

Advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, with limited therapeutic options. Here we report on a study of >12 million variants, including 163,714 directly genotyped, mostly rare, protein-altering variants. Analyzing 16,144 patients and 17,832 controls, we identify 52 independently associated common and rare variants (P < 5 × 10(-8)) distributed across 34 loci. Although wet and dry AMD subtypes exhibit predominantly shared genetics, we identify the first genetic association signal specific to wet AMD, near MMP9 (difference P value = 4.1 × 10(-10)). Very rare coding variants (frequency <0.1%) in CFH, CFI and TIMP3 suggest causal roles for these genes, as does a splice variant in SLC16A8. Our results support the hypothesis that rare coding variants can pinpoint causal genes within known genetic loci and illustrate that applying the approach systematically to detect new loci requires extremely large sample sizes.

Jun G, Ibrahim-Verbaas CA, Vronskaya M, Lambert J-C, Chung J, Naj AC, Kunkle BW, Wang L-S, Bis JC, Bellenguez C, Harold D, Lunetta KL, Destefano AL, Grenier-Boley B, Sims R, Beecham GW, Smith AV, Chouraki V, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Ikram MA, Fievet N, Denning N, Martin ER, Schmidt H, Kamatani Y, Dunstan ML, Valladares O, Laza AR, Zelenika D, Ramirez A, Foroud TM, Choi S-H, Boland A, Becker T, Kukull WA, van der Lee SJ, Pasquier F, Cruchaga C, Beekly D, Fitzpatrick AL, Hanon O, Gill M, Barber R, Gudnason V, Campion D, Love S, Bennett DA, Amin N, Berr C, Tsolaki M, Buxbaum JD, Lopez OL, Deramecourt V, Fox NC, Cantwell LB, Tárraga L, Dufouil C, Hardy J, Crane PK, Eiriksdottir G, Hannequin D, Clarke R, Evans D, Mosley TH, Letenneur L, Brayne C, Maier W, De Jager P, Emilsson V, Dartigues J-F, Hampel H, Kamboh MI, de Bruijn RFAG, Tzourio C, Pastor P, Larson EB, Rotter JI, O'Donovan MC, Montine TJ, Nalls MA, Mead S, Reiman EM, Jonsson PV, Holmes C, St George-Hyslop PH, Boada M, Passmore P, Wendland JR, Schmidt R, Morgan K, Winslow AR, Powell JF, Carasquillo M, Younkin SG, Jakobsdóttir J, Kauwe JSK, Wilhelmsen KC, Rujescu D, Nöthen MM, Hofman A, Jones L, Jones L, Haines JL, Psaty BM, Van Broeckhoven C, Holmans P, Launer LJ, Mayeux R, Lathrop M, Goate AM, Escott-Price V, Seshadri S, Pericak-Vance MA, Amouyel P, Williams J, van Duijn CM, Schellenberg GD, Farrer LA. A novel Alzheimer disease locus located near the gene encoding tau protein. Mol Psychiatry 2016;21(1):108-117.Abstract

APOE ɛ4, the most significant genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), may mask effects of other loci. We re-analyzed genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP) Consortium in APOE ɛ4+ (10 352 cases and 9207 controls) and APOE ɛ4- (7184 cases and 26 968 controls) subgroups as well as in the total sample testing for interaction between a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and APOE ɛ4 status. Suggestive associations (P<1 × 10(-4)) in stage 1 were evaluated in an independent sample (stage 2) containing 4203 subjects (APOE ɛ4+: 1250 cases and 536 controls; APOE ɛ4-: 718 cases and 1699 controls). Among APOE ɛ4- subjects, novel genome-wide significant (GWS) association was observed with 17 SNPs (all between KANSL1 and LRRC37A on chromosome 17 near MAPT) in a meta-analysis of the stage 1 and stage 2 data sets (best SNP, rs2732703, P=5·8 × 10(-9)). Conditional analysis revealed that rs2732703 accounted for association signals in the entire 100-kilobase region that includes MAPT. Except for previously identified AD loci showing stronger association in APOE ɛ4+ subjects (CR1 and CLU) or APOE ɛ4- subjects (MS4A6A/MS4A4A/MS4A6E), no other SNPs were significantly associated with AD in a specific APOE genotype subgroup. In addition, the finding in the stage 1 sample that AD risk is significantly influenced by the interaction of APOE with rs1595014 in TMEM106B (P=1·6 × 10(-7)) is noteworthy, because TMEM106B variants have previously been associated with risk of frontotemporal dementia. Expression quantitative trait locus analysis revealed that rs113986870, one of the GWS SNPs near rs2732703, is significantly associated with four KANSL1 probes that target transcription of the first translated exon and an untranslated exon in hippocampus (P⩽1.3 × 10(-8)), frontal cortex (P⩽1.3 × 10(-9)) and temporal cortex (P⩽1.2 × 10(-11)). Rs113986870 is also strongly associated with a MAPT probe that targets transcription of alternatively spliced exon 3 in frontal cortex (P=9.2 × 10(-6)) and temporal cortex (P=2.6 × 10(-6)). Our APOE-stratified GWAS is the first to show GWS association for AD with SNPs in the chromosome 17q21.31 region. Replication of this finding in independent samples is needed to verify that SNPs in this region have significantly stronger effects on AD risk in persons lacking APOE ɛ4 compared with persons carrying this allele, and if this is found to hold, further examination of this region and studies aimed at deciphering the mechanism(s) are warranted.

Bailey JCN, Loomis SJ, Kang JH, Allingham RR, Gharahkhani P, Khor CC, Burdon KP, Aschard H, Chasman DI, Igo RP, Hysi PG, Glastonbury CA, Ashley-Koch A, Brilliant M, Brown AA, Budenz DL, Buil A, Cheng C-Y, Choi H, Christen WG, Curhan G, De Vivo I, Fingert JH, Foster PJ, Fuchs C, Gaasterland D, Gaasterland T, Hewitt AW, Hu F, Hunter DJ, Khawaja AP, Lee RK, Li Z, Lichter PR, Mackey DA, McGuffin P, Mitchell P, Moroi SE, Perera SA, Pepper KW, Qi Q, Realini T, Richards JE, Ridker PM, Rimm E, Ritch R, Ritchie M, Schuman JS, Scott WK, Singh K, Sit AJ, Song YE, Tamimi RM, Topouzis F, Viswanathan AC, Verma SS, Vollrath D, Wang JJ, Weisschuh N, Wissinger B, Wollstein G, Wong TY, Yaspan BL, Zack DJ, Zhang K, Study E-NE, Study E-NE, Weinreb RN, Pericak-Vance MA, Small K, Hammond CJ, Aung T, Liu Y, Vithana EN, Macgregor S, Craig JE, Kraft P, Howell G, Hauser MA, Pasquale LR, Haines JL, Wiggs JL. Genome-wide association analysis identifies TXNRD2, ATXN2 and FOXC1 as susceptibility loci for primary open-angle glaucoma. Nat Genet 2016;48(2):189-94.Abstract

Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. To identify new susceptibility loci, we performed meta-analysis on genome-wide association study (GWAS) results from eight independent studies from the United States (3,853 cases and 33,480 controls) and investigated the most significantly associated SNPs in two Australian studies (1,252 cases and 2,592 controls), three European studies (875 cases and 4,107 controls) and a Singaporean Chinese study (1,037 cases and 2,543 controls). A meta-analysis of the top SNPs identified three new associated loci: rs35934224[T] in TXNRD2 (odds ratio (OR) = 0.78, P = 4.05 × 10(-11)) encoding a mitochondrial protein required for redox homeostasis; rs7137828[T] in ATXN2 (OR = 1.17, P = 8.73 × 10(-10)); and rs2745572[A] upstream of FOXC1 (OR = 1.17, P = 1.76 × 10(-10)). Using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, we show TXNRD2 and ATXN2 expression in retinal ganglion cells and the optic nerve head. These results identify new pathways underlying POAG susceptibility and suggest new targets for preventative therapies.

Castle MJ, Turunen HT, Vandenberghe LH, Wolfe JH. Controlling AAV Tropism in the Nervous System with Natural and Engineered Capsids. Methods Mol Biol 2016;1382:133-49.Abstract

More than one hundred naturally occurring variants of adeno-associated virus (AAV) have been identified, and this library has been further expanded by an array of techniques for modification of the viral capsid. AAV capsid variants possess unique antigenic profiles and demonstrate distinct cellular tropisms driven by differences in receptor binding. AAV capsids can be chemically modified to alter tropism, can be produced as hybrid vectors that combine the properties of multiple serotypes, and can carry peptide insertions that introduce novel receptor-binding activity. Furthermore, directed evolution of shuffled genome libraries can identify engineered variants with unique properties, and rational modification of the viral capsid can alter tropism, reduce blockage by neutralizing antibodies, or enhance transduction efficiency. This large number of AAV variants and engineered capsids provides a varied toolkit for gene delivery to the CNS and retina, with specialized vectors available for many applications, but selecting a capsid variant from the array of available vectors can be difficult. This chapter describes the unique properties of a range of AAV variants and engineered capsids, and provides a guide for selecting the appropriate vector for specific applications in the CNS and retina.

Xiong W, Cepko C. Distinct Expression Patterns of AAV8 Vectors with Broadly Active Promoters from Subretinal Injections of Neonatal Mouse Eyes at Two Different Ages. Adv Exp Med Biol 2016;854:501-7.Abstract

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.

Whitman MC, Andrews C, Chan W-M, Tischfield MA, Stasheff SF, Brancati F, Ortiz-Gonzalez X, Nuovo S, Garaci F, MacKinnon SE, Hunter DG, Grant EP, Engle EC. Two unique TUBB3 mutations cause both CFEOM3 and malformations of cortical development. Am J Med Genet A 2016;170(2):297-305.Abstract

One set of missense mutations in the neuron specific beta tubulin isotype 3 (TUBB3) has been reported to cause malformations of cortical development (MCD), while a second set has been reported to cause isolated or syndromic Congenital Fibrosis of the Extraocular Muscles type 3 (CFEOM3). Because TUBB3 mutations reported to cause CFEOM had not been associated with cortical malformations, while mutations reported to cause MCD had not been associated with CFEOM or other forms of paralytic strabismus, it was hypothesized that each set of mutations might alter microtubule function differently. Here, however, we report two novel de novo heterozygous TUBB3 amino acid substitutions, G71R and G98S, in four patients with both MCD and syndromic CFEOM3. These patients present with moderately severe CFEOM3, nystagmus, torticollis, and developmental delay, and have intellectual and social disabilities. Neuroimaging reveals defective cortical gyration, as well as hypoplasia or agenesis of the corpus callosum and anterior commissure, malformations of hippocampi, thalami, basal ganglia and cerebella, and brainstem and cranial nerve hypoplasia. These new TUBB3 substitutions meld the two previously distinct TUBB3-associated phenotypes, and implicate similar microtubule dysfunction underlying both. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Olivares AM, Moreno-Ramos OA, Haider NB. Role of Nuclear Receptors in Central Nervous System Development and Associated Diseases. J Exp Neurosci 2015;9(Suppl 2):93-121.Abstract

The nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily is composed of a wide range of receptors involved in a myriad of important biological processes, including development, growth, metabolism, and maintenance. Regulation of such wide variety of functions requires a complex system of gene regulation that includes interaction with transcription factors, chromatin-modifying complex, and the proper recognition of ligands. NHRs are able to coordinate the expression of genes in numerous pathways simultaneously. This review focuses on the role of nuclear receptors in the central nervous system and, in particular, their role in regulating the proper development and function of the brain and the eye. In addition, the review highlights the impact of mutations in NHRs on a spectrum of human diseases from autism to retinal degeneration.

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