PURPOSE: Mutations in genes encoding proteins from the tri-snRNP complex of the spliceosome account for more than 12% of cases of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). Although the exact mechanism by which splicing factor defects trigger photoreceptor death is not completely clear, their role in retinitis pigmentosa has been demonstrated by several genetic and functional studies. To test for possible novel associations between splicing factors and adRP, we screened four tri-snRNP splicing factor genes (EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2) as candidate disease genes. METHODS: We screened up to 303 patients with adRP from Europe and North America who did not carry known RP mutations. Exon-PCR and Sanger methods were used to sequence the NHP2L1 and AAR2 genes, while the sequences of EFTUD2 and PRPF4 were obtained by using long-range PCRs spanning coding and non-coding regions followed by next-generation sequencing. RESULTS: We detected novel missense changes in individual patients in the sequence of the genes PRPF4 and EFTUD2, but the role of these changes in relationship to disease could not be verified. In one other patient we identified a novel nucleotide substitution in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of NHP2L1, which did not segregate with the disease in the family. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of clearly pathogenic mutations in the candidate genes screened in our cohort suggests that EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2 are either not involved in adRP or are associated with the disease in rare instances, at least as observed in this study in patients of European and North American origin.
PURPOSE: Patients with Usher syndrome type I (USH1) have retinitis pigmentosa, profound congenital hearing loss, and vestibular ataxia. This syndrome is currently thought to be associated with at least six genes, which are encoded by over 180 exons. Here, we present the use of state-of-the-art techniques in the molecular diagnosis of a cohort of 47 USH1 probands. METHODS: The cohort was studied with selective exon capture and next-generation sequencing of currently known inherited retinal degeneration genes, comparative genomic hybridization, and Sanger sequencing of new USH1 exons identified by human retinal transcriptome analysis. RESULTS: With this approach, we were able to genetically solve 14 of the 47 probands by confirming the biallelic inheritance of mutations. We detected two likely pathogenic variants in an additional 19 patients, for whom family members were not available for cosegregation analysis to confirm biallelic inheritance. Ten patients, in addition to primary disease-causing mutations, carried rare likely pathogenic USH1 alleles or variants in other genes associated with deaf-blindness, which may influence disease phenotype. Twenty-one of the identified mutations were novel among the 33 definite or likely solved patients. Here, we also present a clinical description of the studied cohort at their initial visits. CONCLUSIONS: We found a remarkable genetic heterogeneity in the studied USH1 cohort with multiplicity of mutations, of which many were novel. No obvious influence of genotype on phenotype was found, possibly due to small sample sizes of the genotypes under study.
FTO is the strongest known genetic susceptibility locus for obesity. Experimental studies in animals suggest the potential roles of FTO in regulating food intake. The interactive relation among FTO variants, dietary intake and body mass index (BMI) is complex and results from previous often small-scale studies in humans are highly inconsistent. We performed large-scale analyses based on data from 177 330 adults (154 439 Whites, 5776 African Americans and 17 115 Asians) from 40 studies to examine: (i) the association between the FTO-rs9939609 variant (or a proxy single-nucleotide polymorphism) and total energy and macronutrient intake and (ii) the interaction between the FTO variant and dietary intake on BMI. The minor allele (A-allele) of the FTO-rs9939609 variant was associated with higher BMI in Whites (effect per allele = 0.34 [0.31, 0.37] kg/m(2), P = 1.9 × 10(-105)), and all participants (0.30 [0.30, 0.35] kg/m(2), P = 3.6 × 10(-107)). The BMI-increasing allele of the FTO variant showed a significant association with higher dietary protein intake (effect per allele = 0.08 [0.06, 0.10] %, P = 2.4 × 10(-16)), and relative weak associations with lower total energy intake (-6.4 [-10.1, -2.6] kcal/day, P = 0.001) and lower dietary carbohydrate intake (-0.07 [-0.11, -0.02] %, P = 0.004). The associations with protein (P = 7.5 × 10(-9)) and total energy (P = 0.002) were attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for BMI. We did not find significant interactions between the FTO variant and dietary intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate or fat on BMI. Our findings suggest a positive association between the BMI-increasing allele of FTO variant and higher dietary protein intake and offer insight into potential link between FTO, dietary protein intake and adiposity.
Osteogenesis imperfecta comprises a rare group of genetic disorders caused by abnormal collagen that results in increased bone fragility and other sequelae. We describe a 37-year-old woman with osteogenesis imperfecta in whom two full-thickness scleral perforations were created by adjacent teeth of 0.5 mm forceps during traction testing while undergoing routine strabismus surgery. This case reviews the ocular findings of osteogenesis imperfecta and highlights the potential risk of ocular surgical complications in these patients.
Only a small fraction of the mammalian genome codes for messenger RNAs destined to be translated into proteins, and it is generally assumed that a large portion of transcribed sequences--including introns and several classes of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs)--do not give rise to peptide products. A systematic examination of translation and physiological regulation of ncRNAs has not been conducted. Here we use computational methods to identify the products of non-canonical translation in mouse neurons by analysing unannotated transcripts in combination with proteomic data. This study supports the existence of non-canonical translation products from both intragenic and extragenic genomic regions, including peptides derived from antisense transcripts and introns. Moreover, the studied novel translation products exhibit temporal regulation similar to that of proteins known to be involved in neuronal activity processes. These observations highlight a potentially large and complex set of biologically regulated translational events from transcripts formerly thought to lack coding potential.
In this report, we describe the development of a modified adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid and promoter for transduction of retinal ON-bipolar cells. The bipolar cells, which are post-synaptic to the photoreceptors, are important retinal targets for both basic and preclinical research. In particular, a therapeutic strategy under investigation for advanced forms of blindness involves using optogenetic molecules to render ON-bipolar cells light-sensitive. Currently, delivery of adequate levels of gene expression is a limiting step for this approach. The synthetic AAV capsid and promoter described here achieves high level of optogenetic transgene expression in ON-bipolar cells. This evokes high-frequency (~100 Hz) spiking responses in ganglion cells of previously blind, rd1, mice. Our vector is a promising vehicle for further development toward potential clinical use.
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.
Experience-dependent gene transcription is required for nervous system development and function. However, the DNA regulatory elements that control this program of gene expression are not well defined. Here we characterize the enhancers that function across the genome to mediate activity-dependent transcription in mouse cortical neurons. We find that the subset of enhancers enriched for monomethylation of histone H3 Lys4 (H3K4me1) and binding of the transcriptional coactivator CREBBP (also called CBP) that shows increased acetylation of histone H3 Lys27 (H3K27ac) after membrane depolarization of cortical neurons functions to regulate activity-dependent transcription. A subset of these enhancers appears to require binding of FOS, which was previously thought to bind primarily to promoters. These findings suggest that FOS functions at enhancers to control activity-dependent gene programs that are critical for nervous system function and provide a resource of functional cis-regulatory elements that may give insight into the genetic variants that contribute to brain development and disease.