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Identification of a Novel NLRP12 Frameshift Mutation (Val730Glyfs41) by Whole-Exome Sequencing in Patients with Crohn’s Disease
NLRP12 encodes the nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat-containing receptor 12 protein and has been linked to familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome 2 (FCAS2). Previous studies have reported that NLRP12 protein can dampen inflammatory responses in DSS-induced mice colitis. To date, only four alterations in the NLRP12 gene have been associated with Crohn’s disease (CD). Here, we reported a novel heterozygous NLRP12 frameshift mutation (c.2188dupG, p.Val730Glyfs41) identified by whole-exome sequencing in the proband with CD. The Sanger sequencing confirmed that his sister and father also carried this NLRP12 mutation, which cosegregated well with the CD phenotype. In silico analysis predicted this mutation to be disease-causing. Patients heterozygous for this mutation exhibited decreased NLRP12 protein levels in the peripheral blood and colon. Functional assays showed that mutant NLRP12 plasmid-transfected HEK293T cells exhibited significantly lower NLRP12 mRNA and protein levels than wild-type plasmid-transfected cells. The nonsense-mediated decay inhibitor NMDI14 significantly increased NLRP12 mRNA and protein levels in mutant plasmid-transfected cells. Overall, our results demonstrated that this heterozygous NLRP12 mutation (c.2188dupG) resulted in decreased NLRP12 expression, which might contribute to the mechanism underlying CD.
COG6-CDG: Two Novel Variants and Milder Phenotype in a Chinese Patient
Here, we present a Han Chinese pediatric girl highly suspected of congenial disorder of glycosylation type IIL (CDG2L; OMIM#614576). Her clinical symptoms include transferase abnormal, liver cirrhosis, hemogram, coagulopathy, growth retardation, intellectual disability, frequent infections, and enamel hypoplasia. Trio-genome sequencing identified in COG6 a paternal variant c.1672C>T (p.Gln558Ter) and a maternal variant c.153+392A>G (p.?). Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using mRNA isolated from peripheral blood confirmed the pathogenicity of both variants. The paternal variant resulted in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The maternal variant generated two aberrant COG6 transcripts with 154 bp overlap and was predicted to result in a frameshift at the same position, leading to generation of a premature termination codon. They might result in synthesis of a truncated form of COG6. Thus, the patient was genetically diagnosed.
The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Unveiling the Role of PTPN11 Gene in Multiple Osteochondromas in a Large Cohort Study
This study is aimed at investigating the clinical and genetic characteristics of 244 unrelated probands diagnosed with multiple osteochondromas (MO). The diagnosis of MO typically involves identifying multiple benign bone tumors known as osteochondromas (OCs) through imaging studies and physical examinations. However, cases with both OCs and enchondromas (ECs) may indicate the more rare condition metachondromatosis (MC), which is assumed to be distinct disease. Previous cohort studies of MO found heterozygous loss-of-function (LoF) variants only in the EXT1 or EXT2 genes, with DNA diagnostic yield ranging from 78 to 95%. The PTPN11 gene, which is causative for MC, was not previously investigated as a gene candidate for MO. In this study, we detected a total of 177 unique single nucleotide and copy number variants in three genes across 220 probands, consisting of 80 previously reported and 97 novel variants. Specifically, we identified five cases with OCs and no ECs as well as four cases with MC carrying LoF variants in the PTPN11 gene and two additional cases with ECs harboring variants in the EXT1/2 genes. These findings suggest a potential overlap between the MO and MC both phenotypically and genetically. These findings highlight the importance of expanding genetic testing beyond the EXT1 and EXT2 genes in MO cases, as other genes such as PTPN11 may also be causative. This can improve the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment for individuals with MO and MC. It is essential to determine whether MO and MC represent distinct diseases or if they encompass a broader clinical spectrum.
Characterisation of a LINE-1 Insertion in the RP1 Gene by Targeted Adaptive Nanopore Sequencing in a Family with Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited degenerative retinal disorders affecting more than 1.5 million people worldwide. For 30-50% of individuals with RP, the genetic cause remains unresolved by current clinical diagnostic gene panels. It is likely explained by variants in novel RP-associated genes or noncoding regulatory regions, or by complex genetic alterations such as large structural variants. Recent developments in long-read sequencing techniques have opened an opportunity for efficient analysis of complex genetic variants. We analysed a Finnish family with dominantly inherited RP affecting six individuals in three generations. Two affected individuals underwent a comprehensive clinical examination in combination with a clinical diagnostic gene panel, followed by whole exome sequencing in our laboratory. They exhibited typical signs of RP, yet initial sequence analysis found no causative variants. Reanalysis of the sequencing data detected a LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposon insertion of unknown size in exon 4 of the RP1 axonemal microtubule-associated (RP1) gene. The large chimeric L1 insertion that segregated with the disease was further characterised using targeted adaptive nanopore sequencing of RP1, allowing us to identify a 5.6 kb L1 transposable element insertion in RP1 as the cause of RP in this family with dominantly inherited RP.
Functional Analysis of UTR Variants at the LDLR and PCSK9 Genes in Patients with Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant disease with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 200-250 individuals. Patients with FH are at increased risk of premature coronary artery disease. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for improving clinical outcomes. In many cases, however, the genetic diagnosis is not confirmed. At present, routine genetic testing does not analyze the UTR regions of LDLR and PCSK9. However, UTR-single nucleotide variants could be of interest because they can modify the target sequence of miRNAs that regulate the expression of these genes. Our study fully characterizes the UTR regions of LDLR and PCSK9 in 409 patients with a suspected diagnosis of FH using next-generation sequencing. In 30 of the 409 patients, we found 21 variants with an allelic frequency of <1%; 14 of them at UTR-LDLR and 8 at UTR-PCSK9. The variants’ pathogenicity was studied in silico; subsequently, a number of the variants were functionally validated using luciferase reporter assays. LDLR: showed a 41% decrease in luciferase expression, while PCSK9: showed a 41% increase in PCSK9 expression, results that could explain the hypercholesterolemia phenotype. In summary, the genetic analysis of the UTR regions of LDLR and PCSK9 could improve the genetic diagnosis of FH.
A De Novo Noncoding RARB Variant Associated with Complex Microphthalmia Alters a Putative Regulatory Element
Retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB) is a transcriptional regulator crucial for coordinating retinoic acid- (RA-) mediated morphogenic movements, cell growth, and differentiation during eye development. Loss- or gain-of-function RARB coding variants have been associated with microphthalmia, coloboma, and anterior segment defects. We identified a de novo variant c.157+1895G>A located within a conserved region (CR1) in the first intron of RARB in an individual with complex microphthalmia and significant global developmental delay. Based on the phenotypic overlap, we further investigated the possible effects of the variant on mRNA splicing and/or transcriptional regulation through in silico and functional studies. In silico analysis identified the possibility of alternative splicing, suggested by one out of three (HSF, SpliceAI, and MaxEntScan) splicing prediction programs, and a strong indication of regulatory function based on publicly available DNase hypersensitivity, histone modification, chromatin folding, and ChIP-seq data sets. Consistent with the predictions of SpliceAI and MaxEntScan, in vitro minigene assays showed no effect on RARB mRNA splicing. Evaluation of CR1 for a regulatory role using luciferase reporter assays in human lens epithelial cells demonstrated a significant increase in the activity of the RARB promoter in the presence of wild-type CR1. This activity was further significantly increased in the presence of CR1 carrying the c.157+1895G>A variant, suggesting that the variant may promote RARB overexpression in human cells. Induction of RARB overexpression in human lens epithelial cells resulted in increased cell proliferation and elevated expression of FOXC1, a known downstream target of RA signaling and a transcription factor whose down- and upregulation is associated with ocular phenotypes overlapping the RARB spectrum. These results support a regulatory role for the CR1 element and suggest that the de novo c.157+1895G>A variant affecting this region may alter the proper regulation of RARB and, as a result, its downstream genes, possibly leading to abnormal development.