Incomplete penetrance of congenital heart defects (CHDs) was observed in a mouse model. We hypothesized that the contribution of a major genetic locus modulates the manifestation of the CHDs. After genome-wide linkage mapping, fine mapping, and high-throughput targeted sequencing, a recessive frameshift mutation of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (Hnrnpa1) gene was confirmed (Hnrnpa1ct). Hnrnpa1 was expressed in both the first heart field (FHF) and second heart field (SHF) at the cardiac crescent stage but was only maintained in SHF progenitors after heart tube formation. Hnrnpa1ct/ct homozygous mutants displayed complete CHD penetrance, including truncated and incomplete looped heart tube at E9.5, ventricular septal defect (VSD) and persistent truncus arteriosus (PTA) at E13.5, and VSD and double outlet right ventricle at P0. Impaired development of the dorsal mesocardium and sinoatrial node progenitors was also observed. Loss of Hnrnpa1 expression leads to dysregulation of cardiac transcription networks and multiple signaling pathways, including BMP, FGF, and Notch in the SHF. Finally, two rare heterozygous mutations of HNRNPA1 were detected in human CHDs. These findings suggest a role of Hnrnpa1 in embryonic heart development in mice and humans.
Zhe Yu, Paul L.F. Tang, Jing Wang, Suying Bao, Joseph T. Shieh, Alan W.L. Leung, Zhao Zhang, Fei Gao, Sandra Y.Y. Wong, Andy L.C. Hui, Yuan Gao, Nelson Dung, Zhi-Gang Zhang, Yanhui Fan, Xueya Zhou, Yalun Zhang, Dana S.M. Wong, Pak C. Sham, Abid Azhar, Pui-Yan Kwok, Patrick P.L. Tam, Qizhou Lian, Kathryn S.E. Cheah, Binbin Wang, You-Qiang Song
Heterogeneity within and among tumors in a metastatic cancer patient is a well-established phenomenon that may confound treatment and accurate prognosis. Here, we used whole-exome sequencing to survey metastatic breast cancer tumors from 5 patients in a rapid autopsy program to construct the origin and genetic development of metastases. Metastases were obtained from 5 breast cancer patients using a rapid autopsy protocol and subjected to whole-exome sequencing. Metastases were evaluated for sharing of somatic mutations, correlation of copy number variation and loss of heterozygosity, and genetic similarity scores. Pathological features of the patients’ disease were assessed by immunohistochemical analyses. Our data support a monoclonal origin of metastasis in 3 cases, but in 2 cases, metastases arose from at least 2 distinct subclones in the primary tumor. In the latter 2 cases, the primary tumor presented with mixed histologic and pathologic features, suggesting early divergent evolution within the primary tumor with maintenance of metastatic capability in multiple lineages. We used genetic and histopathological evidence to demonstrate that metastases can be derived from a single or multiple independent clones within a primary tumor. This underscores the complexity of breast cancer clonal evolution and has implications for how best to determine and implement therapies for early- and late-stage disease.
Bracha Erlanger Avigdor, Ashley Cimino-Mathews, Angelo M. DeMarzo, Jessica L. Hicks, James Shin, Saraswati Sukumar, John Fetting, Pedram Argani, Ben H. Park, Sarah J. Wheelan
Compared with persons of European descent (ED), persons of African descent (AD) have lower aldosterone (ALDO) levels, with the assumption being that the increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk associated with AD is not related to ALDO. However, the appropriateness of the ALDO levels for the volume status in AD is unclear. We hypothesized that, even though ALDO levels are lower in AD, they are inappropriately increased, and therefore, ALDO could mediate the increased CVD in AD. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed data from HyperPATH — 1,788 individuals from the total cohort and 765 restricted to ED-to-AD in a 2:1 match and genotyped for the endothelin-1 gene (EDN1). Linear regression analyses with adjustments were performed. In the total and restricted cohorts, PRA, ALDO, and urinary potassium levels were significantly lower in AD. However, in the AD group, greater ALDO dysregulation was present as evidenced by higher ALDO/plasma renin activity (PRA) ratios (ARR) and sodium-modulated ALDO suppression-to-stimulation indices. Furthermore, EDN1 minor allele carriers had significantly greater ARRs than noncarriers but only in the AD group. ARR levels were modulated by a significant interaction between EDN1 and AD. Thus, EDN1 variants may identify particularly susceptible ADs who will be responsive to treatment targeting ALDO-dependent pathways (e.g., mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists).
Jia W. Tan, Tina Gupta, Worapaka Manosroi, Tham M. Yao, Paul N. Hopkins, Jonathan S. Williams, Gail K. Adler, Jose R. Romero, Gordon H. Williams
The secretion of insulin and glucagon from the pancreas and the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) from the gastrointestinal tract is essential for glucose homeostasis. Several novel treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes (T2D) mimic GLP-1 actions or inhibit incretin degradation (DPP4 inhibitors), but none is thus far aimed at increasing the secretion of endogenous incretins. In order to identify new potential therapeutic targets for treatment of T2D, we performed a meta-analysis of a GWAS and an exome-wide association study of circulating insulin, glucagon, GIP, and GLP-1 concentrations measured during an oral glucose tolerance test in up to 7,828 individuals. We identified 6 genome-wide significant functional loci associated with plasma incretin concentrations in or near the SLC5A1 (encoding SGLT1), GIPR, ABO, GLP2R, F13A1, and HOXD1 genes and studied the effect of these variants on mRNA expression in pancreatic islet and on metabolic phenotypes. Immunohistochemistry showed expression of GIPR, ABO, and HOXD1 in human enteroendocrine cells and expression of ABO in pancreatic islets, supporting a role in hormone secretion. This study thus provides candidate genes and insight into mechanisms by which secretion and breakdown of GIP and GLP-1 are regulated.
Peter Almgren, Andreas Lindqvist, Ulrika Krus, Liisa Hakaste, Emilia Ottosson-Laakso, Olof Asplund, Emily Sonestedt, Rashmi B. Prasad, Esa Laurila, Marju Orho-Melander, Olle Melander, Tiinamaija Tuomi, Jens Juul Holst, Peter M. Nilsson, Nils Wierup, Leif Groop, Emma Ahlqvist
Genetic defects in the synaptic scaffolding protein gene, SHANK2, are linked to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, intellectual disability, and bipolar disorder, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the pleotropic effects of SHANK2 mutations are poorly understood. We generated and characterized a line of Shank2 mutant mice by deleting exon 24 (Δe24). Shank2Δe24–/– mice engage in significantly increased locomotor activity, display abnormal reward-seeking behavior, are anhedonic, have perturbations in circadian rhythms, and show deficits in social and cognitive behaviors. While these phenotypes recapitulate the pleotropic behaviors associated with human SHANK2-related disorders, major behavioral features in these mice are reminiscent of bipolar disorder. For instance, their hyperactivity was augmented with amphetamine but was normalized with the mood stabilizers lithium and valproate. Shank2 deficiency limited to the forebrain recapitulated the bipolar mania phenotype. The composition and functions of NMDA and AMPA receptors were altered at Shank2-deficient synapses, hinting toward the mechanism underlying these behavioral abnormalities. Human genetic findings support construct validity, and the behavioral features in Shank2 Δe24 mice support face and predictive validities of this model for bipolar mania. Further genetic studies to understand the contribution of SHANK2 deficiencies in bipolar disorder are warranted.
Andrea L. Pappas, Alexandra L. Bey, Xiaoming Wang, Mark Rossi, Yong Ho Kim, Haidun Yan, Fiona Porkka, Lara J. Duffney, Samantha M. Phillips, Xinyu Cao, Jin-dong Ding, Ramona M. Rodriguiz, Henry H. Yin, Richard J. Weinberg, Ru-Rong Ji, William C. Wetsel, Yong-hui Jiang
Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, and they are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental risk factors may contribute to birth defects in genetically susceptible infants by altering critical molecular pathways during embryogenesis, but experimental evidence for gene-environment interactions is limited. Fetal hyperglycemia associated with maternal diabetes results in a 5-fold increased risk of congenital heart disease (CHD), but the molecular basis for this correlation is unknown. Here, we show that the effects of maternal hyperglycemia on cardiac development are sensitized by haploinsufficiency of Notch1, a key transcriptional regulator known to cause CHD. Using ATAC-seq, we found that hyperglycemia decreased chromatin accessibility at the endothelial NO synthase (Nos3) locus, resulting in reduced NO synthesis. Transcription of Jarid2, a regulator of histone methyltransferase complexes, was increased in response to reduced NO, and this upregulation directly resulted in inhibition of Notch1 expression to levels below a threshold necessary for normal heart development. We extended these findings using a Drosophila maternal diabetic model that revealed the evolutionary conservation of this interaction and the Jarid2-mediated mechanism. These findings identify a gene-environment interaction between maternal hyperglycemia and Notch signaling and support a model in which environmental factors cause birth defects in genetically susceptible infants.
Madhumita Basu, Jun-Yi Zhu, Stephanie LaHaye, Uddalak Majumdar, Kai Jiao, Zhe Han, Vidu Garg
Ventricular chamber growth and development during perinatal circulatory transition is critical for functional adaptation of the heart. However, the chamber-specific programs of neonatal heart growth are poorly understood. We used integrated systems genomic and functional biology analyses of the perinatal chamber specific transcriptome and we identified Wnt11 as a prominent regulator of chamber-specific proliferation. Importantly, downregulation of Wnt11 expression was associated with cyanotic congenital heart defect (CHD) phenotypes and correlated with O2 saturation levels in hypoxemic infants with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). Perinatal hypoxia treatment in mice suppressed Wnt11 expression and induced myocyte proliferation more robustly in the right ventricle, modulating Rb1 protein activity. Wnt11 inactivation was sufficient to induce myocyte proliferation in perinatal mouse hearts and reduced Rb1 protein and phosphorylation in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Finally, downregulated Wnt11 in hypoxemic TOF infantile hearts was associated with Rb1 suppression and induction of proliferation markers. This study revealed a previously uncharacterized function of Wnt11-mediated signaling as an important player in programming the chamber-specific growth of the neonatal heart. This function influences the chamber-specific development and pathogenesis in response to hypoxia and cyanotic CHDs. Defining the underlying regulatory mechanism may yield chamber-specific therapies for infants born with CHDs.
Marlin Touma, Xuedong Kang, Fuying Gao, Yan Zhao, Ashley A. Cass, Reshma Biniwale, Xinshu Xiao, Mansuoreh Eghbali, Giovanni Coppola, Brian Reemtsen, Yibin Wang
We developed an in vitro model system where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional human hepatic organoids (HOs) through stages that resemble human liver during its embryonic development. The HOs consist of hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes, which are organized into epithelia that surround the lumina of bile duct–like structures. The organoids provide a potentially new model for liver regenerative processes, and were used to characterize the effect of different JAG1 mutations that cause: (a) Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a genetic disorder where NOTCH signaling pathway mutations impair bile duct formation, which has substantial variability in its associated clinical features; and (b) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is the most common form of a complex congenital heart disease, and is associated with several different heritable disorders. Our results demonstrate how an iPSC-based organoid system can be used with genome editing technologies to characterize the pathogenetic effect of human genetic disease-causing mutations.
Yuan Guan, Dan Xu, Phillip M. Garfin, Ursula Ehmer, Melissa Hurwitz, Greg Enns, Sara Michie, Manhong Wu, Ming Zheng, Toshihiko Nishimura, Julien Sage, Gary Peltz
Bone metastases (BoM) are a significant cause of morbidity in patients with estrogen receptor–positive (ER-positive) breast cancer; yet, characterizations of human specimens are limited. In this study, exome-capture RNA sequencing (ecRNA-seq) on aged (8–12 years), formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE), and decalcified cancer specimens was evaluated. Gene expression values and ecRNA-seq quality metrics from FFPE or decalcified tumor RNA showed minimal differences when compared with matched flash-frozen or nondecalcified tumors. ecRNA-seq was then applied on a longitudinal collection of 11 primary breast cancers and patient-matched synchronous or recurrent BoMs. Overtime, BoMs exhibited gene expression shifts to more Her2 and LumB PAM50 subtype profiles, temporally influenced expression evolution, recurrently dysregulated prognostic gene sets, and longitudinal expression alterations of clinically actionable genes, particularly in the CDK/Rb/E2F and FGFR signaling pathways. Taken together, this study demonstrates the use of ecRNA-seq on decade-old and decalcified specimens and defines recurrent longitudinal transcriptional remodeling events in estrogen-deprived breast cancers.
Nolan Priedigkeit, Rebecca J. Watters, Peter C. Lucas, Ahmed Basudan, Rohit Bhargava, William Horne, Jay K. Kolls, Zhou Fang, Margaret Q. Rosenzweig, Adam M. Brufsky, Kurt R. Weiss, Steffi Oesterreich, Adrian V. Lee
MTG16 is a member of the myeloid translocation gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors. While MTGs were originally identified in chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia, recent studies have uncovered a role in intestinal biology. For example, Mtg16–/– mice have increased intestinal proliferation and are more sensitive to intestinal injury in colitis models. MTG16 is also underexpressed in patients with moderate/severe ulcerative colitis. Based on these findings, we postulated that MTG16 might protect against colitis-associated carcinogenesis. MTG16 was downregulated at the protein and RNA levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and in those with colitis-associated carcinoma. Mtg16–/– mice subjected to inflammatory carcinogenesis modeling exhibited worse colitis and increased tumor multiplicity and size. Loss of MTG16 also increased severity of dysplasia, apoptosis, proliferation, DNA damage, and WNT signaling. Moreover, transplantation of WT marrow into Mtg16–/– mice failed to rescue the Mtg16–/– protumorigenic phenotypes, indicating an epithelium-specific role for MTG16. While MTG dysfunction is widely appreciated in hematopoietic malignancies, the role of this gene family in epithelial homeostasis, and in colon cancer, was unrealized. This report identifies MTG16 as an important modulator of colitis and tumor development in inflammatory carcinogenesis.
Elizabeth M. McDonough, Caitlyn W. Barrett, Bobak Parang, Mukul K. Mittal, J. Joshua Smith, Amber M. Bradley, Yash A. Choksi, Lori A. Coburn, Sarah P. Short, Joshua J. Thompson, Baolin Zhang, Shenika V. Poindexter, Melissa A. Fischer, Xi Chen, Jiang Li, Frank L. Revetta, Rishi Naik, M. Kay Washington, Michael J. Rosen, Scott W. Hiebert, Keith T. Wilson, Christopher S. Williams
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