BACKGROUND. HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets) syndrome is a severe variant of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy affecting approximately 1% of all pregnancies, and has significant maternal and fetal morbidity. Previously, we showed that upregulation of the alternative pathway of complement (APC) plays a role in HELLP syndrome. We hypothesize that HELLP syndrome follows a 2-hit disease model similar to atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), requiring both genetic susceptibility and an environmental risk factor. Our objective was to perform a comparative analysis of the frequency of APC activation and germline mutations in affected women and to create a predictive model for identifying HELLP syndrome. METHODS. Pregnant women with HELLP syndrome, and healthy controls after 23 weeks of gestation were recruited, along with aHUS and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura participants. We performed a functional assay, the mHam, and targeted genetic sequencing in all groups. RESULTS. Significantly more participants with rare germline mutations in APC genes were present in the HELLP cohort compared with controls (46% versus 8%, P = 0.01). In addition, significantly more HELLP participants were positive for the mHam when compared with controls (62% versus 16%, P = 0.009). Testing positive for both a germline mutation and the mHam was highly predictive for the diagnosis of HELLP syndrome. CONCLUSION. HELLP syndrome is characterized by both activation of the APC and frequent germline mutations in APC genes. Similar to aHUS, treatment via complement inhibition to mitigate maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality may be possible. FUNDING. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute grants T32HL007525 and R01HL133113.
Arthur J. Vaught, Evan M. Braunstein, Jagar Jasem, Xuan Yuan, Igor Makhlin, Solange Eloundou, Andrea C. Baines, Samuel A. Merrill, Shruti Chaturvedi, Karin Blakemore, C. John Sperati, Robert A. Brodsky
Heterozygous chromosomal inversions suppress recombination. Therefore, they may potentially influence recombination-associated phenotypes of human diseases, but no studies have verified this hypothesis. Here, we describe a 35-year-old man with severe congenital ichthyosis. Mutation analysis revealed a heterozygous splice-site mutation, c.1374-2A>G (p.Ser458Argfs*120), in KRT10 on 17q21.2. This mutation was previously reported in patients with ichthyosis with confetti type I (IWC-I), a prominent skin disease characterized by the frequent occurrence of recombination-induced reversion of pathogenic mutations. Intriguingly, the number of revertant skin areas in this patient is considerably reduced compared with typical IWC-I cases. G-banded karyotyping revealed that the patient harbors a heterozygous nonpathogenic inversion, inv(17)(p13q12), whose long-arm breakpoint was subsequently refined to chromosomal positions (chr17: 36,544,407–36,639,830) via FISH. Collectively, the only chance of revertant mosaicism through somatic recombination appears to involve recombination between the KRT10 mutation and the inversion breakpoint. Indeed, in the examined revertant spot, the KRT10 mutation was diminished by somatic recombination starting from chromosomal positions (chr17: 36,915,505–37,060,285) on 17q12. This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge implicating chromosomal inversions as a potential modifier of clinical phenotypes. Furthermore, the reduced occurrence of revertant spots in the recombination-suppressed patient suggests that somatic recombination is the main mechanism of revertant mosaicism in IWC-I.
Toshifumi Nomura, Shotaro Suzuki, Toshinari Miyauchi, Masae Takeda, Satoru Shinkuma, Yasuyuki Fujita, Wataru Nishie, Masashi Akiyama, Hiroshi Shimizu
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) can be caused by mutations in the PKD1 or PKD2 genes. The PKD1 gene product is a Wnt cell-surface receptor. We previously showed that a lack of the PKD2 gene product, PC2, increases β-catenin signaling in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, kidney renal epithelia, and isolated renal collecting duct cells. However, it remains unclear whether β-catenin signaling plays a role in polycystic kidney disease phenotypes or if a Wnt inhibitor can halt cyst formation in ADPKD disease models. Here, using genetic and pharmacologic approaches, we demonstrated that the elevated β-catenin signaling caused by PC2 deficiency contributes significantly to disease phenotypes in a mouse ortholog of human ADPKD. Pharmacologically inhibiting β-catenin stability or the production of mature Wnt protein, or genetically reducing the expression of Ctnnb1 (which encodes β-catenin), suppressed the formation of renal cysts, improved renal function, and extended survival in ADPKD mice. Our study clearly demonstrates the importance of β-catenin signaling in disease phenotypes associated with Pkd2 mutation. It also describes the effects of two Wnt inhibitors, XAV939 and LGK974, on various Wnt signaling targets as a potential therapeutic modality for ADPKD, for which there is currently no effective therapy.
Ao Li, Yuchen Xu, Song Fan, Jialin Meng, Xufeng Shen, Qian Xiao, Yuan Li, Li Zhang, Xiansheng Zhang, Guanqing Wu, Chaozhao Liang, Dianqing Wu
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is a potentially curative treatment for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), but patients who relapse after transplant have poor outcomes. In order to understand the contribution of tumor clonal evolution to disease progression,we applied exome and error-corrected targeted sequencing coupled with copy number analysis to comprehensively define changes in the clonal architecture of MDS in response to therapy using 51 serially acquired tumor samples from 9 patients who progressed after an alloHCT. We show that small subclones before alloHCT can drive progression after alloHCT. Notably, at least one subclone expanded or emerged at progression in all patients. Newly acquired structural variants (SVs) were present in an emergent/expanding subclone in 8 of 9 patients at progression, implicating the acquisition of SVs as important late subclonal progression events. In addition, pretransplant therapy with azacitidine likely influenced the mutation spectrum and evolution of emergent subclones after alloHCT. Although subclone evolution is common, founding clone mutations are always present at progression and could be detected in the bone marrow as early as 30 and/or 100 days after alloHCT in 6 of 8 (75%) patients, often prior to clinical progression. In conclusion, MDS progression after alloHCT is characterized by subclonal expansion and evolution, which can be influenced by pretransplant therapy.
Meagan A. Jacoby, Eric J. Duncavage, Gue Su Chang, Christopher A. Miller, Jin Shao, Kevin Elliott, Joshua Robinson, Robert S. Fulton, Catrina C. Fronick, Michelle O’Laughlin, Sharon E. Heath, Iskra Pusic, John S. Welch, Daniel C. Link, John F. DiPersio, Peter Westervelt, Timothy J. Ley, Timothy A. Graubert, Matthew J. Walter
Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitors have efficacy in treating squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN), but objective response rates are low. PD-1 ligand (PD-L1) expression alone is not considered a robust predictor of response and additional biomarkers are needed. This 3-year observational cohort followed 126 SCCHN patients treated with anti–PD-1/L1 therapy. Prior to treatment, 81 (64%) had targeted massively parallel tumor sequencing. Of these, 42 (52%) underwent fluorescence-activated cell sorting and PD-L1 immunohistochemistry for tumor immunoprofiling. Six (5%) complete responses (CRs) and 11 (9%) partial responses (PRs) were observed. Those treated with prior chemotherapy (98, 78%) versus only surgery and/or radiation had longer overall survival (OS) (10 vs. 3 months, P = 0.02). Smokers had a higher total mutational burden (TMB) (P = 0.01). Virus-positive patients had a lower TMB (P < 0.01) and improved OS (P = 0.02). Among virus-negative responders, NOTCH1 and SMARCA4 were more frequently mutated and frameshift events in tumor suppressor genes occurred more frequently (P = 0.03). Higher TMB and CD8+ T cell infiltrates predicted anti–PD-1/L1 benefit (P < 0.01, P < 0.01, respectively) among virus-negative tumors. TIM-3/LAG-3 coexpression with PD-1 was higher on T cells among nonresponders (P = 0.03 and 0.02, respectively). Somatic frameshift events in tumor suppressor genes and higher TMB among virus-negative SCCHN tumors predict anti–PD-1/L1 response.
Glenn J. Hanna, Patrick Lizotte, Megan Cavanaugh, Frank C. Kuo, Priyanka Shivdasani, Alexander Frieden, Nicole G. Chau, Jonathan D. Schoenfeld, Jochen H. Lorch, Ravindra Uppaluri, Laura E. MacConaill, Robert I. Haddad
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
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
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