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See detailDairy Intake and Parkinson's Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Study
Domenighetti, Cloé; Sugier, Pierre-Emmanuel; Ashok Kumar Sreelatha, Ashwin et al

in Movement Disorders (2022)

Abstract Background Previous prospective studies highlighted dairy intake as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD), particularly in men. It is unclear whether this association is causal or explained ... [more ▼]

Abstract Background Previous prospective studies highlighted dairy intake as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD), particularly in men. It is unclear whether this association is causal or explained by reverse causation or confounding. Objective The aim is to examine the association between genetically predicted dairy intake and PD using two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR). Methods We genotyped a well-established instrumental variable for dairy intake located in the lactase gene (rs4988235) within the Courage-PD consortium (23 studies; 9823 patients and 8376 controls of European ancestry). Results Based on a dominant model, there was an association between genetic predisposition toward higher dairy intake and PD (odds ratio [OR] per one serving per day = 1.70, 95 confidence interval = 1.12–2.60, P = 0.013) that was restricted to men (OR = 2.50 [1.37–4.56], P = 0.003; P-difference with women = 0.029). Conclusions Using MR, our findings provide further support for a causal relationship between dairy intake and higher PD risk, not biased by confounding or reverse causation. Further studies are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. © 2022 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society [less ▲]

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See detailAn archaeal compound as a driver of Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis
Trezzi, Jean-Pierre; Aho, Velma UL; Jäger, Christian UL et al

E-print/Working paper (2022)

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit differences in their gut microbiomes compared to healthy individuals. Although differences have most commonly been described in the abundances of bacterial ... [more ▼]

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit differences in their gut microbiomes compared to healthy individuals. Although differences have most commonly been described in the abundances of bacterial taxa, changes to viral and archaeal populations have also been observed. Mechanistic links between gut microbes and PD pathogenesis remain elusive but could involve molecules that promote α-synuclein aggregation. Here, we show that 2-hydroxypyridine (2-HP) represents a key molecule for the pathogenesis of PD. We observe significantly elevated 2-HP levels in faecal samples from patients with PD or its prodrome, idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder (iRBD), compared to healthy controls. 2-HP is correlated with the archaeal species Methanobrevibacter smithii and with genes involved in methane metabolism, and it is detectable in isolate cultures of M. smithii. We demonstrate that 2-HP is selectively toxic to transgenic α-synuclein overexpressing yeast and increases α-synuclein aggregation in a yeast model as well as in human induced pluripotent stem cell derived enteric neurons. It also exacerbates PD-related motor symptoms, α-synuclein aggregation, and striatal degeneration when injected intrastriatally in transgenic mice overexpressing human α-synuclein. Our results highlight the effect of an archaeal molecule in relation to the gut-brain axis, which is critical for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of PD. [less ▲]

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See detailLoss-of-function variants in the KCNQ5 gene are implicated in genetic generalized epilepsies
Krüger, Johanna; Schubert, Julian; Kegele, Josua et al

in eBioMedicine (2022), 84

Summary Background De novo missense variants in KCNQ5, encoding the voltage-gated K+ channel KV7.5, have been described to cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) or intellectual disability ... [more ▼]

Summary Background De novo missense variants in KCNQ5, encoding the voltage-gated K+ channel KV7.5, have been described to cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) or intellectual disability (ID). We set out to identify disease-related KCNQ5 variants in genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) and their underlying mechanisms. Methods 1292 families with GGE were studied by next-generation sequencing. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, biotinylation and phospholipid overlay assays were performed in mammalian cells combined with homology modelling. Findings We identified three deleterious heterozygous missense variants, one truncation and one splice site alteration in five independent families with GGE with predominant absence seizures; two variants were also associated with mild to moderate ID. All missense variants displayed a strongly decreased current density indicating a loss-of-function (LOF). When mutant channels were co-expressed with wild-type (WT) KV7.5 or KV7.5 and KV7.3 channels, three variants also revealed a significant dominant-negative effect on WT channels. Other gating parameters were unchanged. Biotinylation assays indicated a normal surface expression of the variants. The R359C variant altered PI(4,5)P2-interaction. Interpretation Our study identified deleterious KCNQ5 variants in GGE, partially combined with mild to moderate ID. The disease mechanism is a LOF partially with dominant-negative effects through functional deficits. LOF of KV7.5 channels will reduce the M-current, likely resulting in increased excitability of KV7.5-expressing neurons. Further studies on network level are necessary to understand which circuits are affected and how this induces generalized seizures. Funding DFG/FNR Research Unit FOR-2715 (Germany/Luxemburg), BMBF rare disease network Treat-ION (Germany), foundation ‘no epilep’ (Germany). [less ▲]

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See detailbinny: an automated binning algorithm to recover high-quality genomes from complex metagenomic datasets 2021.12.22.473795
Hickl, Oskar UL; Teixeira Queiros, Pedro UL; Wilmes, Paul UL et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

The reconstruction of genomes is a critical step in genome-resolved metagenomics as well as for multi-omic data integration from microbial communities. Here, we present binny, a binning tool that produces ... [more ▼]

The reconstruction of genomes is a critical step in genome-resolved metagenomics as well as for multi-omic data integration from microbial communities. Here, we present binny, a binning tool that produces high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes from both contiguous and highly fragmented genomes. Based on established metrics, binny outperforms existing state-of-the-art binning methods and finds unique genomes that could not be detected by other methods.binny uses k-mer-composition and coverage by metagenomic reads for iterative, non-linear dimension reduction of genomic signatures as well as subsequent automated contig clustering with cluster assessment using lineage-specific marker gene sets.When compared to five widely used binning algorithms, binny recovers the most near-complete (\>95 pure, \>90 complete) and high-quality (\>90 pure, \>70 complete) genomes from simulated data sets from the Critical Assessment of Metagenome Interpretation (CAMI) initiative, as well as from a real-world benchmark comprised of metagenomes from various environments. binny is implemented as Snakemake workflow and available from https://github.com/a-h-b/binny.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest. [less ▲]

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See detailBreast and prostate cancer risk: the interplay of polygenic risk, rare pathogenic germline variants, and family history
Hassanin, Emadeldin; May, Patrick UL; Aldisi, Rana et al

in Genetics in Medicine (2021)

Purpose Investigate to which extent polygenic risk scores (PRS), pathogenic or likely rare pathogenic germline variants (PV), and family history jointly influence breast and prostate cancer risk. Methods ... [more ▼]

Purpose Investigate to which extent polygenic risk scores (PRS), pathogenic or likely rare pathogenic germline variants (PV), and family history jointly influence breast and prostate cancer risk. Methods 200,643 individuals from the UK Biobank were stratified as follows: 1. Heterozygotes or non-heterozygotes of PV in moderate to high cancer risk genes, 2. PRS strata, 3. with or without a family history of cancer. Multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute the odds ratio (OR) across groups and the cumulative incidence through life. Results Cumulative incidence by age 70 among non-heterozygotes across PRS strata ranged from 9% to 32% and from 9% to 35% for breast and prostate cancer, respectively. Among PV heterozygotes it ranged from 20% to 48% in moderate-risk genes and from 51% to 74% in high-risk genes for breast cancer, and it ranged from 30% to 59% in prostate cancer risk genes. Family history is always associated with an increased cancer OR. Conclusion PRS provides a meaningful risk gradient leading alone to a cancer risk comparable to PV in moderate risk genes while acting as risk modifier for high-risk genes. Including family history beside PV and PRS further improves cancer risk stratification. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 Allows Monitoring of Variants of Concern through Wastewater
Herold, Malte; Fouquier d'herouël, Aymeric UL; May, Patrick UL et al

in Water (2021), 13(21 3018),

Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater has shown to be an effective tool for epidemiological surveillance. More specifically, RNA levels determined with RT-qPCR have been shown to track with the infection ... [more ▼]

Monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater has shown to be an effective tool for epidemiological surveillance. More specifically, RNA levels determined with RT-qPCR have been shown to track with the infection dynamics within the population. However, the surveillance of individual lineages circulating in the population based on genomic sequencing of wastewater samples is challenging, as the genetic material constitutes a mixture of different viral haplotypes. Here, we identify specific signature mutations from individual SARS-CoV-2 lineages in wastewater samples to estimate lineages circulating in Luxembourg. We compare circulating lineages and mutations to those detected in clinical samples amongst infected individuals. We show that especially for dominant lineages, the allele frequencies of signature mutations correspond to the occurrence of particular lineages in the population. In addition, we provide evidence that regional clusters can also be discerned. We focused on the time period between November 2020 and March 2021 in which several variants of concern emerged and specifically traced the lineage B.1.1.7, which became dominant in Luxembourg during that time. During the subsequent time points, we were able to reconstruct short haplotypes, highlighting the co-occurrence of several signature mutations. Our results highlight the potential of genomic surveillance in wastewater samples based on amplicon short-read data. By extension, our work provides the basis for the early detection of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic evaluation of dementia with Lewy bodies implicates distinct disease subgroups
Kaivola, Karri; Shah, Zalak; Chia, Ruth et al

in Brain: a Journal of Neurology (2021), awab402

The APOE locus is strongly associated with risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In particular, the role of the APOE ε4 allele as a putative driver of α-synuclein ... [more ▼]

The APOE locus is strongly associated with risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In particular, the role of the APOE ε4 allele as a putative driver of α-synuclein pathology is a topic of intense debate. Here, we performed a comprehensive evaluation in 2,466 DLB cases versus 2,928 neurologically healthy, aged controls. Using an APOE-stratified genome-wide association study approach, we found that GBA is associated with risk for DLB in patients without APOE ε4 (p = 6.58 x 10−9, OR = 3.41, 95% CI = 2.25–5.17), but not with DLB with APOE ε4 (p = 0.034, OR = 1.87, 95%, 95% CI = 1.05–3.37). We then divided 495 neuropathologically examined DLB cases into three groups based on the extent of concomitant Alzheimer’s disease co-pathology: pure DLB (n = 88), DLB with intermediate Alzheimer’s disease co-pathology (DLB + iAD, n = 66), and DLB with high Alzheimer’s disease co-pathology (DLB + AD, n = 341). In each group, we tested the association of the APOE ε4 against the 2,928 neurologically healthy controls. Our examination found that APOE ε4 was associated with DLB + AD (p = 1.29x10−32, OR = 4.25, 95% CI = 3.35–5.39) and DLB + iAD (p = 0.0011, OR = 2.31, 95% CI = 1.40–3.83), but not with pure DLB (p = 0.31, OR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.43–1.30). In conclusion, though deep clinical data were not available for these samples, our findings do not support the notion that APOE ε4 is an independent driver of α-synuclein pathology in pure DLB, but rather implicate GBA as the main risk gene for the pure DLB subgroup. [less ▲]

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See detailMendelian randomization study of smoking, alcohol, and coffee drinking in relation to Parkinso's disease
Domenighetti, Cloe; Sugier, Pierre Emmanuel; Sreelatha, Ashwin Ashok Kumar et al

in Journal of Parkinson's Disease (2021)

Background:Previous studies showed that lifestyle behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol, coffee) are inversely associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The prodromal phase of PD raises the possibility ... [more ▼]

Background:Previous studies showed that lifestyle behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol, coffee) are inversely associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The prodromal phase of PD raises the possibility that these associations may be explained by reverse causation. Objective:To examine associations of lifestyle behaviors with PD using two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) and the potential for survival and incidence-prevalence biases. Methods:We used summary statistics from publicly available studies to estimate the association of genetic polymorphisms with lifestyle behaviors, and from Courage-PD (7,369 cases, 7,018 controls; European ancestry) to estimate the association of these variants with PD. We used the inverse-variance weighted method to compute odds ratios (ORIVW) of PD and 95%confidence intervals (CI). Significance was determined using a Bonferroni-corrected significance threshold (p = 0.017). Results:We found a significant inverse association between smoking initiation and PD (ORIVW per 1-SD increase in the prevalence of ever smoking = 0.74, 95%CI = 0.60–0.93, p = 0.009) without significant directional pleiotropy. Associations in participants ≤67 years old and cases with disease duration ≤7 years were of a similar size. No significant associations were observed for alcohol and coffee drinking. In reverse MR, genetic liability toward PD was not associated with smoking or coffee drinking but was positively associated with alcohol drinking. Conclusion:Our findings are in favor of an inverse association between smoking and PD that is not explained by reverse causation, confounding, and survival or incidence-prevalence biases. Genetic liability toward PD was positively associated with alcohol drinking. Conclusions on the association of alcohol and coffee drinking with PD are hampered by insufficient statistical power. [less ▲]

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See detailDistinct gene-set burden patterns underlie common generalized and focal epilepsies
Koko, Mahmoud; Krause, Roland UL; Sander, Thomas et al

in EBioMedicine (2021), 72

Background Analyses of few gene-sets in epilepsy showed a potential to unravel key disease associations. We set out to investigate the burden of ultra-rare variants (URVs) in a comprehensive range of ... [more ▼]

Background Analyses of few gene-sets in epilepsy showed a potential to unravel key disease associations. We set out to investigate the burden of ultra-rare variants (URVs) in a comprehensive range of biologically informed gene-sets presumed to be implicated in epileptogenesis. Methods The burden of 12 URV types in 92 gene-sets was compared between cases and controls using whole exome sequencing data from individuals of European descent with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE, n = 1,003), genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE, n = 3,064), or non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE, n = 3,522), collected by the Epi25 Collaborative, compared to 3,962 ancestry-matched controls. Findings Missense URVs in highly constrained regions were enriched in neuron-specific and developmental genes, whereas genes not expressed in brain were not affected. GGE featured a higher burden in gene-sets derived from inhibitory vs. excitatory neurons or associated receptors, whereas the opposite was found for NAFE, and DEE featured a burden in both. Top-ranked susceptibility genes from recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and gene-sets derived from generalized vs. focal epilepsies revealed specific enrichment patterns of URVs in GGE vs. NAFE. Interpretation Missense URVs affecting highly constrained sites differentially impact genes expressed in inhibitory vs. excitatory pathways in generalized vs. focal epilepsies. The excess of URVs in top-ranked GWAS risk-genes suggests a convergence of rare deleterious and common risk-variants in the pathogenesis of generalized and focal epilepsies. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional meta-omics provide critical insights into long- and short-read assemblies
Galata, Valentina UL; Busi, Susheel Bhanu UL; Kunath, Benoît UL et al

in Briefings in Bioinformatics (2021)

Real-world evaluations of metagenomic reconstructions are challenged by distinguishing reconstruction artifacts from genes and proteins present in situ. Here, we evaluate short-read-only, long-read-only ... [more ▼]

Real-world evaluations of metagenomic reconstructions are challenged by distinguishing reconstruction artifacts from genes and proteins present in situ. Here, we evaluate short-read-only, long-read-only and hybrid assembly approaches on four different metagenomic samples of varying complexity. We demonstrate how different assembly approaches affect gene and protein inference, which is particularly relevant for downstream functional analyses. For a human gut microbiome sample, we use complementary metatranscriptomic and metaproteomic data to assess the metagenomic data-based protein predictions. Our findings pave the way for critical assessments of metagenomic reconstructions. We propose a reference-independent solution, which exploits the synergistic effects of multi-omic data integration for the in situ study of microbiomes using long-read sequencing data. [less ▲]

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See detailGenotype-phenotype correlations in SCN8A-related disorders reveal prognostic and therapeutic implications
Johannesen, Katrine M.; Liu, Yuanyuan; Koko, Mahmoud et al

in Brain (2021)

We report detailed functional analyses and genotype-phenotype correlations in 392 individuals carrying disease-causing variants in SCN8A, encoding the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.6, with the aim of ... [more ▼]

We report detailed functional analyses and genotype-phenotype correlations in 392 individuals carrying disease-causing variants in SCN8A, encoding the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.6, with the aim of describing clinical phenotypes related to functional effects. Six different clinical subgroups could be identified: 1) Benign familial infantile epilepsy (BFIE) (n = 15, normal cognition, treatable seizures), 2) intermediate epilepsy (n = 33, mild ID, partially pharmaco-responsive), 3) developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE, n = 177, severe ID, majority pharmaco-resistant), 4) generalized epilepsy (n = 20, mild to moderate ID, frequently with absence seizures), 5) unclassifiable epilepsy (n = 127), and 6) neurodevelopmental disorder without epilepsy (n = 20, mild to moderate ID). Groups 1–3 presented with focal or multifocal seizures (median age of onset: four months) and focal epileptiform discharges, whereas the onset of seizures in group 4 was later (median: 42 months) with generalized epileptiform discharges. We performed functional studies expressing missense variants in ND7/23 neuroblastoma cells and primary neuronal cultures using recombinant tetrodotoxin-insensitive human NaV1.6 channels and whole-cell patch-clamping. Two variants causing DEE showed a strong gain-of-function (GOF, hyperpolarising shift of steady-state activation, strongly increased neuronal firing rate), and one variant causing BFIE or intermediate epilepsy showed a mild GOF (defective fast inactivation, less increased firing). In contrast, all three variants causing generalized epilepsy induced a loss-of-function (LOF, reduced current amplitudes, depolarising shift of steady-state activation, reduced neuronal firing). Including previous studies, functional effects were known for 170 individuals. All 136 individuals carrying a functionally tested GOF variant had either focal (97, groups 1–3), or unclassifiable epilepsy (39), whereas 34 with a LOF variant had either generalized (14), no (11) or unclassifiable (6) epilepsy; only three had DEE. Computational modeling in the GOF group revealed a significant correlation between the severity of the electrophysiological and clinical phenotypes. GOF variant carriers responded significantly better to sodium channel blockers (SCBs) than to other anti-seizure medications, and the same applied for all individuals of groups 1–3.In conclusion, our data reveal clear genotype-phenotype correlations between age at seizure onset, type of epilepsy and gain- or loss-of-function effects of SCN8A variants. Generalized epilepsy with absence seizures is the main epilepsy phenotype of LOF variant carriers and the extent of the electrophysiological dysfunction of the GOF variants is a main determinant of the severity of the clinical phenotype in focal epilepsies. Our pharmacological data indicate that SCBs present a treatment option in SCN8A-related focal epilepsy with onset in the first year of life. [less ▲]

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See detailMachine learning-based identification and characterization of 15 novel pathogenic SUOX missense mutations
Kaczmarek, Alexander Tobias; Bahlmann, Nike; Thaqi, Besarta et al

in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism (2021)

Isolated sulfite oxidase deficiency (ISOD) is a rare hereditary metabolic disease caused by absence of functional sulfite oxidase (SO) due to mutations of the SUOX gene. SO oxidizes toxic sulfite and ... [more ▼]

Isolated sulfite oxidase deficiency (ISOD) is a rare hereditary metabolic disease caused by absence of functional sulfite oxidase (SO) due to mutations of the SUOX gene. SO oxidizes toxic sulfite and sulfite accumulation is associated with neurological disorders, progressive brain atrophy and early death. Similarities of these neurological symptoms to abundant diseases like neonatal encephalopathy underlines the raising need to increase the awareness for ISOD. Here we report an interdisciplinary approach utilizing exome/genome data derived from gnomAD database as well as published variants to predict the pathogenic outcome of 303 naturally occurring SO missense variants and combining these with activity determination. We identified 15 novel ISOD-causing SO variants and generated a databank of pathogenic SO missense variants to support future diagnosis of ISOD patients. We found six inactive variants (W101G, H118Y, E197K, R217W, S427W, D512Y, Q518R) and seven (D110H, P119S, G121E, G130R, Y140C, R269H, Q396P, R459Q) with severe reduction in activity. Based on the Hardy-Weinberg-equilibrium and the combination of our results with published SO missense and protein truncating variants, we calculated the first comprehensive incidence rate for ISOD of 1 in 1,377,341 births and provide a pathogenicity score to 303 naturally occurring SO missense variants. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing the role of polygenic background on the penetrance of monogenic forms in Parkinson\textquoterights disease. 2021.06.06.21253270
Hassanin, Emadeldin; May, Patrick UL; Aldisi, Rana et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

Background: Several rare and common variants are associated with Parkinson's disease. However, there is still an incomplete penetrance in the carriers of rare variants associated with Parkinson's disease ... [more ▼]

Background: Several rare and common variants are associated with Parkinson's disease. However, there is still an incomplete penetrance in the carriers of rare variants associated with Parkinson's disease. To address this issue, we investigated whether a PRS calculated from significant GWAS SNPs affects the penetrance of Parkinson's disease among carriers of rare monogenic variants in known Parkinson's disease genes and those with a family history. Methods: We calculated the PRS based on common variants and selected the carriers of rare monogenic variants by using the exome data from UK Biobank. Individuals were divided into three risk categories based on PRS: low (<10%), intermediate (10%-90%), and high (>90%) risk groups. We then compared how PRS affects Parkinson\textquoterights disease risk among carriers of rare monogenic variants and those with family-history. Results: We observed a two-fold higher odds ratio for a carrier of a monogenic variant that had a high PRS (OR 4.07,95\% CI, 1.72-8.08) compared to carriers with a low PRS (OR 1.91, 95\% CI, 0.31-6.05). In the same line, carriers with a first-degree family history and with \>90\% PRS have even a higher risk of developing PD (OR 23.53, 95\%CI 5.39-71.54) compared to those with \<90\% PRS (OR 9.54, 95\% CI 3.32-21.65). Conclusions: Our results show that PRS, carrier status, and family history contribute independently and additively to the Parkinson's disease risk. [less ▲]

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See detailBreast and prostate cancer risk: the interplay of polygenic risk, high-impact monogenic variants, and family history 2021.06.04.21258277
Hassanin, Emadeldin; May, Patrick UL; Aldisi, Rana et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

Purpose: Investigate to which extent polygenic risk scores (PRS), high-impact monogenic variants, and family history affect breast and prostate cancer risk by assessing cancer prevalence and cancer ... [more ▼]

Purpose: Investigate to which extent polygenic risk scores (PRS), high-impact monogenic variants, and family history affect breast and prostate cancer risk by assessing cancer prevalence and cancer cumulative lifetime incidence. Methods 200,643 individuals from the UK Biobank were stratified as follows: 1. carriers or non-carriers of high impact constitutive, monogenic variants in cancer susceptibility genes, 2. high or non-high PRS (90th percentile threshold), 3. with or without a family history of cancer. Multivariable logistic regression was used to compare the odds ratio (OR) across the different groups while Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute the cumulative incidence through life. Results Breast and prostate cancer cumulative incidence by age 70 is 7 and 5 for non-carriers with non-high PRS and reaches 37 and 32 among carriers of high-impact variants in cancer susceptibility genes with high PRS. The additional presence of family history is associated with a further increase of the risk of developing cancer reaching an OR of 14 and 21 for breast and prostate cancer, respectively. Conclusion: High PRS confers a cancer risk comparable to high-impact monogenic variants. Family history, monogenic variants, and PRS contribute additively to breast and prostate cancer risk. [less ▲]

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See detailMantis: flexible and consensus-driven genome annotation
Teixeira Queiros, Pedro UL; Delogu, Francesco UL; Hickl, Oskar UL et al

in GigaScience (2021), 10(6),

The rapid development of the (meta-)omics fields has produced an unprecedented amount of high-resolution and high-fidelity data. Through the use of these datasets we can infer the role of previously ... [more ▼]

The rapid development of the (meta-)omics fields has produced an unprecedented amount of high-resolution and high-fidelity data. Through the use of these datasets we can infer the role of previously functionally unannotated proteins from single organisms and consortia. In this context, protein function annotation can be described as the identification of regions of interest (i.e., domains) in protein sequences and the assignment of biological functions. Despite the existence of numerous tools, challenges remain in terms of speed, flexibility, and reproducibility. In the big data era, it is also increasingly important to cease limiting our findings to a single reference, coalescing knowledge from different data sources, and thus overcoming some limitations in overly relying on computationally generated data from single sources.We implemented a protein annotation tool, Mantis, which uses database identifiers intersection and text mining to integrate knowledge from multiple reference data sources into a single consensus-driven output. Mantis is flexible, allowing for the customization of reference data and execution parameters, and is reproducible across different research goals and user environments. We implemented a depth-first search algorithm for domain-specific annotation, which significantly improved annotation performance compared to sequence-wide annotation. The parallelized implementation of Mantis results in short runtimes while also outputting high coverage and high-quality protein function annotations.Mantis is a protein function annotation tool that produces high-quality consensus-driven protein annotations. It is easy to set up, customize, and use, scaling from single genomes to large metagenomes. Mantis is available under the MIT license at https://github.com/PedroMTQ/mantis. [less ▲]

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See detailHeterozygous variants in KCNC2 cause a broad spectrum of epilepsy phenotypes associated with characteristic functional alterations 2021.05.21.21257099
Schwarz, Niklas; Seiffert, Simone; Pendziwiat, Manuela et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

Background KCNC2 encodes a member of the shaw-related voltage-gated potassium channel family (KV3.2), which are important for sustained high-frequency firing and optimized energy efficiency of action ... [more ▼]

Background KCNC2 encodes a member of the shaw-related voltage-gated potassium channel family (KV3.2), which are important for sustained high-frequency firing and optimized energy efficiency of action potentials in the brain.Methods Individuals with KCNC2 variants detected by exome sequencing were selected for clinical, further genetic and functional analysis. The cases were referred through clinical and research collaborations in our study. Four de novo variants were examined electrophysiologically in Xenopus laevis oocytes.Results We identified novel KCNC2 variants in 27 patients with various forms of epilepsy. Functional analysis demonstrated gain-of-function in severe and loss-of-function in milder phenotypes as the underlying pathomechanisms with specific response to valproic acid.Conclusion These findings implicate KCNC2 as a novel causative gene for epilepsy emphasizing the critical role of KV3.2 in the regulation of brain excitability with an interesting genotype-phenotype correlation and a potential concept for precision medicine. [less ▲]

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See detailShared genetic basis between genetic generalized epilepsy and background electroencephalographic oscillations
Stevelink, Remi; Luykx, Jurjen J.; Lin, Bochao D. et al

in Epilepsia (2021), 62(7), 1518-1527

Abstract Objective Paroxysmal epileptiform abnormalities on electroencephalography (EEG) are the hallmark of epilepsies, but it is uncertain to what extent epilepsy and background EEG oscillations share ... [more ▼]

Abstract Objective Paroxysmal epileptiform abnormalities on electroencephalography (EEG) are the hallmark of epilepsies, but it is uncertain to what extent epilepsy and background EEG oscillations share neurobiological underpinnings. Here, we aimed to assess the genetic correlation between epilepsy and background EEG oscillations. Methods Confounding factors, including the heterogeneous etiology of epilepsies and medication effects, hamper studies on background brain activity in people with epilepsy. To overcome this limitation, we compared genetic data from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on epilepsy (n = 12 803 people with epilepsy and 24 218 controls) with that from a GWAS on background EEG (n = 8425 subjects without epilepsy), in which background EEG oscillation power was quantified in four different frequency bands: alpha, beta, delta, and theta. We replicated our findings in an independent epilepsy replication dataset (n = 4851 people with epilepsy and 20 428 controls). To assess the genetic overlap between these phenotypes, we performed genetic correlation analyses using linkage disequilibrium score regression, polygenic risk scores, and Mendelian randomization analyses. Results Our analyses show strong genetic correlations of genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) with background EEG oscillations, primarily in the beta frequency band. Furthermore, we show that subjects with higher beta and theta polygenic risk scores have a significantly higher risk of having generalized epilepsy. Mendelian randomization analyses suggest a causal effect of GGE genetic liability on beta oscillations. Significance Our results point to shared biological mechanisms underlying background EEG oscillations and the susceptibility for GGE, opening avenues to investigate the clinical utility of background EEG oscillations in the diagnostic workup of epilepsy. [less ▲]

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See detailUnification of functional annotation descriptions using text mining
Teixeira Queiros, Pedro UL; Novikova, Polina UL; Wilmes, Paul UL et al

in Biological Chemistry (2021)

A common approach to genome annotation involves the use of homology-based tools for the prediction of the functional role of proteins. The quality of functional annotations is dependent on the reference ... [more ▼]

A common approach to genome annotation involves the use of homology-based tools for the prediction of the functional role of proteins. The quality of functional annotations is dependent on the reference data used, as such, choosing the appropriate sources is crucial. Unfortunately, no single reference data source can be universally considered the gold standard, thus using multiple references could potentially increase annotation quality and coverage. However, this comes with challenges, particularly due to the introduction of redundant and exclusive annotations. Through text mining it is possible to identify highly similar functional descriptions, thus strengthening the confidence of the final protein functional annotation and providing a redundancy-free output. Here we present UniFunc, a text mining approach that is able to detect similar functional descriptions with high precision. UniFunc was built as a small module and can be independently used or integrated into protein function annotation pipelines. By removing the need to individually analyse and compare annotation results, UniFunc streamlines the complementary use of multiple reference datasets. [less ▲]

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