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See detailBenchmarking of univariate pleiotropy detection methods applied to epilepsy
Adesoji, Oluyomi M.; Schulz, Herbert; May, Patrick UL et al

in Human Mutation (2022), 43(9), 1314-1332

AbstractPleiotropy is a widespread phenomenon that may increase insight into the etiology of biological and disease traits. Since genome-wide association studies frequently provide information on a single ... [more ▼]

AbstractPleiotropy is a widespread phenomenon that may increase insight into the etiology of biological and disease traits. Since genome-wide association studies frequently provide information on a single trait only, only univariate pleiotropy detection methods are applicable, with yet unknown comparative performance. Here, we compared five such methods with respect to their ability to detect pleiotropy, including meta-analysis, ASSET, cFDR, CPBayes, and PLACO, by performing extended computer simulations that varied the underlying etiological model for pleiotropy for a pair of traits, including the number of causal variants, degree of traits’ overlap, effect sizes as well as trait prevalence, and varying sample sizes. Our results indicate that ASSET provides the best trade-off between power and protection against false positives. We then applied ASSET to a previously published ILAE consortium dataset on complex epilepsies, comprising genetic generalized epilepsy and focal epilepsy cases and corresponding controls. We identified a novel candidate locus at 17q21.32 and confirmed locus 2q24.3, previously identified to act pleiotropically on both epilepsy subtypes by a mega-analysis. Functional annotation, tissue-specific expression and regulatory function analysis as well as Bayesian co-localization analysis corroborated this result, rendering 17q21.32 a worthwhile candidate for follow-up studies on pleiotropy in epilepsies.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailThe role of common genetic variation in presumed monogenic epilepsies
Campbell, Ciarán; Leu, Costin; Feng, Yen-Chen Anne et al

in eBioMedicine (2022), 81

Summary: Background The developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are the most severe group of epilepsies which co-present with developmental delay and intellectual disability (ID). DEEs usually ... [more ▼]

Summary: Background The developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are the most severe group of epilepsies which co-present with developmental delay and intellectual disability (ID). DEEs usually occur in people without a family history of epilepsy and have emerged as primarily monogenic, with damaging rare mutations found in 50% of patients. Little is known about the genetic architecture of patients with DEEs in whom no pathogenic variant is identified. Polygenic risk scoring (PRS) is a method that measures a person's common genetic burden for a trait or condition. Here, we used PRS to test whether genetic burden for epilepsy is relevant in individuals with DEEs, and other forms of epilepsy with ID. Methods: Genetic data on 2,759 cases with DEEs, or epilepsy with ID presumed to have a monogenic basis, and 447,760 population-matched controls were analysed. We compared PRS for ‘all epilepsy’, ‘focal epilepsy’, and ‘genetic generalised epilepsy’ (GGE) between cases and controls. We performed pairwise comparisons between cases stratified for identifiable rare deleterious genetic variants and controls. Findings 0.0002) relative to controls, which explain between 0.08% and 3.3% of phenotypic variance. PRS was increased in cases both with and without an identified deleterious variant of major effect, and there was no significant difference in PRS between the two groups. Interpretation: We provide evidence that common genetic variation contributes to the aetiology of DEEs and other forms of epilepsy with ID, even when there is a known pathogenic variant of major effect. These results provide insight into the genetic underpinnings of the severe epilepsies and warrant a shift in our understanding of the aetiology of the DEEs as complex, rather than monogenic, disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome-wide meta-analysis of over 29,000 people with epilepsy reveals 26 loci and subtype-specific genetic architecture
International League Against Epilepsy Consortium on Complex Epilepsies Krause, Roland; Landoulsi, Zied UL; May, Patrick UL et al

E-print/Working paper (2022)

Epilepsy is a highly heritable disorder affecting over 50 million people worldwide, of which about one-third are resistant to current treatments. Here, we report a trans-ethnic GWAS including 29,944 cases ... [more ▼]

Epilepsy is a highly heritable disorder affecting over 50 million people worldwide, of which about one-third are resistant to current treatments. Here, we report a trans-ethnic GWAS including 29,944 cases, stratified into three broad- and seven sub-types of epilepsy, and 52,538 controls. We identify 26 genome-wide significant loci, 19 of which are specific to genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE). We implicate 29 likely causal genes underlying these 26 loci. SNP-based heritability analyses show that common variants substantially close the missing heritability gap for GGE. Subtype analysis revealed markedly different genetic architectures between focal and generalized epilepsies. Gene-set analysis of GGE signals implicate synaptic processes in both excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the brain. Prioritized candidate genes overlap with monogenic epilepsy genes and with targets of current anti-seizure medications. Finally, we leverage our results to identify alternate drugs with predicted efficacy if repurposed for epilepsy treatment. [less ▲]

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See detailmGlu3 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors as a Target for the Treatment of Absence Epilepsy: Preclinical and Human Genetics Data
Celli, Roberta; Striano, Pasquale; Citraro, Rita et al

in Current Neuropharmacology (2022)

Abstract: Background: Previous studies suggest that different metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor subtypes are potential drug targets for treating absence epilepsy. However, no information is available ... [more ▼]

Abstract: Background: Previous studies suggest that different metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor subtypes are potential drug targets for treating absence epilepsy. However, no information is available on mGlu3 receptors. Objective: To examine whether (i) changes of mGlu3 receptor expression/signaling are found in the somatosensory cortex and thalamus of WAG/Rij rats developing spontaneous absence seizures; (ii) selective activation of mGlu3 receptors with LY2794193 affects the number and duration of spike- wave discharges (SWDs) in WAG/Rij rats; and (iii) a genetic variant of GRM3 (encoding the mGlu3 receptor) is associated with absence epilepsy. Methods: Animals: immunoblot analysis of mGlu3 receptors, GAT-1, GLAST, and GLT-1; real- time PCR analysis of mGlu3 mRNA levels; assessment of mGlu3 receptor signaling; EEG analysis of SWDs; assessment of depressive-like behavior. Humans: search for GRM3 and GRM5 missense variants in 196 patients with absence epilepsy or other Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy (IGE)/ Genetic Generalized Epilepsy (GGE) and 125,748 controls. Results: mGlu3 protein levels and mGlu3-mediated inhibition of cAMP formation were reduced in the thalamus and somatosensory cortex of pre-symptomatic (25-27 days old) and symptomatic (6-7 months old) WAG/Rij rats compared to age-matched controls. Treatment with LY2794193 (1 or 10 mg/kg, i.p.) reduced absence seizures and depressive-like behavior in WAG/Rij rats. LY2794193 also enhanced GAT1, GLAST, and GLT-1 protein levels in the thalamus and somatosensory cortex. GRM3 and GRM5 gene variants did not differ between epileptic patients and controls. Conclusion: We suggest that mGlu3 receptors modulate the activity of the cortico-thalamo-cortical circuit underlying SWDs and that selective mGlu3 receptor agonists are promising candidate drugs for absence epilepsy treatment. [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 detailA pharmacogenomic assessment of psychiatric adverse drug reactions to levetiracetam.
Campbell, Ciarán; McCormack, Mark; Patel, Sonn et al

in Epilepsia (2022), 63(6), 1563-1570

OBJECTIVE: Levetiracetam (LEV) is an effective antiseizure medicine, but 10%-20% of people treated with LEV report psychiatric side-effects, and up to 1% may have psychotic episodes. Pharmacogenomic ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: Levetiracetam (LEV) is an effective antiseizure medicine, but 10%-20% of people treated with LEV report psychiatric side-effects, and up to 1% may have psychotic episodes. Pharmacogenomic predictors of these adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have yet to be identified. We sought to determine the contribution of both common and rare genetic variation to psychiatric and behavioral ADRs associated with LEV. METHODS: This case-control study compared cases of LEV-associated behavioral disorder (n = 149) or psychotic reaction (n = 37) to LEV-exposed people with no history of psychiatric ADRs (n = 920). All samples were of European ancestry. We performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis comparing those with LEV ADRs to controls. We estimated the polygenic risk scores (PRS) for schizophrenia and compared cases with LEV-associated psychotic reaction to controls. Rare variant burden analysis was performed using exome sequence data of cases with psychotic reactions (n = 18) and controls (n = 122). RESULTS: Univariate GWAS found no significant associations with either LEV-associated behavioural disorder or LEV-psychotic reaction. PRS analysis showed that cases of LEV-associated psychotic reaction had an increased PRS for schizophrenia relative to contr ols (p = .0097, estimate = .4886). The rare-variant analysis found no evidence of an increased burden of rare genetic variants in people who had experienced LEV-associated psychotic reaction relative to controls. SIGNIFICANCE: The polygenic burden for schizophrenia is a risk factor for LEV-associated psychotic reaction. To assess the clinical utility of PRS as a predictor, it should be tested in an independent and ideally prospective cohort. Larger sample sizes are required for the identification of significant univariate common genetic signals or rare genetic signals associated with psychiatric LEV ADRs. [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 detailRole of Common Genetic Variants for Drug-Resistance to Specific Anti-Seizure Medications
Wolking, Stefan; Campbell, Ciarán; Stapleton, Caragh et al

in Frontiers in Pharmacology (2021), 12

Objective: Resistance to anti-seizure medications (ASMs) presents a significant hurdle in the treatment of people with epilepsy. Genetic markers for resistance to individual ASMs could support clinicians ... [more ▼]

Objective: Resistance to anti-seizure medications (ASMs) presents a significant hurdle in the treatment of people with epilepsy. Genetic markers for resistance to individual ASMs could support clinicians to make better-informed choices for their patients. In this study, we aimed to elucidate whether the response to individual ASMs was associated with common genetic variation.Methods: A cohort of 3,649 individuals of European descent with epilepsy was deeply phenotyped and underwent single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-genotyping. We conducted genome-wide association analyses (GWASs) on responders to specific ASMs or groups of functionally related ASMs, using non-responders as controls. We performed a polygenic risk score (PRS) analyses based on risk variants for epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders and ASM resistance itself to delineate the polygenic burden of ASM-specific drug resistance.Results: We identified several potential regions of interest but did not detect genome-wide significant loci for ASM-specific response. We did not find polygenic risk for epilepsy, neuropsychiatric disorders, and drug-resistance associated with drug response to specific ASMs or mechanistically related groups of ASMs.Significance: This study could not ascertain the predictive value of common genetic variants for ASM responder status. The identified suggestive loci will need replication in future studies of a larger scale. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing the role of rare genetic variants in drug-resistant, non-lesional focal epilepsy
Wolking, Stefan; Moreau, Claudia; McCormack, Mark et al

in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology (2021), n/a(n/a),

Abstract Objective Resistance to antiseizure medications (ASMs) is one of the major concerns in the treatment of epilepsy. Despite the increasing number of ASMs available, the proportion of individuals ... [more ▼]

Abstract Objective Resistance to antiseizure medications (ASMs) is one of the major concerns in the treatment of epilepsy. Despite the increasing number of ASMs available, the proportion of individuals with drug-resistant epilepsy remains unchanged. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of rare genetic variants in ASM resistance. Methods We performed exome sequencing of 1,128 individuals with non-familial non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE) (762 non-responders, 366 responders) and were provided with 1,734 healthy controls. We undertook replication in a cohort of 350 individuals with NAFE (165 non-responders, 185 responders). We performed gene-based and gene-set-based kernel association tests to investigate potential enrichment of rare variants in relation to drug response status and to risk for NAFE. Results We found no gene or gene set that reached genome-wide significance. Yet, we identified several prospective candidate genes – among them DEPDC5, which showed a potential association with resistance to ASMs. We found some evidence for an enrichment of truncating variants in dominant familial NAFE genes in our cohort of non-familial NAFE and in association with drug-resistant NAFE. Interpretation Our study identifies potential candidate genes for ASM resistance. Our results corroborate the role of rare variants for non-familial NAFE and imply their involvement in drug-resistant epilepsy. Future large-scale genetic research studies are needed to substantiate these findings. [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 detailModeling seizures in the Human Phenotype Ontology according to contemporary ILAE concepts makes big phenotypic data tractable
Lewis-Smith, David; Galer, Peter D.; Balagura, Ganna et al

in Epilepsia (2021), n/a(n/a),

Abstract Objective The clinical features of epilepsy determine how it is defined, which in turn guides management. Therefore, consideration of the fundamental clinical entities that comprise an epilepsy ... [more ▼]

Abstract Objective The clinical features of epilepsy determine how it is defined, which in turn guides management. Therefore, consideration of the fundamental clinical entities that comprise an epilepsy is essential in the study of causes, trajectories, and treatment responses. The Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) is used widely in clinical and research genetics for concise communication and modeling of clinical features, allowing extracted data to be harmonized using logical inference. We sought to redesign the HPO seizure subontology to improve its consistency with current epileptological concepts, supporting the use of large clinical data sets in high-throughput clinical and research genomics. Methods We created a new HPO seizure subontology based on the 2017 International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Operational Classification of Seizure Types, and integrated concepts of status epilepticus, febrile, reflex, and neonatal seizures at different levels of detail. We compared the HPO seizure subontology prior to, and following, our revision, according to the information that could be inferred about the seizures of 791 individuals from three independent cohorts: 2 previously published and 150 newly recruited individuals. Each cohort's data were provided in a different format and harmonized using the two versions of the HPO. Results The new seizure subontology increased the number of descriptive concepts for seizures 5-fold. The number of seizure descriptors that could be annotated to the cohort increased by 40 and the total amount of information about individuals' seizures increased by 38\%. The most important qualitative difference was the relationship of focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizure to generalized-onset and focal-onset seizures. Significance We have generated a detailed contemporary conceptual map for harmonization of clinical seizure data, implemented in the official 2020-12-07 HPO release and freely available at hpo.jax.org. This will help to overcome the phenotypic bottleneck in genomics, facilitate reuse of valuable data, and ultimately improve diagnostics and precision treatment of the epilepsies. [less ▲]

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See detailSub-genic intolerance, ClinVar, and the epilepsies: A whole-exome sequencing study of 29,165 individuals
Motelow, Joshua E.; Povysil, Gundula; Dhindsa, Ryan S. et al

in The American Journal of Human Genetics (2021)

Summary Both mild and severe epilepsies are influenced by variants in the same genes, yet an explanation for the resulting phenotypic variation is unknown. As part of the ongoing Epi25 Collaboration, we ... [more ▼]

Summary Both mild and severe epilepsies are influenced by variants in the same genes, yet an explanation for the resulting phenotypic variation is unknown. As part of the ongoing Epi25 Collaboration, we performed a whole-exome sequencing analysis of 13,487 epilepsy-affected individuals and 15,678 control individuals. While prior Epi25 studies focused on gene-based collapsing analyses, we asked how the pattern of variation within genes differs by epilepsy type. Specifically, we compared the genetic architectures of severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) and two generally less severe epilepsies, genetic generalized epilepsy and non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE). Our gene-based rare variant collapsing analysis used geographic ancestry-based clustering that included broader ancestries than previously possible and revealed novel associations. Using the missense intolerance ratio (MTR), we found that variants in DEE-affected individuals are in significantly more intolerant genic sub-regions than those in NAFE-affected individuals. Only previously reported pathogenic variants absent in available genomic datasets showed a significant burden in epilepsy-affected individuals compared with control individuals, and the ultra-rare pathogenic variants associated with DEE were located in more intolerant genic sub-regions than variants associated with non-DEE epilepsies. MTR filtering improved the yield of ultra-rare pathogenic variants in affected individuals compared with control individuals. Finally, analysis of variants in genes without a disease association revealed a significant burden of loss-of-function variants in the genes most intolerant to such variation, indicating additional epilepsy-risk genes yet to be discovered. Taken together, our study suggests that genic and sub-genic intolerance are critical characteristics for interpreting the effects of variation in genes that influence epilepsy. [less ▲]

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See detailLoss of function variants in the KCNQ5 gene are associated with genetic generalized epilepsies
Krueger, Johanna; Schubert, Julian; Kegele, Josua et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

Objective: De novo missense variants in KCNQ5, encoding the voltage gated K+ channel KV7.5, have been described as a cause of developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) or intellectual disability ... [more ▼]

Objective: De novo missense variants in KCNQ5, encoding the voltage gated K+ channel KV7.5, have been described as a cause of 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 docking and homology modeling. Results: 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 three 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 p.Arg359Cys variant altered PI(4,5)P2-interaction, presumably in the non-conducting preopen-closed state. Interpretation: Our study indicates that specific deleterious KCNQ5 variants are associated with GGE, partially combined with mild to moderate ID. The disease mechanism is a LOF partially with dominant-negative effects through functional, rather than trafficking deficits. LOF of KV7.5 channels will reduce the M-current, likely resulting in increased excitability of KV7.5-expressing neurons. Further studies on a network level are necessary to understand which circuits are affected and how the variants induce generalized seizures. [less ▲]

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See detailUltra-rare constrained missense variants in the epilepsies: Shared and specific enrichment patterns in neuronal gene-sets 2021.04.18.440264
Koko, Mahmoud; Krause, Roland UL; Sander, Thomas et al

E-print/Working paper (2021)

Background: Burden analysis in epilepsy has shown an excess of deleterious ultra-rare variants (URVs) in few gene-sets, such as known epilepsy genes, constrained genes, ion channel or GABAA receptor genes ... [more ▼]

Background: Burden analysis in epilepsy has shown an excess of deleterious ultra-rare variants (URVs) in few gene-sets, such as known epilepsy genes, constrained genes, ion channel or GABAA receptor genes. We set out to investigate the burden of URVs in a comprehensive range of gene-sets presumed to be implicated in epileptogenesis. Methods: We investigated several constraint and conservation-based strategies to study whole exome sequencing data from European individuals with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE, n = 1,003), genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE, n = 3,064), and non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE, n = 3,522), collected by the Epi25 Collaborative, compared to 3,962 ancestry-matched controls. The burden of 12 URVs types in 92 gene-sets was compared between epilepsy cases (DDE, GGE, NAFE) and controls using logistic regression analysis. Results: Burden analysis of brain-expressed genes revealed an excess of different URVs types in all three epilepsy categories which was largest for constrained missense variants. The URVs burden was prominent in neuron-specific, synaptic and developmental genes as well as genes encoding ion channels and receptors, and it was generally higher for DEE and GGE compared to NAFE. The patterns of URVs burden in gene-sets expressed in inhibitory vs. excitatory neurons or receptors suggested a high burden in both in DEE but a differential involvement of inhibitory genes in GGE, while excitatory genes were predominantly affected in NAFE. Top ranking susceptibility genes from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of generalized and focal epilepsies displayed a higher URVs burden in constrained coding regions in GGE and NAFE, respectively. Conclusions: Using exome-based gene-set burden analysis, we demonstrate that missense URVs affecting mainly constrained sites are enriched in neuronal genes in both common and rare severe epilepsy syndromes. Our results indicate a differential impact of these URVs in genes expressed in inhibitory vs. excitatory neurons and receptors in generalized vs. focal epilepsies. The excess of URVs in top-ranking 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 detailClimate change and epilepsy: Insights from clinical and basic science studies
Gulcebi, Medine I.; Bartolini, Emanuele; Lee, Omay et al

in Epilepsy and Behavior (2021), 116

Climate change is with us. As professionals who place value on evidence-based practice, climate change is something we cannot ignore. The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has ... [more ▼]

Climate change is with us. As professionals who place value on evidence-based practice, climate change is something we cannot ignore. The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has demonstrated how global crises can arise suddenly and have a significant impact on public health. Global warming, a chronic process punctuated by acute episodes of extreme weather events, is an insidious global health crisis needing at least as much attention. Many neurological diseases are complex chronic conditions influenced at many levels by changes in the environment. This review aimed to collate and evaluate reports from clinical and basic science about the relationship between climate change and epilepsy. The keywords climate change, seasonal variation, temperature, humidity, thermoregulation, biorhythm, gene, circadian rhythm, heat, and weather were used to search the published evidence. A number of climatic variables are associated with increased seizure frequency in people with epilepsy. Climate change-induced increase in seizure precipitants such as fevers, stress, and sleep deprivation (e.g. as a result of more frequent extreme weather events) or vector-borne infections may trigger or exacerbate seizures, lead to deterioration of seizure control, and affect neurological, cerebrovascular, or cardiovascular comorbidities and risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Risks are likely to be modified by many factors, ranging from individual genetic variation and temperature-dependent channel function, to housing quality and global supply chains. According to the results of the limited number of experimental studies with animal models of seizures or epilepsy, different seizure types appear to have distinct susceptibility to seasonal influences. Increased body temperature, whether in the context of fever or not, has a critical role in seizure threshold and seizure-related brain damage. Links between climate change and epilepsy are likely to be multifactorial, complex, and often indirect, which makes predictions difficult. We need more data on possible climate-driven altered risks for seizures, epilepsy, and epileptogenesis, to identify underlying mechanisms at systems, cellular, and molecular levels for better understanding of the impact of climate change on epilepsy. Further focussed data would help us to develop evidence for mitigation methods to do more to protect people with epilepsy from the effects of climate change. [less ▲]

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See detailPredicting functional effects of missense variants in voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels
Heyne, Henrike O.; Baez-Nieto, David; Iqbal, Sumaiya et al

in Science Translational Medicine (2020), 12(556), 6848

Malfunctions of voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels (encoded by SCNxA and CACNA1x family genes, respectively) have been associated with severe neurologic, psychiatric, cardiac, and other diseases ... [more ▼]

Malfunctions of voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels (encoded by SCNxA and CACNA1x family genes, respectively) have been associated with severe neurologic, psychiatric, cardiac, and other diseases. Altered channel activity is frequently grouped into gain or loss of ion channel function (GOF or LOF, respectively) that often corresponds not only to clinical disease manifestations but also to differences in drug response. Experimental studies of channel function are therefore important, but laborious and usually focus only on a few variants at a time. On the basis of known gene-disease mechanisms of 19 different diseases, we inferred LOF (n = 518) and GOF (n = 309) likely pathogenic variants from the disease phenotypes of variant carriers. By training a machine learning model on sequence- and structure-based features, we predicted LOF or GOF effects [area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (ROC) = 0.85] of likely pathogenic missense variants. Our LOF versus GOF prediction corresponded to molecular LOF versus GOF effects for 87 functionally tested variants in SCN1/2/8A and CACNA1I (ROC = 0.73) and was validated in exome-wide data from 21,703 cases and 128,957 controls. We showed respective regional clustering of inferred LOF and GOF nucleotide variants across the alignment of the entire gene family, suggesting shared pathomechanisms in the SCNxA/CACNA1x family genes. [less ▲]

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See detailA framework to assess the quality and impact of bioinformatics training across ELIXIR.
Gurwitz, Kim T.; Singh Gaur, Prakash; Bellis, Louisa J. et al

in PLoS computational biology (2020), 16(7), 1007976

ELIXIR is a pan-European intergovernmental organisation for life science that aims to coordinate bioinformatics resources in a single infrastructure across Europe; bioinformatics training is central to ... [more ▼]

ELIXIR is a pan-European intergovernmental organisation for life science that aims to coordinate bioinformatics resources in a single infrastructure across Europe; bioinformatics training is central to its strategy, which aims to develop a training community that spans all ELIXIR member states. In an evidence-based approach for strengthening bioinformatics training programmes across Europe, the ELIXIR Training Platform, led by the ELIXIR EXCELERATE Quality and Impact Assessment Subtask in collaboration with the ELIXIR Training Coordinators Group, has implemented an assessment strategy to measure quality and impact of its entire training portfolio. Here, we present ELIXIR's framework for assessing training quality and impact, which includes the following: specifying assessment aims, determining what data to collect in order to address these aims, and our strategy for centralised data collection to allow for ELIXIR-wide analyses. In addition, we present an overview of the ELIXIR training data collected over the past 4 years. We highlight the importance of a coordinated and consistent data collection approach and the relevance of defining specific metrics and answer scales for consortium-wide analyses as well as for comparison of data across iterations of the same course. [less ▲]

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See detailPharmacoresponse in genetic generalized epilepsy: a genome-wide association study
Wolking, Stefan; Schulz, Herbert; Nies, Anne T. et al

in Pharmacogenomics (2020), 0(0),

Aim: Pharmacoresistance is a major burden in epilepsy treatment. We aimed to identify genetic biomarkers in response to specific antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in genetic generalized epilepsies (GGE ... [more ▼]

Aim: Pharmacoresistance is a major burden in epilepsy treatment. We aimed to identify genetic biomarkers in response to specific antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) in genetic generalized epilepsies (GGE). Materials  methods: We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 3.3 million autosomal SNPs in 893 European subjects with GGE – responsive or nonresponsive to lamotrigine, levetiracetam and valproic acid. Results: Our GWAS of AED response revealed suggestive evidence for association at 29 genomic loci (p <10-5) but no significant association reflecting its limited power. The suggestive associations highlight candidate genes that are implicated in epileptogenesis and neurodevelopment. Conclusion: This first GWAS of AED response in GGE provides a comprehensive reference of SNP associations for hypothesis-driven candidate gene analyses in upcoming pharmacogenetic studies. [less ▲]

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See detailGene family information facilitates variant interpretation and identification of disease-associated genes in neurodevelopmental disorders
Lal, Dennis; May, Patrick UL; Perez-Palma, Eduardo et al

in Genome Medicine (2020), 12(28),

Background: Classifying pathogenicity of missense variants represents a major challenge in clinical practice during the diagnoses of rare and genetic heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs ... [more ▼]

Background: Classifying pathogenicity of missense variants represents a major challenge in clinical practice during the diagnoses of rare and genetic heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). While orthologous gene conservation is commonly employed in variant annotation, approximately 80% of known disease-associated genes belong to gene families. The use of gene family information for disease gene discovery and variant interpretation has not yet been investigated on genome-wide scale. We empirically evaluate whether paralog conserved or non-conserved sites in human gene families are important in NDDs. Methods: Gene family information was collected from Ensembl. Paralog conserved sites were defined based on paralog sequence alignments. 10,068 NDD patients and 2,078 controls were statistically evaluated for de novo variant burden in gene families. Results: We demonstrate that disease-associated missense variants are enriched at paralog conserved sites across all disease groups and inheritance models tested. We developed a gene family de novo enrichment framework that identified 43 exome-wide enriched gene families including 98 de novo variant carrying genes in NDD patients of which 28 represent novel candidate genes for NDD which are brain expressed and under evolutionary constraint. Conclusion: This study represents the first method to incorporate gene-family information into a statistical framework to interpret variant data for NDDs and to discover newly NDD -associated genes. [less ▲]

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See detailSemantic Similarity Analysis Reveals Robust Gene-Disease Relationships in Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies
Galer, Peter D.; Ganesan, Shiva; Lewis-Smith, David et al

in The American Journal of Human Genetics (2020), 107(4), 683-697

Summary 2.1 × 10−5) and “focal clonic seizures” (HP: 0002266; p = 8.9 × 10−6), STXBP1 with “absent speech” (HP: 0001344; p = 1.3 × 10−11), and SLC6A1 with “EEG with generalized slow activity” (HP: 0010845 ... [more ▼]

Summary 2.1 × 10−5) and “focal clonic seizures” (HP: 0002266; p = 8.9 × 10−6), STXBP1 with “absent speech” (HP: 0001344; p = 1.3 × 10−11), and SLC6A1 with “EEG with generalized slow activity” (HP: 0010845; p = 0.018). Of 41 genes with de novo variants in two or more individuals, 11 genes showed significant phenotypic similarity, including SCN1A (n = 16, p < 0.0001), STXBP1 (n = 14, p = 0.0021), and KCNB1 (n = 6, p = 0.011). Including genetic and phenotypic data of control subjects increased phenotypic similarity for all genetic etiologies, whereas the probability of observing de novo variants decreased, emphasizing the conceptual differences between semantic similarity analysis and approaches based on the expected number of de novo events. We demonstrate that HPO-based phenotype analysis captures unique profiles for distinct genetic etiologies, reflecting the breadth of the phenotypic spectrum in genetic epilepsies. Semantic similarity can be used to generate statistical evidence for disease causation analogous to the traditional approach of primarily defining disease entities through similar clinical features. [less ▲]

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