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See detailBurden of rare variants in synaptic genes in patients with severe tinnitus: An exome based extreme phenotype study
Amanat, Sana; Gallego-Martinez, Alvaro; Sollini, Joseph et al

in EBioMedicine (2021), 66(103309),

Background: tinnitus is a heterogeneous condition associated with audio logical and/or mental disorders. Chronic, severe tinnitus is reported in 1% of the population and it shows a relevant heritability ... [more ▼]

Background: tinnitus is a heterogeneous condition associated with audio logical and/or mental disorders. Chronic, severe tinnitus is reported in 1% of the population and it shows a relevant heritability, according to twins, adoptees and familial aggregation studies. The genetic contribution to severe tinnitus is unknown since large genomic studies include individuals with self-reported tinnitus and large heterogeneity in the phenotype. The aim of this study was to identify genes for severe tinnitus in patients with extreme phenotype. Methods: for this extreme phenotype study, we used three different cohorts with European ancestry (Spanish with Meniere disease (MD), Swedish tinnitus and European generalized epilepsy). In addition, four independent control datasets were also used for comparisons. Whole-exome sequencing was performed for the MD and epilepsy cohorts and whole-genome sequencing was carried out in Swedish with tinnitus. Findings: we found an enrichment of rare missense variants in 24 synaptic genes in a Spanish cohort, the most significant being PRUNE2, AKAP9, SORBS1, ITGAX, ANK2, KIF20B and TSC2 (p < 2E−04), when they were compared with reference datasets. This burden was replicated for ANK2 gene in a Swedish cohort with 97 tinnitus individuals, and in a subset of 34 Swedish patients with severe tinnitus for ANK2, AKAP9 and TSC2 genes (p < 2E−02). However, these associations were not significant in a third cohort of 701 generalized epilepsy individuals without tinnitus. Gene ontology (GO) and gene-set enrichment analyses revealed several pathways and biological processes involved in severe tinnitus, including membrane trafficking and cytoskeletal protein binding in neurons. Interpretation: a burden of rare variants in ANK2, AKAP9 and TSC2 is associated with severe tinnitus. ANK2, encodes a cytoskeleton scaffolding protein that coordinates the assembly of several proteins, drives axonal branching and influences connectivity in neurons. [less ▲]

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See detailReplication of a Novel Parkinson's Locus in a European Ancestry Population
Grover, Sandeep; Kumar-Sreelatha, Ashwin Ashok; Bobbili, Dheeraj R. et al

in Movement Disorders (2021)

ABSTRACT Background A recently published East Asian genome-wide association study of Parkinson;s disease (PD) reported 2 novel risk loci, SV2C and WBSCR17. Objectives The objective of this study were to ... [more ▼]

ABSTRACT Background A recently published East Asian genome-wide association study of Parkinson;s disease (PD) reported 2 novel risk loci, SV2C and WBSCR17. Objectives The objective of this study were to determine whether recently reported novel SV2C and WBSCR17 loci contribute to the risk of developing PD in European and East Asian ancestry populations. Methods We report an association analysis of recently reported variants with PD in the COURAGE-PD cohort (9673 PD patients; 8465 controls) comprising individuals of European and East Asian ancestries. In addition, publicly available summary data (41,386 PD patients; 476,428 controls) were pooled. Results Our findings confirmed the role of the SV2C variant in PD pathogenesis (rs246814, COURAGE-PD PEuropean = 6.64 × 10−4, pooled PD P = 1.15 × 10−11). The WBSCR17 rs9638616 was observed as a significant risk marker in the East Asian pooled population only (P = 1.16 × 10−8). Conclusions Our comprehensive study provides an up-to-date summary of recently detected novel loci in different PD populations and confirmed the role of SV2C locus as a novel risk factor for PD irrespective of the population or ethnic group analyzed. © 2021 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society [less ▲]

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See detailStatistical and Machine Learning Techniques in Human Microbiome Studies: Contemporary Challenges and Solutions
Moreno-Indias, Isabel; Lahti, Leo; Nedyalkova, Miroslava et al

in Frontiers in Microbiology (2021), 12

The human microbiome has emerged as a central research topic in human biology and biomedicine. Current microbiome studies generate high-throughput omics data across different body sites, populations, and ... [more ▼]

The human microbiome has emerged as a central research topic in human biology and biomedicine. Current microbiome studies generate high-throughput omics data across different body sites, populations, and life stages. Many of the challenges in microbiome research are similar to other high-throughput studies, the quantitative analyses need to address the heterogeneity of data, specific statistical properties, and the remarkable variation in microbiome composition across individuals and body sites. This has led to a broad spectrum of statistical and machine learning challenges that range from study design, data processing, and standardization to analysis, modeling, cross-study comparison, prediction, data science ecosystems, and reproducible reporting. Nevertheless, although many statistics and machine learning approaches and tools have been developed, new techniques are needed to deal with emerging applications and the vast heterogeneity of microbiome data. We review and discuss emerging applications of statistical and machine learning techniques in human microbiome studies and introduce the COST Action CA18131 “ML4Microbiome” that brings together microbiome researchers and machine learning experts to address current challenges such as standardization of analysis pipelines for reproducibility of data analysis results, benchmarking, improvement, or development of existing and new tools and ontologies. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome sequencing analysis identifies new loci associated with Lewy body dementia and provides insights into its genetic architecture
Chia, Ruth; Sabir, Marya S.; Bandres-Ciga, Sara et al

in Nature Genetics (2021)

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic ... [more ▼]

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic architecture of this understudied form of dementia, and to generate a resource for the scientific community. Genome-wide association analysis identified five independent risk loci, whereas genome-wide gene-aggregation tests implicated mutations in the gene GBA. Genetic risk scores demonstrate that LBD shares risk profiles and pathways with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, providing a deeper molecular understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition. [less ▲]

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See detailPathogenic Huntingtin Repeat Expansions in Patients with Frontotemporal Dementia and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Dewan, Ramita; Chia, Ruth; Ding, Jinhui et al

in Neuron (2021), 109(3), 448-460

We examined the role of repeat expansions in the pathogenesis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by analyzing whole-genome sequence data from 2,442 FTD/ALS patients ... [more ▼]

We examined the role of repeat expansions in the pathogenesis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by analyzing whole-genome sequence data from 2,442 FTD/ALS patients, 2,599 Lewy body dementia (LBD) patients, and 3,158 neurologically healthy subjects. Pathogenic expansions (range, 40-64 CAG repeats) in the huntingtin (HTT) gene were found in three (0.12%) patients diagnosed with pure FTD/ALS syndromes but were not present in the LBD or healthy cohorts. We replicated our findings in an independent collection of 3,674 FTD/ALS patients. Postmortem evaluations of two patients revealed the classical TDP-43 pathology of FTD/ALS, as well as huntingtin-positive, ubiquitin-positive aggregates in the frontal cortex. The neostriatal atrophy that pathologically defines Huntington's disease was absent in both cases. Our findings reveal an etiological relationship between HTT repeat expansions and FTD/ALS syndromes and indicate that genetic screening of FTD/ALS patients for HTT repeat expansions should be considered. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome-wide linkage analysis of families with primary hyperhidrosis
Schote, Andrea B.; Schiel, Florian; Schmitt, Benedict et al

in PLoS ONE (2020)

Primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH, OMIM %144110) is a genetically influenced condition characterised by excessive sweating. Prevalence varies between 1.0–6.1% in the general population, dependent on ... [more ▼]

Primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH, OMIM %144110) is a genetically influenced condition characterised by excessive sweating. Prevalence varies between 1.0–6.1% in the general population, dependent on ethnicity. The aetiology of PFH remains unclear but an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, incomplete penetrance and variable phenotypes have been reported. In our study, nine pedigrees (50 affected, 53 non-affected individuals) were included. Clinical characterisation was performed at the German Hyperhidrosis Centre, Munich, by using physiological and psychological questionnaires. Genome-wide parametric linkage analysis with GeneHunter was performed based on the Illumina genome-wide SNP arrays. Haplotypes were constructed using easyLINKAGE and visualised via HaploPainter. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) with 100x coverage in 31 selected members (24 affected, 7 non-affected) from our pedigrees was achieved by next generation sequencing. We identified four genome-wide significant loci, 1q41-1q42.3, 2p14-2p13.3, 2q21.2-2q23.3 and 15q26.3-15q26.3 for PFH. Three pedigrees map to a shared locus at 2q21.2-2q23.3, with a genome-wide significant LOD score of 3.45. The chromosomal region identified here overlaps with a locus at chromosome 2q22.1-2q31.1 reported previously. Three families support 1q41-1q42.3 (LOD = 3.69), two families share a region identical by descent at 2p14-2p13.3 (LOD = 3.15) and another two families at 15q26.3 (LOD = 3.01). Thus, our results point to considerable genetic heterogeneity. WES did not reveal any causative variants, suggesting that variants or mutations located outside the coding regions might be involved in the molecular pathogenesis of PFH. We suggest a strategy based on whole-genome or targeted next generation sequencing to identify causative genes or variants for PFH. [less ▲]

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See detailRoles of bacteriophages, plasmids and CRISPR immunity in microbial community dynamics revealed using time-series integrated meta-omics
Martinez Arbas, Susana UL; Narayanasamy, Shaman; Herold, Malte et al

in Nature Microbiology (2020)

Viruses and plasmids (invasive mobile genetic elements (iMGEs)) have important roles in shaping microbial communities, but their dynamic interactions with CRISPR-based immunity remain unresolved. We ... [more ▼]

Viruses and plasmids (invasive mobile genetic elements (iMGEs)) have important roles in shaping microbial communities, but their dynamic interactions with CRISPR-based immunity remain unresolved. We analysed generation-resolved iMGE–host dynamics spanning one and a half years in a microbial consortium from a biological wastewater treatment plant using integrated meta-omics. We identified 31 bacterial metagenome-assembled genomes encoding complete CRISPR–Cas systems and their corresponding iMGEs. CRISPR-targeted plasmids outnumbered their bacteriophage counterparts by at least fivefold, highlighting the importance of CRISPR-mediated defence against plasmids. Linear modelling of our time-series data revealed that the variation in plasmid abundance over time explained more of the observed community dynamics than phages. Community-scale CRISPR-based plasmid–host and phage–host interaction networks revealed an increase in CRISPR-mediated interactions coinciding with a decrease in the dominant ‘Candidatus Microthrix parvicella’ population. Protospacers were enriched in sequences targeting genes involved in the transmission of iMGEs. Understanding the factors shaping the fitness of specific populations is necessary to devise control strategies for undesirable species and to predict or explain community-wide phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailComprehensive characterization of amino acidpositions in protein structures reveals moleculareffect of missense variants
iqbal, Sumaiya; Perez-Palma, Eduardo; Jespersen, Jakob B. et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2020)

Interpretation of the colossal number of genetic variants identified from sequencing applications is one of the major bottlenecks in clinical genetics, with the inference of the effect of amino acid ... [more ▼]

Interpretation of the colossal number of genetic variants identified from sequencing applications is one of the major bottlenecks in clinical genetics, with the inference of the effect of amino acid-substituting missense variations on protein structure and function being especially challenging. Here we characterize the three-dimensional (3D) amino acid positions affected in pathogenic and population variants from 1,330 disease-associated genes using over 14,000 experimentally solved human protein structures. By measuring the statistical burden of variations (i.e., point mutations) from all genes on 40 3D protein features, accounting for the structural, chemical, and functional context of the variations’ positions, we identify features that are generally associated with pathogenic and population missense variants. We then perform the same amino acid-level analysis individually for 24 protein functional classes, which reveals unique characteristics of the positions of the altered amino acids: We observe up to 46% divergence of the class-specific features from the general characteristics obtained by the analysis on all genes, which is consistent with the structural diversity of essential regions across different protein classes. We demonstrate that the function-specific 3D features of the variants match the readouts of mutagenesis experiments for BRCA1 and PTEN, and positively correlate with an independent set of clinically interpreted pathogenic and benign missense variants. Finally, we make our results available through a web server to foster accessibility and downstream research. Our findings represent a crucial step toward translational genetics, from highlighting the impact of mutations on protein structure to rationalizing the variants’ pathogenicity in terms of the perturbed molecular mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegration of time-series meta-omics data reveals how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbance
Herold, Malte; Martinez Arbas, Susana UL; Narayanasamy, Shaman et al

in Nature Communications (2020)

The development of reliable, mixed-culture biotechnological processes hinges on understanding how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbances. Here we reveal extensive phenotypic plasticity and niche ... [more ▼]

The development of reliable, mixed-culture biotechnological processes hinges on understanding how microbial ecosystems respond to disturbances. Here we reveal extensive phenotypic plasticity and niche complementarity in oleaginous microbial populations from a biological wastewater treatment plant. We perform meta-omics analyses (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) on in situ samples over 14 months at weekly intervals. Based on 1,364 de novo metagenome-assembled genomes, we uncover four distinct fundamental niche types. Throughout the time-series, we observe a major, transient shift in community structure, coinciding with substrate availability changes. Functional omics data reveals extensive variation in gene expression and substrate usage amongst community members. Ex situ bioreactor experiments confirm that responses occur within five hours of a pulse disturbance, demonstrating rapid adaptation by specific populations. Our results show that community resistance and resilience are a function of phenotypic plasticity and niche complementarity, and set the foundation for future ecological engineering efforts. [less ▲]

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See detailPatient-derived organoids and orthotopic xenografts of primary and recurrent gliomas represent relevant patient avatars for precision oncology.
Golebiewska, Anna UL; Hau, Ann-Christin; Oudin, Anaïs et al

in Acta neuropathologica (2020)

Patient-based cancer models are essential tools for studying tumor biology and for the assessment of drug responses in a translational context. We report the establishment a large cohort of unique ... [more ▼]

Patient-based cancer models are essential tools for studying tumor biology and for the assessment of drug responses in a translational context. We report the establishment a large cohort of unique organoids and patient-derived orthotopic xenografts (PDOX) of various glioma subtypes, including gliomas with mutations in IDH1, and paired longitudinal PDOX from primary and recurrent tumors of the same patient. We show that glioma PDOXs enable long-term propagation of patient tumors and represent clinically relevant patient avatars that retain histopathological, genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic features of parental tumors. We find no evidence of mouse-specific clonal evolution in glioma PDOXs. Our cohort captures individual molecular genotypes for precision medicine including mutations in IDH1, ATRX, TP53, MDM2/4, amplification of EGFR, PDGFRA, MET, CDK4/6, MDM2/4, and deletion of CDKN2A/B, PTCH, and PTEN. Matched longitudinal PDOX recapitulate the limited genetic evolution of gliomas observed in patients following treatment. At the histological level, we observe increased vascularization in the rat host as compared to mice. PDOX-derived standardized glioma organoids are amenable to high-throughput drug screens that can be validated in mice. We show clinically relevant responses to temozolomide (TMZ) and to targeted treatments, such as EGFR and CDK4/6 inhibitors in (epi)genetically defined subgroups, according to MGMT promoter and EGFR/CDK status, respectively. Dianhydrogalactitol (VAL-083), a promising bifunctional alkylating agent in the current clinical trial, displayed high therapeutic efficacy, and was able to overcome TMZ resistance in glioblastoma. Our work underscores the clinical relevance of glioma organoids and PDOX models for translational research and personalized treatment studies and represents a unique publicly available resource for precision oncology. [less ▲]

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See detailNon-Coding RNAs in the Brain-Heart Axis: The Case of Parkinson’s Disease
Acharya, Shubhra; Salgado-Somoza, Antonio; Stefanizzi, Francesca Maria et al

in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020), 21(18), 6513

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder involving multiple genetic and environmental influences. Although a wide range of PD risk factors and clinical markers for the symptomatic motor stage of the disease have been identified, there are still no reliable biomarkers available for the early pre-motor phase of PD and for predicting disease progression. High-throughput RNA-based biomarker profiling and modeling may provide a means to exploit the joint information content from a multitude of markers to derive diagnostic and prognostic signatures. In the field of PD biomarker research, currently, no clinically validated RNA-based biomarker models are available, but previous studies reported several significantly disease-associated changes in RNA abundances and activities in multiple human tissues and body fluids. Here, we review the current knowledge of the regulation and function of non-coding RNAs in PD, focusing on microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs. Since there is growing evidence for functional interactions between the heart and the brain, we discuss the benefits of studying the role of non-coding RNAs in organ interactions when deciphering the complex regulatory networks involved in PD progression. We finally review important concepts of harmonization and curation of high throughput datasets, and we discuss the potential of systems biomedicine to derive and evaluate RNA biomarker signatures from high-throughput expression data. [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 rare loss-of function variant of ADAM17 is associated with late-onset familial Alzheimer disease
Hartl, Daniela; May, Patrick UL; Gu, Wei UL et al

in Molecular Psychiatry (2020), 25(3), 629-639

Common variants of about 20 genes contributing to AD risk have so far been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, there is still a large proportion of heritability that might ... [more ▼]

Common variants of about 20 genes contributing to AD risk have so far been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, there is still a large proportion of heritability that might be explained by rare but functionally important variants. One of the so far identified genes with rare AD causing variants is ADAM10. Using whole-genome sequencing we now identified a single rare nonsynonymous variant (SNV) rs142946965 [p.R215I] in ADAM17 co-segregating with an autosomal-dominant pattern of late-onset AD in one family. Subsequent genotyping and analysis of available whole-exome sequencing data of additional case/control samples from Germany, the UK and the USA identified five variant carriers among AD patients only. The mutation inhibits pro-protein cleavage and the formation of the active enzyme, thus leading to loss-of-function of ADAM17 α-secretase. Further, we identified a strong negative correlation between ADAM17 and APP gene expression in human brain and present in vitro evidence that ADAM17 negatively controls the expression of APP. As a consequence, p.R215I mutation of ADAM17 leads to elevated Aß formation in vitro. Together our data supports a causative association of the identified ADAM17 variant in the pathogenesis of AD. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome sequencing analysis identifies new loci associated with Lewy body dementia and provides insights into the complex genetic architecture
Chia, Ruth; Sabir, Marya S.; Bandres-Ciga, Sara et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic ... [more ▼]

The genetic basis of Lewy body dementia (LBD) is not well understood. Here, we performed whole-genome sequencing in large cohorts of LBD cases and neurologically healthy controls to study the genetic architecture of this understudied form of dementia and to generate a resource for the scientific community. Genome-wide association analysis identified five independent risk loci, whereas genome-wide gene-aggregation tests implicated mutations in the gene GBA. Genetic risk scores demonstrate that LBD shares risk profiles and pathways with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, providing a deeper molecular understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition.Competing Interest StatementThomas G. Beach is a consultant for Prothena, Vivid Genomics and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals. He is a scientific advisory board member for Vivid Genomics. John A. Hardy, Huw R. Morris, Stuart Pickering-Brown, Andrew B. Singleton, and Bryan J. Traynor hold US, EU and Canadian patents on the clinical testing and therapeutic intervention for the hexanucleotide repeat expansion of C9orf72. Michael A. Nalls is supported by a consulting contract between Data Tecnica International and the National Institute on Aging, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA; as a possible conflict of interest Dr. Nalls also consults for Neuron23 Inc., Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc., Illumina Inc., the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Vivid Genomics among others. Jose A. Palma is an editorial board member of Movement Disorders, Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, BMC Neurology, and Clinical Autonomic Research. Bradley F. Boeve, James Leverenz, and Sonja W. Scholz serve on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Lewy Body Dementia Association. Sonja W. Scholz is an editorial board member for the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. Bryan J. Traynor is an editorial board member for JAMA Neurology; Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry; Brain; and Neurobiology of Aging. Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on Abbvie, Inc. (M15-562 and M15-563), Biogen, Inc. (228PD201) grant, and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BHV4157-206 and BHV3241-301). Zbigniew K. Wszolek serves as the principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Information and Referral Center, and as co-principal investigator of the Mayo Clinic APDA Center for Advanced Research. All other authors report no competing interests. [less ▲]

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See detailMISCAST: MIssense variant to protein StruCture Analysis web SuiTe
Iqbal, Sumaiya; Hoksza, David UL; Pérez-Palma, Eduardo et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2020)

Human genome sequencing efforts have greatly expanded, and a plethora of missense variants identified both in patients and in the general population is now publicly accessible. Interpretation of the ... [more ▼]

Human genome sequencing efforts have greatly expanded, and a plethora of missense variants identified both in patients and in the general population is now publicly accessible. Interpretation of the molecular-level effect of missense variants, however, remains challenging and requires a particular investigation of amino acid substitutions in the context of protein structure and function. Answers to questions like ‘Is a variant perturbing a site involved in key macromolecular interactions and/or cellular signaling?’, or ‘Is a variant changing an amino acid located at the protein core or part of a cluster of known pathogenic mutations in 3D?’ are crucial. Motivated by these needs, we developed MISCAST (missense variant to protein structure analysis web suite; http://miscast.broadinstitute.org/). MISCAST is an interactive and user-friendly web server to visualize and analyze missense variants in protein sequence and structure space. Additionally, a comprehensive set of protein structural and functional features have been aggregated in MISCAST from multiple databases, and displayed on structures alongside the variants to provide users with the biological context of the variant location in an integrated platform. We further made the annotated data and protein structures readily downloadable from MISCAST to foster advanced offline analysis of missense variants by a wide biological community. [less ▲]

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See detailPrimary and recurrent glioma patient-derived orthotopic xenografts (PDOX) represent relevant patient avatars for precision medicine
Golebiewska, Anna UL; Hau, Ann-Christin; Oudin, Anais et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

Patient-derived cancer models are essential tools for studying tumor biology and preclinical interventions. Here, we show that glioma patient-derived orthotopic xenografts (PDOXs) enable long-term ... [more ▼]

Patient-derived cancer models are essential tools for studying tumor biology and preclinical interventions. Here, we show that glioma patient-derived orthotopic xenografts (PDOXs) enable long-term propagation of patient tumors and represent clinically relevant patient avatars. We created a large collection of PDOXs from primary and recurrent gliomas with and without mutations in IDH1, which retained histopathological, genetic, epigenetic and transcriptomic features of patient tumors with no mouse-specific clonal evolution. Longitudinal PDOX models recapitulate the limited genetic evolution of gliomas observed in patient tumors following treatment. PDOX-derived standardized tumor organoid cultures enabled assessment of drug responses, which were validated in mice. PDOXs showed clinically relevant responses to Temozolomide and to targeted treatments such as EGFR and CDK4/6 inhibitors in (epi)genetically defined groups, according to MGMT promoter and EGFR/CDK status respectively. Dianhydrogalactitol, a bifunctional alkylating agent, showed promising potential against glioblastoma. Our study underlines the clinical relevance of glioma PDOX models for translational research and personalized treatment studies. [less ▲]

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See detailBi-allelic GAD1 variants cause a neonatal onset syndromic developmental and epileptic encephalopathy
Chatron, Nicolas; Becker, Felicitas; Morsy, Herba et al

in Brain: a Journal of Neurology (2020)

Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies are a heterogeneous group of early-onset epilepsy syndromes dramatically impairing neurodevelopment. Modern genomic technologies have revealed a number of ... [more ▼]

Developmental and Epileptic Encephalopathies are a heterogeneous group of early-onset epilepsy syndromes dramatically impairing neurodevelopment. Modern genomic technologies have revealed a number of monogenic origins and opened the door to therapeutic hopes. Here we describe a new syndromic developmental and epileptic encephalopathies caused by bi-allelic loss of function variants in GAD1, as presented by eleven patients from 6 independent consanguineous families. Seizure onset occurred in the two first months of life in all patients. All 10 patients from whom early disease history was available, presented seizure onset in the first month of life, mainly consisting of epileptic spasms or myoclonic seizures. Early electroencephalography showed suppression-burst or pattern of burst attenuation or hypsarrhythmia if only recorded in the post-neonatal period. Eight patients had joint contractures and/or pes equinovarus. Seven patients presented a cleft palate and two also had an omphalocele, reproducing the phenotype of the knockout Gad1-/- mouse model. Four patients died before four years of age. GAD1 encodes the glutamate decarboxylase enzyme GAD67, a critical actor of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) metabolism as it catalyzes the decarboxylation of glutamic acid to form GABA. Our findings evoke a novel syndrome related to GAD67 deficiency, characterized by the unique association of developmental and epileptic encephalopathies, cleft palate, joint contractures and/or omphalocele. [less ▲]

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See detailMissing heritability in Parkinson’s disease: the emerging role of non‑coding genetic variation
Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; May, Patrick UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2020)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical trials, including causative treatments, a better understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of PD is required. Despite substantial efforts, genome-wide association studies have not been able to explain most of the observed heritability. The majority of PD-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. A systematic assessment of their functional role is hampered by our incomplete understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, for example through differential regulation of gene expression. Here, the recent progress and remaining challenges for the elucidation of the role of non-coding genetic variants is reviewed with a focus on PD as a complex disease with multifactorial origins. The function of gene regulatory elements and the impact of non-coding variants on them, and the means to map these elements on a genome-wide level, will be delineated. Moreover, examples of how the integration of functional genomic annotations can serve to identify disease-associated pathways and to prioritize disease- and cell type-specific regulatory variants will be given. Finally, strategies for functional validation and considerations for suitable model systems are outlined. Together this emphasizes the contribution of rare and common genetic variants to the complex pathogenesis of PD and points to remaining challenges for the dissection of genetic complexity that may allow for better stratification, improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for PD in the future. [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 detailExcess of singleton loss-of-function variants in Parkinson's disease contributes to genetic risk.
Bobbili, Dheeraj Reddy; Banda, Peter UL; Krüger, Rejko UL et al

in Journal of Medical Genetics (2020)

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple ... [more ▼]

Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple variants associated with sporadic PD were discovered via association studies. Methods We studied the whole-exome sequencing data of 340 PD cases and 146 ethnically matched controls from the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) and performed burden analysis for different rare variant classes. Disease prediction models were built based on clinical, non-clinical and genetic features, including both common and rare variants, and two machine learning methods. Results We observed a significant exome-wide burden of singleton loss-of-function variants (corrected p=0.037). Overall, no exome-wide burden of rare amino acid changing variants was detected. Finally, we built a disease prediction model combining singleton loss-of-function variants, a polygenic risk score based on common variants, and family history of PD as features and reached an area under the curve of 0.703 (95% CI 0.698 to 0.708). By incorporating a rare variant feature, our model increased the performance of the state-of-the-art classification model for the PPMI dataset, which reached an area under the curve of 0.639 based on common variants alone. Conclusion The main finding of this study is to highlight the contribution of singleton loss-of-function variants to the complex genetics of PD and that disease risk prediction models combining singleton and common variants can improve models built solely on common variants. [less ▲]

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