Less than half of patients with suspected genetic disease receive a molecular diagnosis. We have therefore integrated next-generation sequencing (NGS), bioinformatics, and clinical data into an effective diagnostic workflow. We used variants in the 2741 established Mendelian disease genes [the disease-associated genome (DAG)] to develop a targeted enrichment DAG panel (7.1 Mb), which achieves a coverage of 20-fold or better for 98% of bases. Furthermore, we established a computational method [Phenotypic Interpretation of eXomes (PhenIX)] that evaluated and ranked variants based on pathogenicity and semantic similarity of patients' phenotype described by Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) terms to those of 3991 Mendelian diseases. In computer simulations, ranking genes based on the variant score put the true gene in first place less than 5% of the time; PhenIX placed the correct gene in first place more than 86% of the time. In a retrospective test of PhenIX on 52 patients with previously identified mutations and known diagnoses, the correct gene achieved a mean rank of 2.1. In a prospective study on 40 individuals without a diagnosis, PhenIX analysis enabled a diagnosis in 11 cases (28%, at a mean rank of 2.4). Thus, the NGS of the DAG followed by phenotype-driven bioinformatic analysis allows quick and effective differential diagnostics in medical genetics.
Loss of the lysosomal ClC-7/Ostm1 2Cl(-)/H(+) exchanger causes lysosomal storage disease and osteopetrosis in humans and additionally changes fur colour in mice. Its conversion into a Cl(-) conductance in Clcn7(unc/unc) mice entails similarly severe lysosomal storage, but less severe osteopetrosis and no change in fur colour. To elucidate the basis for these phenotypical differences, we generated Clcn7(td/td) mice expressing an ion transport-deficient mutant. Their osteopetrosis was as severe as in Clcn7(-/-) mice, suggesting that the electric shunt provided by ClC-7(unc) can partially rescue osteoclast function. The normal coat colour of Clcn7(td/td) mice and their less severe neurodegeneration suggested that the ClC-7 protein, even when lacking measurable ion transport activity, is sufficient for hair pigmentation and that the conductance of ClC-7(unc) is harmful for neurons. Our in vivo structure-function analysis of ClC-7 reveals that both protein-protein interactions and ion transport must be considered in the pathogenesis of ClC-7-related diseases.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa (ARCL) type 2 constitutes a heterogeneous group of diseases mainly characterized by lax and wrinkled skin, skeletal anomalies, and a variable degree of intellectual disability. ALDH18A1-related ARCL is the most severe form within this disease spectrum. Here we report on the clinical and molecular findings of two affected individuals from two unrelated families. The patients presented with typical features of de Barsy syndrome and an overall progeroid appearance. However, the phenotype was highly variable including cardiovascular involvement in the more severe case. Investigation of a skin biopsy of one patient revealed not only the typical alterations of elastic fibers, but also an altered structure of mitochondria in cutaneous fibroblasts. Using conventional sequencing and copy number analysis we identified a frameshift deletion of one nucleotide and a microdeletion affecting the ALDH18A1 gene, respectively, in a homozygous state in both patients. Expression analysis in dermal fibroblasts from the patient carrying the microdeletion showed an almost complete absence of the ALDH18A1 mRNA resulting in an absence of the ALDH18A1 protein. So far, only 13 affected individuals from seven unrelated families suffering from ALDH18A1-related cutis laxa have been described in literature. Our findings provide new insights into the clinical spectrum and show that beside point mutations microdeletions are a possible cause of ALDH18A1-ARCL.
We report a 16-year-old girl with neonatal progeroid features and congenital lipodystrophy who was considered at birth as a possible variant of Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch syndrome. The emergence of additional clinical signs (marfanoid habitus, severe myopia and dilatation of the aortic bulb) lead to consider the diagnosis of the progeroid variant of Marfan syndrome. A de novo donor splice-site mutation (c.8226+1G>A) was identified in FBN1. We show that this mutation leads to exon 64 skipping and to the production of a stable mRNA that should allow synthesis of a truncated profibrillin-1, in which the C-terminal furin cleavage site is altered. FBN1 mutations associated with a similar phenotype have only been reported in four other patients. We confirm the correlation between marfanoid phenotype with congenital lipodystrophy and neonatal progeroid features (marfanoid-progeroid-lipodystrophy syndrome) and frameshift mutations at the 3' end of FBN1. This syndrome should be considered in differential diagnosis of neonatal progeroid syndromes.
Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome (RSS)/3C (cranio-cerebro-cardiac) syndrome (OMIM#220210) is a rare and clinically heterogeneous developmental disorder characterized by intellectual disability, cerebellar brain malformations, congenital heart defects, and craniofacial abnormalities. A recent study of a Canadian cohort identified homozygous sequence variants in the KIAA0196 gene, which encodes the WASH complex subunit strumpellin, as a cause for a form of RSS/3C syndrome. We have searched for genetic causes of a phenotype similar to RSS/3C syndrome in an Austrian family with two affected sons. To search for disease-causing variants, whole-exome sequencing (WES) was performed on samples from two affected male children and their parents. Before WES, CGH array comparative genomic hybridization was applied. Validation of WES and segregation studies was done using routine Sanger sequencing. Exome sequencing detected a missense variant (c.1670A>G; p.(Tyr557Cys)) in exon 15 of the CCDC22 gene, which maps to chromosome Xp11.23. Western blots of immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from the affected individual showed decreased expression of CCDC22 and an increased expression of WASH1 but a normal expression of strumpellin and FAM21 in the patients cells. We identified a variant in CCDC22 gene as the cause of an X-linked phenotype similar to RSS/3C syndrome in the family described here. A hypomorphic variant in CCDC22 was previously reported in association with a familial case of syndromic X-linked intellectual disability, which shows phenotypic overlap with RSS/3C syndrome. Thus, different inactivating variants affecting CCDC22 are associated with a phenotype similar to RSS/3C syndrome.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 11 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.109.
Through a survey of more than 20 patients with a specific subgroup of autosomal recessive congenital cutis laxa (ARCL), namely ATP6V0A2-related cutis laxa, we noted that the clinical findings on three patients included pretibial pseudo-ecchymotic skin lesions very similar to those found in classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The finding is apparently age-related, occurring during the second decade in two of the three patients.
Many neurodegenerative disorders present with sensory loss. In the group of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies loss of nociception is one of the disease hallmarks. To determine underlying factors of sensory neurodegeneration we performed whole-exome sequencing in affected individuals with the disorder. In a family with sensory neuropathy with loss of pain perception and destruction of the pedal skeleton we report a missense mutation in a highly conserved amino acid residue of atlastin GTPase 3 (ATL3), an endoplasmic reticulum-shaping GTPase. The same mutation (p.Tyr192Cys) was identified in a second family with similar clinical outcome by screening a large cohort of 115 patients with hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies. Both families show an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance and the mutation segregates with complete penetrance. ATL3 is a paralogue of ATL1, a membrane curvature-generating molecule that is involved in spastic paraplegia and hereditary sensory neuropathy. ATL3 proteins are enriched in three-way junctions, branch points of the endoplasmic reticulum that connect membranous tubules to a continuous network. Mutant ATL3 p.Tyr192Cys fails to localize to branch points, but instead disrupts the structure of the tubular endoplasmic reticulum, suggesting that the mutation exerts a dominant-negative effect. Identification of ATL3 as novel disease-associated gene exemplifies that long-term sensory neuronal maintenance critically depends on the structural organisation of the endoplasmic reticulum. It emphasizes that alterations in membrane shaping-proteins are one of the major emerging pathways in axonal degeneration and suggests that this group of molecules should be considered in neuroprotective strategies.
Bone fragility due to osteopenia, osteoporosis or debilitating focal skeletal dysplasias is a frequent observation in the Mendelian disease Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). To determine the mechanisms underlying bone fragility in NF1 we analyzed two conditional mouse models, Nf1Prx1 (limb knock-out) and Nf1Col1 (osteoblast specific knock-out), as well as cortical bone samples from individuals with NF1. We examined mouse bone tissue with micro-computed tomography, qualitative and quantitative histology, mechanical tensile analysis, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM). In cortical bone of Nf1Prx1 mice we detected ectopic blood vessels that were associated with diaphyseal mineralization defects. Defective mineral binding in the proximity of blood vessels was most likely due to impaired bone collagen formation, as these areas were completely devoid of acidic matrix proteins and contained thin collagen fibers. Additionally, we found significantly reduced mechanical strength of the bone material, which was partially caused by increased osteocyte volume. Consistent with these observations, bone samples from individuals with NF1 and tibial dysplasia showed increased osteocyte lacuna volume. Reduced mechanical properties were associated with diminished matrix stiffness, as determined by SAM. In line with these observations, bone tissue from individuals with NF1 and tibial dysplasia showed heterogeneous mineralization and reduced collagen fiber thickness and packaging. Collectively, the data indicate that bone fragility in NF1 tibial dysplasia is partly due to an increased osteocyte-related micro-porosity, hypomineralization, a generalized defect of organic matrix formation, exacerbated in the regions of tensional and bending force integration, and finally persistence of ectopic blood vessels associated with localized macro-porotic bone lesions.
During vertebrate skeletal development, osteoblasts produce a mineralized bone matrix by deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in the extracellular matrix. Anoctamin6/Tmem16F (Ano6) belongs to a conserved family of transmembrane proteins with chloride channel properties. In addition, Ano6 has been linked to phosphatidylserine (PS) scrambling in the plasma membrane. During skeletogenesis, Ano6 mRNA is expressed in differentiating and mature osteoblasts. Deletion of Ano6 in mice results in reduced skeleton size and skeletal deformities. Molecular analysis revealed that chondrocyte and osteoblast differentiation are not disturbed. However, mutant mice display increased regions of nonmineralized, Ibsp-expressing osteoblasts in the periosteum during embryonic development and increased areas of uncalcified osteoid postnatally. In primary Ano6(-/-) osteoblasts, mineralization is delayed, indicating a cell autonomous function of Ano6. Furthermore, we demonstrate that calcium-dependent PS scrambling is impaired in osteoblasts. Our study is the first to our knowledge to reveal the requirement of Ano6 in PS scrambling in osteoblasts, supporting a function of PS exposure in the deposition of hydroxyapatite.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa type 2B (ARCL2B; OMIM # 612940) is a segmental progeroid disorder caused by mutations in PYCR1 encoding pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase 1, which is part of the conserved proline de novo synthesis pathway. Here we describe 33 patients with PYCR1-related ARCL from 27 families with initial diagnoses varying between wrinkly skin syndrome, gerodermia osteodysplastica, De Barsy syndrome or more severe progeria syndromes. Given the difficult differential diagnosis of ARCL syndromes we performed a systematic comparison of clinical features of PYCR1-related ARCL. Intrauterine growth retardation, a characteristic triangular facial gestalt, psychomotor retardation, and hypotonia were the most relevant distinctive hallmarks of ARCL due to proline de novo synthesis defects. Corneal clouding or cataracts, athetoid movements, and finger contractures were rather rare features, but had a high predictive value. In our cohort we identified 20 different PYCR1 mutations of which seven were novel. Most of the mutations accumulated in exons 4 to 6. Missense alterations of highly conserved residues were most frequent followed by splice site changes and a single nonsense mutation. Analysis of genotype-phenotype correlation revealed that patients with mutations in the first two exons had lower average clinical scores and absent or only mild intellectual disability. Structural analyses predicted interference with PYCR1 multimerization for a subset of missense mutations. These findings have implications for the clinics as well as the pathomechanism of PYCR1-related ARCL.
Patients with cutis laxa (CL) have wrinkled, sagging skin with decreased elasticity. Skin symptoms are associated with variable systemic involvement. The most common, genetically highly heterogeneous form of autosomal recessive CL, ARCL2, is frequently associated with variable metabolic and neurological symptoms. Progeroid symptoms, dysmorphic features, hypotonia and psychomotor retardation are highly overlapping in the early phase of these disorders. This makes the genetic diagnosis often challenging. In search for discriminatory symptoms, we prospectively evaluated clinical, neurologic, metabolic and genetic features in our patient cohort referred for suspected ARCL. From a cohort of 26 children, we confirmed mutations in genes associated with ARCL in 16 children (14 probands), including 12 novel mutations. Abnormal glycosylation and gyration abnormalities were mostly, but not always associated with ATP6V0A2 mutations. Epilepsy was most common in ATP6V0A2 defects. Corpus callosum dysgenesis was associated with PYCR1 and ALDH18A1 mutations. Dystonic posturing was discriminatory for PYCR1 and ALDH18A1 defects. Metabolic markers of mitochondrial dysfunction were found in one patient with PYCR1 mutations. So far unreported white matter abnormalities were found associated with GORAB and RIN2 mutations. We describe a large cohort of CL patients with neurologic involvement. Migration defects and corpus callosum hypoplasia were not always diagnostic for a specific genetic defect in CL. All patients with ATP6V0A2 defects had abnormal glycosylation. To conclude, central nervous system and metabolic abnormalities were discriminatory in this genetically heterogeneous group, although not always diagnostic for a certain genetic defect in CL.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 21 August 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.154.
Autosomal recessive osteopetrosis (ARO, MIM 259700) is a genetically heterogeneous rare skeletal disorder characterized by failure of osteoclast resorption leading to pathologically increased bone density, bone marrow failure, and fractures. In the neuronopathic form neurological complications are especially severe and progressive. An early identification of the underlying genetic defect is imperative for assessment of prognosis and treatment by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Here we describe for the first time homozygous microdeletions of different sizes affecting the OSTM1 gene in two unrelated consanguineous families with children suffering from neuronopathic infantile malignant osteopetrosis. Patients showed an exceptionally severe phenotype with variable CNS malformations, seizures, blindness, and deafness. Multi-organ failure due to sepsis led to early death between six weeks and five months of age in spite of intensive care treatment. Analysis of the breakpoints revealed different mechanisms underlying both rearrangements. Microdeletions seem to represent a considerable portion of OSTM1 mutations and should therefore be included in a sufficient diagnostic screening.
We report that hypofunctional alleles of WNT1 cause autosomal-recessive osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital disorder characterized by reduced bone mass and recurrent fractures. In consanguineous families, we identified five homozygous mutations in WNT1: one frameshift mutation, two missense mutations, one splice-site mutation, and one nonsense mutation. In addition, in a family affected by dominantly inherited early-onset osteoporosis, a heterozygous WNT1 missense mutation was identified in affected individuals. Initial functional analysis revealed that altered WNT1 proteins fail to activate canonical LRP5-mediated WNT-regulated ?-catenin signaling. Furthermore, osteoblasts cultured in vitro showed enhanced Wnt1 expression with advancing differentiation, indicating a role of WNT1 in osteoblast function and bone development. Our finding that homozygous and heterozygous variants in WNT1 predispose to low-bone-mass phenotypes might advance the development of more effective therapeutic strategies for congenital forms of bone fragility, as well as for common forms of age-related osteoporosis.
Human Autosomal Recessive Osteopetrosis (ARO) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder caused by reduced bone resorption by osteoclasts. In 2000, we found that mutations in the TCIRG1 gene encoding for a subunit of the proton pump (V-ATPase) are responsible for more than one-half of ARO cases. Since then, five additional genes have been demonstrated to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease, leaving approximately 25% of cases that could not be associated with a genotype. Very recently, a mutation in the sorting nexin 10 (SNX10) gene, whose product is suggested to interact with the proton pump, has been found in 3 consanguineous families of Palestinian origin, thus adding a new candidate gene in patients not previously classified. Here we report the identification of 9 novel mutations in this gene in 14 ARO patients from 12 unrelated families of different geographic origin. Interestingly, we define the molecular defect in three cases of "Västerbottenian osteopetrosis," named for the Swedish Province where a higher incidence of the disease has been reported. In our cohort of more than 310 patients from all over the world, SNX10-dependent ARO constitutes 4% of the cases, with a frequency comparable to the receptor activator of NF-?B ligand (RANKL), receptor activator of NF-?B (RANK) and osteopetrosis-associated transmembrane protein 1 (OSTM1)-dependent subsets. Although the clinical presentation is relatively variable in severity, bone seems to be the only affected tissue and the defect can be almost completely rescued by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). These results confirm the involvement of the SNX10 gene in human ARO and identify a new subset with a relatively favorable prognosis as compared to TCIRG1-dependent cases. Further analyses will help to better understand the role of SNX10 in osteoclast physiology and verify whether this protein might be considered a new target for selective antiresorptive therapies.
Extracellular matrix mineralization is important for mechanical stability of the skeleton and for calcium and phosphate storage. Professional mineral-disposing cell types are hypertrophic chondrocytes, odontoblasts, ameloblasts and osteoblasts. Since ectopic mineralization causes tissue dysfunction mineralization inhibitors and promoting factors have to be kept in close balance. The most prominent inhibitors are fetuin-A, matrix-Gla-protein (MGP), SIGBLING proteins and pyrophosphate. In spite of their ubiquitous presence, their loss entails a specific rather than a stereotypic pattern of ectopic mineralization. Typical sites of pathological mineral accumulation are connective tissues, articular cartilage, and vessels. Associated common human pathologies are degenerative joint disorders and arteriosclerosis. This article gives a summary on what we have learned from different mouse models with pathologic mineralization phenotypes about the role of these inhibitors and the regulation of mineralization promoting factors.
Cutis laxa is a rare skin disorder characterized by wrinkled, redundant, inelastic and sagging skin due to defective synthesis of elastic fibers and other proteins of the extracellular matrix. Wrinkled, inelastic skin occurs in many cases as an acquired condition. Syndromic forms of cutis laxa, however, are caused by diverse genetic defects, mostly coding for structural extracellular matrix proteins. Surprisingly a number of metabolic disorders have been also found to be associated with inherited cutis laxa. Menkes disease was the first metabolic disease reported with old-looking, wrinkled skin. Cutis laxa has recently been found in patients with abnormal glycosylation. The discovery of the COG7 defect in patients with wrinkled, inelastic skin was the first genetic link with the Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG). Since then several inborn errors of metabolism with cutis laxa have been described with variable severity. These include P5CS, ATP6V0A2-CDG and PYCR1 defects. In spite of the evolving number of cutis laxa-related diseases a large part of the cases remain genetically unsolved. In metabolic cutis laxa syndromes the clinical and laboratory features might partially overlap, however there are some distinct, discriminative features. In this review on metabolic diseases causing cutis laxa we offer a practical approach for the differential diagnosis of metabolic cutis laxa syndromes.
We report on the third case of cutis laxa and progeroid features caused by a homozygous mutation in ALDH18A1 that encodes ?¹-pyrroline-5-carboxylate-synthase (P5CS). This severely affected child, born to consanguineous parents of Pakistani origin, presented with lax, wrinkled and thin skin with dilated and tortuous subcutaneous blood vessels, corneal clouding, and hypotonia. The child had severe global developmental delay and feeding difficulties and died in infancy for an unknown reason. The proband was homozygous for a mutation in ALDH18A1, c.1923?+?1G?>?A which results in the production of two anomalous transcripts that are predicted to encode proteins lacking the catalytic site for the enzyme. The cellular phenotype is characterized by diminished production of collagen types I and III, altered elastin ultrastructure, and diminished cell proliferation of cultured dermal fibroblasts. This severe clinical and cellular phenotype overlaps with a broad group of neurocutaneous syndromes that include cutis laxa type II, wrinkly skin syndrome, de Barsy syndrome, and gerodermia osteodysplastica. The findings presented here emphasize the pleiotropic presentation of this group of conditions and suggest that multiple components of the extracellular matrix are perturbed in these disorders.
Nitric oxide associated-1 (NOA1) is an evolutionarily conserved guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding protein that localizes predominantly to mitochondria in mammalian cells. On the basis of bioinformatic analysis, we predicted its possible involvement in ribosomal biogenesis, although this had not been supported by any experimental evidence. Here we determine NOA1 function through generation of knockout mice and in vitro assays. NOA1-deficient mice exhibit midgestation lethality associated with a severe developmental defect of the embryo and trophoblast. Primary embryonic fibroblasts isolated from NOA1 knockout embryos show deficient mitochondrial protein synthesis and a global defect of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Additionally, Noa1?/? cells are impaired in staurosporine-induced apoptosis. The analysis of mitochondrial ribosomal subunits from Noa1?/? cells by sucrose gradient centrifugation and Western blotting showed anomalous sedimentation, consistent with a defect in mitochondrial ribosome assembly. Furthermore, in vitro experiments revealed that intrinsic NOA1 GTPase activity was stimulated by bacterial ribosomal constituents. Taken together, our data show that NOA1 is required for mitochondrial protein synthesis, likely due to its yet unidentified role in mitoribosomal biogenesis. Thus, NOA1 is required for such basal mitochondrial functions as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and apoptosis.
Mutations in ANKH cause the highly divergent conditions familial chondrocalcinosis and craniometaphyseal dysplasia. The gene product ANK is supposed to regulate tissue mineralization by transporting pyrophosphate to the extracellular space.
During lysosomal acidification, proton-pump currents are thought to be shunted by a chloride ion (Cl-) channel, tentatively identified as ClC-7. Surprisingly, recent data suggest that ClC-7 instead mediates Cl-/proton (H+) exchange. We generated mice carrying a point mutation converting ClC-7 into an uncoupled (unc) Cl- conductor. Despite maintaining lysosomal conductance and normal lysosomal pH, these Clcn7(unc/unc) mice showed lysosomal storage disease like mice lacking ClC-7. However, their osteopetrosis was milder, and they lacked a coat color phenotype. Thus, only some roles of ClC-7 Cl-/H+ exchange can be taken over by a Cl- conductance. This conductance was even deleterious in Clcn7(+/unc) mice. Clcn7(-/-) and Clcn7(unc/unc) mice accumulated less Cl- in lysosomes than did wild-type mice. Thus, lowered lysosomal chloride may underlie their common phenotypes.
Although clinical reports have described infantile malignant autosomal recessive osteopetrosis (ARO) in Indian patients, no published data are available about the genetic causes of ARO in this population. We investigated the main genetic causes of ARO in eight Indian patients with early postnatal onset and the typical severe clinical course including visual impairment and anaemia.
Ectodermal dysplasias form a large disease family with more than 200 members. The combination of hair and tooth abnormalities, alopecia, and cutaneous syndactyly is characteristic of ectodermal dysplasia-syndactyly syndrome (EDSS). We used a homozygosity mapping approach to map the EDSS locus to 1q23 in a consanguineous Algerian family. By candidate gene analysis, we identified a homozygous mutation in the PVRL4 gene that not only evoked an amino acid change but also led to exon skipping. In an Italian family with two siblings affected by EDSS, we further detected a missense and a frameshift mutation. PVRL4 encodes for nectin-4, a cell adhesion molecule mainly implicated in the formation of cadherin-based adherens junctions. We demonstrated high nectin-4 expression in hair follicle structures, as well as in the separating digits of murine embryos, the tissues mainly affected by the EDSS phenotype. In patient keratinocytes, mutated nectin-4 lost its capability to bind nectin-1. Additionally, in discrete structures of the hair follicle, we found alterations of the membrane localization of nectin-afadin and cadherin-catenin complexes, which are essential for adherens junction formation, and we found reorganization of actin cytoskeleton. Together with cleft lip and/or palate ectodermal dysplasia (CLPED1, or Zlotogora-Ogur syndrome) due to an impaired function of nectin-1, EDSS is the second known "nectinopathy" caused by mutations in a nectin adhesion molecule.
Sclerosing bone disorders can be subdivided according to their clinical presentation, the primarily affected cell type, and the cellular pathways. Osteoclast-rich osteopetrosis and related disorders have been related in most cases to mutations in genes required for osteoclast function. More recently, osteoclast-poor forms of osteopetrosis have been described as being connected to factors that govern osteoclast differentiation. However, increased bone formation can also cause osteosclerosis. Camurati-Engelman disease and osteopoikilosis are both related transforming growth factor-beta signaling. Rare recessive or dominant sclerosing disorders, such as endosteal hyperostosis, sclerosteosis, van Buchem disease, high bone-mass syndrome, and osteopathia striata, are caused by mutations in genes involved in the Wnt pathway, which regulates osteoblast differentiation. Finally, a third entity, including Ghosal syndrome and pachydermoperiostosis, is related to mutations in genes of the eicosanoid pathway. Clinical aspects and the consequences for our understanding of bone biology are discussed.
Craniometaphyseal dysplasia (CMD) is a rare, sclerosing skeletal disorder caused by mutations in ANKH, which encodes a putative pyrophosphate transporting membrane protein. Six distinct ANKH mutations have been described to date. We report here on three novel mutations in simplex patients with CMD. The c.1015T>C (p.Cys339Arg) mutation found in Patient A was associated with congenital facial palsy, early-onset conductive hearing loss, and a generalized undermodeling of the long bones. The c.1172T>C (p.Leu391Pro) mutation in Patient B was associated with facial palsy, progressive conductive hearing loss, and generalized undermodeling of tubular bones. A milder phenotype without cranial nerve affection was observed in Patient C, associated with a c.1001T>G (p.Leu334Arg) mutation. All affected residues lie in evolutionarily conserved sequence blocks. These additional cases and the associated mutations contribute to an improved appreciation of the variability of this rare skeletal dysplasia. (c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
A 38-year-old male patient was admitted with slowly progressive spastic gait disturbance. Imaging revealed general spinal cord atrophy. Because of adrenal insufficiency, alacrima and achalasia, triple A syndrome was suspected. This is a case report of a triple A syndrome patient with a predominance of neurological features and a new heterozygous compound mutation in triple A syndrome gene.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa (ARCL) describes a group of syndromal disorders that are often associated with a progeroid appearance, lax and wrinkled skin, osteopenia and mental retardation. Homozygosity mapping in several kindreds with ARCL identified a candidate region on chromosome 17q25. By high-throughput sequencing of the entire candidate region, we detected disease-causing mutations in the gene PYCR1. We found that the gene product, an enzyme involved in proline metabolism, localizes to mitochondria. Altered mitochondrial morphology, membrane potential and increased apoptosis rate upon oxidative stress were evident in fibroblasts from affected individuals. Knockdown of the orthologous genes in Xenopus and zebrafish led to epidermal hypoplasia and blistering that was accompanied by a massive increase of apoptosis. Our findings link mutations in PYCR1 to altered mitochondrial function and progeroid changes in connective tissues.
Activation of osteoclasts and their acidification-dependent resorption of bone is thought to maintain proper serum calcium levels. Here we show that osteoclast dysfunction alone does not generally affect calcium homeostasis. Indeed, mice deficient in Src, encoding a tyrosine kinase critical for osteoclast activity, show signs of osteopetrosis, but without hypocalcemia or defects in bone mineralization. Mice deficient in Cckbr, encoding a gastrin receptor that affects acid secretion by parietal cells, have the expected defects in gastric acidification but also secondary hyperparathyroidism and osteoporosis and modest hypocalcemia. These results suggest that alterations in calcium homeostasis can be driven by defects in gastric acidification, especially given that calcium gluconate supplementation fully rescues the phenotype of the Cckbr-mutant mice. Finally, mice deficient in Tcirg1, encoding a subunit of the vacuolar proton pump specifically expressed in both osteoclasts and parietal cells, show hypocalcemia and osteopetrorickets. Although neither Src- nor Cckbr-deficient mice have this latter phenotype, the combined deficiency of both genes results in osteopetrorickets. Thus, we find that osteopetrosis and osteopetrorickets are distinct phenotypes, depending on the site or sites of defective acidification.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa type 2 (ARCL2), a syndrome of growth and developmental delay and redundant, inelastic skin, is caused by mutations in the a2 subunit of the vesicular ATPase H+-pump (ATP6V0A2). The goal of this study was to define the disease mechanisms that lead to connective tissue lesions in ARCL2. In a new cohort of 17 patients, DNA sequencing of ATP6V0A2 detected either homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations. Considerable allelic and phenotypic heterogeneity was observed, with a missense mutation of a moderately conserved residue p.P87L leading to unusually mild disease. Abnormal N- and/or mucin type O-glycosylation was observed in all patients tested. Premature stop codon mutations led to decreased ATP6V0A2 mRNA levels by destabilizing the mutant mRNA via the nonsense-mediated decay pathway. Loss of ATP6V0A2 either by siRNA knockdown or in ARCL2 cells resulted in distended Golgi cisternae, accumulation of abnormal lysosomes and multivesicular bodies. Immunostaining of ARCL2 cells showed the accumulation of tropoelastin (TE) in the Golgi and in large, abnormal intracellular and extracellular aggregates. Pulse-chase studies confirmed impaired secretion and increased intracellular retention of TE, and insoluble elastin assays showed significantly reduced extracellular deposition of mature elastin. Fibrillin-1 microfibril assembly and secreted lysyl oxidase activity were normal in ARCL2 cells. TUNEL staining demonstrated increased rates of apoptosis in ARCL2 cell cultures. We conclude that loss-of-function mutations in ATP6V0A2 lead to TE aggregation in the Golgi, impaired clearance of TE aggregates and increased apoptosis of elastogenic cells.
Whereas mechanical stimulation is essential for bone homeostasis, straining of larger magnitude promotes bone regeneration by directing cell differentiation and proliferation and influencing the gene expression patterns of osteoblasts, which play a vital role in fracture healing by producing and mineralizing osteoid matrix. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the response of osteoblasts to mechanical strains comparable to those occurring during bone regeneration, MC3T3 S4 (MC4) osteoblast-like cells were stretched in vitro. Analysis based on microarray expression profiling during the first 8 h after straining showed 674 differentially expressed genes. The response to mechanical strain can be divided in an immediate-early response (IER) and later responses. Examination of the approximately 40 genes differentially expressed within the first 60 min, including 11 involved in regulating gene transcription, showed both promiscuous IER genes such as Fos that are upregulated by multiple extracellular stimuli, as well as a number of genes previously shown in neurons to be induced preferentially by depolarization (IPD-IER). Selected differentially expressed genes were validated after mechanical straining and KCl-induced depolarization. The effects of inhibitors for protein kinase A, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and calcineurin pathways were assessed in separate experiments by quantitative RT-PCR and shown to have differential effects on the response of MC4 cells and primary calvaria osteoblasts to both mechanical straining and KCl-induced depolarization. Therefore, our results showed the existence of two distinct pathways that mediate the IER of osteoblasts to large-magnitude mechanical straining and suggest that the IER to depolarizing stimuli is conserved in cell types as different as osteoblasts and neurons.
Glycosylation of proteins is one of the most important post-translational modifications. Defects in the glycan biosynthesis result in congenital malformation syndromes, also known as congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG). Based on the iso-electric focusing patterns of plasma transferrin and apolipoprotein C-III a combined defect in N- and O-glycosylation was identified in patients with autosomal recessive cutis laxa type II (ARCL II). Disease-causing mutations were identified in the ATP6V0A2 gene, encoding the a2 subunit of the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase). The V-ATPases are multi-subunit, ATP-dependent proton pumps located in membranes of cells and organels. In this article, we describe the structure, function and regulation of the V-ATPase and the phenotypes currently known to result from V-ATPase mutations. A clinical overview of cutis laxa syndromes is presented with a focus on ARCL II. Finally, the relationship between ATP6V0A2 mutations, the glycosylation defect and the ARCLII phenotype is discussed.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa type I (ARCL type I) is characterized by generalized cutis laxa with pulmonary emphysema and/or vascular complications. Rarely, mutations can be identified in FBLN4 or FBLN5. Recently, LTBP4 mutations have been implicated in a similar phenotype. Studying FBLN4, FBLN5, and LTBP4 in 12 families with ARCL type I, we found bi-allelic FBLN5 mutations in two probands, whereas nine probands harbored biallelic mutations in LTBP4. FBLN5 and LTBP4 mutations cause a very similar phenotype associated with severe pulmonary emphysema, in the absence of vascular tortuosity or aneurysms. Gastrointestinal and genitourinary tract involvement seems to be more severe in patients with LTBP4 mutations. Functional studies showed that most premature termination mutations in LTBP4 result in severely reduced mRNA and protein levels. This correlated with increased transforming growth factor-beta (TGF?) activity. However, one mutation, c.4127dupC, escaped nonsense-mediated decay. The corresponding mutant protein (p.Arg1377Alafs(*) 27) showed reduced colocalization with fibronectin, leading to an abnormal morphology of microfibrils in fibroblast cultures, while retaining normal TGF? activity. We conclude that LTBP4 mutations cause disease through both loss of function and gain of function mechanisms.
Autosomal recessive cutis laxa (ARCL) syndromes are phenotypically overlapping, but genetically heterogeneous disorders. Mutations in the ATP6V0A2 gene were found to underlie both, autosomal recessive cutis laxa type 2 (ARCL2), Debré type, and wrinkly skin syndrome (WSS). The ATP6V0A2 gene encodes the a2 subunit of the V-type H(+)-ATPase, playing a role in proton translocation, and possibly also in membrane fusion. Here, we describe a highly variable phenotype in 13 patients with ARCL2, including the oldest affected individual described so far, who showed strikingly progressive dysmorphic features and heterotopic calcifications. In these individuals we identified 17 ATP6V0A2 mutations, 14 of which are novel. Furthermore, we demonstrate a localization of ATP6V0A2 at the Golgi-apparatus and a loss of the mutated ATP6V0A2 protein in patients dermal fibroblasts. Investigation of brefeldin A-induced Golgi collapse in dermal fibroblasts as well as in HeLa cells deficient for ATP6V0A2 revealed a delay, which was absent in cells deficient for the ARCL-associated proteins GORAB or PYCR1. Furthermore, fibroblasts from patients with ATP6V0A2 mutations displayed elevated TGF-? signalling and increased TGF-?1 levels in the supernatant. Our current findings expand the genetic and phenotypic spectrum and suggest that, besides the known glycosylation defect, alterations in trafficking and signalling processes are potential key events in the pathogenesis of ATP6V0A2-related ARCL.
Malignant infantile osteopetrosis (MIOP) is a rare cause in the list of etiological factors of neonatal hypocalcemia in several textbooks. The most severe complication of MIOP is bone marrow suppression. The abnormal expansion of bone interferes with medullary haematopoiesis. Most children with this disease die within the first decade of life of secondary consequence of bone marrow failure. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative therapy for MIOP, an otherwise fatal disease. We present a neonate with MIOP that was further complicated with vitamin D deficiency.
Autosomal recessive osteopetrosis (ARO) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder attributed to reduced bone resorption by osteoclasts. Most human AROs are classified as osteoclast rich, but recently two subsets of osteoclast-poor ARO have been recognized as caused by defects in either TNFSF11 or TNFRSF11A genes, coding the RANKL and RANK proteins, respectively. The RANKL/RANK axis drives osteoclast differentiation and also plays a role in the immune system. In fact, we have recently reported that mutations in the TNFRSF11A gene lead to osteoclast-poor osteopetrosis associated with hypogammaglobulinemia. Here we present the characterization of five additional unpublished patients from four unrelated families in which we found five novel mutations in the TNFRSF11A gene, including two missense and two nonsense mutations and a single-nucleotide insertion. Immunological investigation in three of them showed that the previously described defect in the B cell compartment was present only in some patients and that its severity seemed to increase with age and the progression of the disease. HSCT performed in all five patients almost completely cured the disease even when carried out in late infancy. Hypercalcemia was the most important posttransplant complication. Overall, our results further underline the heterogeneity of human ARO also deriving from the interplay between bone and the immune system, and highlight the prognostic and therapeutic implications of the molecular diagnosis.
Osteopetrosis is an inherited disorder of impaired bone resorption with the most commonly affected genes being CLCN7 and TCIRG1, encoding the Cl(-) /H(+) exchanger CLC-7 and the a3 subunit of the vacuolar H(+) -ATPase, respectively. We, and others have previously shown that the disease is frequently accompanied by osteomalacia, and that this additional pathology is also found in Tcirg1-deficient oc/oc mice. The remaining question was, whether osteoid enrichment is specifically associated with TCIRG1 inactivation, or whether CLCN7 mutations would also cause skeletal mineralization defects. Here we describe a complete osteologic assessment of one family carrying a novel mutation in CLCN7 (D145G), which impairs the activation and relaxation kinetics of the CLC-7 ion transporter. The two siblings carrying the mutation in the homozygous state displayed high bone mass, increased serum levels of bone formation markers, but no impairment of calcium homeostasis when compared to the other family members. Most importantly however, undecalcified processing of an iliac crest biopsy from one of the affected children clearly demonstrated a pathological increase of trabecular bone mass, but no signs of osteomalacia. Given the potential relevance of these findings we additionally performed undecalcified histology of iliac crest biopsies from seven additional cases with osteopetrosis caused by a mutation in TNFRSF11A (n?=?1), CLCN7 (n?=?3) or TCIRG1 (n?=?3). Here we observed that all cases with TCIRG1-dependent osteopetrosis displayed severe osteoid accumulation and decreased calcium content within the mineralized matrix. In contrast, there was no detectable bone mineralization defect in the cases with TNFRSF11A- or CLCN7-dependent osteopetrosis. Taken together, our analysis demonstrates that CLCN7 and TCIRG1 mutations differentially affect bone matrix mineralization, and that there is a need to modify the current classification of osteopetrosis.
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