Atrial fibrillation (AF), defined by disorganized atrial cardiac rhythm, is the most prevalent cardiac arrhythmia worldwide. Recent genetic studies have highlighted a major heritable component and identified numerous loci associated with AF risk, including the cardiogenic transcription factor genes TBX5, GATA4, and NKX2-5. We report that Tbx5 and Gata4 interact with opposite signs for atrial rhythm controls compared with cardiac development. Using mouse genetics, we found that AF pathophysiology caused by Tbx5 haploinsufficiency, including atrial arrhythmia susceptibility, prolonged action potential duration, and ectopic cardiomyocyte depolarizations, were all rescued by Gata4 haploinsufficiency. In contrast, Nkx2-5 haploinsufficiency showed no combinatorial effect. The molecular basis of the TBX5/GATA4 interaction included normalization of intra-cardiomyocyte calcium flux and expression of calcium channel genes Atp2a2 and Ryr2. Furthermore, GATA4 and TBX5 showed antagonistic interactions on an Ryr2 enhancer. Atrial rhythm instability caused by Tbx5 haploinsufficiency was rescued by a decreased dose of phospholamban, a sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase inhibitor, consistent with a role for decreased sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium flux in Tbx5-dependent AF susceptibility. This work defines a link between Tbx5 dose, sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium flux, and AF propensity. The unexpected interactions between Tbx5 and Gata4 in atrial rhythm control suggest that evaluating specific interactions between genetic risk loci will be necessary for ascertaining personalized risk from genetic association data.
Brigitte Laforest, Wenli Dai, Leonid Tyan, Sonja Lazarevic, Kaitlyn M. Shen, Margaret Gadek, Michael T. Broman, Christopher R. Weber, Ivan P. Moskowitz
Diabetes is a common complication of cystic fibrosis (CF) that affects approximately 20% of adolescents and 40% to 50% of adults with CF. The age-at-onset of CF-related diabetes (marked by clinical diagnosis and treatment initiation) is an important measure of the disease process. DNA variants associated with age-at-onset of CFRD reside in and near SLC26A9. Deep sequencing of the SLC26A9 gene in 762 individuals with CF revealed that two common DNA haplotypes formed by the risk variants account for the association with diabetes (high risk, P-value: 4.34E-3; low risk, P-value: 1.14E-3). Single-cell RNA (scRNA) sequencing indicated that SLC26A9 is predominantly expressed in pancreatic ductal cells, and frequently co-expressed with CFTR along with transcription factors that have binding sites 5′ of SLC26A9. These findings replicated upon re-analysis of scRNA data from 4 independent studies. DNA fragments derived from the 5′ region of SLC26A9 bearing variants from the low risk haplotype generated 12% to 20% higher levels of expression in PANC-1 and CFPAC-1 cells compared to the high risk haplotype (P-values: 2.00E-3 to 5.15E-9). Taken together, our findings indicate that an increase in SLC26A9 expression in ductal cells of the pancreas delays the age-at-onset of diabetes, thereby suggesting a CFTR-agnostic treatment for a major complication of CF.
Anh-Thu N. Lam, Melis A. Aksit, Briana Vecchio-Pagan, Celeste A. Shelton, Derek L. Osorio, Arianna F. Anzmann, Loyal A. Goff, David C. Whitcomb, Scott M. Blackman, Garry R. Cutting
We report on 2 patients with compound heterozygous mutations in forkhead box N1 (FOXN1), a transcription factor essential for thymic epithelial cell (TEC) differentiation. TECs are critical for T cell development. Both patients had a presentation consistent with T–/loB+NK+ SCID, with normal hair and nails, distinct from the classic nude/SCID phenotype in individuals with autosomal-recessive FOXN1 mutations. To understand the basis of this phenotype and the effects of the mutations on FOXN1, we generated mice using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to genocopy mutations in 1 of the patients. The mice with the Foxn1 compound heterozygous mutations had thymic hypoplasia, causing a T–B+NK+ SCID phenotype, whereas the hair and nails of these mice were normal. Characterization of the functional changes due to the Foxn1 mutations revealed a 5–amino acid segment at the end of the DNA-binding domain essential for the development of TECs but not keratinocytes. The transcriptional activity of this Foxn1 mutant was partly retained, indicating a region that specifies TEC functions. Analysis of an additional 9 FOXN1 mutations identified in multiple unrelated patients revealed distinct functional consequences contingent on the impact of the mutation on the DNA-binding and transactivation domains of FOXN1.
Qiumei Du, Larry K. Huynh, Fatma Coskun, Erika Molina, Matthew A. King, Prithvi Raj, Shaheen Khan, Igor Dozmorov, Christine M. Seroogy, Christian A. Wysocki, Grace T. Padron, Tyler R. Yates, M. Louise Markert, M. Teresa de la Morena, Nicolai S.C. van Oers
Gene therapy approaches are being deployed to treat recessive genetic disorders by restoring the expression of mutated genes. However, the feasibility of these approaches for dominantly-inherited diseases—where treatment may require reduction in the expression of a toxic mutant protein resulting from a gain-of-function (GoF) allele—is unclear. Here we show the efficacy of allele-specific RNAi as a potential therapeutic for Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2D (CMT2D), caused by dominant mutations in glycyl tRNA-synthetase (GARS). A de novo mutation in GARS was identified in a patient with a severe peripheral neuropathy, and a mouse model precisely recreating the mutation was produced. These mice developed a neuropathy by 3-4 weeks-of-age, validating the pathogenicity of the mutation. RNAi sequences targeting mutant GARS mRNA, but not wild-type, were optimized and then packaged into AAV9 for in vivo delivery. This almost completely prevented the neuropathy in mice treated at birth. Delaying treatment until after disease onset showed modest benefit, though this effect decreased the longer treatment was delayed. These outcomes were reproduced in a second mouse model of CMT2D using a vector specifically targeting that allele. The effects were dose dependent, and persisted for at least one year. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of AAV9-mediated allele-specific knockdown and provide proof-of-concept for gene therapy approaches for dominant neuromuscular diseases.
Kathryn H. Morelli, Laurie B. Griffin, Nettie K. Pyne, Lindsay M. Wallace, Allison M. Fowler, Stephanie N. Oprescu, Ryuichi Takase, Na Wei, Rebecca Meyer-Schuman, Dattatreya Mellacheruvu, Jacob O. Kitzman, Samuel G. Kocen, Timothy J. Hines, Emily L. Spaulding, James R. Lupski, Alexey Nesvizhskii, Pedro Mancias, Ian J. Butler, Xiang-Lei Yang, Ya-Ming Hou, Anthony Antonellis, Scott Q. Harper, Robert W. Burgess
Mutations in genes encoding components of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication machinery cause mtDNA depletion syndromes (MDS), which associate ocular features with severe neurological syndromes. Here, we identified heterozygous missense mutations in SSBP1 in five unrelated families, leading to the R38Q and R107Q amino-acid changes in the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein, a crucial protein involved in mtDNA replication. All affected individuals presented optic atrophy, associated with foveopathy in half of the cases. To uncover the structural features underlying SSBP1 mutations, we determined a new revised SSBP1 crystal structure. Structural analysis suggests that both mutations affect dimer interactions and presumably distort the DNA binding region. Using patient fibroblasts, we validated that the R38Q variant destabilizes SSBP1 dimer/tetramer formation, affects mtDNA replication and induces mtDNA depletion. Our study, showing that mutations in SSBP1 cause a novel form of dominant optic atrophy frequently accompanied with foveopathy, brings new insights into mtDNA maintenance disorders.
Camille Piro-Mégy, Emmanuelle Sarzi, Aleix Tarrés-Solé, Marie Péquignot, Fenna Hensen, Mélanie Quilès, Gaël Manes, Arka Chakraborty, Audrey Sénéchal, Béatrice Bocquet, Chantal Cazevieille, Agathe Roubertie, Agnès Müller, Majida Charif, David Goudenège, Guy Lenaers, Helmut Wilhelm, Ulrich Kellner, Nicole Weisschuh, Bernd Wissinger, Xavier Zanlonghi, Christian Hamel, Johannes N. Spelbrink, Maria Solà, Cécile Delettre
Inherited optic neuropathies include complex phenotypes, mostly driven by mitochondrial dysfunction. We report an optic atrophy spectrum disorder, including retinal macular dystrophy and kidney insufficiency leading to transplantation, associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion without accumulation of multiple deletions. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified mutations affecting the mitochondrial single strand binding protein (SSBP1) in four families with dominant and one with recessive inheritance. We show that SSBP1 mutations in patient-derived fibroblasts variably affect its amount and alter multimer formation, but not the binding to ssDNA. SSBP1 mutations impaired mtDNA, nucleoids and 7S-DNA amounts as well as mtDNA replication, impacting replisome machinery. The variable mtDNA depletion in cells reflected in severity of mitochondrial dysfunction, including respiratory efficiency, OXPHOS subunits and complexes amount and assembly. mtDNA depletion and cytochrome c oxidase-negative cells were found ex-vivo in biopsies of affected tissues, like kidney and skeletal muscle. Reduced efficiency of mtDNA replication was also reproduced in vitro, confirming the pathogenic mechanism. Furthermore, ssbp1 suppression in zebrafish induced signs of nephropathy and reduced optic nerve size, the latter phenotype complemented by wild-type mRNA but not by SSBP1 mutant transcripts. This previously unrecognized disease of mtDNA maintenance implicates SSBP1 mutations as cause of human pathology.
Valentina Del Dotto, Farid Ullah, Ivano Di Meo, Pamela Magini, Mirjana Gusic, Alessandra Maresca, Leonardo Caporali, Flavia Palombo, Francesca Tagliavini, Evan H. Baugh, Bertil Macao, Zsolt Szilagyi, Camille Péron, Margaret A. Gustafson, Kamal Khan, Chiara La Morgia, Piero Barboni, Michele Carbonelli, Maria Lucia Valentino, Rocco Liguori, Vandana Shashi, Jennifer A. Sullivan, Shashi Nagaraj, Mays El-Dairi, Alessandro Iannaccone, Ioana Cutcutache, Enrico Bertini, Rosalba Carrozzo, Francesco Emma, Francesca Diomedi-Camassei, Claudia Zanna, Martin Armstrong, Matthew J Page, Sylvia Boesch, Saskia B. Wortmann, Robert Kopajtich, Nicholas Stong, Wolfgang Sperl, Erica Davis, William C. Copeland, Marco Seri, Maria Falkenberg, Holger Prokisch, Nicholas Katsanis, Valeria Tiranti, Tommaso Pippucci, Valerio Carelli
Manganese (Mn), an essential metal and nutrient, is toxic in excess. Toxicity classically results from inhalational exposures in individuals working in industrial settings. Identified in 2012, the first known disease of inherited Mn excess is caused by mutations in the metal exporter SLC30A10 and is characterized by Mn excess, dystonia, cirrhosis, and polycythemia. To investigate the role of SLC30A10 in Mn homeostasis, we first generated mice with whole body Slc30a10 deficiency, which developed severe Mn excess and impaired systemic and biliary Mn excretion. Slc30a10 localized to canalicular membrane of hepatocytes, but mice with liver Slc30a10 deficiency developed minimal Mn excess despite impaired biliary Mn excretion. Slc30a10 also localized to the apical membrane of enterocytes, but mice with Slc30a10 deficiency in small intestines developed minimal Mn excess despite impaired Mn export into the lumen of the small intestines. Finally, mice with Slc30a10 deficiency in liver and small intestines developed Mn excess less severe than that observed in mice with whole body Slc30a10 deficiency, suggesting that additional sites of Slc30a10 expression contribute to Mn homeostasis. Overall, these results indicated that Slc30a10 is essential for Mn excretion and could be an effective target for pharmacological intervention for Mn toxicity.
Courtney J. Mercadante, Milankumar Prajapati, Heather L. Conboy, Miriam E. Dash, Carolina Herrera, Michael A. Pettiglio, Layra Cintron-Rivera, Madeleine A. Salesky, Deepa B. Rao, Thomas B. Bartnikas
Despite progress in intensification of therapy, outcomes for patients with metastatic osteosarcoma (OS) have not improved in thirty years. We developed a system that enabled preclinical screening of compounds against metastatic OS cells in the context of the native lung microenvironment. Using this strategy to screen a library of epigenetically targeted compounds, we identified inhibitors of CDK12 to be most effective, reducing OS cell outgrowth in the lung by more than 90% at submicromolar doses. We found that knockout of CDK12 in an in vivo model of lung metastasis significantly decreased the ability of OS to colonize the lung. CDK12 inhibition led to defects in transcription elongation in a gene length– and expression-dependent manner. These effects were accompanied by defects in RNA processing and altered the expression of genes involved in transcription regulation and the DNA damage response. We further identified OS models that differ in their sensitivity to CDK12 inhibition in the lung and provided evidence that upregulated MYC levels may mediate these differences. Our studies provided a framework for rapid preclinical testing of compounds with antimetastatic activity and highlighted CDK12 as a potential therapeutic target in OS.
Ian Bayles, Malgorzata Krajewska, W. Dean Pontius, Alina Saiakhova, James J. Morrow, Cynthia Bartels, Jim Lu, Zachary J. Faber, Yuriy Fedorov, Ellen S. Hong, Jaret M. Karnuta, Brian Rubin, Drew J. Adams, Rani E. George, Peter C. Scacheri
Polymerase δ is essential for eukaryotic genome duplication and synthesizes DNA at both the leading and lagging strands. The polymerase δ complex is a heterotetramer comprising the catalytic subunit POLD1 and the accessory subunits POLD2, POLD3, and POLD4. Beyond DNA replication, the polymerase δ complex has emerged as a central element in genome maintenance. The essentiality of polymerase δ has constrained the generation of polymerase δ–knockout cell lines or model organisms and, therefore, the understanding of the complexity of its activity and the function of its accessory subunits. To our knowledge, no germline biallelic mutations affecting this complex have been reported in humans. In patients from 2 independent pedigrees, we have identified what we believe to be a novel syndrome with reduced functionality of the polymerase δ complex caused by germline biallelic mutations in POLD1 or POLD2 as the underlying etiology of a previously unknown autosomal-recessive syndrome that combines replicative stress, neurodevelopmental abnormalities, and immunodeficiency. Patients’ cells showed impaired cell-cycle progression and replication-associated DNA lesions that were reversible upon overexpression of polymerase δ. The mutations affected the stability and interactions within the polymerase δ complex or its intrinsic polymerase activity. We believe our discovery of human polymerase δ deficiency identifies the central role of this complex in the prevention of replication-related DNA lesions, with particular relevance to adaptive immunity.
Cecilia Domínguez Conde, Özlem Yüce Petronczki, Safa Baris, Katharina L. Willmann, Enrico Girardi, Elisabeth Salzer, Stefan Weitzer, Rico Chandra Ardy, Ana Krolo, Hanna Ijspeert, Ayca Kiykim, Elif Karakoc-Aydiner, Elisabeth Förster-Waldl, Leo Kager, Winfried F. Pickl, Giulio Superti-Furga, Javier Martínez, Joanna I. Loizou, Ahmet Ozen, Mirjam van der Burg, Kaan Boztug
The Toll-Like Receptor 8 (TLR8) has an important role in innate immune responses to RNA viral infections including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We reported previously that TLR8 expression was increased directly by the tumor suppressor and transcription factor p53 via a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP: rs3761624) in the TLR8 promoter, thereby placing TLR8 in the p53/immune axis. Because this SNP is in linkage disequilibrium with other SNPs associated with several infectious diseases, we addressed the combined influence of p53 and the SNP on downstream inflammatory signaling in response to a TLR8 cognate ssRNA ligand. Using human primary lymphocytes, p53 induction by chemotherapeutic agents such as ionizing radiation caused SNP-dependent synergistic increases in IL-6 following incubation with an ssRNA ligand, as well as TLR8 RNA and protein expression along with p53 binding at the TLR-p53 SNP site. Because TLR8 is X-linked, the increases were generally reduced in heterozygous females. We found a corresponding association of the p53-responsive allele with RSV disease severity in infants hospitalized with RSV infection. We conclude that p53 can strongly influence TLR8 mediated immune responses and that knowledge of the p53 responsive SNP can inform diagnosis and prognosis of RSV disease and other diseases that might have a TLR8 component, including cancer.
Daniel Menendez, Joyce Snipe, Jacqui Marzec, Cynthia L. Innes, Fernando P. Polack, Mauricio Caballero, Shepherd H. Schurman, Steven R. Kleeberger, Michael A. Resnick