The discovery of embryonic cell–free DNA (cfDNA) in spent embryo culture media (SECM) has brought hope for noninvasive preimplantation genetic testing. However, the cellular origins of SECM cfDNA are not sufficiently understood, and methods for determining maternal DNA contamination are limited. Here, we performed whole-genome DNA methylation sequencing for SECM cfDNA. Our results demonstrated that SECM cfDNA was derived from blastocysts, cumulus cells, and polar bodies. We identified the cumulus-specific differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and oocyte/polar body–specific DMRs, and established an algorithm for deducing the cumulus, polar body, and net maternal DNA contamination ratios in SECM. We showed that DNA methylation sequencing accurately detected chromosome aneuploidy in SECM and distinguished SECM samples with low and high false negative rates and gender discordance rates, after integrating the origin analysis. Our work provides insights into the characterization of embryonic DNA in SECM and provides a perspective for noninvasive preimplantation genetic testing in reproductive medicine.
Yidong Chen, Yuan Gao, Jialin Jia, Liang Chang, Ping Liu, Jie Qiao, Fuchou Tang, Lu Wen, Jin Huang
A recent report found that rare predicted loss-of-function (pLOF) variants across 13 candidate genes in TLR3- and IRF7-dependent type I IFN pathways explain up to 3.5% of severe COVID-19 cases. We performed whole-exome or whole-genome sequencing of 1,934 COVID-19 cases (713 with severe and 1,221 with mild disease) and 15,251 ancestry-matched population controls across four independent COVID-19 biobanks. We then tested if rare pLOF variants in these 13 genes were associated with severe COVID-19. We identified only one rare pLOF mutation across these genes amongst 713 cases with severe COVID-19 and observed no enrichment of pLOFs in severe cases compared to population controls or mild COVID-19 cases. We find no evidence of association of rare loss-of-function variants in the proposed 13 candidate genes with severe COVID-19 outcomes.
Gundula Povysil, Guillaume Butler-Laporte, Ning Shang, Chen Wang, Atlas Khan, Manal Alaamery, Tomoko Nakanishi, Sirui Zhou, Vincenzo Forgetta, Robert J. M. Eveleigh, Mathieu Bourgey, Naveed Aziz, Steven J.M. Jones, Bartha Knoppers, Stephen W. Scherer, Lisa J. Strug, Pierre Lepage, Jiannis Ragoussis, Guillaume Bourque, Jahad Alghamdi, Nora Aljawini, Nour Albesher, Hani M. Al-Afghani, Bader Alghamdi, Mansour S. Almutair, Ebrahim Sabri Mahmoud, Leen Abu-Safieh, Hadeel El Bardisy, Fawz S. Al Harthi, Abdulraheem Alshareef, Bandar Ali Suliman, Saleh A. Alqahtani, Abdulaziz Almalik, May M. Alrashed, Salam Massadeh, Vincent Mooser, Mark Lathrop, Mohamed Fawzy, Yaseen M. Arabi, Hamdi Mbarek, Chadi Saad, Wadha Al-Muftah, Junghyun Jung, Serghei Mangul, Radja Badji, Asma Al Thani, Said I. Ismail, Ali G. Gharavi, Malak S. Abedalthagafi, J Brent Richards, David B. Goldstein, Krzysztof Kiryluk
The evolutionary pressure of endemic malaria and other erythrocytic pathogens has shaped variation in genes encoding erythrocyte structural and functional proteins, influencing responses to hemolytic stress during transfusion and disease. We sought to identify such genetic variants in blood donors by conducting a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 12,353 volunteer donors, including 1,483 African Americans, 1,477 Asians, and 960 Hispanics, whose stored erythrocytes were characterized by quantitative assays of in vitro osmotic, oxidative, and cold-storage hemolysis. GWAS revealed 27 significant loci (p<5×10-8), many in candidate genes known to modulate erythrocyte structure, metabolism, and ion channels, including SPTA1, ALDH2, ANK1, HK1, MAPKAPK5, AQP1, PIEZO1, and SLC4A1/Band 3. GWAS of oxidative hemolysis identified variants in antioxidant enzymes including GLRX, GPX4, G6PD, and a novel golgi-transport protein SEC14L4. Genome wide significant loci were also tested for association with the severity of steady state (baseline) in vivo hemolytic anemia in patients with sickle cell disease, with confirmation of identified SNPs in HBA2, G6PD, PIEZO1, AQP1 and SEC14L4. Many of the identified variants, such as those in G6PD, have previously been shown to impair erythrocyte recovery after transfusion, associate with anemia, or cause rare Mendelian human hemolytic diseases. Candidate SNPs in these genes, especially in polygenic combinations, may affect RBC recovery after transfusion and modulate disease severity in hemolytic diseases, such as sickle cell disease and malaria.
Grier P. Page, Tamir Kanias, Yuelong John Guo, Marion C. Lanteri, Xu Zhang, Alan E. Mast, Ritchard G. Cable, Bryan R. Spencer, Joseph E. Kiss, Fang Fang, Stacy M. Endres-Dighe, Donald Brambilla, Mehdi Nouraie, Victor R. Gordeuk, Steve Kleinman, Michael P. Busch, Mark T. Gladwin
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for kidney function identified hundreds of risk regions; however, the causal variants, target genes, cell types, and disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we performed transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS), summary Mendelian randomization, and MetaXcan to identify genes whose expression mediates the genotype effect on the phenotype. Our analyses identified Dachshund homolog 1 (DACH1), a cell-fate determination factor. GWAS risk variant was associated with lower DACH1 expression in human kidney tubules. Human and mouse kidney single-cell open chromatin data (snATAC-Seq) prioritized estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) GWAS variants located on an intronic regulatory region in distal convoluted tubule cells. CRISPR-Cas9–mediated gene editing confirmed the role of risk variants in regulating DACH1 expression. Mice with tubule-specific Dach1 deletion developed more severe renal fibrosis both in folic acid and diabetic kidney injury models. Mice with tubule-specific Dach1 overexpression were protected from folic acid nephropathy. Single-cell RNA sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and functional analysis indicated that DACH1 controls the expression of cell cycle and myeloid chemotactic factors, contributing to macrophage infiltration and fibrosis development. In summary, integration of GWAS, TWAS, single-cell epigenome, expression analyses, gene editing, and functional validation in different mouse kidney disease models identified DACH1 as a kidney disease risk gene.
Tomohito Doke, Shizheng Huang, Chengxiang Qiu, Hongbo Liu, Yuting Guan, Hailong Hu, Ziyuan Ma, Junnan Wu, Zhen Miao, Xin Sheng, Jianfu Zhou, Aili Cao, Jianhua Li, Lewis Kaufman, Adriana Hung, Christopher D. Brown, Richard Pestell, Katalin Susztak
BACKGROUND Molecular characterization of prostate cancer (PCa) has revealed distinct subclasses based on underlying genomic alterations occurring early in the natural history of the disease. However, how these early alterations influence subsequent molecular events and the course of the disease over its long natural history remains unclear.METHODS We explored the molecular and clinical progression of different genomic subtypes of PCa using distinct tumor lineage models based on human genomic and transcriptomic data. We developed transcriptional classifiers, and defined “early” and “late” categories of molecular subclasses from 8,158 PCa patients. Molecular subclasses were correlated with clinical outcomes and pathologic characteristics using Kaplan-Meier and logistic regression analyses.RESULTS We identified PTEN and CHD1 alterations as subtype-specific late progression events specifically in ERG-overexpressing (ERG+) and SPOP-mutant tumors, respectively, and 2 distinct progression models consisting of ERG/PTEN (normal to ERG+ to PTEN-deleted) and SPOP/CHD1 (normal to SPOP-mutated to CHD1-deleted) with shared early tumorigenesis but distinct pathways toward progression. We found that within ERG+ and SPOP-mutant subtypes, late events were associated with worse prognosis. Importantly, the clinical and pathologic features associated with distinct late events at radical prostatectomy were strikingly different; PTEN deletions were associated with increased locoregional stage, while CHD1 deletions were only associated with increased grade, despite equivalent metastatic potential.CONCLUSION These findings suggest a paradigm in which specific subtypes of PCa follow distinct pathways of progression, at both the molecular and clinical levels. Therefore, the interpretation of common clinical parameters such as locoregional tumor stage may be influenced by the underlying tumor lineage, and potentially influence management decisions.FUNDING Prostate Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Institute, Urology Care Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, US Department of Defense, and the AIRC Foundation.
Deli Liu, Michael A. Augello, Ivana Grbesa, Davide Prandi, Yang Liu, Jonathan E. Shoag, R. Jeffrey Karnes, Bruce J. Trock, Eric A. Klein, Robert B. Den, Francesca Demichelis, Elai Davicioni, Andrea Sboner, Christopher E. Barbieri
B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is the most common childhood cancer. As predicated by its prenatal origin, infant B-ALL (iB-ALL) shows an exceptionally silent DNA mutational landscape, suggesting that alternative epigenetic mechanisms may substantially contribute to its leukemogenesis. Here, we have integrated genome-wide DNA methylome and transcriptome data from 69 patients with de novo MLL-rearranged (MLLr) and non-MLLr iB-ALL leukemias uniformly treated according to Interfant-99/06 protocol. iB-ALL methylome signatures display a plethora of common and specific alterations associated with chromatin states related to enhancer and transcriptional control in normal hematopoietic cells. DNA methylation, gene expression and gene co-expression network analyses segregated MLLr away from non-MLLr iB-ALL and identified a coordinated and enriched expression of the AP-1 complex members FOS and JUN and RUNX factors in MLLr iB-ALL, consistent with the significant enrichment of hypomethylated CpGs in these genes. Integrative methylome-transcriptome analysis identified consistent cancer-cell vulnerabilities, revealed a robust iB-ALL-specific gene expression-correlating dmCpG signature and confirmed an epigenetic control of AP-1 and RUNX members in reshaping the molecular network of MLLr iB-ALL. Finally, pharmacological inhibition or functional ablation of AP-1 dramatically impaired MLLr-leukemic growth in vitro and in vivo using MLLr-iB-ALL patient-derived xenografts, providing rationale for new therapeutic avenues in MLLr-iB-ALL.
J. Ramon Tejedor, Clara Bueno, Meritxell Vinyoles, Paolo Petazzi, Antonio Agraz-Doblas, Isabel Cobo, Raúl Torres-Ruiz, Gustavo F. Bayón, Raúl F. Pérez, Sara López-Tamargo, Francisco Gutierrez-Agüera, Pablo Santamarina-Ojeda, Manuel Ramírez-Orellana, Michela Bardini, Giovanni Cazzaniga, Paola Ballerini, Pauline Schneider, Ronald W. Stam, Ignacio Varela, Mario F. Fraga, Agustín F. Fernández, Pablo Menéndez
BACKGROUND. Deciphering the function of the many genes previously classified as uncharacterized “open reading frame” (orf) completes our understanding of cell function and its pathophysiology. METHODS. Whole-exome sequencing, yeast 2-hybrid and transcriptome analyses together with molecular characterization are used here to uncover the function of the C2orf69 gene. RESULTS: We identified loss-of-function mutations in the uncharacterized C2orf69 gene in eight individuals with brain abnormalities involving hypomyelination and microcephaly, liver dysfunction and recurrent autoinflammation. C2orf69 contains an N-terminal signal peptide that is required and sufficient for mitochondrial localization. Consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction, patients showed signs of respiratory chain defect and a CRISPR-Cas9 knockout cell model of C2orf69 had similar respiratory chain defects. Patient-derived cells revealed alterations in immunological signaling pathways. Deposits of PAS-positive material in tissues from affected individuals together with decreased glycogen branching enzyme 1 (GBE1) activity indicated an additional impact of C2orf69 on glycogen metabolism. CONCLUSIONS. Our study identifies C2orf69 as an important regulator of human mitochondrial function and suggests an additional influence on other metabolic pathways.
Eva Lausberg, Sebastian Gießelmann, Joseph P. Dewulf, Elsa Wiame, Anja Holz, Ramona Salvarinova, Clara D. van Karnebeek, Patricia Klemm, Kim Ohl, Michael Mull, Till Braunschweig, Joachim Weis, Clemens J. Sommer, Stephanie Demuth, Claudia Haase, Claudia Stollbrink-Peschgens, François-Guillaume Debray, Cecile Libioulle, Daniela Choukair, Prasad T. Oommen, Arndt Borkhardt, Harald Surowy, Dagmar Wieczorek, Norbert Wagner, Robert Meyer, Thomas Eggermann, Matthias Begemann, Emile Van Schaftingen, Martin Häusler, Klaus Tenbrock, Lambert van den Heuvel, Miriam Elbracht, Ingo Kurth, Florian Kraft
Background. Major depressive disorder (MDD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid and exhibit strong correlations with one another. We aimed to investigate mechanisms of underlying relationships between PTSD and three kinds of depressive phenotypes, namely, MDD, depressed affect (DAF), and depression (DEP, including both MDD and the broad definition of depression). METHODS. Genetic correlations between PTSD and the depressive phenotypes were tested using linkage disequilibrium score regression. Polygenic overlap analysis was used to estimate shared and trait-specific causal variants across a pair of traits. Causal relationships between PTSD and the depressive phenotypes were investigated using Mendelian randomization. Shared genomic loci between PTSD and MDD were identified using cross-trait meta-analysis. RESULTS. Genetic correlations of PTSD with the depressive phenotypes were in the range of 0.71~0.80. The estimated numbers of causal variants were 14,565, 12,965, 10,565, and 4,986 for MDD, DEP, DAF, and PTSD, respectively. In each case, causal variants contributing to PTSD were completely or largely covered by causal variants defining each of the depressive phenotypes. Mendelian randomization analysis indicates that the genetically determined depressive phenotypes confer a causal effect on PTSD (b = 0.21~0.31). Notably, genetically determined PTSD confers a causal effect on DEP (b = 0.14) and DAF (b = 0.15), but not MDD. Cross-trait meta-analysis of MDD and PTSD identifies 47 genomic loci, including 29 loci shared between PTSD and MDD. CONCLUSION. Evidence from shared genetics suggests that PTSD is a subtype of MDD. This study provides support to the efforts in reducing diagnostic heterogeneity in psychiatric nosology. FUNDING. The National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFC1314300) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81471364 and 81971255).
Fuquan Zhang, Shuquan Rao, Hongbao Cao, Xiangrong Zhang, Qiang Wang, Yong Xu, Jing Sun, Chun Wang, Jiu Chen, Xijia Xu, Ning Zhang, Lin Tian, Jianmin Yuan, Guoqiang Wang, Lei Cai, Mingqing Xu, Ancha Baranova
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4J (CMT4J) is caused by recessive, loss-of-function mutations in FIG4, encoding a phosphoinositol(3,5)P2-phosphatase. CMT4J patients have both neuron loss and demyelination in the peripheral nervous system, with vacuolization indicative of endosome/lysosome trafficking defects. Although the disease is highly variable, the onset is often in childhood and FIG4 mutations can dramatically shorten lifespan. There is currently no treatment for CMT4J. Here we present the results of preclinical studies testing a gene therapy approach to restore FIG4 expression. A mouse model of CMT4J, the Fig4-pale tremor (plt) allele, was dosed with a single-stranded AAV9 to deliver a codon-optimized human FIG4 sequence. Untreated, Fig4plt/plt mice have a median survival of approximately 5 weeks. When treated with the AAV9-FIG4 vector at postnatal day 1 or 4, mice survived at least one year, with largely normal gross motor performance and little sign of neuropathy by neurophysiological or histopathological evaluation. When treated at postnatal day 7 or 11, life span was still significantly prolonged and peripheral nerve function was improved, but rescue was less complete. No unanticipated adverse effects were observed. Therefore, AAV9-mediated delivery of FIG4 is a well-tolerated and efficacious strategy in a mouse model of CMT4J.
Maximiliano Presa, Rachel M. Bailey, Crystal Davis, Tara Murphy, Jenn Cook, Randy Walls, Hannah Wilpan, Laurent Bogdanik, Guy M. Lenk, Robert W. Burgess, Steven J. Gray, Cathleen Lutz
BACKGROUND. Recently the α1 adrenergic receptor antagonist terazosin was shown to activate PGK1, a possible target for the mitochondrial deficits in Parkinson disease related to its function as the initial enzyme in ATP synthesis during glycolysis. An epidemiologic study of terazosin users showed a lower incidence of Parkinson disease when compared to users of tamsulosin, an α1 adrenergic receptor antagonist of a different class that does not activate PGK1. However, prior research on tamsulosin has suggested that it may in fact potentiate neurodegeneration, raising the question of whether it is an appropriate control group. METHODS. To address this question, we undertook an epidemiological study on Parkinson disease occurrence rate in 113,450 individuals from the U.S.A. with > 5 years of follow-up. Patients were classified as tamsulosin users (n = 45,380), terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users (n = 22,690) or controls matched on age, gender and Charlson Comorbidity Index score (n = 45,380). RESULTS. Incidence of Parkinson disease in tamsulosin users was 1.53%, which was significantly higher than that in both terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users (1.10%; p<0.0001) and matched controls (1.01%; p < 0.0001). Terazosin/alfuzosin/doxazosin users did not differ in Parkinson disease risk from matched controls (p = 0.29). CONCLUSION. These results suggest that zosins may not confer a protective effect against Parkinson disease, but rather that tamsulosin may in some way potentiate Parkinson disease progression. FUNDING. This work was supported by Cerevel Therapeutics.
Rahul Sasane, Amy Bartels, Michelle Field, Maria I. Sierra, Sridhar Duvvuri, David L. Gray, Sokhom S. Pin, John J. Renger, David J. Stone