Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit

Pisa, Italy

Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit

Pisa, Italy
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Bertini V.,Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit | Azzara A.,Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit | Legitimo A.,University of Pisa | Milone R.,Instituto Of Ricovero E Cura A Carattere Scientifico Stella Maris | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Genetics | Year: 2017

In humans, the most common genomic disorder is the hemizygous deletion of the chromosome 22q11.2 region, that results in the "22q11.2 deletion syndrome" (22q11.2DS). A peculiarity of 22q11.2DS is its great phenotypic variability that makes this pathology a classic example of a syndrome with variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance. The reasons for this variability have not been elucidated yet, and the molecular substrates underlying the different clinical features of 22q11.2DS are still debated. A cohort of 21 patients has been analyzed by array CGH in order to detect some of the genetic differences that may influence this variability. Two aspects have been investigated: (1) the precise localization of the deletion breakpoints within the low copy repeats (LCRs), (2) the additional Copy Number Variations (CNVs) elsewhere in the genome, by analyzing their gene content. Both protein-coding genes and miRNAs were considered, in order to discover possible epistatic interactions between genes of the 22q11.2 region and the rest of the genome. Eighteen out of twenty-one patients had a deletion of ~3 Mb mediated by LCR22-A and D, whereas 3/21 had a smaller deletion. The breakpoints within the LCR22-A and D do not have a major role in the phenotypic variability since they are rather clustered and the small differences concern genes that are not directly related to clinical signs of 22q11.2DS. A detailed analysis of the gene content of 22q11.2 deleted region indicates that this syndrome could be a bioenergetic disorder or consequence of an altered post-transcriptional gene regulation, due to the presence of DGCR8, a major player of the microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis. Only four genes with mitochondrial function are harbored in the additional CNVs, whereas 11 miRNA, all related to biological pathways present in the 22q11.2DS, have been detected in 19/21 patients. CNVs and miRNAs are new entities that have changed the order of complexity at the level of gene expression and regulation, thus CNV-miRNAs (miRNA harbored in the CNVs) are potential functional variants that should be considered high priority candidate variants in genotype-phenotype association studies. Deletion of DGCR8, the main actor in miRNA biogenesis, amplifies this variability. To our knowledge, this is the first report that focus on the miRNA-CNVs in 22q11.2DS, with the aim of trying to better understand their role in the variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance. © 2017 Bertini, Azzarà, Legitimo, Milone, Battini, Consolini and Valetto.


Bertini V.,Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit | Orsini A.,University of Pisa | Bonuccelli A.,University of Pisa | Cambi F.,Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2015

In the recent years, some cases of 17q12 deletions and duplications have been reported, but the clinical impact of these imbalances is still to be fully elucidated. In particular, 17q12 duplications elude syndrome classification, since they are associated with a wide phenotypic spectrum, ranging from very mild to quite severe phenotypes. Here, two unrelated patients with the same 1.2 Mb microduplication of 17q12 are reported. Comparing these patients' phenotype with those previously published, it emerges that the more patients reported, the more difficult is finding common characteristics, even in presence of exactly the same genetic anomaly. The role of the genes duplicated in this region and the impact of this chromosomal imbalance are discussed. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed | Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit
Type: Case Reports | Journal: American journal of medical genetics. Part A | Year: 2015

In the recent years, some cases of 17q12 deletions and duplications have been reported, but the clinical impact of these imbalances is still to be fully elucidated. In particular, 17q12 duplications elude syndrome classification, since they are associated with a wide phenotypic spectrum, ranging from very mild to quite severe phenotypes. Here, two unrelated patients with the same 1.2 Mb microduplication of 17q12 are reported. Comparing these patients phenotype with those previously published, it emerges that the more patients reported, the more difficult is finding common characteristics, even in presence of exactly the same genetic anomaly. The role of the genes duplicated in this region and the impact of this chromosomal imbalance are discussed.

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