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Cannons J.L.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Tangye S.G.,Garvan Institute of Medical Research | Schwartzberg P.L.,Human Genome Research Institutes
Annual Review of Immunology | Year: 2011

The signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM)-associated protein, SAP, was first identified as the protein affected in most cases of X-linked lymphoproliferative (XLP) syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by abnormal responses to Epstein-Barr virus infection, lymphoproliferative syndromes, and dysgammaglobulinemia. SAP consists almost entirely of a single SH2 protein domain that interacts with the cytoplasmic tail of SLAM and related receptors, including 2B4, Ly108, CD84, Ly9, and potentially CRACC. SLAM family members are now recognized as important immunomodulatory receptors with roles in cytotoxicity, humoral immunity, autoimmunity, cell survival, lymphocyte development, and cell adhesion. In this review, we cover recent findings on the roles of SLAM family receptors and the SAP family of adaptors, with a focus on their regulation of the pathways involved in the pathogenesis of XLP and other immune disorders. © 2011 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.


Biesecker L.G.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Spinner N.B.,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2013

Genomic technologies, including next-generation sequencing (NGS) and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays, have provided unprecedented opportunities to assess genomic variation among, and increasingly within, individuals. It has long been known that cancer is a mosaic genetic disorder, but mosaicism is now apparent in a diverse range of other clinical disorders, as indicated by their tissue distributions and inheritance patterns. Recent technical advances have uncovered the causative mosaic variant underlying many of these conditions and have provided insight into the pervasiveness of mosaicism in normal individuals. Here, we discuss the clinical and molecular classes of mosaicism, their detection and the biological insights gained from these studies. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Biesecker L.G.,Human Genome Research Institutes
Genome Research | Year: 2013

Genomics has profoundly changed biology by scaling data acquisition, which has provided researchers with the opportunity to interrogate biology in novel and creative ways. No longer constrained by low-throughput assays, researchers have developed hypothesis-generating approaches to understand the molecular basis of nature - both normal and pathological. The paradigm of hypothesis-generating research does not replace or undermine hypothesis-testing modes of research; instead, it complements them and has facilitated discoveries that may not have been possible with hypothesistesting research. The hypothesis-generating mode of research has been primarily practiced in basic science but has recently been extended to clinical-translational work as well. Just as in basic science, this approach to research can facilitate insights into human health and disease mechanisms and provide the crucially needed data set of the full spectrum of genotype-phenotype correlations. Finally, the paradigm of hypothesis-generating research is conceptually similar to the underpinning of predictive genomic medicine, which has the potential to shift medicine from a primarily population- or cohort-based activity to one that instead uses individual susceptibility, prognostic, and pharmacogenetic profiles to maximize the efficacy and minimize the iatrogenic effects of medical interventions. © 2013, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Purpose: The debate surrounding the return of results from high-throughput genomic interrogation encompasses many important issues including ethics, law, economics, and social policy. As well, the debate is also informed by the molecular, genetic, and clinical foundations of the emerging field of clinical genomics, which is based on this new technology. This article outlines the main biomedical considerations of sequencing technologies and demonstrates some of the early clinical experiences with the technology to enable the debate to stay focused on real-world practicalities. Methods: These experiences are based on early data from the ClinSeq project, which is a project to pilot the use of massively parallel sequencing in a clinical research context with a major aim to develop modes of returning results to individual subjects. Results: The study has enrolled >900 subjects and generated exome sequence data on 572 subjects. These data are beginning to be interpreted and returned to the subjects, which provides examples of the potential usefulness and pitfalls of clinical genomics. Conclusion: There are numerous genetic results that can be readily derived from a genome including rare, high-penetrance traits, and carrier states. However, much work needs to be done to develop the tools and resources for genomic interpretation. The main lesson learned is that a genome sequence may be better considered as a health-care resource, rather than a test, one that can be interpreted and used over the lifetime of the patient. ©American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.


Solomon B.D.,Human Genome Research Institutes
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases | Year: 2011

VACTERL/VATER association is typically defined by the presence of at least three of the following congenital malformations: vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities. In addition to these core component features, patients may also have other congenital anomalies. Although diagnostic criteria vary, the incidence is estimated at approximately 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 40,000 live-born infants. The condition is ascertained clinically by the presence of the above-mentioned malformations; importantly, there should be no clinical or laboratory-based evidence for the presence of one of the many similar conditions, as the differential diagnosis is relatively large. This differential diagnosis includes (but is not limited to) Baller-Gerold syndrome, CHARGE syndrome, Currarino syndrome, deletion 22q11.2 syndrome, Fanconi anemia, Feingold syndrome, Fryns syndrome, MURCS association, oculo-auriculo-vertebral syndrome, Opitz G/BBB syndrome, Pallister-Hall syndrome, Townes-Brocks syndrome, and VACTERL with hydrocephalus. Though there are hints regarding causation, the aetiology has been identified only in a small fraction of patients to date, likely due to factors such as a high degree of clinical and causal heterogeneity, the largely sporadic nature of the disorder, and the presence of many similar conditions. New genetic research methods offer promise that the causes of VACTERL association will be better defined in the relatively near future. Antenatal diagnosis can be challenging, as certain component features can be difficult to ascertain prior to birth. The management of patients with VACTERL/VATER association typically centers around surgical correction of the specific congenital anomalies (typically anal atresia, certain types of cardiac malformations, and/or tracheo-esophageal fistula) in the immediate postnatal period, followed by long-term medical management of sequelae of the congenital malformations. If optimal surgical correction is achievable, the prognosis can be relatively positive, though some patients will continue to be affected by their congenital malformations throughout life. Importantly, patients with VACTERL association do not tend to have neurocognitive impairment. © 2011 Solomon; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Biesecker L.G.,Human Genome Research Institutes
American Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2013

The topic of incidental variants detected through exome and genome sequencing is controversial, both in clinical practice and in research. The arguments for and against the deliberate analysis and return of incidental variants focus on issues of clinical validity, clinical utility, autonomy, clinical and research infrastructure and costs, and, in the research arena, therapeutic misconception. These topics are briefly reviewed and an argument is made that these variants are the future of genomic medicine. As a field, we should take full advantage of all opportunities to study these variants by searching them out, returning them to patients and research participants, and studying their utility for predictive medicine. © 2013 The American Society of Human Genetics.


Sidransky E.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Lopez G.,Human Genome Research Institutes
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2012

Mutations in the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene, which encodes the lysosomal enzyme that is deficient in Gaucher's disease, are important and common risk factors for Parkinson's disease and related disorders. This association was first recognised in the clinic, where parkinsonism was noted, albeit rarely, in patients with Gaucher's disease and more frequently in relatives who were obligate carriers. Subsequently, findings from large studies showed that patients with Parkinson's disease and associated Lewy body disorders had an increased frequency of GBA mutations when compared with control individuals. Patients with GBA-associated parkinsonism exhibit varying parkinsonian phenotypes but tend to have an earlier age of onset and more associated cognitive changes than patients with parkinsonism without GBA mutations. Hypotheses proposed to explain this association include a gain-of-function due to mutations in glucocerebrosidase that promotes α-synuclein aggregation; substrate accumulation due to enzymatic loss-of-function, which affects α-synuclein processing and clearance; and a bidirectional feedback loop. Identification of the pathological mechanisms underlying GBA-associated parkinsonism will improve our understanding of the genetics, pathophysiology, and treatment for both rare and common neurological diseases. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


A remarkable characteristic of the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is its extreme genetic diversity, which is maintained by balancing selection. In fact, the MHC complex remains one of the best-known examples of natural selection in humans, with well-established genetic signatures and biological mechanisms for the action of selection. Here, we present genetic and functional evidence that another gene with a fundamental role in MHC class I presentation, endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2), has also evolved under balancing selection and contains a variant that affects antigen presentation. Specifically, genetic analyses of six human populations revealed strong and consistent signatures of balancing selection affecting ERAP2. This selection maintains two highly differentiated haplotypes (Haplotype A and Haplotype B), with frequencies 0.44 and 0.56, respectively. We found that ERAP2 expressed from Haplotype B undergoes differential splicing and encodes a truncated protein, leading to nonsense-mediated decay of the mRNA. To investigate the consequences of ERAP2 deficiency on MHC presentation, we correlated surface MHC class I expression with ERAP2 genotypes in primary lymphocytes. Haplotype B homozygotes had lower levels of MHC class I expressed on the surface of B cells, suggesting that naturally occurring ERAP2 deficiency affects MHC presentation and immune response. Interestingly, an ERAP2 paralog, endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1), also shows genetic signatures of balancing selection. Together, our findings link the genetic signatures of selection with an effect on splicing and a cellular phenotype. Although the precise selective pressure that maintains polymorphism is unknown, the demonstrated differences between the ERAP2 splice forms provide important insights into the potential mechanism for the action of selection.


Current methods for detecting mutations in Fanconi anemia (FA)-suspected patients are inefficient and often miss mutations. We have applied recent advances in DNA sequencing and genomic capture to the diagnosis of FA. Specifically, we used custom molecular inversion probes or TruSeq-enrichment oligos to capture and sequence FA and related genes, including introns, from 27 samples from the International Fanconi Anemia Registry at The Rockefeller University. DNA sequencing was complemented with custom array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis. aCGH identified deletions/duplications in 4 different FA genes. RNA-seq analysis revealed lack of allele specific expression associated with a deletion and splicing defects caused by missense, synonymous, and deep-in-intron variants. The combination of TruSeq-targeted capture, aCGH, and RNA-seq enabled us to identify the complementation group and biallelic germline mutations in all 27 families: FANCA (7), FANCB (3), FANCC (3), FANCD1 (1), FANCD2 (3), FANCF (2), FANCG (2), FANCI (1), FANCJ (2), and FANCL (3). FANCC mutations are often the cause of FA in patients of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) ancestry, and we identified 2 novel FANCC mutations in 2 patients of AJ ancestry. We describe here a strategy for efficient molecular diagnosis of FA.


Biesecker L.G.,Human Genome Research Institutes | Green R.C.,Harvard University | Green R.C.,HealthCare Partners
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2014

CGES is a useful diagnostic test for a number of clinical situations, and it is already being used by clinical geneticists and other specialists. The indications and approaches we outline here are sure to evolve over time, as more data are generated for various clinical disorders, data interpretation is improved, and CGES is studied in new clinical situations (e.g., in neonatal medicine). Clinicians can feel confident ordering this test if they become comfortable with the evaluations, both before and after testing, and the processes that are required to maximize its usefulness, and if they are familiar with its limitations. Copyright © 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society.

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