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Fontana L.,University of Milan | Rovina D.,University of Milan | Novielli C.,University of Milan | Maffioli E.,University of Milan | And 6 more authors.
Cancer Letters | Year: 2015

MAP/microtubule affinity-regulating kinase 4 (MARK4) is a serine-threonine kinase that phosphorylates microtubule-associated proteins taking part in the regulation of microtubule dynamics. MARK4 is expressed in two spliced isoforms characterized by inclusion (MARK4S) or exclusion (MARK4L) of exon 16. The distinct expression profiles in the central nervous system and their imbalance in gliomas point to roles of MARK4L and MARK4S in cell proliferation and cell differentiation, respectively. Having ruled out mutations and transcription defects, we hypothesized that alterations in the expression of splicing factors may underlie deregulated MARK4 expression in gliomas. Bioinformatic analysis revealed four putative polypyrimidine-tract binding (PTB) protein binding sites in MARK4 introns 15 and 16. Glioma tissues and glioblastoma-derived cancer stem cells showed, compared with normal brain, significant overexpression of PTB, correlated with high MARK4L mRNA expression. Splicing minigene assays revealed a functional intronic splicing silencer in MARK4 intron 15, but mutagenesis of the PTB binding site in this region did not affect minigene splicing, suggesting that PTB may bind to a splicing silencer other than the predicted one and synergistically acting with the other predicted PTB sites. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays coupled with mass spectrometry confirmed binding of PTB to the polypyrimidine tract of intron 15, and thus its involvement in MARK4 alternative splicing. This finding, along with evidence of PTB overexpression in gliomas and glioblastoma-derived cancer stem cells and differentiated progeny, merged in pointing out the involvement of PTB in the switch to MARK4L, consistent with its established role in driving oncogenic splicing in brain tumors. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

Novelli A.,Mendel Laboratory | Grati F.R.,TOMA Advanced Biomedical Assays S.p.A. | Ballarati L.,Laboratory of Medical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics | Bernardini L.,Mendel Laboratory | And 16 more authors.
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology | Year: 2012

A precise guideline establishing chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) applications and platforms in the prenatal setting does not exist. The controversial question is whether CMA technologies can or should soon replace standard karyotyping in prenatal diagnostic practice. A review of the recent literature and survey of the knowledge and experience of all members of the Italian Society of Human Genetics (SIGU) Committee were carried out in order to propose recommendations for the use of CMA in prenatal testing. The analysis of datasets reported in the medical literature showed a considerable 6.4% incidence of pathogenic copy number variations (CNVs) in the group of pregnancies with sonographically detected fetal abnormalities and normal karyotype. The reported CNVs are likely to have a relevant role in terms of nosology for the fetus and in the assessment of reproductive risk for the couple. Estimation of the frequency of copy number variations of uncertain significance (VOUS) varied depending on the different CMA platforms used, ranging from 0-4%, obtained using targeted arrays, to 9-12%, obtained using high-resolution whole genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. CMA analysis can be considered a second-tier diagnostic test to be used after standard karyotyping in selected groups of pregnancies, namely those with single (apparently isolated) or multiple ultrasound fetal abnormalities, those with chromosomal rearrangements, even if apparently balanced, and those with supernumerary marker chromosomes. Copyright © 2012 ISUOG. Source

Mussa A.,University of Turin | Russo S.,Laboratory of Medical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics | De Crescenzo A.,The Second University of Naples | Chiesa N.,University of Turin | And 9 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2013

Although Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS, OMIM #130650) is the most common genetic overgrowth disorder, data on its epidemiology are scanty and the estimates of its occurrence show wide variability. The aim of this study is to assess its prevalence in Piedmont Region (Italy). We included in the study all patients diagnosed with BWS born in Piedmont from 1997 to 2009 through a search in the Italian Registry for Rare Diseases. This source was further validated with data from the network of Regional Clinical Genetics services and surveys in extra-regional Clinical Genetics centres, laboratories and the Italian BWS patients association. All cases were further ascertained through physical exam, medical history and specific molecular tests. The search identified 46 clear-cut cases of BWS born across the 13-year period, providing a prevalence of 1:10 340 live births (95% confidence interval 1:7,752-13,698 live births). Among the 41 patients who underwent molecular tests, 70.7% were positive, showing hypomethylation of the IC2 imprinting center (29.3%), paternal chromosome 11 uniparental disomy (pUPD11, 24.4%), IC1 hypermethylation (14.6%), CDKN1c mutation (2.4%), whereas 29.3% had negative molecular tests. The study provides an approximate BWS prevalence of 1:10,000 live birth, the highest reported to date. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Negri G.,University of Milan | Milani D.,Pediatric Highly Intensive Care Unit | Colapietro P.,University of Milan | Forzano F.,Medical Genetics | And 13 more authors.
Clinical Genetics | Year: 2015

Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RSTS) is a rare congenital neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by postnatal growth deficiency, skeletal abnormalities, dysmorphic features and cognitive deficit. Mutations in two genes, CREBBP and EP300, encoding two homologous transcriptional co-activators, have been identified in ~55% and ~3-5% of affected individuals, respectively. To date, only eight EP300-mutated RSTS patients have been described and 12 additional mutations are reported in the database LOVD. In this study, EP300 analysis was performed on 33 CREBBP-negative RSTS patients leading to the identification of six unreported germline EP300 alterations comprising one deletion and five point mutations. All six patients showed a convincing, albeit mild, RSTS phenotype with minor skeletal anomalies, slight cognitive impairment and few major malformations. Beyond the expansion of the RSTS-EP300-mutated cohort, this study indicates that EP300-related RSTS cases occur more frequently than previously thought (~8% vs 3-5%); furthermore, the characterization of novel EP300 mutations in RSTS patients will enhance the clinical practice and genotype-phenotype correlations. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Source

Gervasini C.,University of Milan | Russo S.,Laboratory of Medical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics | Cereda A.,Pediatric Genetic Unit | Parenti I.,University of Milan | And 10 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2013

We report on the clinical and molecular characterization of eight patients, one male and seven females, with clinical diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), who were found to carry distinct mutations of the SMC1A gene. Five of the eight mutations are novel, with two involving amino acid residues previously described as altered in a different way. The other three have been reported each in a single case. Comparison of pairs of individuals with the same mutation indicates only partial overlap of their clinical phenotypes. The following novel missense mutations, all affecting highly conserved amino acid residues, were found: p.R398G in the N-terminal coiled-coil domain, p.V651M in the C-terminal coiled-coil/hinge junction, p.R693G in the C-terminal coiled-coil, and p.N1166T and p.L1189F in the C-terminal ABC cassette. The latter is localized in the H-loop, and represents the first mutation involving a functional motif of SMC1A protein. The effect of the mutations on SMC1A protein function has been predicted using four bioinformatic tools. All mutations except p.V651M were scored as pathogenic by three or four of the tools. p.V651M was found in the only male individual of our cohort, who presented with the most severe phenotype. This raises the issue of gender effect when addressing mutation-phenotype correlation for genes such as SMC1A, which incompletely escapes X-inactivation. Our clinical and molecular findings expand the total number of characterized SMC1A-mutated patients (from 44 to 52) and the restricted repertoire of SMC1A mutations (from 29 to 34), contributing to the molecular and clinical signature of SMC1A-based CdLS. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

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