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All Publications

  • Isolated Congenital Anosmia and CNGA2 Mutation. Scientific reports Sailani, M. R., Jingga, I., MirMazlomi, S. H., Bitarafan, F., Bernstein, J. A., Snyder, M. P., Garshasbi, M. 2017; 7 (1): 2667-?


    Isolated congenital anosmia (ICA) is a rare condition that is associated with life-long inability to smell. Here we report a genetic characterization of a large Iranian family segregating ICA. Whole exome sequencing in five affected family members and five healthy members revealed a stop gain mutation in CNGA2 (OMIM 300338) (chrX:150,911,102; CNGA2. c.577C > T; p.Arg193*). The mutation segregates in an X-linked pattern, as all the affected family members are hemizygotes, whereas healthy family members are either heterozygote or homozygote for the reference allele. cnga2 knockout mice are congenitally anosmic and have abnormal olfactory system physiology, additionally Karstensen et al. recently reported two anosmic brothers sharing a CNGA2 truncating variant. Our study in concert with these findings provides strong support for role of CNGA2 gene with pathogenicity of ICA in humans. Together, these results indicate that mutations in key olfactory signaling pathway genes are responsible for human disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-02947-y

    View details for PubMedID 28572688

  • Association of AHSG with alopecia and mental retardation (APMR) syndrome. Human genetics Reza Sailani, M., Jahanbani, F., Nasiri, J., Behnam, M., Salehi, M., Sedghi, M., Hoseinzadeh, M., Takahashi, S., Zia, A., Gruber, J., Lynch, J. L., Lam, D., Winkelmann, J., Amirkiai, S., Pang, B., Rego, S., Mazroui, S., Bernstein, J. A., Snyder, M. P. 2017; 136 (3): 287-296


    Alopecia with mental retardation syndrome (APMR) is a very rare autosomal recessive condition that is associated with total or partial absence of hair from the scalp and other parts of the body as well as variable intellectual disability. Here we present whole-exome sequencing results of a large consanguineous family segregating APMR syndrome with seven affected family members. Our study revealed a novel predicted pathogenic, homozygous missense mutation in the AHSG (OMIM 138680) gene (AHSG: NM_001622:exon7:c.950G>A:p.Arg317His). The variant is predicted to affect a region of the protein required for protein processing and disrupts a phosphorylation motif. In addition, the altered protein migrates with an aberrant size relative to healthy individuals. Consistent with the phenotype, AHSG maps within APMR linkage region 1 (APMR 1) as reported before, and falls within runs of homozygosity (ROH). Previous families with APMR syndrome have been studied through linkage analyses and the linkage resolution did not allow pointing out to a single gene candidate. Our study is the first report to identify a homozygous missense mutation for APMR syndrome through whole-exome sequencing.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s00439-016-1756-5

    View details for PubMedID 28054173

  • Identification of a novel mutation in APTX gene associated with Ataxia-oculomotor apraxia. Cold Spring Harbor molecular case studies Inlora, J. n., Sailani, M. R., Khodadadi, H. n., Teymurinezhad, A. n., Takahashi, S. n., Bernstein, J. A., Garshasbi, M. n., Snyder, M. P. 2017


    Hereditary ataxias are clinically and genetically heterogeneous family of disorders defined by the inability to control gait and muscle coordination. Given the non-specific symptoms of many hereditary ataxias, precise diagnosis relies on molecular genetic testing. To this end, we conducted whole exome sequencing (WES) on a large consanguineous Iranian family with hereditary ataxia and oculomotor apraxia. WES in five affected and six unaffected individuals resulted in the identification of a homozygous novel stop-gain mutation in APTX gene (c. 739T>A; p.Lys247Ter) that segregates with the phenotype. Mutations in APTX gene are associated with ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 1 (AOA1).

    View details for PubMedID 28652255

  • DNA-Methylation Patterns in Trisomy 21 Using Cells from Monozygotic Twins. PloS one Sailani, M. R., Santoni, F. A., Letourneau, A., Borel, C., Makrythanasis, P., Hibaoui, Y., Popadin, K., Bonilla, X., Guipponi, M., Gehrig, C., Vannier, A., Carre-Pigeon, F., Feki, A., Nizetic, D., Antonarakis, S. E. 2015; 10 (8): e0135555


    DNA methylation is essential in mammalian development. We have hypothesized that methylation differences induced by trisomy 21 (T21) contribute to the phenotypic characteristics and heterogeneity in Down syndrome (DS). In order to determine the methylation differences in T21 without interference of the interindividual genomic variation, we have used fetal skin fibroblasts from monozygotic (MZ) twins discordant for T21. We also used skin fibroblasts from MZ twins concordant for T21, normal MZ twins without T21, and unrelated normal and T21 individuals. Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing (RRBS) revealed 35 differentially methylated promoter regions (DMRs) (Absolute methylation differences = 25%, FDR < 0.001) in MZ twins discordant for T21 that have also been observed in comparison between unrelated normal and T21 individuals. The identified DMRs are enriched for genes involved in embryonic organ morphogenesis (FDR = 1.60 e -03) and include genes of the HOXB and HOXD clusters. These DMRs are maintained in iPS cells generated from this twin pair and are correlated with the gene expression changes. We have also observed an increase in DNA methylation level in the T21 methylome compared to the normal euploid methylome. This observation is concordant with the up regulation of DNA methyltransferase enzymes (DNMT3B and DNMT3L) and down regulation of DNA demethylation enzymes (TET2 and TET3) observed in the iPSC of the T21 versus normal twin. Altogether, the results of this study highlight the epigenetic effects of the extra chromosome 21 in T21 on loci outside of this chromosome that are relevant to DS associated phenotypes.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0135555

    View details for PubMedID 26317209

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4552626

  • The Integrative Human Microbiome Project: Dynamic Analysis of Microbiome-Host Omics Profiles during Periods of Human Health and Disease CELL HOST & MICROBE Proctor, L. M. 2014; 16 (3): 276-289


    Much has been learned about the diversity and distribution of human-associated microbial communities, but we still know little about the biology of the microbiome, how it interacts with the host, and how the host responds to its resident microbiota. The Integrative Human Microbiome Project (iHMP,, the second phase of the NIH Human Microbiome Project, will study these interactions by analyzing microbiome and host activities in longitudinal studies of disease-specific cohorts and by creating integrated data sets of microbiome and host functional properties. These data sets will serve as experimental test beds to evaluate new models, methods, and analyses on the interactions of host and microbiome. Here we describe the three models of microbiome-associated human conditions, on the dynamics of preterm birth, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 2 diabetes, and their underlying hypotheses, as well as the multi-omic data types to be collected, integrated, and distributed through public repositories as a community resource.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2014.08.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342057000006

    View details for PubMedID 25211071

  • Domains of genome-wide gene expression dysregulation in Down's syndrome. Nature Letourneau, A., Santoni, F. A., Bonilla, X., Sailani, M. R., Gonzalez, D., Kind, J., Chevalier, C., Thurman, R., Sandstrom, R. S., Hibaoui, Y., Garieri, M., Popadin, K., Falconnet, E., Gagnebin, M., Gehrig, C., Vannier, A., Guipponi, M., Farinelli, L., Robyr, D., Migliavacca, E., Borel, C., Deutsch, S., Feki, A., Stamatoyannopoulos, J. A., Herault, Y., van Steensel, B., Guigo, R., Antonarakis, S. E. 2014; 508 (7496): 345-50


    Trisomy 21 is the most frequent genetic cause of cognitive impairment. To assess the perturbations of gene expression in trisomy 21, and to eliminate the noise of genomic variability, we studied the transcriptome of fetal fibroblasts from a pair of monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21. Here we show that the differential expression between the twins is organized in domains along all chromosomes that are either upregulated or downregulated. These gene expression dysregulation domains (GEDDs) can be defined by the expression level of their gene content, and are well conserved in induced pluripotent stem cells derived from the twins' fibroblasts. Comparison of the transcriptome of the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down's syndrome and normal littermate mouse fibroblasts also showed GEDDs along the mouse chromosomes that were syntenic in human. The GEDDs correlate with the lamina-associated (LADs) and replication domains of mammalian cells. The overall position of LADs was not altered in trisomic cells; however, the H3K4me3 profile of the trisomic fibroblasts was modified and accurately followed the GEDD pattern. These results indicate that the nuclear compartments of trisomic cells undergo modifications of the chromatin environment influencing the overall transcriptome, and that GEDDs may therefore contribute to some trisomy 21 phenotypes.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature13200

    View details for PubMedID 24740065

  • Modelling and rescuing neurodevelopmental defect of Down syndrome using induced pluripotent stem cells from monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21. EMBO molecular medicine Hibaoui, Y., Grad, I., Letourneau, A., Sailani, M. R., Dahoun, S., Santoni, F. A., Gimelli, S., Guipponi, M., Pelte, M. F., Béna, F., Antonarakis, S. E., Feki, A. 2014; 6 (2): 259-77


    Down syndrome (trisomy 21) is the most common viable chromosomal disorder with intellectual impairment and several other developmental abnormalities. Here, we report the generation and characterization of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from monozygotic twins discordant for trisomy 21 in order to eliminate the effects of the variability of genomic background. The alterations observed by genetic analysis at the iPSC level and at first approximation in early development illustrate the developmental disease transcriptional signature of Down syndrome. Moreover, we observed an abnormal neural differentiation of Down syndrome iPSCs in vivo when formed teratoma in NOD-SCID mice, and in vitro when differentiated into neuroprogenitors and neurons. These defects were associated with changes in the architecture and density of neurons, astroglial and oligodendroglial cells together with misexpression of genes involved in neurogenesis, lineage specification and differentiation. Furthermore, we provide novel evidence that dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) on chromosome 21 likely contributes to these defects. Importantly, we found that targeting DYRK1A pharmacologically or by shRNA results in a considerable correction of these defects.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/emmm.201302848

    View details for PubMedID 24375627

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3927959

  • The complex SNP and CNV genetic architecture of the increased risk of congenital heart defects in Down syndrome. Genome research Sailani, M. R., Makrythanasis, P., Valsesia, A., Santoni, F. A., Deutsch, S., Popadin, K., Borel, C., Migliavacca, E., Sharp, A. J., Duriaux Sail, G., Falconnet, E., Rabionet, K., Serra-Juhé, C., Vicari, S., Laux, D., Grattau, Y., Dembour, G., Megarbane, A., Touraine, R., Stora, S., Kitsiou, S., Fryssira, H., Chatzisevastou-Loukidou, C., Kanavakis, E., Merla, G., Bonnet, D., Pérez-Jurado, L. A., Estivill, X., Delabar, J. M., Antonarakis, S. E. 2013; 23 (9): 1410-21


    Congenital heart defect (CHD) occurs in 40% of Down syndrome (DS) cases. While carrying three copies of chromosome 21 increases the risk for CHD, trisomy 21 itself is not sufficient to cause CHD. Thus, additional genetic variation and/or environmental factors could contribute to the CHD risk. Here we report genomic variations that in concert with trisomy 21, determine the risk for CHD in DS. This case-control GWAS includes 187 DS with CHD (AVSD = 69, ASD = 53, VSD = 65) as cases, and 151 DS without CHD as controls. Chromosome 21-specific association studies revealed rs2832616 and rs1943950 as CHD risk alleles (adjusted genotypic P-values <0.05). These signals were confirmed in a replication cohort of 92 DS-CHD cases and 80 DS-without CHD (nominal P-value 0.0022). Furthermore, CNV analyses using a customized chromosome 21 aCGH of 135K probes in 55 DS-AVSD and 53 DS-without CHD revealed three CNV regions associated with AVSD risk (FDR ≤ 0.05). Two of these regions that are located within the previously identified CHD region on chromosome 21 were further confirmed in a replication study of 49 DS-AVSD and 45 DS- without CHD (FDR ≤ 0.05). One of these CNVs maps near the RIPK4 gene, and the second includes the ZBTB21 (previously ZNF295) gene, highlighting the potential role of these genes in the pathogenesis of CHD in DS. We propose that the genetic architecture of the CHD risk of DS is complex and includes trisomy 21, and SNP and CNV variations in chromosome 21. In addition, a yet-unidentified genetic variation in the rest of the genome may contribute to this complex genetic architecture.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/gr.147991.112

    View details for PubMedID 23783273

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3759718

  • Tandem repeat sequence variation as causative cis-eQTLs for protein-coding gene expression variation: the case of CSTB. Human mutation Borel, C., Migliavacca, E., Letourneau, A., Gagnebin, M., Béna, F., Sailani, M. R., Dermitzakis, E. T., Sharp, A. J., Antonarakis, S. E. 2012; 33 (8): 1302-9


    Association studies have revealed expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) for a large number of genes. However, the causative variants that regulate gene expression levels are generally unknown. We hypothesized that copy-number variation of sequence repeats contribute to the expression variation of some genes. Our laboratory has previously identified that the rare expansion of a repeat c.-174CGGGGCGGGGCG in the promoter region of the CSTB gene causes a silencing of the gene, resulting in progressive myoclonus epilepsy. Here, we genotyped the repeat length and quantified CSTB expression by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in 173 lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and fibroblast samples from the GenCord collection. The majority of alleles contain either two or three copies of this repeat. Independent analysis revealed that the c.-174CGGGGCGGGGCG repeat length is strongly associated with CSTB expression (P = 3.14 × 10(-11)) in LCLs only. Examination of both genotyped and imputed single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within 2 Mb of CSTB revealed that the dodecamer repeat represents the strongest cis-eQTL for CSTB in LCLs. We conclude that the common two or three copy variation is likely the causative cis-eQTL for CSTB expression variation. More broadly, we propose that polymorphic tandem repeats may represent the causative variation of a fraction of cis-eQTLs in the genome.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/humu.22115

    View details for PubMedID 22573514

  • NANOG priming before full reprogramming may generate germ cell tumours. European cells & materials Grad, I., Hibaoui, Y., Jaconi, M., Chicha, L., Bergström-Tengzelius, R., Sailani, M. R., Pelte, M. F., Dahoun, S., Mitsiadis, T. A., Töhönen, V., Bouillaguet, S., Antonarakis, S. E., Kere, J., Zucchelli, M., Hovatta, O., Feki, A. 2011; 22: 258-74; discussio 274


    Reprogramming somatic cells into a pluripotent state brings patient-tailored, ethical controversy-free cellular therapy closer to reality. However, stem cells and cancer cells share many common characteristics; therefore, it is crucial to be able to discriminate between them. We generated two induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, with NANOG pre-transduction followed by OCT3/4, SOX2, and LIN28 overexpression. One of the cell lines, CHiPS W, showed normal pluripotent stem cell characteristics, while the other, CHiPS A, though expressing pluripotency markers, failed to differentiate and gave rise to germ cell-like tumours in vivo. Comparative genomic hybridisation analysis of the generated iPS lines revealed that they were genetically more stable than human embryonic stem cell counterparts. This analysis proved to be predictive for the differentiation potential of analysed cells. Moreover, the CHiPS A line expressed a lower ratio of p53/p21 when compared to CHiPS W. NANOG pre-induction followed by OCT3/4, SOX2, MYC, and KLF4 induction resulted in the same tumour-inducing phenotype. These results underline the importance of a re-examination of the role of NANOG during reprogramming. Moreover, this reprogramming method may provide insights into primordial cell tumour formation and cancer stem cell transformation.

    View details for PubMedID 22071697

  • Methylation profiling in individuals with uniparental disomy identifies novel differentially methylated regions on chromosome 15. Genome research Sharp, A. J., Migliavacca, E., Dupre, Y., Stathaki, E., Sailani, M. R., Baumer, A., Schinzel, A., Mackay, D. J., Robinson, D. O., Cobellis, G., Cobellis, L., Brunner, H. G., Steiner, B., Antonarakis, S. E. 2010; 20 (9): 1271-8


    The maternal and paternal genomes possess distinct epigenetic marks that distinguish them at imprinted loci. In order to identify imprinted loci, we used a novel method, taking advantage of the fact that uniparental disomy (UPD) provides a system that allows the two parental chromosomes to be studied independently. We profiled the paternal and maternal methylation on chromosome 15 using immunoprecipitation of methylated DNA and hybridization to tiling oligonucleotide arrays. Comparison of six individuals with maternal versus paternal UPD15 revealed 12 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Putative DMRs were validated by bisulfite sequencing, confirming the presence of parent-of-origin-specific methylation marks. We detected DMRs associated with known imprinted genes within the Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome region, such as SNRPN and MAGEL2, validating this as a method of detecting imprinted loci. Of the 12 DMRs identified, eight were novel, some of which are associated with genes not previously thought to be imprinted. These include a site within intron 2 of IGF1R at 15q26.3, a gene that plays a fundamental role in growth, and an intergenic site upstream of GABRG3 that lies within a previously defined candidate region conferring an increased maternal risk of psychosis. These data provide a map of parent-of-origin-specific epigenetic modifications on chromosome 15, identifying DNA elements that may play a functional role in the imprinting process. Application of this methodology to other chromosomes for which UPD has been reported will allow the systematic identification of imprinted sites throughout the genome.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/gr.108597.110

    View details for PubMedID 20631049

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2928505

  • Effect of Ruta graveolens and Cannabis sativa alcoholic extract on spermatogenesis in the adult wistar male rats. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India Sailani, M. R., Moeini, H. 2007; 23 (3): 257-60


    The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of alcohol extracts of Ruta graveolens and Cannabis sativa that were used traditionally in medieval Persian medicine as male contraceptive drugs, on spermatogenesis in the adult male rats.Ethanol extracts of these plants were obtained by the maceration method. The male rats were injected intraperitionaly with C. sativa and R. graveolens 5% ethanol extracts at dose of 20 mg/day for 20 consecutive days, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, testicular function was assessed by epididymal sperm count.The statistical results showed that the ethanol extracts of these plants reduced the number of sperms significantly (P=0.00) in the treatment groups in comparison to the control group. The results also showed that the group, treated by extract of R. graveolens reduced spermatogenesis more than the group treated by extracts of C. sativa.The present study demonstrated the spermatogenesis reducing properties of the ethanol extracts of R. graveolens and C. sativa in the adult male wistar rats but more studies are necessary to reveal the mechanism of action that is involved in spermatogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.4103/0970-1591.33720

    View details for PubMedID 19718326

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2721602

  • Effect of static electric field treatment on multiple antibiotic-resistant pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Journal of microbiology, immunology, and infection = Wei mian yu gan ran za zhi Kermanshahi, R. K., Sailani, M. R. 2005; 38 (6): 394-8


    This study evaluated the effect of a (4.5 kV/cm, 50 Hz) static electric field (SEF) on pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus with multiple antibiotic resistance. The bacteria were grown overnight at 37 degrees C in a nutrient broth medium, then inoculated in 5 mL fresh nutrient broth medium and incubated for 2 h at 25 degrees C with continuous shaking at 190 rpm. 10 x colony-forming units/mL of these bacteria were subjected to a 4.5 kV/cm, 50 Hz, SEF for various time periods. The effects of 5 different SEF exposure times (30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 min) on the bacteria were evaluated by the plate count agar method. The growth percentages of SEF treatment groups were significantly less than that of the control group. Inactivation significantly increased with the duration of SEF exposure. The results indicate that growth inhibition by SEF in the Gram-negative bacteria, E. coli, was greater than that in the Gram-positive bacteria, S. aureus. This study has demonstrated the antimicrobial effects of SEF treatment on 2 important pathogens, suggesting its potential for application as a method for controlling microbial population growth within in a variety of environments.

    View details for PubMedID 16341339