Dr. Gomez-Ospina was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. She began her undergraduate studies in petroleum engineering at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia before moving to Colorado. She double majored at the University of Colorado Boulder, completing her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology as well as Biochemistry. She graduated summa cum laude and wrote an honors thesis entitled “Role of the quiescent center in the regeneration of the root cap in Zea Mays.” She then completed her combined MD, PhD at Stanford Medical School, where her PhD work focused on understanding the novel functions of voltage-gated calcium channels. Her PhD thesis, “The calcium channel CACNA1C gene: multiple proteins, diverse functions,” was published in Cell. After completion of her dual degrees, she did her preliminary year in internal medicine at Santa Barbara Cottage hospital before starting residency in Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She completed residency in Medical Genetics at Stanford Hospital and clinics.
Her post-doctoral research was with Dr. Matthew Porteus in Pediatric Stem Cell transplantation, where she began to develop genome editing-based strategies in stem cells as a therapies for metabolic diseases. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. For her clinical practice she sees patients with suspected genetic disorders, and is also in charge of the enzyme replacement service for lysosomal storage disorders at Lucile Packard Children’s hospital. She has been the lead author in research studies in The New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Nature Communications, and American Journal of Medical Genetics.
- Clinical Genetics
- Rare diseases
- Lysosomal Storage Diseases
- Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Metabolic Diseases
Honors & Awards
William K. Bowes Jr. Award in Medical Genetics, Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine (2019)
Young Investigator Award, 14th annual WORLDSymposium on lysosomal storage diseases (2018)
Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08), NIH, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (2017-2022)
Center of Excellence in Diversity in Medical Education Fellowship, Center of Excellence in Diversity in Medical Education (COEDME), Stanford Medicine (2016)
Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow in Pediatric Translational Medicine, Child Health Research Institute (2015-2016)
Mead Johnson Award. Novel form of neonatal cholestasis due to mutations in FXR, Western Society of Pediatric Research. Carmel, CA (2015)
Mead Johnson Award. Respiratory involvement in Costello syndrome, Western Society of Pediatric Research. Carmel, CA (2014)
Board Certification: American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics, Clinical Genetics (2015)
Residency: Stanford Hospital and Clinics (2015) CA
Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital (2013) MD
Internship: Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (2012) CA
Ph.D., Stanford School of Medicine, Chemical and Systems Biology (2011)
Medical Education: Stanford University Medical School (2011) CA
Community and International Work
Fiesta Educativa, Mayfair Community Center, San Jose
Sindrome de Down
Opportunities for Student Involvement
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Dr. Gomez-Ospina is a physician scientist and medical geneticist with a strong interest in the diagnosis and management of genetic diseases.
1) Lysosomal storage diseases:
Her research program is on developing better therapies for a large class of neurodegenerative diseases in children known as lysosomal storage disorders. Her current focus is on developing genome editing of hematopoietic stem cells as a therapeutic approach for these diseases beginning with Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 and Gaucher disease. She established a genetic approach where therapeutic proteins can be targeted to a single well-characterized place in the genome known as a safe harbor. This approach constitutes a flexible, “one size fits all” approach that is independent of specific genes and mutations. This strategy, in which the hematopoietic system is commandeered to express and deliver therapeutic proteins to the brain can potentially change the current approaches to treating childhood neurodegenerative diseases and pave the way for alternative therapies for adult neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
2) Point of care ammonia testing
She also works in collaboration with other researchers at Stanford to develop point-of-care testing for serum ammonia levels. Such device will greatly improve the quality of life of children and families with metabolic disorders with hyperammonemia.
3) Gene discovery
Dr Gomez-Ospina lead a multi-institutional collaboration resulting in the discovery of a novel genetic cause of neonatal and infantile cholestatic liver disease. She collaborated in the description of two novel neurologic syndromes caused by mutations in DYRK1 and CHD4.
For more information go to our website:
Point-of-Care Analysis of Blood Ammonia with a Gas-Phase Sensor.
Elevated blood ammonia (hyperammonemia) may cause delirium, brain damage, and even death. Effective treatments exist, but preventing permanent neurological sequelae requires rapid, accurate, and serial measurements of blood ammonia. Standard methods require volumes of 1 to 3 mL, centrifugation to isolate plasma, and a turn-around time of 2 h. Collection, handling, and processing requirements mean that community clinics, particularly those in low resource settings, cannot provide reliable measurements. We describe a method to measure ammonia from small-volume whole blood samples in 2 min. The method alkalizes blood to release gas-phase ammonia for detection by a fuel cell. When an inexpensive first-generation instrument designed for 100 muL of blood was tested on adults and children in a clinical study, the method showed a strong correlation (R2 = 0.97) with an academic clinical laboratory for plasma ammonia concentrations up to 500 muM (16 times higher than the upper limit of normal). A second-generation hand-held instrument designed for 10-20 muL of blood showed a near-perfect correlation (R2 = 0.99) with healthy donor blood samples containing known amounts of added ammonium chloride up to 1000 muM. Our method can enable rapid and inexpensive measurement of blood ammonia, transforming diagnosis and management of hyperammonemia.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acssensors.0c00480
View details for PubMedID 32538083
Engineering monocyte/macrophage−specific glucocerebrosidase expression in human hematopoietic stem cells using genome editing
2020; 11: 1-14
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-17148-x
Genome Editing for Mucopolysaccharidoses.
International journal of molecular sciences
2020; 21 (2)
Genome editing holds the promise of one-off and potentially curative therapies for many patients with genetic diseases. This is especially true for patients affected by mucopolysaccharidoses as the disease pathophysiology is amenable to correction using multiple approaches. Ex vivo and in vivo genome editing platforms have been tested primarily on MSPI and MPSII, with in vivo approaches having reached clinical testing in both diseases. Though we still await proof of efficacy in humans, the therapeutic tools established for these two diseases should pave the way for other mucopolysaccharidoses. Herein, we review the current preclinical and clinical development studies, using genome editing as a therapeutic approach for these diseases. The development of new genome editing platforms and the variety of genetic modifications possible with each tool provide potential applications of genome editing for mucopolysaccharidoses, which vastly exceed the potential of current approaches. We expect that in a not-so-distant future, more genome editing-based strategies will be established, and individual diseases will be treated through multiple approaches.
View details for DOI 10.3390/ijms21020500
View details for PubMedID 31941077
Human genome-edited hematopoietic stem cells phenotypically correct Mucopolysaccharidosis type I.
2019; 10 (1): 4045
Lysosomal enzyme deficiencies comprise a large group of genetic disorders that generally lack effective treatments. A potential treatment approach is to engineer the patient's own hematopoietic system to express high levels of the deficient enzyme, thereby correcting the biochemical defect and halting disease progression. Here, we present an efficient ex vivo genome editing approach using CRISPR-Cas9 that targets the lysosomal enzyme iduronidase to the CCR5 safe harbor locus in human CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. The modified cells secrete supra-endogenous enzyme levels, maintain long-term repopulation and multi-lineage differentiation potential, and can improve biochemical and phenotypic abnormalities in an immunocompromised mouse model of Mucopolysaccharidosis type I. These studies provide support for the development of genome-edited CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells as a potential treatment for Mucopolysaccharidosis type I. The safe harbor approach constitutes a flexible platform for the expression of lysosomal enzymes making it applicable to other lysosomal storage disorders.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11962-8
View details for PubMedID 31492863
Gene Editing on Center Stage
TRENDS IN GENETICS
2018; 34 (8): 600–611
Smithies et al. (1985) and Jasin and colleagues (1994) provided proof of concept that homologous recombination (HR) could be applied to the treatment of human disease and that its efficiency could be improved by the induction of double-strand breaks (DSBs). A key advance was the discovery of engineered nucleases, such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like (TAL) effector nucleases (TALENs), that can generate site-specific DSBs. The democratization and widespread use of genome editing was enabled by the discovery of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 nuclease system. While genome editing using ZFNs and TALENs has already reached clinical trials, the pace at which genome editing enters human trials is bound to accelerate in the next several years with multiple promising preclinical studies heralding cures for monogenic diseases that are currently difficult to manage or even incurable. Here we review recent advances and current limitations and discuss the path forward using genome editing to understand, treat, and cure genetic diseases.
View details for PubMedID 29908711
A novel missense variant in the GLI3 zinc finger domain in a family with digital anomalies.
American journal of medical genetics. Part A
Mutations in GLI3, which encodes a transcription factor of the Hedgehog signaling pathway, cause several developmental anomalies linked to inappropriate tissue patterning. Here, we report a novel missense variant in the fifth zinc finger domain of GLI3 (c.1826G>A; p.(Cys609Tyr)) initially identified in a proband with preaxial polydactyly type IV, developmental delay, sensorineural hearing loss, skeletal, and genitourinary anomalies. Additional family members exhibited various digital anomalies such as preaxial polydactyly, syndactyly, and postaxial polydactyly either in isolation or combined. Functional studies of Cys609Tyr GLI3 in cultured cells showed abnormal GLI3 processing leading to decreased GLI3 repressor production, increased basal transcriptional activity, and submaximal GLI reporter activity with Hedgehog pathway activation, thus demonstrating an intriguing molecular mechanism for this GLI3-related phenotype. Given the complexity of GLI3 post-translational processing and opposing biological functions as a transcriptional activator and repressor, our findings highlight the importance of performing functional studies of presumed GLI3 variants. This family also demonstrates how GLI3 variants are variably expressed.
View details for PubMedID 28884880
- Arylsulfatase A Deficiency GeneReviews® [Internet].. 2017
Mutations in the nuclear bile acid receptor FXR cause progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis.
2016; 7: 10713-?
Neonatal cholestasis is a potentially life-threatening condition requiring prompt diagnosis. Mutations in several different genes can cause progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, but known genes cannot account for all familial cases. Here we report four individuals from two unrelated families with neonatal cholestasis and mutations in NR1H4, which encodes the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a bile acid-activated nuclear hormone receptor that regulates bile acid metabolism. Clinical features of severe, persistent NR1H4-related cholestasis include neonatal onset with rapid progression to end-stage liver disease, vitamin K-independent coagulopathy, low-to-normal serum gamma-glutamyl transferase activity, elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein and undetectable liver bile salt export pump (ABCB11) expression. Our findings demonstrate a pivotal function for FXR in bile acid homeostasis and liver protection.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms10713
View details for PubMedID 26888176
A Promoter in the Coding Region of the Calcium Channel Gene CACNA1C Generates the Transcription Factor CCAT
2013; 8 (4)
The C-terminus of the voltage-gated calcium channel Cav1.2 encodes a transcription factor, the calcium channel associated transcriptional regulator (CCAT), that regulates neurite extension and inhibits Cav1.2 expression. The mechanisms by which CCAT is generated in neurons and myocytes are poorly understood. Here we show that CCAT is produced by activation of a cryptic promoter in exon 46 of CACNA1C, the gene that encodes CaV1.2. Expression of CCAT is independent of Cav1.2 expression in neuroblastoma cells, in mice, and in human neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), providing strong evidence that CCAT is not generated by cleavage of CaV1.2. Analysis of the transcriptional start sites in CACNA1C and immune-blotting for channel proteins indicate that multiple proteins are generated from the 3' end of the CACNA1C gene. This study provides new insights into the regulation of CACNA1C, and provides an example of how exonic promoters contribute to the complexity of mammalian genomes.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0060526
View details for Web of Science ID 000317893400012
View details for PubMedID 23613729
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3628902
- Translocation Affecting Sonic Hedgehog Genes in Basal-Cell Carcinoma NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE 2012; 366 (23): 2233-2234
The C terminus of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel Ca(v)1.2 encodes a transcription factor
2006; 127 (3): 591-606
Voltage-gated calcium channels play a central role in regulating the electrical and biochemical properties of neurons and muscle cells. One of the ways in which calcium channels regulate long-lasting neuronal properties is by activating signaling pathways that control gene expression, but the mechanisms that link calcium channels to the nucleus are not well understood. We report that a C-terminal fragment of Ca(V)1.2, an L-type voltage-gated calcium channel (LTC), translocates to the nucleus and regulates transcription. We show that this calcium channel associated transcription regulator (CCAT) binds to a nuclear protein, associates with an endogenous promoter, and regulates the expression of a wide variety of endogenous genes important for neuronal signaling and excitability. The nuclear localization of CCAT is regulated both developmentally and by changes in intracellular calcium. These findings provide evidence that voltage-gated calcium channels can directly activate transcription and suggest a mechanism linking voltage-gated channels to the function and differentiation of excitable cells.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2006.10.017
View details for Web of Science ID 000241937000022
View details for PubMedID 17081980
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1750862
Genome-edited Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells Correct Lysosomal Storage Disorders
WILEY. 2020: S213–S214
View details for Web of Science ID 000572509100387
CX3CR1 Haploinsufficiency Improves the Ability of Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells to Generate a Microglia-Like Progeny Upon Transplantation
CELL PRESS. 2020: 486
View details for Web of Science ID 000530089302214
Successful liver transplantation in mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE).
Molecular genetics and metabolism
Mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) is a fatal disorder characterized by progressive gastrointestinal dysmotility, peripheral neuropathy, leukoencephalopathy, skeletal myopathy, ophthalmoparesis, and ptosis. MNGIE stems from deficient thymidine phosphorylase activity (TP) leading to toxic elevations of plasma thymidine. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) restores TP activity and halts disease progression but has high transplant-related morbidity and mortality. Liver transplant (LT) was reported to restore TP activity in two adult MNGIE patients. We report successful LT in four additional MNGIE patients, including a pediatric patient. Our patients were diagnosed between ages 14 months and 36 years with elevated thymidine levels and biallelic pathogenic variants in TYMP. Two patients presented with progressive gastrointestinal dysmotility, and three demonstrated progressive peripheral neuropathy with two suffering limitations in ambulation. Two patients, including the child, had liver dysfunction and cirrhosis. Following LT, thymidine levels nearly normalized in all four patients and remained low for the duration of follow-up. Disease symptoms stabilized in all patients, with some manifesting improvements, including intestinal function. No patient died, and LT appeared to have a more favorable safety profile than HSCT, especially when liver disease is present. Follow-up studies will need to document the long-term impact of this new approach on disease outcome. Take Home Message: Liver transplantation is effective in stabilizing symptoms and nearly normalizing thymidine levels in patients with mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE) and may have an improved safety profile over hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ymgme.2020.03.001
View details for PubMedID 32173240
DYRK1A-related intellectual disability: a syndrome associated with congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract.
Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
PURPOSE: Haploinsufficiency of DYRK1A causes a recognizable clinical syndrome. The goal of this paper is to investigate congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) and genital defects (GD) in patients with DYRK1A variants.METHODS: A large database of clinical exome sequencing (ES) was queried for de novo DYRK1A variants and CAKUT/GD phenotypes were characterized. Xenopus laevis (frog) was chosen as a model organism to assess Dyrk1a's role in renal development.RESULTS: Phenotypic details and variants of 19 patients were compiled after an initial observation that one patient with a de novo pathogenic variant in DYRK1A had GD. CAKUT/GD data were available from 15 patients, 11 of whom presented with CAKUT/GD. Studies in Xenopus embryos demonstrated that knockdown of Dyrk1a, which is expressed in forming nephrons, disrupts the development of segments of embryonic nephrons, which ultimately give rise to the entire genitourinary (GU) tract. These defects could be rescued by coinjecting wild-type human DYRK1A RNA, but not with DYRK1AR205* or DYRK1AL245R RNA.CONCLUSION: Evidence supports routine GU screening of all individuals with de novo DYRK1A pathogenic variants to ensure optimized clinical management. Collectively, the reported clinical data and loss-of-function studies in Xenopus substantiate a novel role for DYRK1A in GU development.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41436-019-0576-0
View details for PubMedID 31263215
CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Engineering in Engraftable Human Brain-Derived Neural Stem Cells.
2019; 15: 524–35
Human neural stem cells (NSCs) offer therapeutic potential for neurodegenerative diseases, such as inherited monogenic nervous system disorders, and neural injuries. Gene editing in NSCs (GE-NSCs) could enhance their therapeutic potential. We show that NSCs are amenable to gene targeting at multiple loci using Cas9 mRNA with synthetic chemically modified guide RNAs along with DNA donor templates. Transplantation of GE-NSC into oligodendrocyte mutant shiverer-immunodeficient mice showed that GE-NSCs migrate and differentiate into astrocytes, neurons, and myelin-producing oligodendrocytes, highlighting the fact that GE-NSCs retain their NSC characteristics of self-renewal and site-specific global migration and differentiation. To show the therapeutic potential of GE-NSCs, we generated GALC lysosomal enzyme overexpressing GE-NSCs that are able to cross-correct GALC enzyme activity through the mannose-6-phosphate receptor pathway. These GE-NSCs have the potential to be an investigational cell and gene therapy for a range of neurodegenerative disorders and injuries of the central nervous system, including lysosomal storage disorders.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.isci.2019.04.036
View details for PubMedID 31132746
Genome Edited Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells Correct Lysosomal Storage Disorders: Proof-of-Concept and Safety Studies for Mucopolysaccharidosis Type I and Gaucher Disease
CELL PRESS. 2019: 329
View details for Web of Science ID 000464381003155
Identification of preexisting adaptive immunity to Cas9 proteins in humans.
The CRISPR-Cas9 system is a powerful tool for genome editing, which allows the precise modification of specific DNA sequences. Many efforts are underway to use the CRISPR-Cas9 system to therapeutically correct human genetic diseases1-6. The most widely used orthologs of Cas9 are derived from Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes5,7. Given that these two bacterial species infect the human population at high frequencies8,9, we hypothesized that humans may harbor preexisting adaptive immune responses to the Cas9 orthologs derived from these bacterial species, SaCas9 (S. aureus) and SpCas9 (S. pyogenes). By probing human serum for the presence of anti-Cas9 antibodies using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we detected antibodies against both SaCas9 and SpCas9 in 78% and 58% of donors, respectively. We also found anti-SaCas9 T cells in 78% and anti-SpCas9 T cells in 67% of donors, which demonstrates a high prevalence of antigen-specific T cells against both orthologs. We confirmed that these T cells were Cas9-specific by demonstrating a Cas9-specific cytokine response following isolation, expansion, and antigen restimulation. Together, these data demonstrate that there are preexisting humoral and cell-mediated adaptive immune responses to Cas9 in humans, a finding that should be taken into account as the CRISPR-Cas9 system moves toward clinical trials.
View details for PubMedID 30692695
Building a Professional Identity and an Academic Career Track in Translational Medicine.
Frontiers in medicine
2019; 6: 151
Biomedical scientists aim to contribute to further understanding of disease pathogenesis and to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic tools that relieve disease burden. Yet the majority of biomedical scientists do not develop their academic career or professional identity as "translational scientists," and are not actively involved in the continuum from scientific concept to development of new strategies that change medical practice. The collaborative nature of translational medicine and the lengthy process of bringing innovative findings from bench to bedside conflict with established pathways of building a career in academia. This collaborative approach also poses a problem for evaluating individual contributions and progress. The traditional evaluation of scientific success measured by the impact and number of publications and grants scientists achieve is inadequate when the product is a team effort that may take decades to complete. Further, where scientists are trained to be independent thinkers and to establish unique scientific niches, translational medicine depends on combining individual insights and strengths for the greater good. Training programs that are specifically geared to prepare scientists for a career in translational medicine are not widespread. In addition, the legal, regulatory, scientific and clinical infrastructure and support required for translational research is often underdeveloped in academic institutions and funding organizations, further discouraging the development and success of translational scientists in the academic setting. In this perspective we discuss challenges and potential solutions that could allow for physicians, physician scientists and basic scientists to develop a professional identity and a fruitful career in translational medicine.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fmed.2019.00151
View details for PubMedID 31334235
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6618343
A high-fidelity Cas9 mutant delivered as a ribonucleoprotein complex enables efficient gene editing in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
2018; 24 (8): 1216–24
Translation of the CRISPR-Cas9 system to human therapeutics holds high promise. However, specificity remains a concern especially when modifying stem cell populations. We show that existing rationally engineered Cas9 high-fidelity variants have reduced on-target activity when using the therapeutically relevant ribonucleoprotein (RNP) delivery method. Therefore, we devised an unbiased bacterial screen to isolate variants that retain activity in the RNP format. Introduction of a single point mutation, p.R691A, in Cas9 (high-fidelity (HiFi) Cas9) retained the high on-target activity of Cas9 while reducing off-target editing. HiFi Cas9 induces robust AAV6-mediated gene targeting at five therapeutically relevant loci (HBB, IL2RG, CCR5, HEXB, and TRAC) in human CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) as well as primary T cells. We also show that HiFi Cas9 mediates high-level correction of the sickle cell disease (SCD)-causing p.E6V mutation in HSPCs derived from patients with SCD. We anticipate that HiFi Cas9 will have wide utility for both basic science and therapeutic genome-editing applications.
View details for PubMedID 30082871
Bi-allelic ADPRHL2 Mutations Cause Neurodegeneration with Developmental Delay, Ataxia, and Axonal Neuropathy.
American journal of human genetics
2018; 103 (5): 817–25
ADP-ribosylation is a reversible posttranslational modification used to regulate protein function. ADP-ribosyltransferases transfer ADP-ribose from NAD+ to the target protein, and ADP-ribosylhydrolases, such as ADPRHL2, reverse the reaction. We used exome sequencing to identify five different bi-allelic pathogenic ADPRHL2 variants in 12 individuals from 8 families affected by a neurodegenerative disorder manifesting in childhood or adolescence with key clinical features including developmental delay or regression, seizures, ataxia, and axonal (sensori-)motor neuropathy. ADPRHL2 was virtually absent in available affected individuals' fibroblasts, and cell viability was reduced upon hydrogen peroxide exposure, although it was rescued by expression of wild-type ADPRHL2 mRNA as well as treatment with a PARP1 inhibitor. Our findings suggest impaired protein ribosylation as another pathway that, if disturbed, causes neurodegenerative diseases.
View details for PubMedID 30401461
Mutations of AKT3 are associated with a wide spectrum of developmental disorders including extreme megalencephaly.
Brain : a journal of neurology
2017; 140 (10): 2610–22
Mutations of genes within the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-AKT-MTOR pathway are well known causes of brain overgrowth (megalencephaly) as well as segmental cortical dysplasia (such as hemimegalencephaly, focal cortical dysplasia and polymicrogyria). Mutations of the AKT3 gene have been reported in a few individuals with brain malformations, to date. Therefore, our understanding regarding the clinical and molecular spectrum associated with mutations of this critical gene is limited, with no clear genotype-phenotype correlations. We sought to further delineate this spectrum, study levels of mosaicism and identify genotype-phenotype correlations of AKT3-related disorders. We performed targeted sequencing of AKT3 on individuals with these phenotypes by molecular inversion probes and/or Sanger sequencing to determine the type and level of mosaicism of mutations. We analysed all clinical and brain imaging data of mutation-positive individuals including neuropathological analysis in one instance. We performed ex vivo kinase assays on AKT3 engineered with the patient mutations and examined the phospholipid binding profile of pleckstrin homology domain localizing mutations. We identified 14 new individuals with AKT3 mutations with several phenotypes dependent on the type of mutation and level of mosaicism. Our comprehensive clinical characterization, and review of all previously published patients, broadly segregates individuals with AKT3 mutations into two groups: patients with highly asymmetric cortical dysplasia caused by the common p.E17K mutation, and patients with constitutional AKT3 mutations exhibiting more variable phenotypes including bilateral cortical malformations, polymicrogyria, periventricular nodular heterotopia and diffuse megalencephaly without cortical dysplasia. All mutations increased kinase activity, and pleckstrin homology domain mutants exhibited enhanced phospholipid binding. Overall, our study shows that activating mutations of the critical AKT3 gene are associated with a wide spectrum of brain involvement ranging from focal or segmental brain malformations (such as hemimegalencephaly and polymicrogyria) predominantly due to mosaic AKT3 mutations, to diffuse bilateral cortical malformations, megalencephaly and heterotopia due to constitutional AKT3 mutations. We also provide the first detailed neuropathological examination of a child with extreme megalencephaly due to a constitutional AKT3 mutation. This child has one of the largest documented paediatric brain sizes, to our knowledge. Finally, our data show that constitutional AKT3 mutations are associated with megalencephaly, with or without autism, similar to PTEN-related disorders. Recognition of this broad clinical and molecular spectrum of AKT3 mutations is important for providing early diagnosis and appropriate management of affected individuals, and will facilitate targeted design of future human clinical trials using PI3K-AKT pathway inhibitors.
View details for PubMedID 28969385
Molecular and clinical spectra of FBXL4 deficiency.
F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 4 (FBXL4) is a mitochondrial protein whose exact function is not yet known. However, cellular studies have suggested that it plays significant roles in mitochondrial bioenergetics, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance, and mitochondrial dynamics. Biallelic pathogenic variants in FBXL4 are associated with an encephalopathic mtDNA maintenance defect syndrome that is a multisystem disease characterized by lactic acidemia, developmental delay, and hypotonia. Other features are feeding difficulties, growth failure, microcephaly, hyperammonemia, seizures, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, elevated liver transaminases, recurrent infections, variable distinctive facial features, white matter abnormalities and cerebral atrophy found in neuroimaging, combined deficiencies of multiple electron transport complexes, and mtDNA depletion. Since its initial description in 2013, 36 different pathogenic variants in FBXL4 were reported in 50 affected individuals. In this report, we present 37 additional affected individuals and 11 previously unreported pathogenic variants. We summarize the clinical features of all 87 individuals with FBXL4-related mtDNA maintenance defect, review FBXL4 structure and function, map the 47 pathogenic variants onto the gene structure to assess the variants distribution, and investigate the genotype-phenotype correlation. Finally, we provide future directions to understand the disease mechanism and identify treatment strategies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for PubMedID 28940506
Expanding the phenotype of hawkinsinuria: new insights from response to N-acetyl-L-cysteine.
Journal of inherited metabolic disease
2016; 39 (6): 821-829
Hawkinsinuria is a rare disorder of tyrosine metabolism that can manifest with metabolic acidosis and growth arrest around the time of weaning off breast milk, typically followed by spontaneous resolution of symptoms around 1 year of age. The urinary metabolites hawkinsin, quinolacetic acid, and pyroglutamic acid can aid in identifying this condition, although their relationship to the clinical manifestations is not known. Herein we describe clinical and laboratory findings in two fraternal twins with hawkinsinuria who presented with failure to thrive and metabolic acidosis. Close clinical follow-up and laboratory testing revealed previously unrecognized hypoglycemia, hypophosphatemia, combined hyperlipidemia, and anemia, along with the characteristic urinary metabolites, including massive pyroglutamic aciduria. Treatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) restored normal growth and normalized or improved most biochemical parameters. The dramatic response to NAC therapy supports the idea that glutathione depletion plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hawkinsinuria.
View details for PubMedID 27488560
De Novo Mutations in CHD4, an ATP-Dependent Chromatin Remodeler Gene, Cause an Intellectual Disability Syndrome with Distinctive Dysmorphisms
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS
2016; 99 (4): 934-941
Chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 4 (CHD4) is an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeler involved in epigenetic regulation of gene transcription, DNA repair, and cell cycle progression. Also known as Mi2β, CHD4 is an integral subunit of a well-characterized histone deacetylase complex. Here we report five individuals with de novo missense substitutions in CHD4 identified through whole-exome sequencing and web-based gene matching. These individuals have overlapping phenotypes including developmental delay, intellectual disability, hearing loss, macrocephaly, distinct facial dysmorphisms, palatal abnormalities, ventriculomegaly, and hypogonadism as well as additional findings such as bone fusions. The variants, c.3380G>A (p.Arg1127Gln), c.3443G>T (p.Trp1148Leu), c.3518G>T (p.Arg1173Leu), and c.3008G>A, (p.Gly1003Asp) (GenBank: NM_001273.3), affect evolutionarily highly conserved residues and are predicted to be deleterious. Previous studies in yeast showed the equivalent Arg1127 and Trp1148 residues to be crucial for SNF2 function. Furthermore, mutations in the same positions were reported in malignant tumors, and a de novo missense substitution in an equivalent arginine residue in the C-terminal helicase domain of SMARCA4 is associated with Coffin Siris syndrome. Cell-based studies of the p.Arg1127Gln and p.Arg1173Leu mutants demonstrate normal localization to the nucleus and HDAC1 interaction. Based on these findings, the mutations potentially alter the complex activity but not its formation. This report provides evidence for the role of CHD4 in human development and expands an increasingly recognized group of Mendelian disorders involving chromatin remodeling and modification.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.08.001
View details for PubMedID 27616479
Respiratory System Involvement in Costello Syndrome
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL GENETICS PART A
2016; 170 (7): 1849-1857
Costello syndrome (CS) is a multisystem disorder caused by heterozygous germline mutations in the HRAS proto-oncogene. Respiratory system complications have been reported in individuals with CS, but a comprehensive description of the full spectrum and incidence of respiratory symptoms in these patients is not available. Here, we report the clinical course of four CS patients with respiratory complications as a major cause of morbidity. Review of the literature identified 56 CS patients with descriptions of their neonatal course and 17 patients in childhood/adulthood. We found that in the neonatal period, respiratory complications are seen in approximately 78% of patients with transient respiratory distress reported in 45% of neonates. Other more specific respiratory diagnoses were reported in 62% of patients, the majority of which comprised disorders of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Symptoms of upper airway obstruction were reported in CS neonates but were more commonly diagnosed in childhood/adulthood (71%). Analysis of HRAS mutations and their respiratory phenotype revealed that the common p.Gly12Ser mutation is more often associated with transient respiratory distress and other respiratory diagnoses. Respiratory failure and dependence on mechanical ventilation occurs almost exclusively with rare mutations. In cases of prenatally diagnosed CS, the high incidence of respiratory complications in the neonatal period should prompt anticipatory guidance and development of a postnatal management plan. This may be important in cases involving rarer mutations. Furthermore, the high frequency of airway obstruction in CS patients suggests that otorhinolaryngological evaluation and sleep studies should be considered. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ajmg.a.37655
View details for PubMedID 27102959
Clinical, cytogenetic, and molecular outcomes in a series of 66 patients with Pierre Robin sequence and literature review: 22q11.2 deletion is less common than other chromosomal anomalies.
American journal of medical genetics. Part A
2016; 170 (4): 870-880
Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is an important craniofacial anomaly that can be seen as an isolated finding or manifestation of multiple syndromes. 22q11.2 deletion and Stickler syndrome are cited as the two most common conditions associated with PRS, but their frequencies are debated. We performed a retrospective study of 66 patients with PRS and reviewed their genetic testing, diagnoses, and clinical findings. The case series is complemented by a comprehensive literature review of the nature and frequency of genetic diagnosis in PRS. In our cohort 65% of patients had associated anomalies; of these, a genetic diagnosis was established in 56%. Stickler syndrome was the most common diagnosis, comprising approximately 11% of all cases, followed by Treacher Collins syndrome (9%). The frequency of 22q11.2 deletion was 1.5%. Chromosome arrays, performed for 72% of idiopathic PRS with associated anomalies, revealed two cases of 18q22→qter deletion, a region not previously reported in association with PRS. A review of the cytogenetic anomalies identified in this population supports an association between the 4q33-qter, 17q24.3, 2q33.1, and 11q23 chromosomal loci and PRS. We found a low frequency of 22q11.2 deletion in PRS, suggesting it is less commonly implicated in this malformation. Our data also indicate a higher frequency of cytogenetic anomalies in PRS patients with associated anomalies, and a potential new link with the 18q22→qter locus. The present findings underscore the utility of chromosomal microarrays in cases of PRS with associated anomalies and suggest that delaying testing for apparently isolated cases should be considered. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
View details for DOI 10.1002/ajmg.a.37538
View details for PubMedID 26756138
DYRK1A haploinsufficiency causes a new recognizable syndrome with microcephaly, intellectual disability, speech impairment, and distinct facies
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS
2015; 23 (11): 1473-1481
Dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1 A (DYRK1A ) is a highly conserved gene located in the Down syndrome critical region. It has an important role in early development and regulation of neuronal proliferation. Microdeletions of chromosome 21q22.12q22.3 that include DYRK1A (21q22.13) are rare and only a few pathogenic single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in the DYRK1A gene have been described, so as of yet, the landscape of DYRK1A disruptions and their associated phenotype has not been fully explored. We have identified 14 individuals with de novo heterozygous variants of DYRK1A; five with microdeletions, three with small insertions or deletions (INDELs) and six with deleterious SNVs. The analysis of our cohort and comparison with published cases reveals that phenotypes are consistent among individuals with the 21q22.12q22.3 microdeletion and those with translocation, SNVs, or INDELs within DYRK1A. All individuals shared congenital microcephaly at birth, intellectual disability, developmental delay, severe speech impairment, short stature, and distinct facial features. The severity of the microcephaly varied from -2 SD to -5 SD. Seizures, structural brain abnormalities, eye defects, ataxia/broad-based gait, intrauterine growth restriction, minor skeletal abnormalities, and feeding difficulties were present in two-thirds of all affected individuals. Our study demonstrates that haploinsufficiency of DYRK1A results in a new recognizable syndrome, which should be considered in individuals with Angelman syndrome-like features and distinct facial features. Our report represents the largest cohort of individuals with DYRK1A disruptions to date, and is the first attempt to define consistent genotype-phenotype correlations among subjects with 21q22.13 microdeletions and DYRK1A SNVs or small INDELs.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 6 May 2015; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.71.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ejhg.2015.71
View details for PubMedID 25944381
State-dependent signaling by Cav1.2 regulates hair follicle stem cell function.
Genes & development
2013; 27 (11): 1217-1222
The signals regulating stem cell activation during tissue regeneration remain poorly understood. We investigated the baldness associated with mutations in the voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) Cav1.2 underlying Timothy syndrome (TS). While hair follicle stem cells express Cav1.2, they lack detectable voltage-dependent calcium currents. Cav1.2(TS) acts in a dominant-negative manner to markedly delay anagen, while L-type channel blockers act through Cav1.2 to induce anagen and overcome the TS phenotype. Cav1.2 regulates production of the bulge-derived BMP inhibitor follistatin-like1 (Fstl1), derepressing stem cell quiescence. Our findings show how channels act in nonexcitable tissues to regulate stem cells and may lead to novel therapeutics for tissue regeneration.
View details for DOI 10.1101/gad.216556.113
View details for PubMedID 23752588
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3690395
Mutations in alpha-tubulin promote basal body maturation and flagellar assembly in the absence of delta-tubulin
JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE
2004; 117 (2): 303-314
We have isolated suppressors of the deletion allele of delta-tubulin, uni3-1, in the biflagellate green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The deletion of delta-tubulin produces cells that assemble zero, one or two flagella and have basal bodies composed primarily of doublet rather than triplet microtubules. Flagellar number is completely restored in the suppressed strains. Most of the uni3-1 suppressors map to the TUA2 locus, which encodes alpha2-tubulin. Twelve independent tua2 mutations were sequenced. Amino acids D205 or A208, which are nearly invariant residues in alpha-tubulin, were altered. The tua2 mutations on their own have a second phenotype - they make the cells colchicine supersensitive. Colchicine supersensitivity itself is not needed for suppression and colchicine cannot phenocopy the suppression. The suppressors partially restore the assembly of triplet microtubules. These results suggest that the delta-tubulin plays two roles: it is needed for extension or stability of the triplet microtubule and also for early maturation of basal bodies. We suggest that the mutant alpha-tubulin promotes the early maturation of the basal body in the absence of delta-tubulin, perhaps through interactions with other partners, and this allows assembly of the flagella.
View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.00859
View details for Web of Science ID 000188665400017
View details for PubMedID 14676280
Tomographic evidence for continuous turnover of Golgi cisternae in Pichia pastoris
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL
2003; 14 (6): 2277-2291
The budding yeast Pichia pastoris contains ordered Golgi stacks next to discrete transitional endoplasmic reticulum (tER) sites, making this organism ideal for structure-function studies of the secretory pathway. Here, we have used P. pastoris to test various models for Golgi trafficking. The experimental approach was to analyze P. pastoris tER-Golgi units by using cryofixed and freeze-substituted cells for electron microscope tomography, immunoelectron microscopy, and serial thin section analysis of entire cells. We find that tER sites and the adjacent Golgi stacks are enclosed in a ribosome-excluding "matrix." Each stack contains three to four cisternae, which can be classified as cis, medial, trans, or trans-Golgi network (TGN). No membrane continuities between compartments were detected. This work provides three major new insights. First, two types of transport vesicles accumulate at the tER-Golgi interface. Morphological analysis indicates that the center of the tER-Golgi interface contains COPII vesicles, whereas the periphery contains COPI vesicles. Second, fenestrae are absent from cis cisternae, but are present in medial through TGN cisternae. The number and distribution of the fenestrae suggest that they form at the edges of the medial cisternae and then migrate inward. Third, intact TGN cisternae apparently peel off from the Golgi stacks and persist for some time in the cytosol, and these "free-floating" TGN cisternae produce clathrin-coated vesicles. These observations are most readily explained by assuming that Golgi cisternae form at the cis face of the stack, progressively mature, and ultimately dissociate from the trans face of the stack.
View details for Web of Science ID 000183524100009
View details for PubMedID 12808029
Selective trafficking of non-cell-autonomous proteins mediated by NtNCAPP1
2003; 299 (5605): 392-396
In plants, cell-to-cell communication is mediated by plasmodesmata and involves the trafficking of non-cell-autonomous proteins (NCAPs). A component in this pathway, Nicotiana tabacum NON-CELL-AUTONOMOUS PATHWAY PROTEIN1 (NtNCAPP1), was affinity purified and cloned. Protein overlay assays and in vivo studies showed that NtNCAPP1 is located on the endoplasmic reticulum at the cell periphery and displays specificity in its interaction with NCAPs. Deletion of the NtNCAPP1 amino-terminal transmembrane domain produced a dominant-negative mutant that blocked the trafficking of specific NCAPs. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing this mutant form of NtNCAPP1 and plants in which the NtNCAPP1 gene was silenced were compromised in their ability to regulate leaf and floral development. These results support a model in which NCAP delivery to plasmodesmata is both selective and regulated.
View details for Web of Science ID 000180426800045
View details for PubMedID 12532017
The spindle checkpoint of Saccharomyces cerevisiae responds to separable microtubule-dependent events
2000; 10 (21): 1375-1378
The spindle checkpoint regulates microtubule-based chromosome segregation and helps to maintain genomic stability [1,2]. Mutational inactivation of spindle checkpoint genes has been implicated in the progression of several types of human cancer. Recent evidence from budding yeast suggests that the spindle checkpoint is complex. Order-of-function experiments have defined two separable pathways within the checkpoint. One pathway, defined by MAD2, controls the metaphase-to-anaphase transition and the other, defined by BUB2, controls the exit from mitosis [3-6]. The relationships between the separate branches of the checkpoint, and especially the events that trigger the pathways, have not been defined. We localized a Bub2p-GFP fusion protein to the cytoplasmic side of the spindle pole body and used a kar9 mutant to show that cells with misoriented spindles are arrested in anaphase of mitosis. We used a kar9 bub2 double mutant to show that the arrest is BUB2 dependent. We conclude that the separate pathways of the spindle checkpoint respond to different classes of microtubules. The MAD2 branch of the pathway responds to kinetochore microtubule interactions and the BUB2 branch of the pathway operates within the cytoplasm, responding to spindle misorientation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000165230100020
View details for PubMedID 11084338
Yeast nuclear pore complex assembly defects determined by nuclear envelope reconstruction
JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY
2000; 132 (1): 1-5
Assembly of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) is a critical yet poorly understood cellular function. One approach to studying NPC assembly is to identify yeast mutants defective in this process. This requires robust assays for NPC assembly that can be used for phenotypic analysis. We have previously reconstructed yeast nuclei from electron micrographs of serially sectioned cells to precisely determine the number of NPCs (Winey et al., 1997). Here we report the analysis of strains mutant in either of two nucleoporin-encoding genes, NIC96 (Zabel et al., 1996) and NUP192 (Kosova et al., 1999). Using conditional alleles of either gene, we have found that the NPC number falls significantly following shift to the restrictive temperature. We conclude that the drop in NPC number results from the failure to assemble new NPCs during cell divisions, leading to the dilution of NPCs that existed when the cells were shifted to the restrictive temperature. We are also able to document a subtle defect in NPC numbers in nup192-15 cells at their permissive temperature. The data presented here quantitatively demonstrate that NPC numbers fall in nic96-1 and nup192-15 strains upon shifting to the restrictive temperature, indicating that these gene products are required for NPC assembly.
View details for Web of Science ID 000166379300001
View details for PubMedID 11121302