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Genes, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 162 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Perivascular spaces (PVSs) are pial-lined and interstitial fluid-filled spaces in the brain surrounding the cerebral vessel walls that can be detectable in vivo by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Enlargement of perivascular spaces (ePVSs) in the brain is common but is generally overlooked and is of uncertain pathophysiology. Identifying whether the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) influences ePVS in cognitively unimpaired individuals may provide additional insights into the neurobiological abnormalities that underlie AD. This study aimed to investigate whether the genetic factors associated with AD, such as APOE and BIN1, are associated with ePVS burden. View this paper
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Article
Associations of MC4R, LEP, and LEPR Polymorphisms with Obesity-Related Parameters in Childhood and Adulthood
Genes 2021, 12(6), 949; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060949 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 563
Abstract
MC4R, LEP, and LEPR genes are involved in the hypothalamic leptin-melanocortin regulation pathway, which is important for energy homeostasis. Our study aimed to evaluate the associations between the MC4R rs17782313, LEP rs7799039, and LEPR rs1137101 polymorphisms with obesity-related parameters in childhood [...] Read more.
MC4R, LEP, and LEPR genes are involved in the hypothalamic leptin-melanocortin regulation pathway, which is important for energy homeostasis. Our study aimed to evaluate the associations between the MC4R rs17782313, LEP rs7799039, and LEPR rs1137101 polymorphisms with obesity-related parameters in childhood and adulthood. The data were obtained from the Kaunas Cardiovascular Risk Cohort study, which started in 1977 with 1082 participants aged 12–13 years. In 2012–2014, the follow-up survey was carried out. Genotype analysis of all respondents (n = 509) aged 48–49 years was performed for the gene polymorphisms using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction. Anthropometric measurements were performed in childhood and adulthood. In childhood, only skinfold thicknesses were associated with gene variants being the lowest in children with MC4R TT genotype and LEP AG genotype. In adulthood, odds of obesity and metabolic syndrome was higher in MC4R CT/CC genotype than TT genotype carriers (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.2–2.8 and OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.4, respectively). In men, physical activity attenuated the effect of the MC4R rs17782313 on obesity. The LEP GG genotype was associated with higher BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat level only in men. No associations of the LEPR rs1137101 polymorphisms with anthropometric measurements and leptin level were found. In conclusion, the associations of the MC4R and LEP gene polymorphisms with obesity-related parameters strengthened with age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Research in Paediatric Subjects with Body Fat Excess)
Article
Administration of AAV-Alpha Synuclein NAC Antibody Improves Locomotor Behavior in Rats Overexpressing Alpha Synuclein
Genes 2021, 12(6), 948; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060948 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
Accumulation of α-Synuclein (αSyn) in nigral dopaminergic neurons is commonly seen in patients with Parkinson′s disease (PD). We recently reported that transduction of intracellular single-chain intrabody targeting the 53–87 amino acid residues of human αSyn by recombinant adeno associated viral vector (AAV-NAC32) downregulated [...] Read more.
Accumulation of α-Synuclein (αSyn) in nigral dopaminergic neurons is commonly seen in patients with Parkinson′s disease (PD). We recently reported that transduction of intracellular single-chain intrabody targeting the 53–87 amino acid residues of human αSyn by recombinant adeno associated viral vector (AAV-NAC32) downregulated αSyn protein in SH-SY5Y cells and rat brain. This study characterizes the behavioral phenotype and dopaminergic protection in animals receiving AAV-NAC32. Our results show that adult DAT-Cre rats selectively overexpress αSyn in nigra dopaminergic neurons after local administration of AAV-DIO-αSyn. These animals develop PD-like phenotype, including bradykinesia and loss of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity in substantia nigra pars compacta dorsal tier (SNcd). An injection of AAV-NAC32 to nigra produces a selective antibody against αSyn and normalizes the behavior. AAV-NAC32 significantly increases TH, while reduces αSyn immunoreactivity in SNcd. Altogether, our data suggest that an AAV-mediated gene transfer of NAC32 antibody effectively antagonizes αSyn-mediated dopaminergic degeneration in nigra, which may be a promising therapeutic candidate for synucleinopathy or PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preclinical and Clinical Genetics in Parkinson’s Disease)
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Article
QTL Analysis of Stem Elongation and Flowering Time in Lettuce Using Genotyping-by-Sequencing
Genes 2021, 12(6), 947; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060947 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 454
Abstract
Lettuce plants tend to undergo floral initiation by elongation of flower stalks (bolting) under high-temperature and long-day conditions, which is a serious problem for summer lettuce production. Our objective was to generate a high-density genetic map using SNPs obtained from genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) analysis [...] Read more.
Lettuce plants tend to undergo floral initiation by elongation of flower stalks (bolting) under high-temperature and long-day conditions, which is a serious problem for summer lettuce production. Our objective was to generate a high-density genetic map using SNPs obtained from genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) analysis of F5 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) and to map QTLs involved in stem growth and flowering time in lettuce. A set of 127 intra-specific RIL mapping populations derived from a cross between two varieties, green and red leaf lettuce, were used to identify QTLs related to the number of days from sowing to bolting (DTB), to flowering of the first flower (DTF), to seed-setting of the first flower (DTS), and the total number of leaves (LN), plant height (PH), and total number of branches of main inflorescence (BN) for two consecutive years. Of the 15 QTLs detected, one that controls DTB, DTF, DTS, LN, and PH detected on LG 7, and another QTL that controls DTF, DTS, and PH detected on LG 1. Analysis of the genomic sequence corresponding to the QTL detected on LG 7 led to the identification of 22 putative candidate genes. A consistent QTL related to bolting and flowering time, and corresponding candidate genes has been reported. This study will be valuable in revealing the genetic basis of stem growth and flowering time in lettuce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Improvement for Horticultural Plants)
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Review
Telomere Length and Pediatric Obesity: A Review
Genes 2021, 12(6), 946; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060946 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Obesity is a chronic disease, which needs to be early detected early and treated in order prevent its complications. Changes in telomere length (TL) have been associated with obesity and its complications, such as diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Therefore, we conducted a [...] Read more.
Obesity is a chronic disease, which needs to be early detected early and treated in order prevent its complications. Changes in telomere length (TL) have been associated with obesity and its complications, such as diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review to summarize results of studies that have measured TL in children and adolescents with obesity. Fourteen studies aiming to assess TL in pediatric patients with either obesity or who were overweight were included in this review. In conclusion, obesity and adiposity parameters are negatively associated with TL. Shorter telomeres are observed in children with obesity compared with their lean counterparts. Factors involved in obesity etiology, such as diet and physical activity, may contribute to maintenance of TL integrity. In the long term, TL change could be used as a biomarker to predict response to obesity treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Research in Paediatric Subjects with Body Fat Excess)
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Article
A Homozygous Synonymous Variant Likely Cause of Severe Ciliopathy Phenotype
Genes 2021, 12(6), 945; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060945 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Joubert syndrome (OMIM #213300) is a rare neurodevelopmental disease characterized by abnormal breathing patterns, intellectual impairment, ocular findings, renal cysts, and hepatic fibrosis. It is classified as a ciliopathy disease, where cilia function or structure in various organs are affected. Here, we report [...] Read more.
Joubert syndrome (OMIM #213300) is a rare neurodevelopmental disease characterized by abnormal breathing patterns, intellectual impairment, ocular findings, renal cysts, and hepatic fibrosis. It is classified as a ciliopathy disease, where cilia function or structure in various organs are affected. Here, we report a 17-year-old male whose main clinical findings are oculomotor apraxia and truncal ataxia. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed the characteristic molar tooth sign of Joubert syndrome. He also has obsessive–compulsive disorder concomitantly, which is not a known feature of Joubert syndrome. Molecular genetic analysis revealed a homozygous c.2106G>A (p.(Thr702=)) variation in the Abelson helper integration 1 (AHI1) gene and another homozygous c.1739C>T (p.Thr580Ile) variation in the coiled-coil and C2 domain-containing protein 1A (CC2D1A) gene. Even though certain AHI1 variations were previously associated with Joubert syndrome (JS), c.2106G>A (p.(Thr702=)) was only reported in one patient in trans with another known pathogenic JS variant. The CC2D1A c.1739C>T (p.Thr580Ile) variation, on the other hand, has been reported to cause autosomal recessive nonsyndromic mental retardation, but there are conflicting interpretations about its pathogenicity. Overall, to our knowledge, this is the first patient representing a severe ciliopathy phenotype caused by a homozygous synonymous AHI1 variation. Further investigations should be performed to determine any involvement of the CC2D1A gene in ciliopathy phenotypes such as Joubert syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Disease in Mediterranean Region)
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Article
Expression of Wnt and TGF-Beta Pathway Components during Whole-Body Regeneration from Cell Aggregates in Demosponge Halisarca dujardinii
Genes 2021, 12(6), 944; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060944 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 623
Abstract
The phenomenon of whole-body regeneration means rebuilding of the whole body of an animal from a small fragment or even a group of cells. In this process, the old axial relationships are often lost, and new ones are established. An amazing model for [...] Read more.
The phenomenon of whole-body regeneration means rebuilding of the whole body of an animal from a small fragment or even a group of cells. In this process, the old axial relationships are often lost, and new ones are established. An amazing model for studying this process is sponges, some of which are able to regenerate into a definitive organism after dissociation into cells. We hypothesized that during the development of cell aggregates, primmorphs, new axes are established due to the activation of the Wnt and TGF-beta signaling pathways. Using in silico analysis, RNA-seq, and whole-mount in situ hybridization, we identified the participants in these signaling pathways and determined the spatiotemporal changes in their expression in demosponge Halisarca dujardinii. It was shown that Wnt and TGF-beta ligands are differentially expressed during primmorph development, and transcripts of several genes are localized at the poles of primmorphs, in the form of a gradient. We suppose that the Wnt and TGF-beta signaling cascades are involved in the initial axial patterning of the sponge body, which develops from cells after dissociation. Full article
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Review
Models of Distal Arthrogryposis and Lethal Congenital Contracture Syndrome
Genes 2021, 12(6), 943; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060943 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Distal arthrogryposis and lethal congenital contracture syndromes describe a broad group of disorders that share congenital limb contractures in common. While skeletal muscle sarcomeric genes comprise many of the first genes identified for Distal Arthrogyposis, other mechanisms of disease have been demonstrated, including [...] Read more.
Distal arthrogryposis and lethal congenital contracture syndromes describe a broad group of disorders that share congenital limb contractures in common. While skeletal muscle sarcomeric genes comprise many of the first genes identified for Distal Arthrogyposis, other mechanisms of disease have been demonstrated, including key effects on peripheral nerve function. While Distal Arthrogryposis and Lethal Congenital Contracture Syndromes display superficial similarities in phenotype, the underlying mechanisms for these conditions are diverse but overlapping. In this review, we discuss the important insights gained into these human genetic diseases resulting from in vitro molecular studies and in vivo models in fruit fly, zebrafish, and mice. Full article
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Article
Short Time-Series Expression Transcriptome Data Reveal the Gene Expression Patterns of Dairy Cow Mammary Gland as Milk Yield Decreased Process
Genes 2021, 12(6), 942; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060942 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The existing research on dairy cow mammary gland genes is extensive, but there have been few reports about dynamic changes in dairy cow mammary gland genes as milk yield decrease. For the first time, transcriptome analysis based on short time-series expression miner (STEM) [...] Read more.
The existing research on dairy cow mammary gland genes is extensive, but there have been few reports about dynamic changes in dairy cow mammary gland genes as milk yield decrease. For the first time, transcriptome analysis based on short time-series expression miner (STEM) and histological observations were performed using the Holstein dairy cow mammary gland to explore gene expression patterns in this process of decrease (at peak, mid-, and late lactation). Histological observations suggested that the number of mammary acinous cells at peak/mid-lactation was significantly higher than that at mid-/late lactation, and the lipid droplets area secreted by dairy cows was almost unaltered across the three stages of lactation (p > 0.05). Totals of 882 and 1439 genes were differentially expressed at mid- and late lactation, respectively, compared to peak lactation. Function analysis showed that differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were mainly related to apoptosis and energy metabolism (fold change ≥ 2 or fold change ≤ 0.5, p-value ≤ 0.05). Transcriptome analysis based on STEM identified 16 profiles of differential gene expression patterns, including 5 significant profiles (false discovery rate, FDR ≤ 0.05). Function analysis revealed DEGs involved in milk fat synthesis were downregulated in Profile 0 and DEGs in Profile 12 associated with protein synthesis. These findings provide a foundation for future studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying mammary gland development in dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Framing Effects on Decision-Making for Diagnostic Genetic Testing: Results from a Randomized Trial
Genes 2021, 12(6), 941; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060941 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 665
Abstract
Genetic testing is increasingly part of routine clinical care. However, testing decisions may be characterized by regret as findings also implicate blood relatives. It is not known if genetic testing decisions are affected by the way information is presented (i.e., framing effects). We [...] Read more.
Genetic testing is increasingly part of routine clinical care. However, testing decisions may be characterized by regret as findings also implicate blood relatives. It is not known if genetic testing decisions are affected by the way information is presented (i.e., framing effects). We employed a randomized factorial design to examine framing effects on hypothetical genetic testing scenarios (common, life-threatening disease and rare, life-altering disease). Participants (n = 1012) received one of six decision frames: choice, default (n = 2; opt-in, opt-out), or enhanced choice (n = 3, based on the Theory of Planned Behavior). We compared testing decision, satisfaction, regret, and decision cognitions across decision frames and between scenarios. Participants randomized to ‘choice’ were least likely to opt for genetic testing compared with default and enhanced choice frames (78% vs. 83–91%, p < 0.05). Neither satisfaction nor regret differed across frames. Perceived autonomy (behavioral control) predicted satisfaction (B = 0.085, p < 0.001) while lack of control predicted regret (B = 0.346, p < 0.001). Opting for genetic testing did not differ between disease scenarios (p = 0.23). Results suggest framing can nudge individuals towards opting for genetic testing. These findings have important implications for individual self-determination in the genomic era. Similarities between scenarios with disparate disease trajectories point to possible modular approaches for web-based decisional support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Tests)
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Article
Genetic History of the Remnant Population of the Rare Orchid Cypripedium calceolus Based on Plastid and Nuclear rDNA
Genes 2021, 12(6), 940; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060940 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 735
Abstract
The lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), which inhabits shady deciduous and mixed forests and meadows, is now threatened with extinction in many European countries, and its natural populations have been dramatically declining in recent years. Knowledge of its evolutionary history, genetic [...] Read more.
The lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), which inhabits shady deciduous and mixed forests and meadows, is now threatened with extinction in many European countries, and its natural populations have been dramatically declining in recent years. Knowledge of its evolutionary history, genetic variability, and processes in small populations are therefore crucial for the species’ protection. Nowadays, in south-west Poland, it is only distributed in seven small remnant and isolated populations, which we examined. One nuclear (ITS rDNA) and two plastid (accD-psa1, trnL-F) markers were analyzed and compared globally in this study. Based on the nuclear marker, the most common ancestor of C. calceolus and Cypripedium shanxiense existed about 2 million years ago (95% HPD: 5.33–0.44) in Asia. The division of the C. calceolus population into the European and Asian lineages indicated by C/T polymorphism started about 0.5 million years ago (95% HPD: 1.8–0.01). The observed variation of plastid DNA, which arose during the Pleistocene glacial–interglacial cycles, is still diffuse in Poland. Its distribution is explained by the result of fragmentation or habitat loss due to human impact on the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Two RECK Splice Variants (Long and Short) Are Differentially Expressed in Patients with Stable and Unstable Coronary Artery Disease: A Pilot Study
Genes 2021, 12(6), 939; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060939 - 19 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
Primary prevention is crucial for coronary heart disease (CAD) and the identification of new reliable biomarkers might help risk stratification or predict adverse coronary events. Alternative splicing (AS) is a less investigated genetic factors implicated in CAD etiology. We performed an RNA-seq study [...] Read more.
Primary prevention is crucial for coronary heart disease (CAD) and the identification of new reliable biomarkers might help risk stratification or predict adverse coronary events. Alternative splicing (AS) is a less investigated genetic factors implicated in CAD etiology. We performed an RNA-seq study on PBMCs from CAD patients and control subjects (CTR) and observed 113 differentially regulated AS events (24 up and 89 downregulated) in 86 genes. The RECK (Reversion-inducing-cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs) gene was further analyzed in a larger case study (24 CTR subjects, 72 CAD and 32 AMI patients) for its Splicing-Index FC (FC = −2.64; p = 0.0217), the AS event involving an exon (exon 18), and its role in vascular inflammation and remodeling. We observed a significant downregulation of Long RECK splice variant (containing exon 18) in PBMCs of AMI compared to CTR subjects (FC = −3.3; p < 0.005). Interestingly, the Short RECK splice variant (lacking exon 18) was under-expressed in AMI compared to both CTR (FC = −4.5; p < 0.0001) and CAD patients (FC = −4.2; p < 0.0001). A ROC curve, constructed combining Long and Short RECK expression data, shows an AUC = 0.81 (p < 0.001) to distinguish AMI from stable CAD patients. A significant negative correlation between Long RECK and triglycerides in CTR group and a positive correlation in the AMI group was found. The combined evaluation of Long and Short RECK expression levels is a potential genomic biomarker for the discrimination of AMI from CAD patients. Our results underline the relevance of deeper studies on the expression of these two splice variants to elucidate their functional role in CAD development and progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alternative Splicing in Human Physiology and Disease)
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Article
Detection of Genes in Arabidopsis thaliana L. Responding to DNA Damage from Radiation and Other Stressors in Spaceflight
Genes 2021, 12(6), 938; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060938 - 19 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
Ionizing radiation present in extraterrestrial environment is an important factor that affects plants grown in spaceflight. Pearson correlation-based gene regulatory network inferencing from transcriptional responses of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana L. grown in real and simulated spaceflight conditions acquired by GeneLab, followed by [...] Read more.
Ionizing radiation present in extraterrestrial environment is an important factor that affects plants grown in spaceflight. Pearson correlation-based gene regulatory network inferencing from transcriptional responses of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana L. grown in real and simulated spaceflight conditions acquired by GeneLab, followed by topological and spectral analysis of the networks is performed. Gene regulatory subnetworks are extracted for DNA damage response processes. Analysis of radiation-induced ATR/ATM protein–protein interactions in Arabidopsis reveals interaction profile similarities under low radiation doses suggesting novel mechanisms of DNA damage response involving non-radiation-induced genes regulating other stress responses in spaceflight. The Jaccard similarity index shows that the genes AT2G31320, AT4G21070, AT2G46610, and AT3G27060 perform similar functions under low doses of radiation. The incremental association Markov blanket method reveals non-radiation-induced genes linking DNA damage response to root growth and plant development. Eighteen radiation-induced genes and sixteen non-radiation-induced gene players have been identified from the ATR/ATM protein interaction complexes involved in heat, salt, water, osmotic stress responses, and plant organogenesis. Network analysis and logistic regression ranking detected AT3G27060, AT1G07500, AT5G66140, and AT3G21280 as key gene players involved in DNA repair processes. High atomic weight, high energy, and gamma photon radiation result in higher intensity of DNA damage response in the plant resulting in elevated values for several network measures such as spectral gap and girth. Nineteen flavonoid and carotenoid pigment activations involved in pigment biosynthesis processes are identified in low radiation dose total light spaceflight environment but are not found to have significant regulations under very high radiation dose environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in 208 Individuals with Coffin-Siris Syndrome
Genes 2021, 12(6), 937; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060937 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1637
Abstract
Coffin-Siris syndrome (CSS, MIM 135900) is a multi-system intellectual disability syndrome characterized by classic dysmorphic features, developmental delays, and organ system anomalies. Genes in the BRG1(BRM)-associated factors (BAF, Brahma associated factor) complex have been shown to be causative, including ARID1A, ARID1B, [...] Read more.
Coffin-Siris syndrome (CSS, MIM 135900) is a multi-system intellectual disability syndrome characterized by classic dysmorphic features, developmental delays, and organ system anomalies. Genes in the BRG1(BRM)-associated factors (BAF, Brahma associated factor) complex have been shown to be causative, including ARID1A, ARID1B, ARID2, DPF2, SMARCA4, SMARCB1, SMARCC2, SMARCE1, SOX11, and SOX4. In order to describe more robust genotype-phenotype correlations, we collected data from 208 individuals from the CSS/BAF complex registry with pathogenic variants in seven of these genes. Data were organized into cohorts by affected gene, comparing genotype groups across a number of binary and quantitative phenotypes. We determined that, while numerous phenotypes are seen in individuals with variants in the BAF complex, hypotonia, hypertrichosis, sparse scalp hair, and hypoplasia of the distal phalanx are still some of the most common features. It has been previously proposed that individuals with ARID-related variants are thought to have more learning and developmental struggles, and individuals with SMARC-related variants, while they also have developmental delay, tend to have more severe organ-related complications. SOX-related variants also have developmental differences and organ-related complications but are most associated with neurodevelopmental differences. While these generalizations still overall hold true, we have found that all individuals with BAF-related conditions are at risk of many aspects of the phenotype, and management and surveillance should be broad. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Study on Genotypes and Phenotypes of Pediatric Clinical Rare Diseases)
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Review
Specialized Metabolites and Valuable Molecules in Crop and Medicinal Plants: The Evolution of Their Use and Strategies for Their Production
Genes 2021, 12(6), 936; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060936 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 719
Abstract
Plants naturally produce a terrific diversity of molecules, which we exploit for promoting our overall well-being. Plants are also green factories. Indeed, they may be exploited to biosynthesize bioactive molecules, proteins, carbohydrates and biopolymers for sustainable and large-scale production. These molecules are easily [...] Read more.
Plants naturally produce a terrific diversity of molecules, which we exploit for promoting our overall well-being. Plants are also green factories. Indeed, they may be exploited to biosynthesize bioactive molecules, proteins, carbohydrates and biopolymers for sustainable and large-scale production. These molecules are easily converted into commodities such as pharmaceuticals, antioxidants, food, feed and biofuels for multiple industrial processes. Novel plant biotechnological, genetics and metabolic insights ensure and increase the applicability of plant-derived compounds in several industrial sectors. In particular, synergy between disciplines, including apparently distant ones such as plant physiology, pharmacology, ‘omics sciences, bioinformatics and nanotechnology paves the path to novel applications of the so-called molecular farming. We present an overview of the novel studies recently published regarding these issues in the hope to have brought out all the interesting aspects of these published studies. Full article
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Article
Comprehensive Analysis of RNA Expression Correlations between Biofluids and Human Tissues
Genes 2021, 12(6), 935; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060935 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 398
Abstract
In recent years, biofluid has been considered a promising source of non-invasive biomarkers for health monitoring and disease diagnosis. However, the expression consistency between biofluid and human tissue, which is fundamental to RNA biomarker development, has not been fully evaluated. In this study, [...] Read more.
In recent years, biofluid has been considered a promising source of non-invasive biomarkers for health monitoring and disease diagnosis. However, the expression consistency between biofluid and human tissue, which is fundamental to RNA biomarker development, has not been fully evaluated. In this study, we collected expression profiles across 53 human tissues and five main biofluid types. Utilizing the above dataset, we uncovered a globally positive correlation pattern between various biofluids (including blood, urine, bile, saliva and stool) and human tissues. However, significantly varied biofluid–tissue similarity levels and tendencies were observed between mRNA and lncRNA. Moreover, a higher correlation was found between biofluid types and their functionally related and anatomically closer tissues. In particular, a highly specific correlation was discovered between urine and the prostate. The biological sex of the donor was also proved to be an important influencing factor in biofluid–tissue correlation. Moreover, genes enriched in basic biological processes were found to display low variability across biofluid types, while genes enriched in catabolism-associated pathways were identified as highly variable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Cis-Segregation of c.1171C>T Stop Codon (p.R391*) in SERPINC1 Gene and c.1691G>A Transition (p.R506Q) in F5 Gene and Selected GWAS Multilocus Approach in Inherited Thrombophilia
Genes 2021, 12(6), 934; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060934 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Inherited thrombophilia (e.g., venous thromboembolism, VTE) is due to rare loss-of-function mutations in anticoagulant factors genes (i.e., SERPINC1, PROC, PROS1), common gain-of-function mutations in procoagulant factors genes (i.e., F5, F2), and acquired risk conditions. Genome Wide Association Studies [...] Read more.
Inherited thrombophilia (e.g., venous thromboembolism, VTE) is due to rare loss-of-function mutations in anticoagulant factors genes (i.e., SERPINC1, PROC, PROS1), common gain-of-function mutations in procoagulant factors genes (i.e., F5, F2), and acquired risk conditions. Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) recently recognized several genes associated with VTE though gene defects may unpredictably remain asymptomatic, so calculating the individual genetic predisposition is a challenging task. We investigated a large family with severe, recurrent, early-onset VTE in which two sisters experienced VTE during pregnancies characterized by a perinatal in-utero thrombosis in the newborn and a life-saving pregnancy-interruption because of massive VTE, respectively. A nonsense mutation (CGA > TGA) generating a premature stop-codon (c.1171C>T; p.R391*) in the exon 6 of SERPINC1 gene (1q25.1) causing Antithrombin (AT) deficiency and the common missense mutation (c.1691G>A; p.R506Q) in the exon 10 of F5 gene (1q24.2) (i.e., FV Leiden; rs6025) were coinherited in all the symptomatic members investigated suspecting a cis-segregation further confirmed by STR-linkage-analyses [i.e., SERPINC1 IVS5 (ATT)5–18, F5 IVS2 (AT)6–33 and F5 IVS11 (GT)12–16] and SERPINC1 intragenic variants (i.e., rs5878 and rs677). A multilocus investigation of blood-coagulation balance genes detected the coexistence of FV Leiden (rs6025) in trans with FV HR2-haplotype (p.H1299R; rs1800595) in the aborted fetus, and F11 rs2289252, F12 rs1801020, F13A1 rs5985, and KNG1 rs710446 in the newborn and other members. Common selected gene variants may strongly synergize with less common mutations tuning potential life-threatening conditions when combined with rare severest mutations. Merging classic and newly GWAS-identified gene markers in at risk families is mandatory for VTE risk estimation in the clinical practice, avoiding partial risk score evaluation in unrecognized at risk patients. Full article
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Article
A Methodological Framework to Discover Pharmacogenomic Interactions Based on Random Forests
Genes 2021, 12(6), 933; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060933 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 509
Abstract
The identification of genomic alterations in tumor tissues, including somatic mutations, deletions, and gene amplifications, produces large amounts of data, which can be correlated with a diversity of therapeutic responses. We aimed to provide a methodological framework to discover pharmacogenomic interactions based on [...] Read more.
The identification of genomic alterations in tumor tissues, including somatic mutations, deletions, and gene amplifications, produces large amounts of data, which can be correlated with a diversity of therapeutic responses. We aimed to provide a methodological framework to discover pharmacogenomic interactions based on Random Forests. We matched two databases from the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopaedia (CCLE) project, and the Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer (GDSC) project. For a total of 648 shared cell lines, we considered 48,270 gene alterations from CCLE as input features and the area under the dose-response curve (AUC) for 265 drugs from GDSC as the outcomes. A three-step reduction to 501 alterations was performed, selecting known driver genes and excluding very frequent/infrequent alterations and redundant ones. For each model, we used the concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) for assessing the predictive performance, and permutation importance for assessing the contribution of each alteration. In a reasonable computational time (56 min), we identified 12 compounds whose response was at least fairly sensitive (CCC > 20) to the alteration profiles. Some diversities were found in the sets of influential alterations, providing clues to discover significant drug-gene interactions. The proposed methodological framework can be helpful for mining pharmacogenomic interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmacogenomics: Challenges and Future)
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Article
Increase in Phloem Area in the Tomato hawaiian skirt Mutant Is Associated with Enhanced Sugar Transport
Genes 2021, 12(6), 932; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060932 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 490
Abstract
The HAWAIIAN SKIRT (HWS) gene has been described in Arabidopsis, rice, tomato and poplar where it seems to perform distinct functions with relatively little overlap. In tomato, alteration of the gene function confers facultative parthenocarpy, thought to be a consequence of [...] Read more.
The HAWAIIAN SKIRT (HWS) gene has been described in Arabidopsis, rice, tomato and poplar where it seems to perform distinct functions with relatively little overlap. In tomato, alteration of the gene function confers facultative parthenocarpy, thought to be a consequence of changes in the microRNA metabolism. In the rice mutant, improvement in panicle architecture is associated with an increase in grain yield. Knowing that hws tomato fruits show a higher Brix level, it was suspected that vascular bundles might also be altered in this species, in a similar fashion to the rice phenotype. The pedicel structure of the hws-1 line was therefore examined under the microscope and sugar concentrations from phloem exudate were determined in an enzymatic assay. A distinct increase in the phloem area was observed as well as a higher sugar content in mutant phloem exudates, which is hypothesized to contribute to the high Brix level in the mutant fruits. Furthermore, the described phenotype in this study bridges the gap between Arabidopsis and rice phenotypes, suggesting that the modulation of the microRNA metabolism by HWS influences traits of agricultural interest across several species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Solanaceae)
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Article
Altered Expression of TSPAN32 during B Cell Activation and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Genes 2021, 12(6), 931; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060931 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease with various clinical features. Autoreactive B cells play a role in disease pathogenesis, through the production of multiple autoantibodies, which form immune complexes and induce the inflammatory response and tissue damage associated with SLE. [...] Read more.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic inflammatory disease with various clinical features. Autoreactive B cells play a role in disease pathogenesis, through the production of multiple autoantibodies, which form immune complexes and induce the inflammatory response and tissue damage associated with SLE. Recently, tetraspanins, and in particular, TSPAN32, have been recognized to play a central role in immunity, as they are involved in various biological processes, such as the antigen presentation and the activation of lymphocytes. Evidence suggests that tetraspanins could represent in the future a target for therapeutic purposes in patients suffering from autoimmune/immunoinflammatory disorders. In the present study, by performing in silico analyses of high-throughput data, we evaluated the expression levels of TSPAN32 in B cell activation and investigated its modulation in circulating B cells from SLE patients. Our data show that B cell activation is associated with a significant downregulation of TSPAN32. Additionally, significantly lower levels of TSPAN32 were observed in circulating plasmablasts from SLE patients as compared to healthy donor plasmablasts. In addition, type I interferons (IFNs)-related genes were enriched among the genes negatively correlated to TSPAN32, in SLE plasmablasts. Accordingly, IFN-α is able to induce a dose-dependent downregulation of TSPAN32 in B cells. Overall, the data here presented suggest the potential use of TSPAN32 as a diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for the evaluation and management of humoral immune responses in chronic diseases, such as SLE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Association of TGF-β1 and IL-10 Gene Polymorphisms with Osteoporosis in a Study of Taiwanese Osteoporotic Patients
Genes 2021, 12(6), 930; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060930 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Osteoporosis is a rising health threat in the increasingly aging world population. It is a common skeletal disease strongly linked to genetic predisposition. We aim to identify the effects of the anti-inflammatory TGF-β1- and IL-10-specific single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) combination on the [...] Read more.
Osteoporosis is a rising health threat in the increasingly aging world population. It is a common skeletal disease strongly linked to genetic predisposition. We aim to identify the effects of the anti-inflammatory TGF-β1- and IL-10-specific single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) combination on the risk for osteoporosis. We investigated and analyzed the relationships between three TGF-β1 SNPs (−509C/T, +869 T/C and +29T/C), one IL-10 SNP (+1927A/C) and the level of bone mineral density (BMD), as well as the risk of osteoporosis in Taiwanese osteoporotic patients. A total of 217 subjects were recruited, including 88 osteoporotic patients and 129 healthy controls, for SNPs, BMD and clinical characteristics statistical analyses. Females with TGF-β1 SNP (−509 C/C) and IL-10 SNP (+1927 C/C) genotypes showed a great benefit for femoral neck T-scores. However, the combination of TGF-β1 SNP (−509 T/T) and IL-10 SNP (+1927 A/A) genotypes in all subjects showed a significant decrease in total hip BMD T-scores. The TGF-β1 SNP (−509 C/T) genotype in all subjects and TGF-β1 SNP (−509 T/T) and IL-10 SNP (+1927 A/C) genotypes in males showed positive effects on body height. The combination of the many SNPs in the anti-inflammatory TGF-β1 and IL-10 genes may be cooperatively involved in the development of osteoporosis. Our data suggested that the specific SNP combination of TGF-β1 (−509) and IL-10 (+1927) may act as a predictive factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis in Taiwanese women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Key Genetic Determinants of Osteoporosis: From Bench to Bedside)
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Article
Phylogeny and Evolutionary History of Respiratory Complex I Proteins in Melainabacteria
Genes 2021, 12(6), 929; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060929 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 738
Abstract
The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis was one of the most transformative evolutionary events in Earth’s history, leading eventually to the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere and, consequently, the evolution of aerobic respiration. Previous work has shown that the terminal electron acceptors (complex IV) of [...] Read more.
The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis was one of the most transformative evolutionary events in Earth’s history, leading eventually to the oxygenation of Earth’s atmosphere and, consequently, the evolution of aerobic respiration. Previous work has shown that the terminal electron acceptors (complex IV) of aerobic respiration likely evolved after the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. However, complex I of the respiratory complex chain can be involved in anaerobic processes and, therefore, may have pre-dated the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. If so, aerobic respiration may have built upon respiratory chains that pre-date the rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. The Melainabacteria provide a unique opportunity to examine this hypothesis because they contain genes for aerobic respiration but likely diverged from the Cyanobacteria before the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Here, we examine the phylogenies of translated complex I sequences from 44 recently published Melainabacteria metagenome assembled genomes and genomes from other Melainabacteria, Cyanobacteria, and other bacterial groups to examine the evolutionary history of complex I. We find that complex I appears to have been present in the common ancestor of Melainabacteria and Cyanobacteria, supporting the idea that aerobic respiration built upon respiratory chains that pre-date the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and the rise of oxygen. Full article
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Review
The Crazy Ovary
Genes 2021, 12(6), 928; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060928 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
From fetal life until senescence, the ovary is an extremely active tissue undergoing continuous structural and functional changes. These ever-changing events are best summarized by a quotation attributed to Plato when describing motion in space and time—‘nothing ever is but is always becoming…’. [...] Read more.
From fetal life until senescence, the ovary is an extremely active tissue undergoing continuous structural and functional changes. These ever-changing events are best summarized by a quotation attributed to Plato when describing motion in space and time—‘nothing ever is but is always becoming…’. With respect to the ovary, these changes include, at the beginning, the processes of follicular formation and thereafter those of follicular growth and atresia, steroidogenesis, oocyte maturation, and decisions relating to the number of mature oocytes that are ovulated for fertilization and the role of the corpus luteum. The aims of this review are to offer some examples of these complex and hitherto unknown processes. The ones herein have been elucidated from studies undertaken in vitro or from normal in vivo events, natural genetic mutations or after experimental inactivation of gene function. Specifically, this review offers insights concerning the initiation of follicular growth, pathologies relating to poly-ovular follicles, the consequences of premature loss of germ cells or oocytes loss, the roles of AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone) and BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) genes in regulating follicular growth and ovulation rate together with species differences in maintaining luteal function during pregnancy. Collectively, the evidence suggests that the oocyte is a key organizer of normal ovarian function. It has been shown to influence the phenotype of the adjacent somatic cells, the growth and maturation of the follicle, and to determine the ovulation rate. When germ cells or oocytes are lost prematurely, the ovary becomes disorganized and a wide range of pathologies may arise. Full article
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Article
Ocular Involvement in Hereditary Transthyretin Amyloidosis: A Case Series Describing Novel Potential Biomarkers
Genes 2021, 12(6), 927; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060927 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR) is a rare disease caused by a point mutation in the transthyretin (TTR) gene and inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. TTR is a plasma protein that functions as a carrier for thyroxine (T4) and retinol (vitamin A). Ophthalmological [...] Read more.
Hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (hATTR) is a rare disease caused by a point mutation in the transthyretin (TTR) gene and inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion. TTR is a plasma protein that functions as a carrier for thyroxine (T4) and retinol (vitamin A). Ophthalmological manifestations are due to both the hepatic and ocular production of mutated TTR. In this case series, we report the ocular manifestations of hATTR in eighteen eyes of nine consecutive patients. Corneal nerve abnormalities as well as morphological and functional changes in the retina were investigated. The study was a single-center, retrospective, observational, clinical case series. In all patients, corneal confocal microscopy (CCM), multimodal imaging of the retina, including fundus photography and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), as well as rod and cone electroretinography (ERG) were performed. Eight patients had active disease and one was an unaffected carrier. In all study eyes, corneal nerve plexa examined with CCM were poorly represented or absent. Mixed rod-cone and cone ERG b-wave amplitudes were reduced, and photopic b-wave responses were significantly delayed. Photopic Negative Response (PhNR) amplitude was significantly reduced, while PhNR latency was significantly augmented. In 13/18 eyes, vitreous opacities and abnormalities of vitreo-retinal interface were found. The current results highlight the presence of corneal nerve damage. Functional retinal abnormalities, detected by ERG, can be found even in the presence of minimal or absent structural retinal damage. These findings support the use of CCM and ERGs to detect early biomarkers for primary hATTR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Neuromuscular Disorders)
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Review
How Depressing Is Inbreeding? A Meta-Analysis of 30 Years of Research on the Effects of Inbreeding in Livestock
Genes 2021, 12(6), 926; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060926 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 948
Abstract
Inbreeding depression has been widely documented for livestock and other animal and plant populations. Inbreeding is generally expected to have a stronger unfavorable effect on fitness traits than on other traits. Traditionally, the degree of inbreeding depression in livestock has been estimated as [...] Read more.
Inbreeding depression has been widely documented for livestock and other animal and plant populations. Inbreeding is generally expected to have a stronger unfavorable effect on fitness traits than on other traits. Traditionally, the degree of inbreeding depression in livestock has been estimated as the slope of the linear regression of phenotypic values on pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients. With the increasing availability of SNP-data, pedigree inbreeding can now be replaced by SNP-based measures. We performed a meta-analysis of 154 studies, published from 1990 to 2020 on seven livestock species, and compared the degree of inbreeding depression (1) across different trait groups, and (2) across different pedigree-based and SNP-based measures of inbreeding. Across all studies and traits, a 1% increase in pedigree inbreeding was associated with a median decrease in phenotypic value of 0.13% of a trait’s mean, or 0.59% of a trait’s standard deviation. Inbreeding had an unfavorable effect on all sorts of traits and there was no evidence for a stronger effect on primary fitness traits (e.g., reproduction/survival traits) than on other traits (e.g., production traits or morphological traits). p-values of inbreeding depression estimates were smaller for SNP-based inbreeding measures than for pedigree inbreeding, suggesting more power for SNP-based measures. There were no consistent differences in p-values for percentage of homozygous SNPs, inbreeding based on runs of homozygosity (ROH) or inbreeding based on a genomic relationship matrix. The number of studies that directly compares these different measures, however, is limited and comparisons are furthermore complicated by differences in scale and arbitrary definitions of particularly ROH-based inbreeding. To facilitate comparisons across studies in future, we provide the dataset with inbreeding depression estimates of 154 studies and stress the importance of always reporting detailed information (on traits, inbreeding coefficients, and models used) along with inbreeding depression estimates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inbreeding)
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Article
Kinase Inhibitors of DNA-PK, ATM and ATR in Combination with Ionizing Radiation Can Increase Tumor Cell Death in HNSCC Cells While Sparing Normal Tissue Cells
Genes 2021, 12(6), 925; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060925 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 646
Abstract
(1) Kinase inhibitors (KI) targeting components of the DNA damage repair pathway are a promising new type of drug. Combining them with ionizing radiation therapy (IR), which is commonly used for treatment of head and neck tumors, could improve tumor control, but could [...] Read more.
(1) Kinase inhibitors (KI) targeting components of the DNA damage repair pathway are a promising new type of drug. Combining them with ionizing radiation therapy (IR), which is commonly used for treatment of head and neck tumors, could improve tumor control, but could also increase negative side effects on surrounding normal tissue. (2) The effect of KI of the DDR (ATMi: AZD0156; ATRi: VE-822, dual DNA-PKi/mTORi: CC-115) in combination with IR on HPV-positive and HPV-negative HNSCC and healthy skin cells was analyzed. Cell death and cell cycle arrest were determined using flow cytometry. Additionally, clonogenic survival and migration were analyzed. (3) Studied HNSCC cell lines reacted differently to DDRi. An increase in cell death for all of the malignant cells could be observed when combining IR and KI. Healthy fibroblasts were not affected by simultaneous treatment. Migration was partially impaired. Influence on the cell cycle varied between the cell lines and inhibitors; (4) In conclusion, a combination of DDRi with IR could be feasible for patients with HNSCC. Side effects on healthy cells are expected to be limited to normal radiation-induced response. Formation of metastases could be decreased because cell migration is impaired partially. The treatment outcome for HPV-negative tumors tends to be improved by combined treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of DNA Damage, Repair and Mutagenesis)
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Review
Cytogenetics of Pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Review of the Current Knowledge
Genes 2021, 12(6), 924; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060924 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia is a rare and heterogeneous disease in relation to morphology, immunophenotyping, germline and somatic cytogenetic and genetic abnormalities. Over recent decades, outcomes have greatly improved, although survival rates remain around 70% and the relapse rate is high, at around [...] Read more.
Pediatric acute myeloid leukemia is a rare and heterogeneous disease in relation to morphology, immunophenotyping, germline and somatic cytogenetic and genetic abnormalities. Over recent decades, outcomes have greatly improved, although survival rates remain around 70% and the relapse rate is high, at around 30%. Cytogenetics is an important factor for diagnosis and indication of prognosis. The main cytogenetic abnormalities are referenced in the current WHO classification of acute myeloid leukemia, where there is an indication for risk-adapted therapy. The aim of this article is to provide an updated review of cytogenetics in pediatric AML, describing well-known WHO entities, as well as new subgroups and germline mutations with therapeutic implications. We describe the main chromosomal abnormalities, their frequency according to age and AML subtypes, and their prognostic relevance within current therapeutic protocols. We focus on de novo AML and on cytogenetic diagnosis, including the practical difficulties encountered, based on the most recent hematological and cytogenetic recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Epigenetics of Pediatric Leukemia)
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Article
Characteristics of the Diploid, Triploid, and Tetraploid Versions of a Cannabigerol-Dominant F1 Hybrid Industrial Hemp Cultivar, Cannabis sativa ‘Stem Cell CBG’
Genes 2021, 12(6), 923; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060923 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 807
Abstract
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has recently become an important crop due to the growing market demands for products containing cannabinoids. Unintended cross-pollination of C. sativa crops is one of the most important threats to cannabinoid production and has been shown to reduce [...] Read more.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) has recently become an important crop due to the growing market demands for products containing cannabinoids. Unintended cross-pollination of C. sativa crops is one of the most important threats to cannabinoid production and has been shown to reduce cannabinoid yield. Ploidy manipulation has been used in other crops to improve agronomic traits and reduce fertility; however, little is known about the performance of C. sativa polyploids. In this study, colchicine was applied to two proprietary, inbred diploid C. sativa inbred lines, ‘TS1-3’ and ‘P163’, to produce the tetraploids ‘TS1-3 (4x)’ and ‘P163 (4x)’. The diploid, triploid, and tetraploid F1 hybrids from ‘TS1-3’ × ‘P163’, ‘TS1-3 (4x)’ × ‘P163’, and ‘TS1-3 (4x)’ × ‘P163 (4x)’ were produced to test their fertilities, crossing compatibilities, and yields. The results indicated a reduction in fertility in the triploids and the tetraploids, relative to their diploid counterparts. When triploids were used as females, seed yields were less than 2% compared to when diploids were used as females; thus, triploids were determined to be female infertile. The triploids resulting from the crosses made herein displayed increases in biomass and inflorescence weight compared to the diploids created from the same parents in a field setting. Statistical increases in cannabinoid concentrations were not observed. Lastly, asymmetric crossing compatibility was observed between the diploids and the tetraploids of the genotypes tested. The results demonstrate the potential benefits of triploid C. sativa cultivars in commercial agriculture. Full article
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Article
Whole Exome Sequencing of 23 Multigeneration Idiopathic Scoliosis Families Reveals Enrichments in Cytoskeletal Variants, Suggests Highly Polygenic Disease
Genes 2021, 12(6), 922; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060922 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a lateral spinal curvature >10° with rotation that affects 2–3% of healthy children across populations. AIS is known to have a significant genetic component, and despite a handful of risk loci identified in unrelated individuals by GWAS and [...] Read more.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a lateral spinal curvature >10° with rotation that affects 2–3% of healthy children across populations. AIS is known to have a significant genetic component, and despite a handful of risk loci identified in unrelated individuals by GWAS and next-generation sequencing methods, the underlying etiology of the condition remains largely unknown. In this study, we performed exome sequencing of affected individuals within 23 multigenerational families, with the hypothesis that the occurrence of rare, low frequency, disease-causing variants will co-occur in distantly related, affected individuals. Bioinformatic filtering of uncommon, potentially damaging variants shared by all sequenced family members revealed 1448 variants in 1160 genes across the 23 families, with 132 genes shared by two or more families. Ten genes were shared by >4 families, and no genes were shared by all. Gene enrichment analysis showed an enrichment of variants in cytoskeletal and extracellular matrix related processes. These data support a model that AIS is a highly polygenic disease, with few variant-containing genes shared between affected individuals across different family lineages. This work presents a novel resource for further exploration in familial AIS genetic research. Full article
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Review
From Stem Cells to Populations—Using hiPSC, Next-Generation Sequencing, and GWAS to Explore the Genetic and Molecular Mechanisms of Congenital Heart Defects
Genes 2021, 12(6), 921; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060921 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are developmental malformations affecting the heart and the great vessels. Early heart development requires temporally regulated crosstalk between multiple cell types, signaling pathways, and mechanical forces of early blood flow. While both genetic and environmental factors have been recognized [...] Read more.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are developmental malformations affecting the heart and the great vessels. Early heart development requires temporally regulated crosstalk between multiple cell types, signaling pathways, and mechanical forces of early blood flow. While both genetic and environmental factors have been recognized to be involved, identifying causal genes in non-syndromic CHD has been difficult. While variants following Mendelian inheritance have been identified by linkage analysis in a few families with multiple affected members, the inheritance pattern in most familial cases is complex, with reduced penetrance and variable expressivity. Furthermore, most non-syndromic CHD are sporadic. Improved sequencing technologies and large biobank collections have enabled genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in non-syndromic CHD. The ability to generate human to create human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) and further differentiate them to organotypic cells enables further exploration of genotype–phenotype correlations in patient-derived cells. Here we review how these technologies can be used in unraveling the genetics and molecular mechanisms of heart development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Epigenetics of Human Congenital Heart Disease)
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Article
New RAD51 Inhibitors to Target Homologous Recombination in Human Cells
Genes 2021, 12(6), 920; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12060920 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
Targeting DNA repair proteins with small-molecule inhibitors became a proven anti-cancer strategy. Previously, we identified an inhibitor of a major protein of homologous recombination (HR) RAD51, named B02. B02 inhibited HR in human cells and sensitized them to chemotherapeutic drugs in vitro and [...] Read more.
Targeting DNA repair proteins with small-molecule inhibitors became a proven anti-cancer strategy. Previously, we identified an inhibitor of a major protein of homologous recombination (HR) RAD51, named B02. B02 inhibited HR in human cells and sensitized them to chemotherapeutic drugs in vitro and in vivo. Here, using a medicinal chemistry approach, we aimed to improve the potency of B02. We identified the B02 analog, B02-isomer, which inhibits HR in human cells with significantly higher efficiency. We also show that B02-iso sensitizes triple-negative breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells to the PARP inhibitor (PARPi) olaparib. Full article
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