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Genes, Volume 12, Issue 7 (July 2021) – 155 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common congenital anomaly and a major focus of genetic research. The cover image incorporates a drawing from the Yale Pathology collection made in the early 20th century by Armin Hemberger (Medical Historical Library, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Yale University). It shows complex congenital heart disease, including atrial situs inversus, and an atrioventricular canal defect. The molecular pathways that both contribute to heart development and are implicated in CHD are numerous and varied, as are the genetic inheritance patterns observed in CHD patients. This journal issue highlights the genetic basis for CHD with an eye towards the emerging role of complex inheritance in CHD pathogenesis. View this paper
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Article
Extracellular Matrix-Related Hubs Genes Have Adverse Effects on Gastric Adenocarcinoma Prognosis Based on Bioinformatics Analysis
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071104 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 600
Abstract
Gastric adenocarcinoma (GAC) is the most frequent type of stomach cancer, characterized by high heterogeneity and phenotypic diversity. Although many novel strategies have been developed for treating GAC, recurrence and metastasis rates are still high. Therefore, it is necessary to screen new potential [...] Read more.
Gastric adenocarcinoma (GAC) is the most frequent type of stomach cancer, characterized by high heterogeneity and phenotypic diversity. Although many novel strategies have been developed for treating GAC, recurrence and metastasis rates are still high. Therefore, it is necessary to screen new potential biomarkers correlated with prognosis and novel molecular targets. Gene expression profiles were obtained from the from NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. We conduct an integrated analysis using the online Venny website to explore candidate hub genes between differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of two datasets. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia 18 of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis found that extracellular matrix plays an important role in GAC. In addition, we applied protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analysis by using the Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes (STRING) and visualized with Cytoscape software. Furthermore, we employed Cytoscape software to analyze the interactive relationship of candidate gene for further analysis. We found that ECM related proteins played an important role in GAC, and 15 hub genes were extracted from 123 DEGs genes. There were four hub genes (bgn, vcan, col1a1 and timp1) predicted to be associated with poor prognosis among the 15 hub genes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Article
Classification of High-Grade Serous Ovarian Carcinoma by Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition Signature and Homologous Recombination Repair Genes
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1103; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071103 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 825
Abstract
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is one of the deadliest cancers that can occur in women. This study aimed to investigate the molecular characteristics of HGSOC through integrative analysis of multi-omics data. We used fresh-frozen, chemotherapy-naïve primary ovarian cancer tissues and matched blood [...] Read more.
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is one of the deadliest cancers that can occur in women. This study aimed to investigate the molecular characteristics of HGSOC through integrative analysis of multi-omics data. We used fresh-frozen, chemotherapy-naïve primary ovarian cancer tissues and matched blood samples of HGSOC patients and conducted next-generation whole-exome sequencing (WES) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Genomic and transcriptomic profiles were comprehensively compared between patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations and others with wild-type BRCA1/2. HGSOC samples initially divided into two groups by the presence of germline BRCA1/2 mutations showed mutually exclusive somatic mutation patterns, yet the implementation of high-dimensional analysis of RNA-seq and application of epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) index onto the HGSOC samples revealed that they can be divided into two subtypes; homologous recombination repair (HRR)-activated type and mesenchymal type. Patients with mesenchymal HGSOC, characterized by the activation of the EMT transcriptional program, low genomic alteration and diverse cell-type compositions, exhibited significantly worse overall survival than did those with HRR-activated HGSOC (p = 0.002). In validation with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) HGSOC data, patients with a high EMT index (≥the median) showed significantly worse overall survival than did those with a low EMT index (<the median) (p = 0.030). In conclusion, through a comprehensive multi-omics approach towards our HGSOC cohorts, two distinctive types of HGSOC (HRR-activated and mesenchymal) were identified. Our novel EMT index seems to be a potential prognostic biomarker for HGSOC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Genetics and Genomics of Ovarian Cancer)
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Article
Silencing of HMGA2 by siRNA Loaded Methotrexate Functionalized Polyamidoamine Dendrimer for Human Breast Cancer Cell Therapy
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1102; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071102 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 580
Abstract
The transcription factor high mobility group protein A2 (HMGA2) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of some cancers including breast cancer. Polyamidoamine dendrimer generation 4 is a kind of highly branched polymeric nanoparticle with surface charge and highest density peripheral groups that [...] Read more.
The transcription factor high mobility group protein A2 (HMGA2) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of some cancers including breast cancer. Polyamidoamine dendrimer generation 4 is a kind of highly branched polymeric nanoparticle with surface charge and highest density peripheral groups that allow ligands or therapeutic agents to attach it, thereby facilitating target delivery. Here, methotrexate (MTX)- modified polyamidoamine dendrimer generation 4 (G4) (G4/MTX) was generated to deliver specific small interface RNA (siRNA) for suppressing HMGA2 expression and the consequent effects on folate receptor (FR) expressing human breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231). We observed that HMGA2 siRNA was electrostatically adsorbed on the surface of the G4/MTX nanocarrier for constructing a G4/MTX-siRNA nano-complex which was verified by changing the final particle size and zeta potential. The release of MTX and siRNA from synthesized nanocomplexes was found in a time- and pH-dependent manner. We know that MTX targets FR. Interestingly, G4/MTX-siRNA demonstrates significant cellular internalization and gene silencing efficacy when compared to the control. Besides, the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay demonstrated selective cell cytotoxicity depending on the folate receptor expressing in a dose-dependent manner. The gene silencing and protein downregulation of HMGA2 by G4/MTX-siRNA was observed and could significantly induce cell apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells compared to the control group. Based on the findings, we suggest that the newly developed G4/MTX-siRNA nano-complex may be a promising strategy to increase apoptosis induction through HMGA2 suppression as a therapeutic target in human breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcription Factors in Cancer Progression)
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Review
Unveiling the Pathogenesis of Psychiatric Disorders Using Network Models
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1101; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071101 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 631
Abstract
Psychiatric disorders are complex brain disorders with a high degree of genetic heterogeneity, affecting millions of people worldwide. Despite advances in psychiatric genetics, the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of psychiatric disorders are still largely elusive, which impedes the development of novel rational therapies. There [...] Read more.
Psychiatric disorders are complex brain disorders with a high degree of genetic heterogeneity, affecting millions of people worldwide. Despite advances in psychiatric genetics, the underlying pathogenic mechanisms of psychiatric disorders are still largely elusive, which impedes the development of novel rational therapies. There has been accumulating evidence suggesting that the genetics of complex disorders can be viewed through an omnigenic lens, which involves contextualizing genes in highly interconnected networks. Thus, applying network-based multi-omics integration methods could cast new light on the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. In this review, we first provide an overview of the recent advances in psychiatric genetics and highlight gaps in translating molecular associations into mechanistic insights. We then present an overview of network methodologies and review previous applications of network methods in the study of psychiatric disorders. Lastly, we describe the potential of such methodologies within a multi-tissue, multi-omics approach, and summarize the future directions in adopting diverse network approaches. Full article
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Article
No Association of Early-Onset Breast or Ovarian Cancer with Early-Onset Cancer in Relatives in BRCA1 or BRCA2 Mutation Families
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1100; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071100 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 569
Abstract
According to clinical guidelines, the occurrence of very early-onset breast cancer (VEO-BC) (diagnosed ≤ age 30 years) or VEO ovarian cancer (VEO-OC) (diagnosed ≤ age 40 years) in families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (BRCAm) prompts advancing the age of risk-reducing [...] Read more.
According to clinical guidelines, the occurrence of very early-onset breast cancer (VEO-BC) (diagnosed ≤ age 30 years) or VEO ovarian cancer (VEO-OC) (diagnosed ≤ age 40 years) in families with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation (BRCAm) prompts advancing the age of risk-reducing strategies in relatives. This study aimed to assess the relation between the occurrence of VEO-BC or VEO-OC in families with BRCAm and age at BC or OC diagnosis in relatives. We conducted a retrospective multicenter study of 448 consecutive families with BRCAm from 2003 to 2018. Mean age and 5-year–span distribution of age at BC or OC in relatives were compared in families with or without VEO-BC or VEO-OC. Conditional probability calculation and Cochran–Mantel–Haenszel chi-square tests were used to investigate early-onset cancer occurrence in relatives of VEO-BC and VEO-OC cases. Overall, 15% (19/245) of families with BRCA1m and 9% (19/203) with BRCA2m featured at least one case of VEO-BC; 8% (37/245) and 2% (2/203) featured at least one case of VEO-OC, respectively. The cumulative prevalence of VEO-BC was 5.1% (95% CI 3.6–6.6) and 2.5% (95% CI 1.4–3.6) for families with BRCA1m and BRCA2m, respectively. The distribution of age and mean age at BC diagnosis in relatives did not differ by occurrence of VEO-BC for families with BRCA1m or BRCA2m. Conditional probability calculations did not show an increase of early-onset BC in VEO-BC families with BRCA1m or BRCA2m. Conversely, the probability of VEO-BC was not increased in families with early-onset BC. VEO-BC or VEO-OC occurrence may not be related to young age at BC or OC onset in relatives in families with BRCAm. This finding—together with a relatively high VEO-BC risk for women with BRCAm—advocates for MRI breast screening from age 25 regardless of family history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BRCA1 and BRCA2: Genome Instability and Tumorigenesis)
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Article
Reduced Expression of Slc Genes in the VTA and NAcc of Male Mice with Positive Fighting Experience
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1099; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071099 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
A range of several psychiatric medications targeting the activity of solute carrier (SLC) transporters have proved effective for treatment. Therefore, further research is needed to elucidate the expression profiles of the Slc genes, which may serve as markers of altered brain metabolic processes [...] Read more.
A range of several psychiatric medications targeting the activity of solute carrier (SLC) transporters have proved effective for treatment. Therefore, further research is needed to elucidate the expression profiles of the Slc genes, which may serve as markers of altered brain metabolic processes and neurotransmitter activities in psychoneurological disorders. We studied the Slc differentially expressed genes (DEGs) using transcriptomic profiles in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and prefrontal cortex (PFC) of control and aggressive male mice with psychosis-like behavior induced by repeated experience of aggression accompanied with wins in daily agonistic interactions. The majority of the Slc DEGs were shown to have brain region-specific expression profiles. Most of these genes in the VTA and NAcc (12 of 17 and 25 of 26, respectively) were downregulated, which was not the case in the PFC (6 and 5, up- and downregulated, respectively). In the VTA and NAcc, altered expression was observed for the genes encoding the transporters of neurotransmitters as well as inorganic and organic ions, amino acids, metals, glucose, etc. This indicates an alteration in transport functions for many substrates, which can lead to the downregulation or even disruption of cellular and neurotransmitter processes in the VTA and NAcc, which are attributable to chronic stimulation of the reward systems induced by positive fighting experience. There is not a single Slc DEG common to all three brain regions. Our findings show that in male mice with repeated experience of aggression, altered activity of neurotransmitter systems leads to a restructuring of metabolic and neurotransmitter processes in a way specific for each brain region. We assume that the scoring of Slc DEGs by the largest instances of significant expression co-variation with other genes may outline a candidate for new prognostic drug targets. Thus, we propose that the Slc genes set may be treated as a sensitive genes marker scaffold in brain RNA-Seq studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Brain Transcriptomics)
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Review
The Trifecta of Single-Cell, Systems-Biology, and Machine-Learning Approaches
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1098; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071098 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Together, single-cell technologies and systems biology have been used to investigate previously unanswerable questions in biomedicine with unparalleled detail. Despite these advances, gaps in analytical capacity remain. Machine learning, which has revolutionized biomedical imaging analysis, drug discovery, and systems biology, is an ideal [...] Read more.
Together, single-cell technologies and systems biology have been used to investigate previously unanswerable questions in biomedicine with unparalleled detail. Despite these advances, gaps in analytical capacity remain. Machine learning, which has revolutionized biomedical imaging analysis, drug discovery, and systems biology, is an ideal strategy to fill these gaps in single-cell studies. Machine learning additionally has proven to be remarkably synergistic with single-cell data because it remedies unique challenges while capitalizing on the positive aspects of single-cell data. In this review, we describe how systems-biology algorithms have layered machine learning with biological components to provide systems level analyses of single-cell omics data, thus elucidating complex biological mechanisms. Accordingly, we highlight the trifecta of single-cell, systems-biology, and machine-learning approaches and illustrate how this trifecta can significantly contribute to five key areas of scientific research: cell trajectory and identity, individualized medicine, pharmacology, spatial omics, and multi-omics. Given its success to date, the systems-biology, single-cell omics, and machine-learning trifecta has proven to be a potent combination that will further advance biomedical research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Single-Cell Bioinformatics and Machine Learning)
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Review
Polly Wants a Genome: The Lack of Genetic Testing for Pet Parrot Species
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1097; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071097 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 762
Abstract
Parrots are considered the third most popular pet species, after dogs and cats, in the United States of America. Popular birds include budgerigars, lovebirds and cockatiels and are known for their plumage and vocal learning abilities. Plumage colour variation remains the main driving [...] Read more.
Parrots are considered the third most popular pet species, after dogs and cats, in the United States of America. Popular birds include budgerigars, lovebirds and cockatiels and are known for their plumage and vocal learning abilities. Plumage colour variation remains the main driving force behind breeder selection. Despite the birds’ popularity, only two molecular genetic tests—bird sexing and pathogen screening—are commercially available to breeders. For a limited number of species, parentage verification tests are available, but are mainly used in conservation and not for breeding purposes. No plumage colour genotyping test is available for any of the species. Due to the fact that there isn’t any commercial plumage genotype screening or parentage verification tests available, breeders mate close relatives to ensure recessive colour alleles are passed to the next generation. This, in turn, leads to inbreeding depression and decreased fertility, lower hatchability and smaller clutch sizes, all important traits in commercial breeding systems. This review highlights the research carried out in the field of pet parrot genomics and points out the areas where future research can make a vital contribution to understanding how parrot breeding can be improved to breed healthy, genetically diverse birds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Genetics and Genomics in Companion Animal Reproduction)
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Review
Hydroxyurea—The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1096; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071096 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Hydroxyurea (HU) is mostly referred to as an inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) and as the agent that is commonly used to arrest cells in the S-phase of the cycle by inducing replication stress. It is a well-known and widely used drug, one [...] Read more.
Hydroxyurea (HU) is mostly referred to as an inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) and as the agent that is commonly used to arrest cells in the S-phase of the cycle by inducing replication stress. It is a well-known and widely used drug, one which has proved to be effective in treating chronic myeloproliferative disorders and which is considered a staple agent in sickle anemia therapy and—recently—a promising factor in preventing cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. The reversibility of HU-induced replication inhibition also makes it a common laboratory ingredient used to synchronize cell cycles. On the other hand, prolonged treatment or higher dosage of hydroxyurea causes cell death due to accumulation of DNA damage and oxidative stress. Hydroxyurea treatments are also still far from perfect and it has been suggested that it facilitates skin cancer progression. Also, recent studies have shown that hydroxyurea may affect a larger number of enzymes due to its less specific interaction mechanism, which may contribute to further as-yet unspecified factors affecting cell response. In this review, we examine the actual state of knowledge about hydroxyurea and the mechanisms behind its cytotoxic effects. The practical applications of the recent findings may prove to enhance the already existing use of the drug in new and promising ways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of DNA Damage, Repair and Mutagenesis)
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Review
The Effects of Early Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Epigenome and Embryonic Development
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1095; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071095 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 886
Abstract
Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the most significant causes of developmental disability in the Western world. Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of neurological deficits and developmental abnormalities in the fetus. Over the past decade, several human and [...] Read more.
Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the most significant causes of developmental disability in the Western world. Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of neurological deficits and developmental abnormalities in the fetus. Over the past decade, several human and animal studies have demonstrated that alcohol causes alterations in epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs. There is an increasing amount of evidence that early pregnancy is a sensitive period for environmental-induced epigenetic changes. It is a dynamic period of epigenetic reprogramming, cell divisions, and DNA replication and, therefore, a particularly interesting period to study the molecular changes caused by alcohol exposure as well as the etiology of alcohol-induced developmental disorders. This article will review the current knowledge about the in vivo and in vitro effects of alcohol exposure on the epigenome, gene regulation, and the phenotype during the first weeks of pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genome and Epigenome of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders)
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Review
The Importance of Being PI3K in the RAS Signaling Network
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1094; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071094 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 659
Abstract
Ras proteins are essential mediators of a multitude of cellular processes, and its deregulation is frequently associated with cancer appearance, progression, and metastasis. Ras-driven cancers are usually aggressive and difficult to treat. Although the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the [...] Read more.
Ras proteins are essential mediators of a multitude of cellular processes, and its deregulation is frequently associated with cancer appearance, progression, and metastasis. Ras-driven cancers are usually aggressive and difficult to treat. Although the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the first Ras G12C inhibitor is an important milestone, only a small percentage of patients will benefit from it. A better understanding of the context in which Ras operates in different tumor types and the outcomes mediated by each effector pathway may help to identify additional strategies and targets to treat Ras-driven tumors. Evidence emerging in recent years suggests that both oncogenic Ras signaling in tumor cells and non-oncogenic Ras signaling in stromal cells play an essential role in cancer. PI3K is one of the main Ras effectors, regulating important cellular processes such as cell viability or resistance to therapy or angiogenesis upon oncogenic Ras activation. In this review, we will summarize recent advances in the understanding of Ras-dependent activation of PI3K both in physiological conditions and cancer, with a focus on how this signaling pathway contributes to the formation of a tumor stroma that promotes tumor cell proliferation, migration, and spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RAS Signaling in Health and Disease)
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Review
Behind the Scene: Exploiting MC1R in Skin Cancer Risk and Prevention
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1093; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071093 - 19 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are the most frequent cancers of the skin in white populations. An increased risk in the development of skin cancers has been associated with the combination of several environmental factors (i.e., ultraviolet exposure) and genetic background, including [...] Read more.
Melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are the most frequent cancers of the skin in white populations. An increased risk in the development of skin cancers has been associated with the combination of several environmental factors (i.e., ultraviolet exposure) and genetic background, including melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) status. In the last few years, advances in the diagnosis of skin cancers provided a great impact on clinical practice. Despite these advances, NMSCs are still the most common malignancy in humans and melanoma still shows a rising incidence and a poor prognosis when diagnosed at an advanced stage. Efforts are required to underlie the genetic and clinical heterogeneity of melanoma and NMSCs, leading to an optimization of the management of affected patients. The clinical implications of the impact of germline MC1R variants in melanoma and NMSCs’ risk, together with the additional risk conferred by somatic mutations in other peculiar genes, as well as the role of MC1R screening in skin cancers’ prevention will be addressed in the current review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: Genetics, Diagnosis and Prevention)
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Article
Effects of Cocoa Genotypes on Coat Color, Platelets and Coagulation Parameters in French Bulldogs
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1092; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071092 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 1663
Abstract
A nonsense variant in HPS3, c.2420G>A or p.Trp807*, was recently discovered as the cause for a brown coat color termed cocoa in French Bulldogs. Here, we studied the genotype–phenotype correlation regarding coat color in HPS3 mutant dogs that carried various combinations of [...] Read more.
A nonsense variant in HPS3, c.2420G>A or p.Trp807*, was recently discovered as the cause for a brown coat color termed cocoa in French Bulldogs. Here, we studied the genotype–phenotype correlation regarding coat color in HPS3 mutant dogs that carried various combinations of mutant alleles at other coat color genes. Different combinations of HPS3, MLPH and TYRP1 genotypes resulted in subtly different shades of brown coat colors. As HPS3 variants in humans cause the Hermansky–Pudlak syndrome type 3, which in addition to oculocutaneous albinism is characterized by a storage pool deficiency leading to bleeding tendency, we also investigated the phenotypic consequences of the HPS3 variant in French Bulldogs on hematological parameters. HPS3 mutant dogs had a significantly lowered platelet dense granules abundance. However, no increased bleeding tendencies in daily routine were reported by dog owners. We therefore conclude that in dogs, the phenotypic effect of the HPS3 variant is largely restricted to pigmentation. While an effect on platelet morphology is evident, we did not obtain any indications for major health problems associated with the cocoa coat color in French Bulldogs. Further studies will be necessary to definitely rule out very subtle effects on visual acuity or a clinically relevant bleeding disorder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Canine Genetics 2)
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Review
Autophosphorylation and Self-Activation of DNA-Dependent Protein Kinase
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1091; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071091 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
The DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinase family, phosphorylates serine and threonine residues of substrate proteins in the presence of the Ku complex and double-stranded DNA. Although it has been established that DNA-PKcs is involved in [...] Read more.
The DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinase family, phosphorylates serine and threonine residues of substrate proteins in the presence of the Ku complex and double-stranded DNA. Although it has been established that DNA-PKcs is involved in non-homologous end-joining, a DNA double-strand break repair pathway, the mechanisms underlying DNA-PKcs activation are not fully understood. Nevertheless, the findings of numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that DNA-PKcs contains two autophosphorylation clusters, PQR and ABCDE, as well as several autophosphorylation sites and conformational changes associated with autophosphorylation of DNA-PKcs are important for self-activation. Consistent with these features, an analysis of transgenic mice has shown that the phenotypes of DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation mutations are significantly different from those of DNA-PKcs kinase-dead mutations, thereby indicating the importance of DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation in differentiation and development. Furthermore, there has been notable progress in the high-resolution analysis of the conformation of DNA-PKcs, which has enabled us to gain a visual insight into the steps leading to DNA-PKcs activation. This review summarizes the current progress in the activation of DNA-PKcs, focusing in particular on autophosphorylation of this kinase. Full article
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Article
Comparison of the Transcriptomic and Epigenetic Profiles of Gonadal Primordial Germ Cells of White Leghorn and Green-Legged Partridgelike Chicken Embryos
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1090; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071090 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
The Green-legged Partridgelike fowl is a native, dual-purpose Polish chicken. The White Leghorn has been intensively selected for several decades to mainly improve reproductive traits. Primordial germ cells (PGCs) represent the germline stem cells in chickens and are the only cells that can [...] Read more.
The Green-legged Partridgelike fowl is a native, dual-purpose Polish chicken. The White Leghorn has been intensively selected for several decades to mainly improve reproductive traits. Primordial germ cells (PGCs) represent the germline stem cells in chickens and are the only cells that can transfer the information stored in the genetic material from generation to generation. The aim of the study was to carry out a transcriptomic and an epigenetic comparison of the White Leghorn and Green-legged Partridgelike gonadal PGCs (gPGCs) at three developmental stages: days 4.5, 8, and 12 of the embryonic development. RNA and DNA were isolated from collected gPGCs. The RNA was further subjected to microarray analysis. An epigenetic analysis was performed based on the global methylation analysis and qMSP method for the particular silenced genes demonstrated in transcriptomic analysis. Statistically significant differences between the gPGCs from both breeds were detected on the day 8 of embryonic development. Global methylation analysis showed significant changes at the methylation level in the White Leghorn gPGCs on day 8 of embryonic development. The results suggest faster development of Green-legged Partridgelike embryos as compared to White Leghorn embryos. Changes in the levels of gene expression during embryonic development are determined by genetic and environmental factors, and this variability is influenced by breed and gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
A Large-Scale Genome-Wide Association Study of Epistasis Effects of Production Traits and Daughter Pregnancy Rate in U.S. Holstein Cattle
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1089; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071089 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Epistasis is widely considered important, but epistasis studies lag those of SNP effects. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) using 76,109 SNPs and 294,079 first-lactation Holstein cows was conducted for testing pairwise epistasis effects of five production traits and three fertility traits: milk yield (MY), [...] Read more.
Epistasis is widely considered important, but epistasis studies lag those of SNP effects. Genome-wide association study (GWAS) using 76,109 SNPs and 294,079 first-lactation Holstein cows was conducted for testing pairwise epistasis effects of five production traits and three fertility traits: milk yield (MY), fat yield (FY), protein yield (PY), fat percentage (FPC), protein percentage (PPC), and daughter pregnancy rate (DPR). Among the top 50,000 pairwise epistasis effects of each trait, the five production traits had large chromosome regions with intra-chromosome epistasis. The percentage of inter-chromosome epistasis effects was 1.9% for FPC, 1.6% for PPC, 10.6% for MY, 29.9% for FY, 39.3% for PY, and 84.2% for DPR. Of the 50,000 epistasis effects, the number of significant effects with log10(1/p) ≥ 12 was 50,000 for FPC and PPC, and 10,508, 4763, 4637 and 1 for MY, FY, PY and DPR, respectively, and A × A effects were the most frequent epistasis effects for all traits. Majority of the inter-chromosome epistasis effects of FPC across all chromosomes involved a Chr14 region containing DGAT1, indicating a potential regulatory role of this Chr14 region affecting all chromosomes for FPC. The epistasis results provided new understanding about the genetic mechanism underlying quantitative traits in Holstein cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Cattle)
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Article
Analysis of a Set of KDM5C Regulatory Genes Mutated in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Identifies Temporal Coexpression Brain Signatures
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1088; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071088 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Dysregulation of transcriptional pathways is observed in multiple forms of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), such as intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We previously demonstrated that the NDD genes encoding lysine-specific demethylase 5C (KDM5C) and its transcriptional regulators Aristaless [...] Read more.
Dysregulation of transcriptional pathways is observed in multiple forms of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), such as intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We previously demonstrated that the NDD genes encoding lysine-specific demethylase 5C (KDM5C) and its transcriptional regulators Aristaless related-homeobox (ARX), PHD Finger Protein 8 (PHF8) and Zinc Finger Protein 711 (ZNF711) are functionally connected. Here, we show their relation to each other with respect to the expression levels in human and mouse datasets and in vivo mouse analysis indicating that the coexpression of these syntenic X-chromosomal genes is temporally regulated in brain areas and cellular sub-types. In co-immunoprecipitation assays, we found that the homeotic transcription factor ARX interacts with the histone demethylase PHF8, indicating that this transcriptional axis is highly intersected. Furthermore, the functional impact of pathogenic mutations of ARX, KDM5C, PHF8 and ZNF711 was tested in lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) derived from children with varying levels of syndromic ID establishing the direct correlation between defects in the KDM5C-H3K4me3 pathway and ID severity. These findings reveal novel insights into epigenetic processes underpinning NDD pathogenesis and provide new avenues for assessing developmental timing and critical windows for potential treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deciphering Epigenetic Signature in Human Health and Disease)
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Article
Heterozygous Nme7 Mutation Affects Glucose Tolerance in Male Rats
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1087; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071087 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Complex metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity result from the interaction of numerous genetic and environmental factors. While the family of Nme proteins has been connected so far mostly to development, proliferation, or ciliary functions, several lines of evidence from [...] Read more.
Complex metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity result from the interaction of numerous genetic and environmental factors. While the family of Nme proteins has been connected so far mostly to development, proliferation, or ciliary functions, several lines of evidence from human and experimental studies point to the potential involvement of one of its members, NME7 (non-metastatic cells 7, nucleoside diphosphate kinase 7) in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. As a complete lack of Nme7 is semilethal in rats, we compared morphometric, metabolic, and transcriptomic profiles of standard diet-fed heterozygous Nme7+/− on male rats vs. their wild-type Nme7+/+ controls. Nme7+/− animals showed increased body weight, adiposity, higher insulin levels together with decreased glucose tolerance. Moreover, they displayed pancreatic islet fibrosis and kidney tubular damage. Despite no signs of overt liver steatosis or dyslipidemia, we found significant changes in the hepatic transcriptome of Nme7+/− male rats with a concerted increase of expression of lipogenic enzymes including Scd1, Fads1, Dhcr7 and a decrease of Cyp7b1 and Nme7. Network analyses suggested possible links between Nme7 and the activation of Srebf1 and Srebf2 upstream regulators. These results further support the implication of NME7 in the pathogenesis of glucose intolerance and adiposity. Full article
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Article
Cloning and Expression Analysis of Flavonoid 3′, 5′-Hydroxylase Gene from Brunfelsia acuminata
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1086; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071086 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The full-length cDNA sequence of F3′5′H gene from the Brunfelsia acuminata was obtained by RT-PCR and RACE, whose GenBank accession number is JQ678765. The sequence contains a 1521 bp open reading frame, 120 bp 5′UTR and 61 bp 3′UTR, encoding a total of [...] Read more.
The full-length cDNA sequence of F3′5′H gene from the Brunfelsia acuminata was obtained by RT-PCR and RACE, whose GenBank accession number is JQ678765. The sequence contains a 1521 bp open reading frame, 120 bp 5′UTR and 61 bp 3′UTR, encoding a total of 506 amino acids. The molecular mass of the predicted protein is 56.47 kDa with an estimated pI of 8.78, respectively. Sequence alignment showed that the amino acid sequence of F3′5′H was 91%, 87% and 84% with that of Petunia × hybrida, Nierembergia sp., Solanum tuberosum, respectively. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis showed that the expression of F3′5′H gene was different in petals of different days, which was the highest expression level on day 0 and significantly higher than other days. The results indicated that F3′5′H might play key role in flower color regulation and provide a theoretical reference for blue flower molecular breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
Alternative RNA Splicing—The Trojan Horse of Cancer Cells in Chemotherapy
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1085; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071085 - 18 Jul 2021
Viewed by 677
Abstract
Almost all transcribed human genes undergo alternative RNA splicing, which increases the diversity of the coding and non-coding cellular landscape. The resultant gene products might have distinctly different and, in some cases, even opposite functions. Therefore, the abnormal regulation of alternative splicing plays [...] Read more.
Almost all transcribed human genes undergo alternative RNA splicing, which increases the diversity of the coding and non-coding cellular landscape. The resultant gene products might have distinctly different and, in some cases, even opposite functions. Therefore, the abnormal regulation of alternative splicing plays a crucial role in malignant transformation, development, and progression, a fact supported by the distinct splicing profiles identified in both healthy and tumor cells. Drug resistance, resulting in treatment failure, still remains a major challenge for current cancer therapy. Furthermore, tumor cells often take advantage of aberrant RNA splicing to overcome the toxicity of the administered chemotherapeutic agents. Thus, deciphering the alternative RNA splicing variants in tumor cells would provide opportunities for designing novel therapeutics combating cancer more efficiently. In the present review, we provide a comprehensive outline of the recent findings in alternative splicing in the most common neoplasms, including lung, breast, prostate, head and neck, glioma, colon, and blood malignancies. Molecular mechanisms developed by cancer cells to promote oncogenesis as well as to evade anticancer drug treatment and the subsequent chemotherapy failure are also discussed. Taken together, these findings offer novel opportunities for future studies and the development of targeted therapy for cancer-specific splicing variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alternative Splicing in Human Physiology and Disease)
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Review
How Important Are Structural Variants for Speciation?
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1084; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071084 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 859
Abstract
Understanding the genetic basis of reproductive isolation is a central issue in the study of speciation. Structural variants (SVs); that is, structural changes in DNA, including inversions, translocations, insertions, deletions, and duplications, are common in a broad range of organisms and have been [...] Read more.
Understanding the genetic basis of reproductive isolation is a central issue in the study of speciation. Structural variants (SVs); that is, structural changes in DNA, including inversions, translocations, insertions, deletions, and duplications, are common in a broad range of organisms and have been hypothesized to play a central role in speciation. Recent advances in molecular and statistical methods have identified structural variants, especially inversions, underlying ecologically important traits; thus, suggesting these mutations contribute to adaptation. However, the contribution of structural variants to reproductive isolation between species—and the underlying mechanism by which structural variants most often contribute to speciation—remain unclear. Here, we review (i) different mechanisms by which structural variants can generate or maintain reproductive isolation; (ii) patterns expected with these different mechanisms; and (iii) relevant empirical examples of each. We also summarize the available sequencing and bioinformatic methods to detect structural variants. Lastly, we suggest empirical approaches and new research directions to help obtain a more complete assessment of the role of structural variants in speciation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hybridization and Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Article
Genetic Analysis of the Hsm3 Protein Function in Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae NuB4 Complex
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1083; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071083 - 17 Jul 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
In the nuclear compartment of yeast, NuB4 core complex consists of three proteins, Hat1, Hat2, and Hif1, and interacts with a number of other factors. In particular, it was shown that NuB4 complex physically interacts with Hsm3p. Early we demonstrated that the gene [...] Read more.
In the nuclear compartment of yeast, NuB4 core complex consists of three proteins, Hat1, Hat2, and Hif1, and interacts with a number of other factors. In particular, it was shown that NuB4 complex physically interacts with Hsm3p. Early we demonstrated that the gene HSM3 participates in the control of replicative and reparative spontaneous mutagenesis, and that hsm3Δ mutants increase the frequency of mutations induced by different mutagens. It was previously believed that the HSM3 gene controlled only some minor repair processes in the cell, but later it was suggested that it had a chaperone function with its participation in proteasome assembly. In this work, we analyzed the properties of three hsm3Δ, hif1Δ, and hat1Δ mutants. The results obtained showed that the Hsm3 protein may be a functional subunit of NuB4 complex. It has been shown that hsm3- and hif1-dependent UV-induced mutagenesis is completely suppressed by inactivation of the Polη polymerase. We showed a significant role of Polη for hsm3-dependent mutagenesis at non-bipyrimidine sites (NBP sites). The efficiency of expression of RNR (RiboNucleotid Reducase) genes after UV irradiation in hsm3Δ and hif1Δ mutants was several times lower than in wild-type cells. Thus, we have presented evidence that significant increase in the dNTP levels suppress hsm3- and hif1-dependent mutagenesis and Polη is responsible for hsm3- and hif1-dependent mutagenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of DNA Damage, Repair and Mutagenesis)
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Article
Dynamic Spatiotemporal Expression Changes in Connexins of the Developing Primate’s Cochlea
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1082; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071082 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Connexins are gap junction components that are essential for acquiring normal hearing ability. Up to 50% of congenital, autosomal-recessive, non-syndromic deafness can be attributed to variants in GJB2, the gene that encodes connexin 26. Gene therapies modifying the expression of connexins are [...] Read more.
Connexins are gap junction components that are essential for acquiring normal hearing ability. Up to 50% of congenital, autosomal-recessive, non-syndromic deafness can be attributed to variants in GJB2, the gene that encodes connexin 26. Gene therapies modifying the expression of connexins are a feasible treatment option for some patients with genetic hearing losses. However, the expression patterns of these proteins in the human fetus are not fully understood due to ethical concerns. Recently, the common marmoset was used as a primate animal model for the human fetus. In this study, we examined the expression patterns of connexin 26 and connexin 30 in the developing cochlea of this primate. Primate-specific spatiotemporal expression changes were revealed, which suggest the existence of primate-specific control of connexin expression patterns and specific functions of these gap junction proteins. Moreover, our results indicate that treatments for connexin-related hearing loss established in rodent models may not be appropriate for human patients, underscoring the importance of testing these treatments in primate models before applying them in human clinical trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Genetic Insights in Organ Development)
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Article
Nuclear Organization during Hepatogenesis in Zebrafish Requires Uhrf1
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1081; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071081 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Acquisition of cellular fate during development is initiated and maintained by well-coordinated patterns of gene expression that are dictated by the epigenetic landscape and genome organization in the nucleus. While the epigenetic marks that mediate developmental gene expression patterns during organogenesis have been [...] Read more.
Acquisition of cellular fate during development is initiated and maintained by well-coordinated patterns of gene expression that are dictated by the epigenetic landscape and genome organization in the nucleus. While the epigenetic marks that mediate developmental gene expression patterns during organogenesis have been well studied, less is known about how epigenetic marks influence nuclear organization during development. This study examines the relationship between nuclear structure, chromatin accessibility, DNA methylation, and gene expression during hepatic outgrowth in zebrafish larvae. We investigate the relationship between these features using mutants that lack DNA methylation. Hepatocyte nuclear morphology was established coincident with hepatocyte differentiation at 80 h post-fertilization (hpf), and nuclear shape and size continued to change until the conclusion of outgrowth and morphogenesis at 120 hpf. Integrating ATAC-Seq analysis with DNA methylation profiling of zebrafish livers at 120 hpf showed that closed and highly methylated chromatin occupies most transposable elements and that open chromatin correlated with gene expression. DNA hypomethylation, due to mutation of genes encoding ubiquitin-like, containing PHD and RING Finger Domains 1 (uhrf1) and DNA methyltransferase (dnmt1), did not block hepatocyte differentiation, but had dramatic effects on nuclear organization. Hepatocytes in uhrf1 mutants have large, deformed nuclei with multiple nucleoli, downregulation of nucleolar genes, and a complete lack of the nuclear lamina. Loss of lamin B2 staining was phenocopied by dnmt1 mutation. Together, these data show that hepatocyte nuclear morphogenesis coincides with organ morphogenesis and outgrowth, and that DNA methylation directs chromatin organization, and, in turn, hepatocyte nuclear shape and size during liver development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Epigenetics on Development, Regeneration and Cancer)
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Article
NGS Analysis of Liquid Biopsy (LB) and Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) Melanoma Samples Using Oncomine™ Pan-Cancer Cell-Free Assay
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1080; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071080 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 607
Abstract
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) in liquid biopsies may contribute to the diagnosis, monitoring, and personalized therapy of cancer through the real-time detection of a tumor’s genetic profile. There are a few NGS platforms offering high-sensitivity sequencing of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) samples. The aim of [...] Read more.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) in liquid biopsies may contribute to the diagnosis, monitoring, and personalized therapy of cancer through the real-time detection of a tumor’s genetic profile. There are a few NGS platforms offering high-sensitivity sequencing of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) samples. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Ion AmpliSeq HD Technology for targeted sequencing of tumor and liquid biopsy samples from patients with fourth-stage melanoma. Sequencing of 30 samples (FFPE tumor and liquid biopsy) derived from 14 patients using the Oncomine™ Pan-Cancer Cell-Free Assay was performed. The analysis revealed high concordance between the qPCR and NGS results of the BRAF mutation in FFPE samples (91%), as well as between the FFPE and liquid biopsy samples (91%). The plasma-tumor concordance of the non-BRAF mutations was 28%. A total of 17 pathogenic variants in 14 genes (from 52-gene panel), including TP53, CTNNB1, CCND1, MET, MAP2K1, and GNAS, were identified, with the CTNNB1S45F variant being the most frequent. A positive correlation between the LDH level and cfDNA concentration as well as negative correlation between the LDH level and time to progression was confirmed in a 22-patient cohort. The analysis showed both the potential and limitations of liquid biopsy genetic profiling using HD technology and the Ion Torrent platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Melanoma)
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Article
Mating-Type Locus Organization and Mating-Type Chromosome Differentiation in the Bipolar Edible Button Mushroom Agaricus bisporus
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1079; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071079 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 619
Abstract
In heterothallic basidiomycete fungi, sexual compatibility is restricted by mating types, typically controlled by two loci: PR, encoding pheromone precursors and pheromone receptors, and HD, encoding two types of homeodomain transcription factors. We analysed the single mating-type locus of the commercial [...] Read more.
In heterothallic basidiomycete fungi, sexual compatibility is restricted by mating types, typically controlled by two loci: PR, encoding pheromone precursors and pheromone receptors, and HD, encoding two types of homeodomain transcription factors. We analysed the single mating-type locus of the commercial button mushroom variety, Agaricus bisporus var. bisporus, and of the related variety burnettii. We identified the location of the mating-type locus using genetic map and genome information, corresponding to the HD locus, the PR locus having lost its mating-type role. We found the mip1 and β-fg genes flanking the HD genes as in several Agaricomycetes, two copies of the β-fg gene, an additional HD2 copy in the reference genome of A. bisporus var. bisporus and an additional HD1 copy in the reference genome of A. bisporus var. burnettii. We detected a 140 kb-long inversion between mating types in an A. bisporus var. burnettii heterokaryon, trapping the HD genes, the mip1 gene and fragments of additional genes. The two varieties had islands of transposable elements at the mating-type locus, spanning 35 kb in the A. bisporus var. burnettii reference genome. Linkage analyses showed a region with low recombination in the mating-type locus region in the A. bisporus var. burnettii variety. We found high differentiation between β-fg alleles in both varieties, indicating an ancient event of recombination suppression, followed more recently by a suppression of recombination at the mip1 gene through the inversion in A. bisporus var. burnettii and a suppression of recombination across whole chromosomes in A. bisporus var. bisporus, constituting stepwise recombination suppression as in many other mating-type chromosomes and sex chromosomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex Chromosome Evolution and Meiosis)
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Article
Prenatal Versus Postnatal Diagnosis of Meckel–Gruber and Joubert Syndrome in Patients with TMEM67 Mutations
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1078; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071078 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 479
Abstract
Renal cystic diseases are characterized by genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity. Congenital renal cysts can be classified as developmental disorders and are commonly diagnosed prenatally using ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. Progress in molecular diagnostics and availability of exome sequencing procedures allows diagnosis of [...] Read more.
Renal cystic diseases are characterized by genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity. Congenital renal cysts can be classified as developmental disorders and are commonly diagnosed prenatally using ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging. Progress in molecular diagnostics and availability of exome sequencing procedures allows diagnosis of single-gene disorders in the prenatal period. Two patients with a prenatal diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease are presented in this article. TMEM67 mutations were identified in both fetuses using a whole-exome sequencing (WES) study. In one of them, the phenotypic syndrome diagnosed prenatally was different from that diagnosed in the postnatal period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Study on Genotypes and Phenotypes of Pediatric Clinical Rare Diseases)
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Review
The Interplay between Nevi and Melanoma Predisposition Unravels Nevi-Related and Nevi-Resistant Familial Melanoma
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1077; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071077 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 510
Abstract
Genetic susceptibility to nevi may affect the risk of developing melanoma, since common and atypical nevi are the main host risk factors implicated in the development of cutaneous melanoma. Recent genome-wide studies defined a melanoma polygenic risk score based on variants in genes [...] Read more.
Genetic susceptibility to nevi may affect the risk of developing melanoma, since common and atypical nevi are the main host risk factors implicated in the development of cutaneous melanoma. Recent genome-wide studies defined a melanoma polygenic risk score based on variants in genes involved in different pathways, including nevogenesis. Moreover, a predisposition to nevi is a hereditary trait that may account for melanoma clustering in some families characterized by cases with a high nevi density. On the other hand, familial melanoma aggregation may be due to a Mendelian inheritance of high/moderate-penetrance pathogenic variants affecting melanoma risk, regardless of the nevus count. Based on current knowledge, this review analyzes the complex interplay between nevi and melanoma predisposition in a familial context. We review familial melanoma, starting from Whiteman’s divergent pathway model to overall melanoma development, distinguishing between nevi-related (cases with a high nevus count and a high polygenic risk score) and nevi-resistant (high/moderate-penetrance variant-carrier cases) familial melanoma. This distinction could better direct future research on genetic factors useful to identify high-risk subjects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: Genetics, Diagnosis and Prevention)
Article
Recapture Lysosomal Enzyme Deficiency via Targeted Gene Disruption in the Human Near-Haploid Cell Line HAP1
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1076; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071076 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 550
Abstract
Background: Advancement in genome engineering enables rapid and targeted disruption of any coding sequences to study gene functions or establish human disease models. We explored whether this approach can be used to study Gaucher disease, one of the most common types of lysosomal [...] Read more.
Background: Advancement in genome engineering enables rapid and targeted disruption of any coding sequences to study gene functions or establish human disease models. We explored whether this approach can be used to study Gaucher disease, one of the most common types of lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) in a near-haploid human cell line (HAP1). Results: CRISPR-Cas9 targeting to coding sequences of β-glucocerebrosidase (GBA), the causative gene of Gaucher disease, resulted in an insertional mutation and premature termination of GBA. We confirmed the GBA knockout at both the gene and enzyme levels by genotyping and GBA enzymatic assay. Characterization of the knockout line showed no significant changes in cell morphology and growth. Lysosomal staining revealed more granular lysosomes in the cytosol of the GBA-knockout line compared to its parental control. Flow cytometry analysis further confirmed that more lysosomes accumulated in the cytosol of the knockout line, recapturing the disease phenotype. Finally, we showed that this knockout cell line could be used to evaluate a replacement therapy by recombinant human GBA. Conclusions: Targeted gene disruption in human HAP1 cells enables rapid establishment of the Gaucher model to capture the key pathology and to test replacement therapy. We expect that this streamlined method can be used to generate human disease models of other LSDs, most of which are still lacking both appropriate human disease models and specific treatments to date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome: From a Disease to a Broader Spectrum
Genes 2021, 12(7), 1075; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12071075 - 15 Jul 2021
Viewed by 503
Abstract
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetic disease that exemplifies the evolution of knowledge in the field of rare genetic disorders. Originally described as a unique pattern of major and minor anomalies, over time this syndrome has been shown to be characterized [...] Read more.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetic disease that exemplifies the evolution of knowledge in the field of rare genetic disorders. Originally described as a unique pattern of major and minor anomalies, over time this syndrome has been shown to be characterized by a significant variability of clinical expression. By increasing the number of patients described, knowledge of the natural history of the condition has been enriched with the demonstration of the relative frequency of various potential comorbidities. Since 2006, the discovery of CdLS’s molecular basis has shown an equally vast genetic heterogeneity linked to the presence of variants in genes encoding for the cohesin complex pathway. The most recent clinical-genetic data led to the classification of the “original syndrome” into a “clinical spectrum” that foresees the presence of classic patients, of non-classic forms, and of conditions that show a modest phenotypic overlapping with the original disease. Finally, the knowledge of the molecular basis of the disease has allowed the development of basic research projects that could lay the foundations for the development of possible innovative pharmacological treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Study on Genotypes and Phenotypes of Pediatric Clinical Rare Diseases)
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