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Concept: Mutant


Most cystic fibrosis is caused by the deletion of a single amino acid (F508) from CFTR and the resulting misfolding and destabilization of the protein. Compounds identified by high-throughput screening to improve ΔF508 CFTR maturation have already entered clinical trials, and it is important to understand their mechanisms of action to further improve their efficacy. Here, we showed that several of these compounds, including the investigational drug VX-809, caused a much greater increase (5- to 10-fold) in maturation at 27 than at 37°C (<2-fold), and the mature product remained short-lived (T(1/2)∼4.5 h) and thermally unstable, even though its overall conformational state was similar to wild type, as judged by resistance to proteolysis and interdomain cross-linking. Consistent with its inability to restore thermodynamic stability, VX-809 stimulated maturation 2-5-fold beyond that caused by several different stabilizing modifications of NBD1 and the NBD1/CL4 interface. The compound also promoted maturation of several disease-associated processing mutants on the CL4 side of this interface. Although these effects may reflect an interaction of VX-809 with this interface, an interpretation supported by computational docking, it also rescued maturation of mutants in other cytoplasmic loops, either by allosteric effects or via additional sites of action. In addition to revealing the capabilities and some of the limitations of this important investigational drug, these findings clearly demonstrate that ΔF508 CFTR can be completely assembled and evade cellular quality control systems, while remaining thermodynamically unstable. He, L., Kota, P., Aleksandrov, A. A., Cui, L., Jensen, T., Dokholyan, N. V., Riordan, J. R. Correctors of ΔF508 CFTR restore global conformational maturation without thermally stabilizing the mutant protein.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Clinical trial, Amino acid, Mutant, Cystic fibrosis, Drug discovery, Stability


The catalase family of Beauveria bassiana (fungal entomopathogen) consists of catA (spore-specific), catB (secreted), catP (peroxisomal), catC (cytoplasmic) and catD (secreted peroxidase/catalase), which were distinguished in phylogeny and structure and functionally characterized by constructing single-gene disrupted and rescued mutants for enzymatic and multi-phenotypic analyses. Total catalase activity decreased 89% and 56% in ΔcatB and ΔcatP, corresponding to the losses of upper and lower active bands gel-profiled for all catalases respectively, but only 9-12% in other knockout mutants. Compared with wild type and complement mutants sharing similar enzymatic and phenotypic parameters, all knockout mutants showed significant (9-56%) decreases in the antioxidant capability of their conidia (active ingredients of mycoinsecticides), followed by remarkable phenotypic defects associated with the fungal biocontrol potential. These defects included mainly the losses of 40% thermotolerance (45°C) in ΔcatA, 46-48% UV-B resistance in ΔcatA and ΔcatD, and 33-47% virulence to Spodoptera litura larvae in ΔcatA, ΔcatP and ΔcatD respectively. Moreover, the drastic transcript upregulation of some other catalase genes observed in the normal culture of each knockout mutant revealed functionally complimentary effects among some of the catalase genes, particularly between catB and catC whose knockout mutants displayed little or minor phenotypic changes. However, the five catalase genes functioned redundantly in mediating the fungal tolerance to either hyperosmotic or fungicidal stress. The differentiated roles of five catalases in regulating the B. bassiana virulence and tolerances to oxidative stress, high temperature and UV-B irradiation provide new insights into fungal adaptation to stressful environment and host invasion.

Concepts: Gene, Cell, Bacteria, Enzyme, Fungus, Mutant, Catalase, Beauveria bassiana


The 22q13.3 deletion causes a neurodevelopmental syndrome, also known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome (MIM #606232), characterized by developmental delay and severe delay or absence of expressive speech. Two patients with hemizygous chromosome 22q13.3 telomeric deletion were referred to us when brain-imaging studies revealed cerebellar vermis hypoplasia (CBVH). To determine whether developmental abnormalities of the cerebellum are a consistent feature of the 22q13.3 deletion syndrome, we examined brain-imaging studies for 10 unrelated subjects with 22q13 terminal deletion. In seven cases where the availability of DNA and array technology allowed, we mapped deletion boundaries using comparative intensity analysis with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays. Approximate deletion boundaries for three additional cases were derived from clinical or published molecular data. We also examined brain-imaging studies for a patient with an intragenic SHANK3 mutation. We report the first brain-imaging data showing that some patients with 22q13 deletions have severe posterior CBVH, and one individual with a SHANK3 mutation has a normal cerebellum. This genotype-phenotype study suggests that the 22q13 deletion phenotype includes abnormal posterior fossa structures that are unlikely to be attributed to SHANK3 disruption. Other genes in the region, including PLXNB2 and MAPK8IP2, display brain expression patterns and mouse mutant phenotypes critical for proper cerebellar development. Future studies of these genes may elucidate their relationship to 22q13.3 deletion phenotypes. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Chromosome, Mutant, Cerebellum, Cerebellar vermis


Background Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the CFTR gene that lead to progressive respiratory decline. Some mutant CFTR proteins show residual function and respond to the CFTR potentiator ivacaftor in vitro, whereas ivacaftor alone does not restore activity to Phe508del mutant CFTR. Methods We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3, crossover trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ivacaftor alone or in combination with tezacaftor, a CFTR corrector, in 248 patients 12 years of age or older who had cystic fibrosis and were heterozygous for the Phe508del mutation and a CFTR mutation associated with residual CFTR function. Patients were randomly assigned to one of six sequences, each involving two 8-week intervention periods separated by an 8-week washout period. They received tezacaftor-ivacaftor, ivacaftor monotherapy, or placebo. The primary end point was the absolute change in the percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) from the baseline value to the average of the week 4 and week 8 measurements in each intervention period. Results The number of analyzed intervention periods was 162 for tezacaftor-ivacaftor, 157 for ivacaftor alone, and 162 for placebo. The least-squares mean difference versus placebo with respect to the absolute change in the percentage of predicted FEV1 was 6.8 percentage points for tezacaftor-ivacaftor and 4.7 percentage points for ivacaftor alone (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Scores on the respiratory domain of the Cystic Fibrosis Questionnaire-Revised, a quality-of-life measure, also significantly favored the active-treatment groups. The incidence of adverse events was similar across intervention groups; most events were mild or moderate in severity, with no discontinuations of the trial regimen due to adverse events for tezacaftor-ivacaftor and few for ivacaftor alone (1% of patients) and placebo (<1%). Conclusions CFTR modulator therapy with tezacaftor-ivacaftor or ivacaftor alone was efficacious in patients with cystic fibrosis who were heterozygous for the Phe508del deletion and a CFTR residual-function mutation. (Funded by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and others; EXPAND number, NCT02392234 .).

Concepts: DNA, Clinical trial, Mutation, Evolution, Mutant, Cystic fibrosis, Spirometry, Zygosity


Therapeutic glycoprotein drugs require a high degree of sialylation of their N-glycans for a better circulatory half-life that results in greater efficacy. It has been demonstrated that CHO glycosylation mutants lacking N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I (GnT I), when restored by introduction of a functional GnT I gene, produced highly sialylated erythropoietin (EPO). We have now further engineered one of such mutants, JW152, by inactivating the DHFR gene to allow for the amplification of the EPO gene with methotrexate. Several methotrexate-amplified clones maintained the ability to produce highly sialylated EPO and one was selected for culture in a perfusion bioreactor that is used in an existing industrial EPO-production bioprocess. Extensive characterization of the EPO produced was performed using total sialic quantification, HPAEC-PAD and MALDI-TOF MS analyses. Our results demonstrated that the EPO produced by the mutant line exhibits superior sialylation compared to the commercially used EPO-producing CHO clone cultured under the same conditions. Therefore, this mutant has the industrial potential for producing highly sialylated recombinant EPO and potentially other recombinant glycoprotein therapeutics.

Concepts: DNA, Erythropoietin, Medicine, Enzyme, Mutant, Cloning, Glycoprotein, Warren Worthington III


OBJECTIVE: Recently, several genes have been reported with mutations or variants that underlie a number of syndromic and non-syndromic forms of oligodontia including MSX1, PAX9, AXIN2, EDA and WNT10A. This study aimed to identify the causal mutations in a consanguineous Pakistan family with oligodontia and microdontia. DESIGN: Exome sequencing was performed in two of affected members of the Pakistan family. RESULTS: The exome sequencing data revealed that the affected individuals were homozygous with a novel mutation in exon 8 of the SMOC2 gene, c.681T>A (p.C227X). CONCLUSIONS: This is the second report describing SMOC2 mutations with oligodontia and microdontia underlining the key role for this signalling molecule in tooth development.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Evolution, DNA repair, Mutant, Point mutation, Hypodontia


The HAND2 transcriptional regulator controls cardiac development, and we uncover additional essential functions in the endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) underlying cardiac cushion development in the atrioventricular canal (AVC). In Hand2-deficient mouse embryos, the EMT underlying AVC cardiac cushion formation is disrupted, and we combined ChIP-seq of embryonic hearts with transcriptome analysis of wild-type and mutants AVCs to identify the functionally relevant HAND2 target genes. The HAND2 target gene regulatory network (GRN) includes most genes with known functions in EMT processes and AVC cardiac cushion formation. One of these is Snai1, an EMT master regulator whose expression is lost from Hand2-deficient AVCs. Re-expression of Snai1 in mutant AVC explants partially restores this EMT and mesenchymal cell migration. Furthermore, the HAND2-interacting enhancers in the Snai1 genomic landscape are active in embryonic hearts and other Snai1-expressing tissues. These results show that HAND2 directly regulates the molecular cascades initiating AVC cardiac valve development.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cell, RNA, Heart, Mutant


The recessive wellhaarig (we) mutations, named for the wavy coat and curly whiskers they generate in homozygotes, have previously been mapped on mouse Chromosome 2. To further limit the possible location of the we locus, we crossed hybrid (C57BL/6×AKR)F1, we(4J)/+ females with AKR, we(4J)/we(4J) mutant males to create a large backcross family that was typed for various microsatellite markers and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that distinguish strains AKR and B6. This analysis restricted the location of we(4J) between sites that flank only one gene known to be expressed in skin: epidermal-type transglutaminase 3 (Tgm3). To test Tgm3 as a candidate for the basis of the wellhaarig phenotype we took two approaches. First, we sequenced all Tgm3 coding regions in mice homozygous for four independent, naturally-occurring wellhaarig alleles (we, we(Bkr), we(3J) and we(4J)) and found distinct defects in three of these mutants. Second, we crossed mice homozygous for an induced mutant allele of Tgm3 (Tgm3(Btlr)) with mice heterozygous for one of the wellhaarig alleles we possess (we(4J) or we(Bkr)) to test for complementation. Because the progeny inheriting both a recessive we allele and a recessive Tgm3(Btlr) allele displayed wavy hair, we conclude that the classic wellhaarig mutations result from defects in Tgm3.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Allele, Evolution, Mutant, Genetic genealogy, Zygosity


Loss-of-function mutations inPPARGcause familial partial lipodystrophy type 3 (FPLD3) and severe metabolic disease in many cases. Missense mutations inPPARGare present in ∼1:500 people. Whilst mutations are often binarily classified as ‘benign’ or ‘deleterious’, prospective functional classification of all missensePPARGvariants suggests that their impact is graded. Furthermore, in testing novel mutations with both prototypic ‘endogenous’ (e.g. prostaglandin J2 (PGJ2)) and synthetic ligands (thiazolidinediones, tyrosine agonists), we observed that synthetic agonists selectively rescue function of some PPARγ mutants. Here, we report FPLD3 patients, harbouring two such PPARγ mutations (R308P, A261E). Both PPARγ mutants exhibit negligible constitutive or PGJ2-induced transcriptional activity but respond readily to synthetic agonistsin vitro, with structural modelling providing a basis for such differential ligand-dependent responsiveness. Concordant with this, dramatic clinical improvement was seen following pioglitazone treatment of the patient with R308P mutant PPARγ. A patient with A261E mutant PPARγ also responded beneficially to rosiglitazone, though cardiomyopathy precluded prolonged thiazolidinedione use. These observations indicate that detailed structural and functional classification can be used to inform therapeutic decisions in patients withPPARGmutations.

Concepts: Mutation, Mutant, Pioglitazone, Point mutation, Missense mutation, Thiazolidinedione, Rosiglitazone, Thiazolidinediones


Resistance to ceftriaxone inNeisseria gonorrhoeaeis mainly conferred by mosaicpenAalleles that encode penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2) variants with markedly lower rates of acylation by ceftriaxone. To assess the impact of these mosaicpenAalleles on gonococcal fitness, we introduced the mosaicpenAalleles from two ceftriaxone-resistant (Cror) clinical isolates (H041 and F89) into a Crosstrain (FA19) by allelic exchange and showed that the resultant Crormutants were significantly outcompeted by the Crosparent strainin vitroand in a murine infection model. Four Crorcompensatory mutants of FA19penA41were isolated independently from mice that outcompeted the parent strain bothin vitroandin vivoOne of these compensatory mutants (LV41C) displayed a unique growth profile, with rapid log growth followed by a sharp plateau/gradual decline at stationary phase. Genome sequencing of LV41C revealed a mutation (G348D) in theacnBgene encoding the bifunctional aconitate hydratase 2/2 methylisocitrate dehydratase. Introduction of theacnB G348D allele into FA19penA41conferred both a growth profile that phenocopied that of LV41C and a fitness advantage, although not as strongly as that exhibited by the original compensatory mutant, suggesting the existence of additional compensatory mutations. The mutant aconitase appears to be a functional knockout with lower activity and expression than wild-type aconitase. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis of FA19penA41 acnB G348D revealed a large set of upregulated genes involved in carbon and energy metabolism. We conclude that compensatory mutations can be selected in Crorgonococcal strains that increase metabolism to ameliorate their fitness deficit.IMPORTANCEThe emergence of ceftriaxone-resistant (Cror)Neisseria gonorrhoeaehas led to the looming threat of untreatable gonorrhea. Whether Cro resistance is likely to spread can be predicted from studies that compare the relative fitnesses of susceptible and resistant strains that differ only in thepenAgene that confers Cro resistance. We showed that mosaicpenAalleles found in Crorclinical isolates are outcompeted by the Crosparent strainin vitroandin vivobut that compensatory mutations that allow ceftriaxone resistance to be maintained by increasing bacterial fitness are selected during mouse infection. One compensatory mutant that was studied in more detail had a mutation inacnB, which encodes the aconitase that functions in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. This study illustrates that compensatory mutations can be selected during infection, which we hypothesize may allow the spread of Cro resistance in nature. This study also provides novel insights into gonococcal metabolism and physiology.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Natural selection, Allele, Evolution, DNA repair, Mutant, Gonorrhea