Genetics researchers have identified a key gene that, when mutated, causes the rare multisystem disorder Cornelia deLange syndrome (CdLS). By revealing how mutations in the HDAC8 gene disrupt the biology of proteins that control both gene expression and cell division, the research sheds light on this disease, which causes intellectual disability, limb deformations and other disabilities resulting from impairments in early development.
"As we better understand how CdLS operates at the level of cell biology, we will be better able to define strategies for devising treatments for CdLS, and possibly for related disorders," said study leader Matthew A. Deardorff, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric genetics clinician and scientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Deardorff also is in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Deardorff and co-corresponding author Katsuhiko Shirahige, Ph.D., of the Research Center for Epigenetic Disease at the University of Tokyo, published their study online today in Nature.
The current findings add to previous discoveries by researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. A group led by Ian Krantz, M.D., and Laird Jackson, M.D., announced in 2004 that mutations in the NIPBL gene are the primary cause of CdLS, accounting for roughly 60 percent of the "classical" cases of the disease. In 2007, Deardorff joined them to describe mutations in two additional genes, SMC1A and SMC3. First described in 1933, CdLS affects an estimated 1 in 10,000 children.
The CdLS research team at Children's Hospital has focused on the cohesin complex, a group of proteins that form a bracelet-like structure that encircles pairs of chromosomes, called sister chromatids. "Cohesin has two roles," said Deardorff. "It keeps sister chromatids together during cell division, and it allows normal transcription—the transmission of information from DNA to RNA."
Deardorff added that mutations that perturb normal cohesin function can interfere with normal human development. Such is the case in CdLS, which exemplifies a newly recognized class of diseases called cohesinopathies.
In the current study, the scientists investigated both acetylation—how an acetyl molecule is attached to part of the cohesin complex¬—and deactylation, the removal of that molecule. Normally, deactylation helps recycle cohesin to make it available during successive rounds of cell division. The study team found that mutations in the HDAC8 gene threw off normal cellular recycling of cohesin.
Mutations in the gene cause loss of HDAC8 protein activity, and consequently decrease the amount of "recharged" cohesin available to properly regulate gene transcription. This, in turn, the researchers suggest, impairs normal embryonic development and gives rise to CdLS.
The researchers showed in cell cultures that mutations in HDAC8 lead to a decrease in cohesin binding to genes, similar to that seen for cells deficient in the NIPBL gene. They also identified HDAC8 mutations in approximately 5 percent of patients with CdLS.
Because mothers of children with CdLS may carry mutations in the HDAC8 gene, identifying these mutations will be very useful in accurately counseling families of their recurrence risk—the likelihood of having a subsequent child with CdLS.
Furthermore, added Deardorff, by providing biological details of the underlying defect in CdLS, the current research suggests future approaches to treating the genetic disease. "By concentrating downstream on the biological pathway in the cohesin cycle rather than focusing on the defective gene, we may be able to eventually screen for small-molecule drugs that could be used to intervene in CdLS."
Deardorff and colleagues will continue investigate CdLS and possible therapies. Last month, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation chose Deardorff to receive a Clinical Scientist Development Award. This three-year award, totaling $486,000, is directed to further studies of cohesin abnormalities in human disease. Deardorff is a member of Children's Hospital's Center for Cornelia deLange Syndrome and Related Diagnoses, one of the world's leading programs in studying and treating CdLS.
Financial support for this study came from the National Institutes of Health (grants HD055488, GM49758, and HD052860), the U.S.A. Cornelia deLange Syndrome Foundation, institutional funding from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, intramural funding from the University of Lubeck, and the Research Program of Innovative Cell Biology by Innovative Technology. Co-authors with Deardorff and Shirahige included researchers from the United States, Japan, Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Greece and Denmark.
"HDAC8 mutations in Cornelia deLange Syndrome affect the cohesin acetylation cycle," Nature, advance online publication Aug. 12, 2012. http://dx.doi:10.1038/nature11316
About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 516-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.
John Ascenzi | EurekAlert!
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research