Customer Publications for December 2022

         December 30, 2022

Researchers and clinicians alike utilize our software to progress diagnostic capabilities across the globe. Our tools are continuously validated, and below is a showcase of a few articles this month that demonstrate the range of uses. This is our final customer publications blog of 2022; I would like to say thank you to all of our current partners and customers, and I look forward to seeing what is published in the new year!

Approach to Cohort-Wide Re-Analysis of Exome Data in 1000 Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The re-analysis of nondiagnostic exome sequencing (ES) has the potential to increase diagnostic yields in individuals with rare diseases, but its implementation in the daily routines of laboratories is limited due to restricted capacities. Here, we describe a systematic approach to re-analyse the ES data of a cohort consisting of 1040 diagnostic and nondiagnostic samples. We applied a strict filter cascade to reveal the most promising single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) of the whole cohort, which led to an average of 0.77 variants per individual that had to be manually evaluated. This variant set revealed seven novel diagnoses (0.8% of all nondiagnostic cases) and two secondary findings. Thirteen additional variants were identified by a scientific approach prior to this re-analysis and were also present in this variant set. This resulted in a total increase in the diagnostic yield of 2.3%. The filter cascade was optimised during the course of the study and finally resulted in sensitivity of 85%. After applying the filter cascade, our re-analysis took 20 h and enabled a workflow that can be used repeatedly. This work is intended to provide a practical recommendation for other laboratories wishing to introduce a resource-efficient re-analysis strategy into their clinical routine.

Halfmeyer, I.; Bartolomaeus, T.; Popp, B.; Radtke, M.; Helms, T.; Hentschel, J.; Popp, D.; Jamra, R.A. Approach to Cohort-Wide Re-Analysis of Exome Data in 1000 Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Genes 2023, 14, 30.

ARHGAP35 is a novel factor disrupted in human developmental eye phenotypes

ARHGAP35 has known roles in cell migration, invasion and division, neuronal morphogenesis, and gene/mRNA regulation; prior studies indicate a role in cancer in humans and in the developing eyes, neural tissue, and renal structures in mice. We identified damaging variants in ARHGAP35 in five individuals from four families affected with anophthalmia, microphthalmia, coloboma and/or anterior segment dysgenesis disorders, together with variable non-ocular phenotypes in some families including renal, neurological, or cardiac anomalies. Three variants affected the extreme C-terminus of the protein, with two resulting in a frameshift and C-terminal extension and the other a missense change in the Rho-GAP domain; the fourth (nonsense) variant affected the middle of the gene and is the only allele predicted to undergo nonsense-mediated decay. This study implicates ARHGAP35 in human developmental eye phenotypes. C-terminal clustering of the identified alleles indicates a possible common mechanism for ocular disease but requires further studies.

Reis, L.M., Chassaing, N., Bardakjian, T. et al. ARHGAP35 is a novel factor disrupted in human developmental eye phenotypes. Eur J Hum Genet (2022).

KMT2A-D pathogenicity, prevalence, and variation according to a population database

The KMT2 family of genes is essential epigenetic regulators promoting gene expression. The gene family contains three subgroups, each with two paralogues: KMT2A and KMT2B; KMT2C and KMT2D; KMT2F and KMT2G. KMT2A-D are among the most frequent somatically altered genes in several different cancer types. Somatic KMT2A rearrangements are well-characterized in infant leukemia (IL), and growing evidence supports the role of additional family members (KMT2BKMT2C, and KMT2D) in leukemogenesis. Enrichment of rare heterozygous frameshift variants in KMT2A and C has been reported in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), IL, and solid tumors. Currently, the non-synonymous variation, prevalence, and penetrance of these four genes are unknown.

This study determined the prevalence of pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) germline KMT2A-D variants in a cancer-free adult population from the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD). Two methods of variant interpretation were utilized: a manual genomic variant interpretation and an automated ACMG pipeline.

The ACMG pipeline identified considerably fewer P/LP variants (n = 89) compared to the manual method (n = 660) in all 4 genes. Consequently, the total P/LP prevalence and allele frequency (AF) were higher in the manual method (1:112, AF = 4.46E-03) than in ACMG (1:832, AF = 6.01E-04). Multiple ancestry-exclusive P/LP variants were identified along with an increased frequency in males compared to females. Many of these variants identified in this population database are also associated with severe juvenile conditions.

These data demonstrate that putatively functional germline variation in these developmentally important genes is more common than previously appreciated and identification in cancer-free adults may indicate incomplete penetrance for many of these variants. Future research should examine a genetic predisposing role in IL and other pediatric cancers.

Larson, JK, Hunter-Schlichting, DN, Crowgey, EL, Mills, LJ, Druley, TE, Marcotte, EL. KMT2A-D pathogenicity, prevalence, and variation according to a population database. Cancer Med. 2022; 00: 1- 12. doi:10.1002/cam4.5443

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