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Complex Molecular Mechanisms of Monogenic Diseases

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2023) | Viewed by 6671

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Gdansk, Wita Stwosza 59, 80-308 Gdansk, Poland
Interests: gene expression regulation; DNA replication; bacteriophages; plasmids; human genetic diseases; neurodegeneration
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Dear Colleagues,

Monogenic diseases are defined as genetic disorders caused by mutations in single genes. Therefore, one could assume that their mechanisms might be relatively simple, as a defect in one gene should cause dysfunction of just one protein or functional RNA molecule. However, recent studies have indicated that molecular mechanisms of monogenic diseases are significantly more complicated. Dysfunction of one gene product results not only in the inactivation of just one biochemical reaction, but a network of various reactions is affected. Then, secondary and tertiary effects sometimes lead to dysregulation of various cellular processes, including the up- or down-regulation of the expression of many genes, and disturbance of the physiology of cells, tissues, organs, and whole organisms. We are only at the beginning of understanding the complicated molecular mechanisms of monogenic diseases. The complex character of such diseases is a biological puzzle and causes real problems for the development of effective therapies. The current number of known monogenic diseases is estimated to be about 7,000, and only a few can be specifically treated. Moreover, the vast majority of these diseases are severe disorders, and patients suffering from them need novel effective therapies. Development of such therapies is, however, dependent on a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of each disease. Therefore, this Special Issue is focused on research conducted to understand complex molecular mechanisms of monogenic diseases. Both original papers, presenting clinical or experimental studies (using cellular and/or animal models) on understanding pathomechanisms of such diseases, and review articles, summarizing our knowledge and proposing new hypotheses in the field are welcome. The submission of papers exploring the unexpected complexity of, or newly discovered, changes occurring as consequences of dysfunctions or dysregulations of single genes is particularly encouraged.

Prof. Dr. Grzegorz Wegrzyn
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (2 papers)

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12 pages, 13888 KiB  
Article
Molecular Mechanisms of Skewed X-Chromosome Inactivation in Female Hemophilia Patients—Lessons from Wide Genome Analyses
by Rima Dardik, Einat Avishai, Shadan Lalezari, Assaf A. Barg, Sarina Levy-Mendelovich, Ivan Budnik, Ortal Barel, Yulia Khavkin, Gili Kenet and Tami Livnat
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(16), 9074; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22169074 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2838
Abstract
Introduction: Hemophilia A (HA) is an X-linked bleeding disorder caused by factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency or dysfunction due to F8 gene mutations. HA carriers are usually asymptomatic because their FVIII levels correspond to approximately half of the concentration found in healthy individuals. However, [...] Read more.
Introduction: Hemophilia A (HA) is an X-linked bleeding disorder caused by factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency or dysfunction due to F8 gene mutations. HA carriers are usually asymptomatic because their FVIII levels correspond to approximately half of the concentration found in healthy individuals. However, in rare cases, a carrier may exhibit symptoms of moderate to severe HA primarily due to skewed inactivation of her non-hemophilic X chromosome. Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) patterns in HA carriers, with special emphasis on three karyotypically normal HA carriers presenting with moderate to severe HA phenotype due to skewed XCI, in an attempt to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying skewed XCI in these symptomatic HA carriers. The study was based on the hypothesis that the presence of a pathogenic mutation on the non-hemophilic X chromosome is the cause of extreme inactivation of that X chromosome. Methods: XCI patterns were studied by PCR analysis of the CAG repeat region in the HUMARA gene. HA carriers that demonstrated skewed XCI were further studied by whole-exome sequencing (WES) followed by X chromosome-targeted bioinformatic analysis. Results: All three HA carriers presenting with the moderate to severe HA phenotype due to skewed XCI were found to carry pathogenic mutations on their non-hemophilic X chromosomes. Patient 1 was diagnosed with a frameshift mutation in the PGK1 gene that was associated with familial XCI skewing in three generations. Patient 2 was diagnosed with a missense mutation in the SYTL4 gene that was associated with familial XCI skewing in two generations. Patient 3 was diagnosed with a nonsense mutation in the NKAP gene that was associated with familial XCI skewing in two generations. Conclusion: Our results indicate that the main reason for skewed XCI in our female HA patients was negative selection against cells with a disadvantage caused by an additional deleterious mutation on the silenced X chromosome, thus complicating the phenotype of a monogenic X-linked disease. Based on our study, we are currently offering the X inactivation test to symptomatic hemophilia carriers and plan to expand this approach to symptomatic carriers of other X-linked diseases, which can be further used in pregnancy planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Molecular Mechanisms of Monogenic Diseases)
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10 pages, 1717 KiB  
Case Report
Integrating Whole-Genome Sequencing in Clinical Genetics: A Novel Disruptive Structural Rearrangement Identified in the Dystrophin Gene (DMD)
by Ana Gonçalves, Ana Fortuna, Yavuz Ariyurek, Márcia E. Oliveira, Goreti Nadais, Jorge Pinheiro, Johan T. den Dunnen, Mário Sousa, Jorge Oliveira and Rosário Santos
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23010059 - 22 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2736
Abstract
While in most patients the identification of genetic alterations causing dystrophinopathies is a relatively straightforward task, a significant number require genomic and transcriptomic approaches that go beyond a routine diagnostic set-up. In this work, we present a Becker Muscular Dystrophy patient with elevated [...] Read more.
While in most patients the identification of genetic alterations causing dystrophinopathies is a relatively straightforward task, a significant number require genomic and transcriptomic approaches that go beyond a routine diagnostic set-up. In this work, we present a Becker Muscular Dystrophy patient with elevated creatinine kinase levels, progressive muscle weakness, mild intellectual disability and a muscle biopsy showing dystrophic features and irregular dystrophin labelling. Routine molecular techniques (Southern-blot analysis, multiplex PCR, MLPA and genomic DNA sequencing) failed to detect a defect in the DMD gene. Muscle DMD transcript analysis (RT-PCR and cDNA-MLPA) showed the absence of exons 75 to 79, seen to be present at the genomic level. These results prompted the application of low-coverage linked-read whole-genome sequencing (WGS), revealing a possible rearrangement involving DMD intron 74 and a region located upstream of the PRDX4 gene. Breakpoint PCR and Sanger sequencing confirmed the presence of a ~8 Mb genomic inversion. Aberrant DMD transcripts were subsequently identified, some of which contained segments from the region upstream of PRDX4. Besides expanding the mutational spectrum of the disorder, this study reinforces the importance of transcript analysis in the diagnosis of dystrophinopathies and shows how WGS has a legitimate role in clinical laboratory genetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Molecular Mechanisms of Monogenic Diseases)
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