Functional analysis of mutations in TGIF associated with holoprosencephaly.
ABSTRACT: Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is the most common structural malformation of the forebrain and face in humans. Our current understanding of the pathogenesis of HPE attempts to integrate genetic susceptibility, evidenced by mutations in the known HPE genes, with the epigenetic influence of environmental factors. Mutations or deletions of the human TGIF gene have been associated with HPE in multiple population cohorts. Here we examine the functional effects of all previously reported mutations, and describe four additional variants. Of the eleven sequence variations in TGIF, all but four can be demonstrated to be functionally abnormal. In contrast, no potentially pathogenic sequence alterations were detected in the related gene TGIF2. These results provide further evidence of a role for TGIF in HPE and demonstrate the importance of functional analysis of putative disease-associated alleles.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a severe human genetic disease affecting craniofacial development, with an incidence of up to 1/250 human conceptions and 1.3 per 10,000 live births. Mutations in the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) gene result in HPE in humans and mice, and the Shh pathway is targeted by other mutations that cause HPE. However, at least 12 loci are associated with HPE in humans, suggesting that defects in other pathways contribute to this disease. Although the TGIF1 (TG-interacting factor) gene maps to the HPE4 locus, and heterozygous loss of function TGIF1 mutations are associated with HPE, mouse models have not yet explained how loss of Tgif1 causes HPE. Using a conditional Tgif1 allele, we show that mouse embryos lacking both Tgif1 and the related Tgif2 have HPE-like phenotypes reminiscent of Shh null embryos. Eye and nasal field separation is defective, and forebrain patterning is disrupted in embryos lacking both Tgifs. Early anterior patterning is relatively normal, but expression of Shh is reduced in the forebrain, and Gli3 expression is up-regulated throughout the neural tube. Gli3 acts primarily as an antagonist of Shh function, and the introduction of a heterozygous Gli3 mutation into embryos lacking both Tgif genes partially rescues Shh signaling, nasal field separation, and HPE. Tgif1 and Tgif2 are transcriptional repressors that limit Transforming Growth Factor ?/Nodal signaling, and we show that reducing Nodal signaling in embryos lacking both Tgifs reduces the severity of HPE and partially restores the output of Shh signaling. Together, these results support a model in which Tgif function limits Nodal signaling to maintain the appropriate output of the Shh pathway in the forebrain. These data show for the first time that Tgif1 mutation in mouse contributes to HPE pathogenesis and provide evidence that this is due to disruption of the Shh pathway.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE), which results from failed or incomplete midline forebrain division early in gestation, is the most common forebrain malformation. The etiology of HPE is complex and multifactorial. To date, at least 12 HPE-associated genes have been identified, including TGIF (transforming growth factor beta-induced factor), located on chromosome 18p11.3. TGIF encodes a transcriptional repressor of retinoid responses involved in TGF-? signaling regulation, including Nodal signaling. TGIF mutations are reported in approximately 1-2% of patients with non-syndromic, non-chromosomal HPE. We combined data from our comprehensive studies of HPE with a literature search for all individuals with HPE and evidence of mutations affecting TGIF in order to establish the genotypic and phenotypic range. We describe 2 groups of patients: 34 with intragenic mutations and 21 with deletions of TGIF. These individuals, which were ascertained from our research group, in collaboration with other centers, and through a literature search, include 38 probands and 17 mutation-positive relatives. The majority of intragenic mutations occur in the TGIF homeodomain. Patients with mutations affecting TGIFrecapitulate the entire phenotypic spectrum observed in non-chromosomal, non-syndromic HPE. We identified a statistically significant difference between the 2 groups with respect to inheritance, as TGIF deletions were more likely to be de novo in comparison to TGIF mutations (?(2) ((2)) = 6.97, p(permutated) = 0.0356). In addition, patients with TGIF deletions were also found to more commonly present with manifestations beyond the craniofacial and neuroanatomical features associated with HPE (p = 0.0030). These findings highlight differences in patients with intragenic mutations versus deletions affecting TGIF, and draw attention to the homeodomain region, which appears to be particularly relevant to HPE. These results may be useful for genetic counseling of affected patients.
Project description:5'-TG-3'-interacting factor or transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)-induced factor (TGIF) belongs to a family of evolutionarily conserved proteins that are characterized by an atypical three-amino-acid loop extension homeodomain. In vitro studies have implicated TGIF as a transcriptional repressor and corepressor in retinoid and TGF-beta signaling pathways that regulate several important biological processes. Heterozygous nonsense and missense mutations of the human TGIF gene have been associated with holoprosencephaly, the most common congenital malformation of the forebrain. In mice, Tgif mRNA is expressed ubiquitously in the ventricular neuroepithelium at embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5) but displays a medial to lateral gradient in the developing cerebral cortex at E12.5. The expression quickly declines by E14.5. The spatiotemporal expression profile of Tgif is consistent with its involvement in midline forebrain development. To better understand the function of Tgif in forebrain patterning and proliferation in vivo, we generated mice lacking Tgif by targeted deletion of exons 2 and 3, which encode 98% of the amino acids. Tgif(-)(/)(-) mice had no detectable Tgif protein by Western blotting. Surprisingly, however, these mice were viable and fertile. In addition, there were no discernible derangements in any of the major organ systems, including the forebrain. Overall our results point to a possible functional redundancy of Tgif, potentially provided by the closely related Tgif2.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is the most common forebrain defect in humans. It results from incomplete midline cleavage of the prosencephalon. METHODS:A large European series of 645 HPE probands (and 699 relatives), consisting of 51% fetuses and 49% liveborn children, is reported. RESULTS:Mutations in the four main genes involved in HPE (SHH, ZIC2, SIX3, TGIF) were identified in 25% of cases. The SHH, SIX3, and TGIF mutations were inherited in more than 70% of these cases, whereas 70% of the mutations in ZIC2 occurred de novo. Moreover, rearrangements were detected in 22% of the 260 patients screened by array comparative genomic hybridisation. 15 probands had two mutations providing additional support for the 'multiple-hit process' in HPE. There was a positive correlation between the severity of the brain malformation and facial features for SHH, SIX3, and TGIF, but no such correlation was found for ZIC2 mutations. The most severe HPE types were associated with SIX3 and ZIC2 mutations, whereas microforms were associated with SHH mutations. The study focused on the associated brain malformations, including neuronal migration defects, which predominated in individuals with ZIC2 mutations, and neural tube defects, which were frequently associated with ZIC2 (rachischisis) and TGIF mutations. Extracraniofacial features were observed in 27% of the individuals in this series (up to 40% of those with ZIC2 mutations) and a significant correlation was found between renal/urinary defects and mutations of SHH and ZIC2. CONCLUSIONS:An algorithm is proposed based on these new phenotype-genotype correlations, to facilitate molecular analysis and genetic counselling for HPE.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is the most common structural anomaly of the human brain, resulting from incomplete cleavage of the developing forebrain during embryogenesis. Haploinsufficient mutations in the TG-interacting factor (TGIF) gene were previously identified in a subset of HPE families and sporadic patients, and this gene is located within a region of chromosome 18 that is associated with nonrandom chromosomal aberrations in HPE patients. TGIF is a three-amino-acid loop extension (TALE) homeodomain-containing transcription factor that functions both as a corepressor of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) pathway and as a competitor of the retinoic acid pathway. Here we describe mice deficient in Tgif that exhibited laterality defects and growth retardation and developed kinked tails. Cellular analysis of mutant mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) demonstrated for the first time that Tgif regulates proliferation and progression through the G1 cell cycle phase. Additionally, wild-type human TGIF was able to rescue this proliferative defect in MEFs. In contrast, a subset of human Tgif mutations detected in HPE patients was unable to rescue the proliferative defect. However, an absence of Tgif did not alter the normal inhibition of proliferation caused by treatment with TGF-beta or retinoic acid. Developmental control of proliferation by Tgif may play a role in the pathogenesis of HPE.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a prevalent craniofacial developmental disorder that has both genetic and environmental causes. The gene encoding TG-interacting factor 1 (TGIF1) is among those that are routinely screened in HPE patients. However, the mechanisms by which TGIF1 variants cause HPE are not fully understood. TGIF1 is a transcriptional repressor that limits the output of the Transforming Growth Factor ß (TGFß)/Nodal signaling pathway, and HPE in patients with TGIF1 variants has been suggested to be due to increased Nodal signaling. Mice lacking both Tgif1 and its paralog, Tgif2, have HPE, and embryos lacking Tgif function do not survive past mid-gestation. Here, we show that in the presence of a Nodal heterozygous mutation, proliferation defects are rescued and a proportion of embryos lacking all Tgif function survive to late gestation. However, these embryos have a classic HPE phenotype, suggesting that this is a Nodal-independent effect of Tgif loss of function. Further, we show that the Gli3 gene is a direct target for repression by Tgifs, independent of TGFß/Nodal signaling, consistent with Tgif mutations causing HPE via Nodal-independent effects on the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) pathway. Based on this work, we propose a model for distinct functions of Tgifs in the Nodal and Shh/Gli3 pathways during forebrain development.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is a complex brain malformation resulting from incomplete cleavage of the prosencephalon, occurring between the 18th and the 28th day of gestation and affecting both the forebrain and the face. It is estimated to occur in 1/16,000 live births and 1/250 conceptuses. Three ranges of increasing severity are described: lobar, semi-lobar and alobar HPE. Another milder subtype of HPE called middle interhemispheric variant (MIHF) or syntelencephaly is also reported. In most of the cases, facial anomalies are observed in HPE, like cyclopia, proboscis, median or bilateral cleft lip/palate in severe forms, ocular hypotelorism or solitary median maxillary central incisor in minor forms. These latter midline defects can occur without the cerebral malformations and then are called microforms. Children with HPE have many medical problems: developmental delay and feeding difficulties, epilepsy, instability of temperature, heart rate and respiration. Endocrine disorders like diabetes insipidus, adrenal hypoplasia, hypogonadism, thyroid hypoplasia and growth hormone deficiency are frequent. To date, seven genes have been positively implicated in HPE: Sonic hedgehog (SHH), ZIC2, SIX3, TGIF, PTCH, GLI2 and TDGF1. A molecular diagnosis can be performed by gene sequencing and allele quantification for the four main genes SHH, ZIC2, SIX3 and TGIF. Major rearrangements of the subtelomeres can also be identified by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). Nevertheless, in about 70% of cases, the molecular basis of the disease remains unknown, suggesting the existence of several other candidate genes or environmental factors. Consequently, a "multiple-hit hypothesis" of genetic and/or environmental factors (like maternal diabetes) has been proposed to account for the extreme clinical variability. In a practical approach, prenatal diagnosis is based on ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rather than on molecular diagnosis. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive, and requires a multidisciplinary management. Child outcome depends on the HPE severity and the medical and neurological complications associated. Severely affected children have a very poor prognosis. Mildly affected children may exhibit few symptoms and may live a normal life.
Project description:Genetics of Holoprosencephaly (HPE), a congenital malformation of the developing human forebrain, is due to multiple genetic defects. Most genes that have been implicated in HPE belong to the sonic hedgehog signaling pathway. Here we describe a new candidate gene isolated from array comparative genomic hybridization redundant 6qter deletions, DELTA Like 1 (DLL1), which is a ligand of NOTCH. We show that DLL1 is co-expressed in the developing chick forebrain with Fgf8. By treating chick embryos with a pharmacological inhibitor, we demonstrate that DLL1 interacts with FGF signaling pathway. Moreover, a mutation analysis of DLL1 in HPE patients revealed a three-nucleotide deletion. These various findings implicate DLL1 in early patterning of the forebrain and identify NOTCH as a new signaling pathway involved in HPE.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE), the most common malformation of the human forebrain, may arise due to interacting genetic and environmental factors. To date, at least 12 contributory genes have been identified. Fibroblast growth factor 8 (Fgf8) belongs to the FGF family of genes expressed in several developmental signaling centers, including the anterior neural ridge, which is implicated in midline anomalies in mice. In humans, FGF8 mutations have been previously reported in facial clefting and in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, but have not been reported in patients with HPE. We screened 360 probands with HPE for sequence variations in FGF8 using High Resolution DNA Melting (HRM) and sequenced all identified variations. Here we describe a total of 8 sequence variations in HPE patients, including a putative loss-of-function mutation in 3 members of a family with variable forms of classic HPE, and relate these findings to the phenotypes seen in other conditions.
Project description:Holoprosencephaly (HPE), the most common forebrain malformation, is characterized by an incomplete separation of the cerebral hemispheres. Mutations in the homeobox gene SIX3 account for 1.3% of all cases of human HPE. Using zebrafish-based assays, we have now determined that HPE-associated Six3 mutant proteins function as hypomorphs. Haploinsufficiency of Six3 caused by deletion of one allele of Six3 or by replacement of wild-type Six3 with HPE-associated Six3 mutant alleles was sufficient to recapitulate in mouse models most of the phenotypic features of human HPE. We demonstrate that Shh is a direct target of Six3 in the rostral diencephalon ventral midline (RDVM). Reduced amounts of functional Six3 protein fail to activate Shh expression in the mutant RDVM and ultimately lead to HPE. These results identify Six3 as a direct regulator of Shh expression and reveal a crossregulatory loop between Shh and Six3 in the ventral forebrain.