Biallelic somatic and germline mutations in cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs): evidence for a two-hit mechanism of CCM pathogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular anomalies of the central nervous system, comprising dilated blood-filled capillaries lacking structural support. The lesions are prone to rupture, resulting in seizures or hemorrhagic stroke. CCM can occur sporadically, manifesting as solitary lesions, but also in families, where multiple lesions generally occur. Familial cases follow autosomal-dominant inheritance due to mutations in one of three genes, CCM1/KRIT1, CCM2/malcavernin or CCM3/PDCD10. The difference in lesion burden between familial and sporadic CCM, combined with limited molecular data, suggests that CCM pathogenesis may follow a two-hit molecular mechanism, similar to that seen for tumor suppressor genes. In this study, we investigate the two-hit hypothesis for CCM pathogenesis. Through repeated cycles of amplification, subcloning and sequencing of multiple clones per amplicon, we identify somatic mutations that are otherwise invisible by direct sequencing of the bulk amplicon. Biallelic germline and somatic mutations were identified in CCM lesions from all three forms of inherited CCMs. The somatic mutations are found only in a subset of the endothelial cells lining the cavernous vessels and not in interstitial lesion cells. These data suggest that CCM lesion genesis requires complete loss of function for one of the CCM genes. Although widely expressed in the different cell types of the brain, these data also suggest a unique role for the CCM proteins in endothelial cell biology.
Project description:Germline mutations in 3 genes have been found in familial cases of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs). We previously discovered somatic and germline truncating mutations in the KRIT1 gene, supporting the "2-hit" mechanism of CCM lesion formation in a single lesion. The purpose of this study was to screen for somatic, nonheritable mutations in 3 more lesions from different patients and identify the cell type(s) in which somatic mutations occur.Somatic mutations were sought in DNA from 3 surgically excised, fresh-frozen CCM lesions by cloning and screening polymerase chain reaction products generated from KRIT1 or PDCD10 coding regions. Laser capture microdissection was used on isolated endothelial and nonendothelial cells to determine whether somatic mutations were found in endothelial cells.CCM lesions harbor somatic and germline KRIT1 mutations on different chromosomes and are therefore biallelic. Both mutations are predicted to truncate the protein. The KRIT1 somatic mutations (novel c.1800delG mutation and previously identified 34 nucleotide deletion) in CCMs from 2 different patients were found only in the vascular endothelial cells lining caverns. No obvious somatic mutations were identified in the 2 other lesions; however, the results were inconclusive, possibly owing to the technical limitations or the fact that these specimens had a small proportion of vascular endothelial cells lining pristine caverns.The "2-hit" mechanism occurs in vascular endothelial cells lining CCM caverns from 2 patients with somatic and Hispanic-American KRIT1 germline mutations. Methods for somatic mutation detection should focus on vascular endothelial cells lining pristine caverns.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions affecting the central nervous system. CCM occurs either sporadically or in an inherited, autosomal dominant manner. Constitutional (germline) mutations in any of three genes, KRIT1, CCM2 and PDCD10, can cause the inherited form. Analysis of CCM lesions from inherited cases revealed biallelic somatic mutations, indicating that CCM follows a Knudsonian two-hit mutation mechanism. It is still unknown, however, if the sporadic cases of CCM also follow this genetic mechanism. We extracted DNA from 11 surgically excised lesions from sporadic CCM patients, and sequenced the three CCM genes in each specimen using a next-generation sequencing approach. Four sporadic CCM lesion samples (36%) were found to contain novel somatic mutations. Three of the lesions contained a single somatic mutation, and one lesion contained two biallelic somatic mutations. Herein, we also describe evidence of somatic mosaicism in a patient presenting with over 130 CCM lesions localized to one hemisphere of the brain. Finally, in a lesion regrowth sample, we found that the regrown CCM lesion contained the same somatic mutation as the original lesion. Together, these data bolster the idea that all forms of CCM have a genetic underpinning of the two-hit mutation mechanism in the known CCM genes. Recent studies have found aberrant Rho kinase activation in inherited CCM pathogenesis, and we present evidence that this pathway is activated in sporadic CCM patients. These results suggest that all CCM patients, including those with the more common sporadic form, are potentially amenable to the same therapy.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions characterized by abnormally enlarged capillary cavities, affecting the central nervous system. CCMs can occur sporadically or as a familial autosomal dominant condition with incomplete penetrance and variable clinical expression attributable to mutations in three different genes: CCM1 (K-Rev interaction trapped 1 (KRIT1)), CCM2 (MGC4607), and CCM3 (PDCD10). CCMs occur as a single or multiple malformations that can lead to seizures, focal neurological deficits, hemorrhagic stroke, and headache. However, patients are frequently asymptomatic. In our previous mutation screening, performed in a cohort of 95 Italian patients, both sporadic and familial, we have identified several mutations in CCM genes, three of which in three distinct sporadic patients. In this study, representing further molecular screening of the three CCM genes, in a south Italian cohort of CCM patients enrolled by us in the last three years, we report the identification of other four new mutations in 40 sporadic patients with either single or multiple CCM.
Project description:Patients with the familial form of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are haploinsufficient for the CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3 gene. Loss of corresponding CCM proteins increases RhoA kinase-mediated endothelial permeability in vitro, and in mouse brains in vivo. A prospective case-controlled observational study investigated whether the brains of human subjects with familial CCM show vascular hyperpermeability by dynamic contrast-enhanced quantitative perfusion magnetic resonance imaging, in comparison with CCM cases without familial disease, and whether lesional or brain vascular permeability correlates with CCM disease activity. Permeability in white matter far (WMF) from lesions was significantly greater in familial than in sporadic cases, but was similar in CCM lesions. Permeability in WMF increased with age in sporadic patients, but not in familial cases. Patients with more aggressive familial CCM disease had greater WMF permeability compared to those with milder disease phenotype, but similar lesion permeability. Subjects receiving statin medications for routine cardiovascular indications had a trend of lower WMF, but not lesion, permeability. This is the first demonstration of brain vascular hyperpermeability in humans with an autosomal dominant disease, as predicted mechanistically. Brain permeability, more than lesion permeability, may serve as a biomarker of CCM disease activity, and help calibrate potential drug therapy.
Project description:Multiple familial meningiomas occur in rare genetic syndromes, particularly neurofibromatosis type 2. The association of meningiomas and cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) has been reported in few patients in the medical literature. The purpose of our study is to corroborate a preferential association of CCMs and multiple meningiomas in subjects harbouring mutations in the PDCD10 gene (also known as CCM3). Three members of an Italian family affected by seizures underwent conventional brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with gadolinium contrast agent including gradient echo (GRE) imaging. The three CCM-causative genes were sequenced by Sanger method. Literature data reporting patients with coexistence of CCMs and meningiomas were reviewed. MRI demonstrated dural-based meningioma-like lesions associated to multiple parenchymal CCMs in all affected individuals. A disease-causative mutation in the PDCD10 gene (p.Gln112PhefsX13) was identified. Based on neuroradiological and molecular data as well as on literature review, we outline a consistent association between PDCD10 mutations and a syndrome of CCMs with multiple meningiomas. This condition should be considered in the differential diagnosis of multiple/familial meningioma syndromes. In case of multiple/familial meningioma the use of appropriate MRI technique may include GRE and/or susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) to rule out CCM. By contrast, proper post-gadolinium scans may aid defining dural lesions in CCM patients and are indicated in PDCD10-mutated individuals.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular lesions that predominantly occur in the brain. CCMs can be sporadic or hereditary in an autosomal dominant manner. The genes harboring variants of familial CCMs (FCCMs) include CCM1/KRIT1, CCM2/MGC4607, and CCM3/PDCD10. In this study, we identified a novel CCM1/KRIT1 mutation in a Chinese family with FCCMs. This family consists of 20 members, and 6 of them had been diagnosed with CCMs. The proband patient is a 17-year-old female who has suffered from CCM-related intracranial hemorrhage four times. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed four lesions in the different brain regions and one lesion has progressively enlarged. The pathological histology confirmed CCMs. Whole exome sequencing revealed a novel deletion mutation (c.1635delA) within exon 15 of CCM1/KRIT1 gene in the proband patient, her mother, and her uncle who had CCMs. This frameshift mutation led to a premature termination codon (PTC) at nucleotides 1652–1654. We also detected that the CCM1 mRNA levels in the blood lymphocytes of the family members with CCMs were reduced by 46.4% compared to that in healthy controls. Collectively, our results suggested that the CCM1 mutation could potentially be a causative factor for FCCMs in the Chinese family and the reduction of CCM1 mRNA expression in the blood lymphocytes of the patients might be a potential biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of CCMs. Our findings expanded the spectrum of CCM mutations and helped to guide genetic counseling and early genetic diagnosis for at-risk family members.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are common inherited and sporadic vascular malformations that cause strokes and seizures in younger individuals. CCMs arise from endothelial cell loss of KRIT1, CCM2 or PDCD10, non-homologous proteins that form an adaptor complex. How disruption of the CCM complex results in disease remains controversial, with numerous signalling pathways (including Rho, SMAD and Wnt/?-catenin) and processes such as endothelial-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) proposed to have causal roles. CCM2 binds to MEKK3 (refs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), and we have recently shown that CCM complex regulation of MEKK3 is essential during vertebrate heart development. Here we investigate this mechanism in CCM disease pathogenesis. Using a neonatal mouse model of CCM disease, we show that expression of the MEKK3 target genes Klf2 and Klf4, as well as Rho and ADAMTS protease activity, are increased in the endothelial cells of early CCM lesions. By contrast, we find no evidence of EndMT or increased SMAD or Wnt signalling during early CCM formation. Endothelial-specific loss of Map3k3 (also known as Mekk3), Klf2 or Klf4 markedly prevents lesion formation, reverses the increase in Rho activity, and rescues lethality. Consistent with these findings in mice, we show that endothelial expression of KLF2 and KLF4 is increased in human familial and sporadic CCM lesions, and that a disease-causing human CCM2 mutation abrogates the MEKK3 interaction without affecting CCM complex formation. These studies identify gain of MEKK3 signalling and KLF2/4 function as causal mechanisms for CCM pathogenesis that may be targeted to develop new CCM therapeutics.
Project description:Background: Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are common vascular malformations that predominantly arise in the central nervous system and are mainly characterized by enlarged vascular cavities without intervening brain parenchyma. Familial CCMs (FCCMs) is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern with incomplete penetrance and variable symptoms. Methods: Mutations of three pathogenic genes, CCM1, CCM2, and CCM3, were investigated by direct DNA sequencing in a Chinese family with multiple CCM lesions. Results: Four heterozygous variants in the CCM2 gene, including one deletion (c.95delC), a missense mutation (c.358G>A, p.V120I), one silent mutation (c.915G>A, p.T305T), and a substitution (c. *1452 T>C), were identified in the subjects with multiple CCM lesions, but not in a healthy sibling. Among these variants, the c.95delC deletion is a novel mutation which is expected to cause a premature termination codon. It is predicted to produce a truncated CCM2 protein lacking the PTB and C-terminal domains, thus disrupting the molecular functions of CCM2. Conclusions: The novel truncating mutation in the CCM2 gene, c.95delC, may be responsible for multiple CCM lesions in a part of FCCM. In addition, it may represent a potential genetic biomarker for early diagnosis of FCCM.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular abnormalities that primarily occur in adulthood and cause cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, and seizures. CCMs are thought to be initiated by endothelial cell (EC) loss of any one of the three Ccm genes: CCM1 (KRIT1), CCM2 (OSM), or CCM3 (PDCD10). Here we report that mice with a brain EC-specific deletion of Pdcd10 (Pdcd10<sup>BECKO</sup>) survive up to 6-12 months and develop bona fide CCM lesions in all regions of brain, allowing us to visualize the vascular dynamics of CCM lesions using transcranial two-photon microscopy. This approach reveals that CCMs initiate from protrusion at the level of capillary and post-capillary venules with gradual dissociation of pericytes. Microvascular beds in lesions are hyper-permeable, and these disorganized structures present endomucin-positive ECs and ?-smooth muscle actin-positive pericytes. Caveolae in the endothelium of Pdcd10<sup>BECKO</sup> lesions are drastically increased, enhancing Tie2 signaling in Ccm3-deficient ECs. Moreover, genetic deletion of caveolin-1 or pharmacological blockade of Tie2 signaling effectively normalizes microvascular structure and barrier function with attenuated EC-pericyte disassociation and CCM lesion formation in Pdcd10<sup>BECKO</sup> mice. Our study establishes a chronic CCM model and uncovers a mechanism by which CCM3 mutation-induced caveolae-Tie2 signaling contributes to CCM pathogenesis.
Project description:Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are characterized by grossly dilated capillaries, associated with vascular leak and hemorrhage, and occur in sporadic or inherited (autosomal-dominant) forms with mutations in 1 of 3 gene loci (CCM 1, 2 or 3). We previously reported that the CCM1 protein (KRIT1) localizes to endothelial cell-cell junctions and loss of KRIT1 leads to junctional instability associated with activation of RhoA and its effector Rho kinase. Although Rho kinase inhibition has been proposed as potential therapy for CCM, there has been no demonstration of a therapeutic effect on CCM lesion genesis in vivo.Our recently generated a model of CCM1 disease (Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-)) was treated with the Rho kinase inhibitor fasudil (100 mg/kg/day administered in drinking water from weaning to 5 months of age), or placebo, and blindly assessed CCM lesion burden by systematic survey of animals' brains. For comparison, we also assessed therapeutic effect in previously described Ccm2(+/-)Trp53(-/-) mice treated with the same dose and duration of fasudil and placebo.Fasudil-treated Ccm1(+/-)Msh2(-/-) mice had a significantly decreased prevalence of CCM lesions compared with placebo controls. Lesions in treated animals were smaller and less likely associated with hemorrhage, inflammation, and endothelial proliferation and exhibited decreased expression of Rho kinase activation biomarkers. A therapeutic effect was also documented in Ccm2(+/-)Trp53(-/-) mice.This represents the first report of therapeutic benefit of pharmacological therapy in development and progression of CCMs and indicates that Rho kinase activation is a critical step in CCM lesion genesis and maturation.