Altered transmission of HOX and apoptotic SNPs identify a potential common pathway for clubfoot.
ABSTRACT: Clubfoot is a common birth defect that affects 135,000 newborns each year worldwide. It is characterized by equinus deformity of one or both feet and hypoplastic calf muscles. Despite numerous study approaches, the cause(s) remains poorly understood although a multifactorial etiology is generally accepted. We considered the HOXA and HOXD gene clusters and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3) as candidate genes because of their important roles in limb and muscle morphogenesis. Twenty SNPs from the HOXA and HOXD gene clusters and 12 SNPs in IGFBP3 were genotyped in a sample composed of non-Hispanic white and Hispanic multiplex and simplex families (discovery samples) and a second sample of non-Hispanic white simplex trios (validation sample). Four SNPs (rs6668, rs2428431, rs3801776, and rs3779456) in the HOXA cluster demonstrated altered transmission in the discovery sample, but only rs3801776, located in the HOXA basal promoter region, showed altered transmission in both the discovery and validation samples (P = 0.004 and 0.028). Interestingly, HOXA9 is expressed in muscle during development. An SNP in IGFBP3, rs13223993, also showed altered transmission (P = 0.003) in the discovery sample. Gene-gene interactions were identified between variants in HOXA, HOXD, and IGFBP3 and with previously associated SNPs in mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic genes. The most significant interactions were found between CASP3 SNPS and variants in HOXA, HOXD, and IGFBP3. These results suggest a biologic model for clubfoot in which perturbation of HOX and apoptotic genes together affect muscle and limb development, which may cause the downstream failure of limb rotation into a plantar grade position.
Project description:Deletions of the HOXC gene cluster result in variable phenotypes in mice, but have been rarely described in humans.To report chromosome 12q13.13 microdeletions ranging from 13 to 175 kb and involving the 5' HOXC genes in four families, segregating congenital lower limb malformations, including clubfoot, vertical talus and hip dysplasia.Probands (N=253) with clubfoot or vertical talus were screened for point mutations and copy number variants using multiplexed direct genomic selection, a pooled BAC targeted capture approach. SNP genotyping included 1178 probands with clubfoot or vertical talus and 1775 controls.The microdeletions share a minimal non-coding region overlap upstream of HOXC13, with variable phenotypes depending upon HOXC13, HOXC12 or the HOTAIR lncRNA inclusion. SNP analysis revealed HOXC11 p.Ser191Phe segregating with clubfoot in a small family and enrichment of HOXC12 p.Asn176Lys in patients with clubfoot or vertical talus (rs189468720, p=0.0057, OR=3.8). Defects in limb morphogenesis include shortened and overlapping toes, as well as peroneus muscle hypoplasia. Finally, HOXC and HOXD gene expression is reduced in fibroblasts from a patient with a 5' HOXC deletion, consistent with previous studies demonstrating that dosage of lncRNAs alters expression of HOXD genes in trans.Because HOXD10 has been implicated in the aetiology of congenital vertical talus, variation in its expression may contribute to the lower limb phenotypes occurring with 5' HOXC microdeletions. Identification of 5' HOXC microdeletions highlights the importance of transcriptional regulators in the aetiology of severe lower limb malformations and will improve their diagnosis and management.
Project description:Mutation of the functionally redundant Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 genes gives absent or rudimentary kidneys resulting from a dramatic reduction of the growth and branching of the ureteric bud. To understand better the molecular mechanisms of Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 function in kidney development, it is necessary to identify the downstream target genes regulated by their encoded transcription factors. To this end, we conducted a screen for Hoxa 11-responsive genes in two kidney cell lines. HEK293 cells, which usually do not express Hoxa 11, were modified to allow inducible Hoxa 11 expression. The mK10 cells, derived specifically for this study from Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 double-mutant mice, were also modified to give cell populations with and without Hoxa 11 expression. Differential display, Gene Discovery Arrays, and Affymetrix genechip probe arrays were used to screen for genes up- or down-regulated by Hoxa 11. Nine genes, PDGF A, Cathepsin L, annexin A1, Mm.112139, Est2 repressor factor, NrCAM, ZNF192, integrin-associated protein, and GCM1, showed reproducible 3-fold or smaller changes in gene expression in response to Hoxa 11. One gene, the Integrin alpha8, was up-regulated approximately 20-fold after Hoxa 11 expression. The Integrin alpha8 gene is expressed together with Hoxa 11 in metanephric mesenchyme cells, and mutation of Integrin alpha8 gives a bud-branching morphogenesis defect very similar to that observed in Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 mutant mice. In situ hybridizations showed a dramatic regional reduction in Integrin alpha8 expression in the developing kidneys of Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 mutant mice. This work suggests that the Integrin alpha8 gene may be a major effector of Hoxa 11/Hoxd 11 function in the developing kidney.
Project description:Isolated clubfoot is a relatively common birth defect that affects approximately 4,000 newborns in the US each year. Calf muscles in the affected leg(s) are underdeveloped and remain small even after corrective treatment. This observation suggests that variants in genes that influence muscle development are priority candidate risk factors for clubfoot. This contention is further supported by the discovery that mutations in genes that encode components of the muscle contractile complex (MYH3, TPM2, TNNT3, TNNI2, and MYH8) cause congenital contractures, including clubfoot, in distal arthrogryposis (DA) syndromes. Interrogation of 15 genes encoding proteins that control myofiber contractility in a cohort of both non-Hispanic White (NHW) and Hispanic families, identified positive associations (P?<?0.05) with SNPs in 12 genes; only 1 was identified in a family-based validation dataset. Six SNPs in TNNC2 deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in mothers in our NHW discovery dataset. Relative risk and likelihood ratio tests showed evidence for a maternal genotypic effect with TNNC2/rs383112 and an inherited/child genotypic effect with two SNPs, TNNC2/rs4629 and rs383112. Associations with multiple SNPs in TPM1 were identified in the NHW discovery (rs4075583, P?=?0.01), family-based validation (rs1972041, P?=?0.000074), and case-control validation (rs12148828, P?=?0.04) datasets. Gene interactions were identified between multiple muscle contraction genes with many of the interactions involving at least one potential regulatory SNP. Collectively, our results suggest that variation in genes that encode contractile proteins of skeletal myofibers may play a role in the etiology of clubfoot.
Project description:Vertebrates have four clusters of Hox genes (HoxA, HoxB, HoxC, and HoxD). A variety of expression and mutation studies indicate that posterior members of the HoxA and HoxD clusters play an important role in vertebrate limb development. In humans, mutations in HOXD13 have been associated with type II syndactyly or synpolydactyly, and, in HOXA13, with hand-foot-genital syndrome. We have investigated two unrelated children with a previously unreported pattern of severe developmental defects on the anterior-posterior (a-p) limb axis and in the genitalia, consisting of a single bone in the zeugopod, either monodactyly or oligodactyly in the autopod of all four limbs, and penoscrotal hypoplasia. Both children are heterozygous for a deletion that eliminates at least eight (HOXD3-HOXD13) of the nine genes in the HOXD cluster. We propose that the patients' phenotypes are due in part to haploinsufficiency for HOXD-cluster genes. This hypothesis is supported by the expression patterns of these genes in early vertebrate embryos. However, the involvement of additional genes in the region could explain the discordance, in severity, between these human phenotypes and the milder, non-polarized phenotypes present in mice hemizygous for HoxD cluster genes. These cases represent the first reported examples of deficiencies for an entire Hox cluster in vertebrates and suggest that the diploid dose of human HOXD genes is crucial for normal growth and patterning of the limbs along the anterior-posterior axis.
Project description:Isolated clubfoot is a common orthopedic birth defect that affects approximately 135,000 newborns worldwide. It is characterized by ankle equinus, hindfoot varus, and forefoot adductus. Although numerous studies suggest a multifactorial etiology, the specific genetic and environmental components have yet to be delineated. Maternal smoking during pregnancy is the only common environmental factor consistently shown to increase the risk for clubfoot. Moreover, a positive family history of clubfoot, in conjunction with maternal smoking, increases the risk 20-fold. These findings suggest that genetic variation in smoking metabolism (xenobiotic) genes may increase susceptibility to clubfoot. Based on this reasoning, we interrogated eight candidate genes from the xenobiotic metabolism.Twenty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms and two null alleles in these genes (CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1, CYP2A6, EPHX1, NAT2, GSTM1, and GSTT1) were genotyped in a dataset composed of non-Hispanic white and Hispanic multiplex and simplex families.Only rs1048943/CYP1A1 had significantly altered transmission in the aggregate and multiplex non-Hispanic white datasets (p = 0.003 and p = 0.009, respectively). Perturbation of CYP1A1 can cause an increase in harmful, adduct-forming metabolic intermediates. A significant interaction between EPHX1 and NAT2 was also found (p = 0.007). Importantly, for CYP1A2, significant maternal (p = 0.03; relative risk [RR] = 1.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.44) and fetal (p = 0.01; RR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.13-1.54) genotypic effects were identified, suggesting that both maternal and fetal genotypes can negatively impact limb development. No association was found between maternal smoking status and variation in xenobiotic metabolism genes.Together, these results suggest that xenobiotic metabolism genes are unlikely to play a major role in clubfoot; however, perturbation of this pathway may still play a contributory role.
Project description:The evolution of tetrapod limbs from fish fins enabled the conquest of land by vertebrates and thus represents a key step in evolution. Despite the use of comparative gene expression analyses, critical aspects of this transformation remain controversial, in particular the origin of digits. Hoxa and Hoxd genes are essential for the specification of the different limb segments and their functional abrogation leads to large truncations of the appendages. Here we show that the selective transcription of mouse Hoxa genes in proximal and distal limbs is related to a bimodal higher order chromatin structure, similar to that reported for Hoxd genes, thus revealing a generic regulatory strategy implemented by both gene clusters during limb development. We found the same bimodal chromatin architecture in fish embryos, indicating that the regulatory mechanism used to pattern tetrapod limbs may predate the divergence between fish and tetrapods. However, when assessed in mice, both fish regulatory landscapes triggered transcription in proximal rather than distal limb territories, supporting an evolutionary scenario whereby digits arose as tetrapod novelties through genetic retrofitting of preexisting regulatory landscapes. We discuss the possibility to consider regulatory circuitries, rather than expression patterns, as essential parameters to define evolutionary synapomorphies.
Project description:Reduced numbers of carpal and tarsal bones (wrist and ankle joints) are extensively observed in the clade of Cetacea and Ruminantia (Cetruminantia). Homebox D11 (Hoxd11) is one of the important genes required for limb development in mammals. Mutations in Hoxd11 can lead to defects in particular bones of limbs, including carpus and tarsus. To test whether evolutionary changes in Hoxd11 underlie the loss of these bones in Cetruminantia, we sequenced and analyzed Hoxd11 coding sequences and compared them with other 5' HoxA and HoxD genes in a taxonomic coverage of Cetacea, Ruminantia and other mammalian relatives. Statistical tests on the Hoxd11 sequences found an accelerated evolution in the common ancestor of cetaceans and ruminants, which coincided with the reduction of carpal and tarsal bones in this clade. Five amino acid substitutions (G222S, G227A, G229S, A240T and G261V) and one amino acid deletion (G254Del) occurred in this lineage. In contrast, other 5' HoxA and HoxD genes do not show this same evolutionary pattern, but instead display a highly conserved pattern of evolution in this lineage. Accelerated evolution of Hoxd11, but not other 5' HoxA and HoxD genes, is probably related to the reduction of the carpal and tarsal bones in Cetruminantia. Moreover, we found two amino acid substitutions (G110S and D223N) in Hoxd11 that are unique to the lineage of Cetacea, which coincided with hindlimb loss in the common ancestor of cetaceans. Our results give molecular evidence of Hoxd11 adaptive evolution in cetaceans and ruminants, which could be correlated with limb morphological adaptation.
Project description:HoxA genes exhibit central roles during development and causal mutations have been found in several human syndromes including limb malformation. Despite their importance, information on how these genes are regulated is lacking. Here, we report on the first identification of bona fide transcriptional enhancers controlling HoxA genes in developing limbs and show that these enhancers are grouped into distinct topological domains at the sub-megabase scale (sub-TADs). We provide evidence that target genes and regulatory elements physically interact with each other through contacts between sub-TADs rather than by the formation of discreet "DNA loops". Interestingly, there is no obvious relationship between the functional domains of the enhancers within the limb and how they are partitioned among the topological domains, suggesting that sub-TAD formation does not rely on enhancer activity. Moreover, we show that suppressing the transcriptional activity of enhancers does not abrogate their contacts with HoxA genes. Based on these data, we propose a model whereby chromatin architecture defines the functional landscapes of enhancers. From an evolutionary standpoint, our data points to the convergent evolution of HoxA and HoxD regulation in the fin-to-limb transition, one of the major morphological innovations in vertebrates.
Project description:Murine Hoxd-3 (Hox 4.1) genomic DNA and cDNA and Hoxa-3 (Hox 1.5) cDNA were cloned and sequenced. The homeodomains of Hoxd-3 and Hoxa-3 and regions before and after the homeodomain are highly conserved. Both Hoxa-3 and Hoxa-3 proteins have a proline-rich region that contains consensus amino acid sequences for binding to Src homology 3 domains of some signal transduction proteins. Northern blot analysis of RNA from 8- to 11-day-old mouse embryos revealed a 4.3-kb species of Hoxd-3 RNA, whereas a less abundant 3.0-kb species of Hoxd-3 RNA was found in RNA from 9- to 11-day-old embryos. Two species of Hoxd-3 poly(A)+ RNA, 4.3 and 6.0 kb in length, were found in poly(A)+ RNA from adult mouse kidney, but not in RNA from other adult tissues tested. Hoxd-3 mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization in 12-, 14-, and 17-day-old mouse embryos in the posterior half of the myelencephalon, spinal cord, dorsal root ganglia, first cervical vertebra, thyroid gland, kidney tubules, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
Project description:There is no obvious morphological counterpart of the autopod (wrist/ankle and digits) in living fishes. Comparative molecular data may provide insight into understanding both the homology of elements and the evolutionary developmental mechanisms behind the fin to limb transition. In mouse limbs the autopod is built by a "late" phase of Hoxd and Hoxa gene expression, orchestrated by a set of enhancers located at the 5' end of each cluster. Despite a detailed mechanistic understanding of mouse limb development, interpretation of Hox expression patterns and their regulation in fish has spawned multiple hypotheses as to the origin and function of "autopod" enhancers throughout evolution. Using phylogenetic footprinting, epigenetic profiling, and transgenic reporters, we have identified and functionally characterized hoxD and hoxA enhancers in the genomes of zebrafish and the spotted gar, Lepisosteus oculatus, a fish lacking the whole genome duplication of teleosts. Gar and zebrafish "autopod" enhancers drive expression in the distal portion of developing zebrafish pectoral fins, and respond to the same functional cues as their murine orthologs. Moreover, gar enhancers drive reporter gene expression in both the wrist and digits of mouse embryos in patterns that are nearly indistinguishable from their murine counterparts. These functional genomic data support the hypothesis that the distal radials of bony fish are homologous to the wrist and/or digits of tetrapods.