Bidirectional imprinting of a single gene: GNAS1 encodes maternally, paternally, and biallelically derived proteins.
ABSTRACT: The GNAS1 gene encodes the alpha subunit of the guanine nucleotide-binding protein Gs, which couples signaling through peptide hormone receptors to cAMP generation. GNAS1 mutations underlie the hormone resistance syndrome pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP-Ia), so the maternal inheritance displayed by PHP-Ia has raised suspicions that GNAS1 is imprinted. Despite this suggestion, in most tissues Gsalpha is biallelically encoded. In contrast, the large G protein XLalphas, also encoded by GNAS1, is paternally derived. Because the inheritance of PHP-Ia predicts the existence of maternally, rather than paternally, expressed transcripts, we have investigated the allelic origin of other mRNAs derived from GNAS1. We find this gene to be remarkable in the complexity of its allele-specific regulation. Two upstream promoters, each associated with a large coding exon, lie only 11 kb apart, yet show opposite patterns of allele-specific methylation and monoallelic transcription. The more 5' of these exons encodes the neuroendocrine secretory protein NESP55, which is expressed exclusively from the maternal allele. The NESP55 exon is 11 kb 5' to the paternally expressed XLalphas exon. The transcripts from these two promoters both splice onto GNAS1 exon 2, yet share no coding sequences. Despite their structural unrelatedness, the encoded proteins, of opposite allelic origin, both have been implicated in regulated secretion in neuroendocrine tissues. Remarkably, maternally (NESP55), paternally (XLalphas), and biallelically (Gsalpha) derived proteins all are produced by different patterns of promoter use and alternative splicing of GNAS1, a gene showing simultaneous imprinting in both the paternal and maternal directions.
Project description:The GNAS1 gene encodes the alpha subunit of the G protein Gs, which couples receptor binding by several hormones to activation of adenylate cyclase. Null mutations of GNAS1 cause pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) type Ia, in which hormone resistance occurs in association with a characteristic osteodystrophy. The observation that PHP Ia almost always is inherited maternally has led to the suggestion that GNAS1 may be an imprinted gene. Here, we show that, although Gsalpha expression (directed by the promoter upstream of exon 1) is biallelic, GNAS1 is indeed imprinted in a promoter-specific fashion. We used parthenogenetic lymphocyte DNA to screen by restriction landmark genomic scanning for loci showing differential methylation between paternal and maternal alleles. This screen identified a region that was found to be methylated exclusively on a maternal allele and was located approximately 35 kb upstream of GNAS1 exon 1. This region contains three novel exons that are spliced into alternative GNAS1 mRNA species, including one exon that encodes the human homologue of the large G protein XLalphas. Transcription of these novel mRNAs is exclusively from the paternal allele in all tissues examined. The differential imprinting of separate protein products of GNAS1 therefore may contribute to the anomalous inheritance of PHP Ia.
Project description:GNAS encodes the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein as well as additional imprinted transcripts including the maternally expressed NESP55 and the paternally expressed XLalphas, antisense, and A/B transcripts. Most patients with pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ib (PHP-Ib) exhibit imprinting defects affecting the maternal GNAS allele, which are thought to reduce/abolish Gsalpha expression in renal proximal tubules and thereby cause resistance to PTH.Our objective was to define the genetic defect in a previously unreported family with autosomal dominant PHP-Ib.Analyses of serum and urine chemistries and of genomic DNA and lymphoblastoid-derived RNA were conducted at a tertiary hospital and research laboratory.Affected individuals presented with muscle weakness and/or paresthesia and showed hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, and elevated serum PTH. Obligate carriers were healthy and revealed no obvious abnormality in mineral ion homeostasis.A novel 4.2-kb microdeletion was discovered in the affected individuals and the obligate carriers, ablating two noncoding GNAS antisense exons while preserving the NESP55 exon. On maternal transmission, the deletion causes loss of all maternal GNAS imprints, partial gain of NESP55 methylation, and PTH resistance. Paternal transmission of the mutation leads to epigenetic alterations in cis, including a partial loss of NESP55 methylation and a partial gain of A/B methylation.The identified deletion points to a unique cis-acting element located telomeric of the NESP55 exon that is critical for imprinting both GNAS alleles. These findings provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying PHP and GNAS imprinting.
Project description:Heterozygous inactivating mutations in the GNAS1 exons (20q13.3) that encode the alpha-subunit of the stimulatory G protein (Gsalpha) are found in patients with pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP-Ia) and in patients with pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism (pPHP). However, because of paternal imprinting, resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH)-and, sometimes, to other hormones that require Gsalpha signaling-develops only if the defect is inherited from a female carrier of the disease gene. An identical mode of inheritance is observed in kindreds with pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ib (PHP-Ib), which is most likely caused by mutations in regulatory regions of the maternal GNAS1 gene that are predicted to interfere with the parent-specific methylation of this gene. We report a patient with PTH-resistant hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia but without evidence for Albright hereditary osteodystrophy who has paternal uniparental isodisomy of chromosome 20q and lacks the maternal-specific methylation pattern within GNAS1. Since studies in the patient's fibroblasts did not reveal any evidence of impaired Gsalpha protein or activity, it appears that the loss of the maternal GNAS1 gene and the resulting epigenetic changes alone can lead to PTH resistance in the proximal renal tubules and thus lead to impaired regulation of mineral-ion homeostasis.
Project description:Albright hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO) is caused by heterozygous deactivating GNAS1 mutations. There is a parent-of-origin effect. Maternally derived mutations are usually associated with resistance to parathyroid hormone termed "pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia." Paternally derived mutations are associated with AHO but usually normal hormone responsiveness, known as "pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism." These observations can be explained by tissue-specific GNAS1 imprinting. Regulation of the genomic region that encompasses GNAS1 is complex. At least three upstream exons that splice to exon 2 of GNAS1 and that are imprinted have been reported. NESP55 is exclusively maternally expressed, whereas exon 1A and XL alphas are exclusively paternally expressed. We set out to identify the parental origin of GNAS1 mutations in patients with AHO by searching for their mutation in the overlapping transcripts. This information would be of value in patients with sporadic disease, for predicting their endocrine phenotype and planning follow-up. In doing so, we identified mutations that resulted in nonsense-mediated decay of the mutant Gs alpha transcript but that were detectable in NESP55 messenger RNA (mRNA), probably because they lie within its 3' untranslated region. Analysis of the NESP55 transcripts revealed the creation of a novel splice site in one patient and an unusual intronic mutation that caused retention of the intron in a further patient, neither of which could be detected by analysis of the Gs alpha complementary DNA. This cluster of overlapping transcripts represents a useful model system in which to analyze the effects that mutant sequence has on mRNA-in particular, splicing-and the mechanisms of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay.
Project description:Pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) indicates a group of heterogeneous disorders whose common feature is represented by impaired signaling of hormones that activate Gsalpha, encoded by the imprinted GNAS gene. PHP-Ib patients have isolated Parathormone (PTH) resistance and GNAS epigenetic defects while PHP-Ia cases present with hormone resistance and characteristic features jointly termed as Albright's Hereditary Osteodystrophy (AHO) due to maternally inherited GNAS mutations or similar epigenetic defects as found for PHP-Ib. Pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (PPHP) patients with an AHO phenotype and no hormone resistance and progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) cases have inactivating paternally inherited GNAS mutations.We here describe 17 subjects with an AHO-like phenotype that could be compatible with having PPHP but none of them carried Gsalpha mutations. Functional platelet studies however showed an obvious Gs hypofunction in the 13 patients that were available for testing. Methylation for the three differentially methylated GNAS regions was quantified via the Sequenom EpiTYPER. Patients showed significant hypermethylation of the XL amplicon compared to controls (36 ± 3 vs. 29 ± 3%; p<0.001); a pattern that is reversed to XL hypomethylation found in PHPIb. Interestingly, XL hypermethylation was associated with reduced XLalphaS protein levels in the patients' platelets. Methylation for NESP and ExonA/B was significantly different for some but not all patients, though most patients have site-specific CpG methylation abnormalities in these amplicons. Since some AHO features are present in other imprinting disorders, the methylation of IGF2, H19, SNURF and GRB10 was quantified. Surprisingly, significant IGF2 hypermethylation (20 ± 10 vs. 14 ± 7%; p<0.05) and SNURF hypomethylation (23 ± 6 vs. 32 6%; p<0.001) was found in patients vs. controls, while H19 and GRB10 methylation was normal.In conclusion, this is the first report of methylation defects including GNAS in patients with an AHO-like phenotype without endocrinological abnormalities. Additional studies are still needed to correlate the methylation defect with the clinical phenotype.
Project description:Pseudohypoparathyroidism (PHP) defines a rare group of disorders whose common feature is resistance to the parathyroid hormone. Patients with PHP-Ia display additional hormone resistance, Albright hereditary osteodystrophy (AHO) and reduced Gsalpha activity in easily accessible cells. This form of PHP is associated with heterozygous inactivating mutations in Gsalpha-coding exons of GNAS, an imprinted gene locus on chromosome 20q13.3. Patients with PHP-Ib typically have isolated parathyroid hormone resistance, lack AHO features and demonstrate normal erythrocyte Gsalpha activity. Instead of coding Gsalpha mutations, patients with PHP-Ib display imprinting defects of GNAS, caused, at least in some cases, by genetic mutations within or nearby this gene.Two unrelated PHP families, each of which includes at least one patient with a Gsalpha coding mutation and another with GNAS loss of imprinting, are reported here.One of the patients with GNAS imprinting defects has paternal uniparental isodisomy of chromosome 20q, explaining the observed imprinting abnormalities. The identified Gsalpha coding mutations include a tetranucleotide deletion in exon 7, which is frequently found in PHP-Ia, and a novel single nucleotide change at the acceptor splice junction of intron 11.These molecular data reveal an interesting mixture, in the same family, of both genetic and epigenetic mutations of the same gene.
Project description:Although the molecular basis of pseudohypoparathyroidism type 1b (PHP type 1b) remains unknown, a defect in imprinting at the GNAS1 locus has been suggested by the consistent finding of paternal-specific patterns of DNA methylation on maternally inherited GNAS1 alleles. To characterize the relationship between the genetic and epigenetic defects in PHP type 1b, we analyzed allelic expression and methylation of CpG islands within exon 1A of GNAS1 in patients with sporadic PHP type 1b and in affected and unaffected individuals from five multigenerational kindreds with PHP type 1b. All subjects with resistance to parathyroid hormone (PTH) showed loss of methylation of the exon 1A region on the maternal GNAS1 allele and/or biallelic expression of exon 1A-containing transcripts, consistent with an imprinting defect. Paternal transmission of the disease-associated haplotype was associated with normal patterns of GNAS1 methylation and PTH responsiveness. We found that affected and unaffected siblings in one kindred had inherited the same GNAS1 allele from their affected mother, evidence for dissociation between the genetic and epigenetic GNAS1 defects. The absence of the epigenetic defect in subjects who have inherited a defective maternal GNAS1 allele suggests that the genetic mutation may be incompletely penetrant, and it indicates that the epigenetic defect, not the genetic mutation, leads to renal resistance to PTH in PHP type 1b.
Project description:Because of the use of alternate exons 1, mammals express two distinct forms of Gsalpha-subunits: the canonical 394-aa Gsalpha present in all tissues and a 700+-aa extra-long alphas (XLalphas) expressed in a more restricted manner. Both subunits transduce receptor signals into stimulation of adenylyl cyclase. The XL exon encodes the XL domain of XLalphas and, in a parallel ORF, a protein called Alex. Alex interacts with the XL domain of XLalphas and inhibits its adenylyl cyclase-stimulating function. In mice, rats, and humans, the XL exon is thought to contribute 422.3, 367.3, and 551.3 codons and to encode Alex proteins of 390, 357, and 561 aa, respectively. We report here that the XL exon is longer than presumed and contributes in mice, rats, and humans, respectively, an additional 364, 430, and 139 codons to XLalphas. We called the N-terminally extended XLalphas extra-extra-long Gsalpha, or XXLalphas. Alex is likewise longer. Its ORF also remains open in the 5' direction for approximately 2,000 nt, giving rise to Alex-extended, or AlexX. RT-PCR of murine total brain RNA shows that the entire XXL domain is encoded in a single exon. Furthermore, we discovered two truncated forms of XXLalphas, XXLb1 and XXLb2, in which, because of alternative splicing, the Gsalpha domain is replaced by different sequences. XXLb proteins are likely to be found as stable dimers with AlexX. The N-terminally longer proteins may play regulatory roles.
Project description:Gnas is an imprinted gene with multiple gene products resulting from alternative splicing of different first exons onto a common exon 2. These products include stimulatory G protein alpha-subunit (G(s)alpha), the G protein required for receptor-stimulated cAMP production; extralarge G(s)alpha (XLalphas), a paternally expressed G(s)alpha isoform; and neuroendocrine-specific protein (NESP55), a maternally expressed chromogranin-like protein. G(s)alpha undergoes tissue-specific imprinting, being expressed primarily from the maternal allele in certain tissues. Heterozygous mutation of exon 2 on the maternal (E2m-/+) or paternal (E2+/p-) allele results in opposite effects on energy metabolism. E2m-/+ mice are obese and hypometabolic, whereas E2+/p- mice are lean and hypermetabolic. We now studied the effects of G(s)alpha deficiency without disrupting other Gnas gene products by deleting G(s)alpha exon 1 (E1). E1+/p- mice lacked the E2+/p- phenotype and developed obesity and insulin resistance. The lean, hypermetabolic, and insulin-sensitive E2+/p- phenotype appears to result from XLalphas deficiency, whereas loss of paternal-specific G(s)alpha expression in E1+/p- mice leads to an opposite metabolic phenotype. Thus, alternative Gnas gene products have opposing effects on glucose and lipid metabolism. Like E2m-/+ mice, E1m-/+ mice had s.c. edema at birth, presumably due to loss of maternal G(s)alpha expression. However, E1m-/+ mice differed from E2m-/+ mice in other respects, raising the possibility for the presence of other maternal-specific gene products. E1m-/+ mice had more severe obesity and insulin resistance and lower metabolic rate relative to E1+/p- mice. Differences between E1m-/+ and E1+/p- mice presumably result from differential effects on G(s)alpha expression in tissues where G(s)alpha is normally imprinted.
Project description:Heterozygous GNAS inactivating mutations cause pseudohypoparathyroidism type Ia (PHP-Ia) when maternally inherited and pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism (PPHP)/progressive osseous heteroplasia (POH) when paternally inherited. Recent studies have suggested that mutations on the paternal, but not the maternal, GNAS allele could be associated with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and thus small size for gestational age.The aim of the study was to confirm and expand these findings in a large number of patients presenting with either PHP-Ia or PPHP/POH.We collected birth parameters (ie, gestational age, weight, length, and head circumference) of patients with either PHP-Ia (n = 29) or PPHP/POH (n = 26) with verified GNAS mutations. The parental allele carrying the mutation was assessed by investigating the parents or, when a de novo mutation was identified, through informative intragenic polymorphisms.Heterozygous GNAS mutations on either parental allele were associated with IUGR. However, when these mutations are located on the paternal GNAS allele, IUGR was considerably more pronounced than with mutations on the maternal allele. Moreover, birth weights were lower with paternal GNAS mutations affecting exons 2-13 than with exon 1/intron 1 mutations.These data indicate that a paternally derived GNAS transcript, possibly XL?s, is required for normal fetal growth and development and that this transcript affects placental functions. Thus, similar to other imprinted genes, GNAS controls growth and/or fetal development.