Prediction and assessment of splicing alterations: implications for clinical testing.
ABSTRACT: Sequence variants that may result in splicing alterations are a particular class of inherited variants for which consequences can be more readily assessed, using a combination of bioinformatic prediction methods and in vitro assays. There is also a general agreement that a variant would invariably be considered pathogenic on the basis of convincing evidence that it results in transcript(s) carrying a premature stop codon or an in-frame deletion disrupting known functional domain(s). This commentary discusses current practices used to assess the clinical significance of this class of variants, provides suggestions to improve assessment, and highlights the issues involved in routine assessment of potential splicing aberrations. We conclude that classification of sequence variants that may alter splicing is greatly enhanced by supporting in vitro analysis. Additional studies that assess large numbers of variants for induction of splicing aberrations and exon skipping are needed to define the contribution of splicing/exon skipping to cancer and disease. These studies will also provide the impetus for development of algorithms that better predict splicing patterns. To facilitate variant classification and development of more specific bioinformatic tools, we call for the deposition of all laboratory data from splicing analyses into national and international databases.
Project description:Reliable methods for predicting functional consequences of variants in disease genes would be beneficial in the clinical setting. This study was undertaken to predict, and confirm in vitro, splicing aberrations associated with mismatch repair (MMR) variants identified in familial colon cancer patients. Six programs were used to predict the effect of 13 MLH1 and 6 MSH2 gene variants on pre-mRNA splicing. mRNA from cycloheximide-treated lymphoblastoid cell lines of variant carriers was screened for splicing aberrations. Tumors of variant carriers were tested for microsatellite instability and MMR protein expression. Variant segregation in families was assessed using Bayes factor causality analysis. Amino acid alterations were examined for evolutionary conservation and physicochemical properties. Splicing aberrations were detected for 10 variants, including a frameshift as a minor cDNA product, and altered ratio of known alternate splice products. Loss of splice sites was well predicted by splice-site prediction programs SpliceSiteFinder (90%) and NNSPLICE (90%), but consequence of splice site loss was less accurately predicted. No aberrations correlated with ESE predictions for the nine exonic variants studied. Seven of eight missense variants had normal splicing (88%), but only one was a substitution considered neutral from evolutionary/physicochemical analysis. Combined with information from tumor and segregation analysis, and literature review, 16 of 19 variants were considered clinically relevant. Bioinformatic tools for prediction of splicing aberrations need improvement before use without supporting studies to assess variant pathogenicity. Classification of mismatch repair gene variants is assisted by a comprehensive approach that includes in vitro, tumor pathology, clinical, and evolutionary conservation data.
Project description:Missense substitutions in high-risk cancer susceptibility genes create clinical uncertainty in the genetic counseling process. Multifactorial likelihood classification approaches and in vitro assays are useful for the classification of exonic sequence variants in BRCA1 and BRCA2, but these currently rely on the assumption that changes in protein function are the major biological mechanism of pathogenicity. This study investigates the potentially pathogenic role of aberrant splicing for exonic variants predicted to encode missense substitutions using patient-derived RNA. No splicing aberrations were identified for BRCA1c.5054C>T and BRCA2c.7336A>G, c.8839G>A, and c.9154C>T. However, RT-PCR analysis identified a major splicing aberration for BRCA1c.4868C>G(p.Ala1623Gly), a variant encoding a missense substitution considered likely to be neutral. Splicing aberrations were also observed for BRCA2c.7988A>T(p.Glu2663Val) and c.8168A>G(p.Asp2723Gly), but both variant and wildtype alleles were shown to be present in full-length mRNA transcripts, suggesting that variant protein may be translated. BRCA2 protein function assays indicated that BRCA2p.Glu2663Val, p.Asp2723Gly and p.Arg3052Trp missense proteins have abrogated function consistent with pathogenicity. Multifactorial likelihood analysis provided evidence for pathogenicity for BRCA1 c.5054C>T(p.Thr1685Ile) and BRCA2c.7988A>T(p.Glu2663Val), c.8168A>G(p.Asp2723Gly) and c.9154C>T(p.Arg3052Trp), supporting experimentally derived evidence. These findings highlight the need for improved bioinformatic prediction of splicing aberrations and to refine multifactorial likelihood models used to assess clinical significance.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: The underlying pathogenic mechanism of a large fraction of DNA variants of disease-causing genes is the disruption of the splicing process. We aimed to investigate the effect on splicing of the BRCA2 variants c.8488-1G > A (exon 20) and c.9026_9030del (exon 23), as well as 41 BRCA2 variants reported in the Breast Cancer Information Core (BIC) mutation database. METHODS: DNA variants were analyzed with the splicing prediction programs NNSPLICE and Human Splicing Finder. Functional analyses of candidate variants were performed by lymphocyte RT-PCR and/or hybrid minigene assays. Forty-one BIC variants of exons 19, 20, 23 and 24 were bioinformatically selected and generated by PCR-mutagenesis of the wild type minigenes. RESULTS: Lymphocyte RT-PCR of c.8488-1G > A showed intron 19 retention and a 12-nucleotide deletion in exon 20, whereas c.9026_9030del did not show any splicing anomaly. Minigene analysis of c.8488-1G > A displayed the aforementioned aberrant isoforms but also exon 20 skipping. We further evaluated the splicing outcomes of 41 variants of four BRCA2 exons by minigene analysis. Eighteen variants presented splicing aberrations. Most variants (78.9%) disrupted the natural splice sites, whereas four altered putative enhancers/silencers and had a weak effect. Fluorescent RT-PCR of minigenes accurately detected 14 RNA isoforms generated by cryptic site usage, exon skipping and intron retention events. Fourteen variants showed total splicing disruptions and were predicted to truncate or eliminate essential domains of BRCA2. CONCLUSIONS: A relevant proportion of BRCA2 variants are correlated with splicing disruptions, indicating that RNA analysis is a valuable tool to assess the pathogenicity of a particular DNA change. The minigene system is a straightforward and robust approach to detect variants with an impact on splicing and contributes to a better knowledge of this gene expression step.
Project description:Splicing-affecting mutations can disrupt gene function by altering the transcript assembly. To ascertain splicing dysregulation principles, we modified a minigene assay for the parallel high-throughput evaluation of different mutations by next-generation sequencing. In our model system, all exonic and six intronic positions of the SMN1 gene's exon 7 were mutated to all possible nucleotide variants, which amounted to 180 unique single-nucleotide mutants and 470 double mutants. The mutations resulted in a wide range of splicing aberrations. Exonic splicing-affecting mutations resulted either in substantial exon skipping, supposedly driven by predicted exonic splicing silencer or cryptic donor splice site (5'ss) and de novo 5'ss strengthening and use. On the other hand, a single disruption of exonic splicing enhancer was not sufficient to cause major exon skipping, suggesting these elements can be substituted during exon recognition. While disrupting the acceptor splice site led only to exon skipping, some 5'ss mutations potentiated the use of three different cryptic 5'ss. Generally, single mutations supporting cryptic 5'ss use displayed better pre-mRNA/U1 snRNA duplex stability and increased splicing regulatory element strength across the original 5'ss. Analyzing double mutants supported the predominating splicing regulatory elements' effect, but U1 snRNA binding could contribute to the global balance of splicing isoforms. Based on these findings, we suggest that creating a new splicing enhancer across the mutated 5'ss can be one of the main factors driving cryptic 5'ss use.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Coffin-Siris syndrome is an extremely rare syndrome associated with developmental and congenital anomalies. It is caused by heterozygous pathogenic variants of ARID1A, ARID1B, SMARCA4, SMARCB1, SMARCE1, and SOX11. METHODS:This case study presents the whole exome sequencing of a patient with characteristic clinical features of Coffin-Siris syndrome. Analysis included Sanger sequencing of complementary DNA and bioinformatic analysis of the variant. RESULTS:Analysis of cDNA Sanger sequencing data revealed that the donor splice site variant led to skipping of exon 19. Further, bioinformatic analysis predicted abnormal splicing in a translational frameshift of 11 amino acids and the creation of a premature termination codon. Results found a novel de novo splice site variant c.5025+2T>C in the ARID1B and truncated 1 633 amino acid protein NP_065783.3:p. (Thr1633Valfs*11). CONCLUSION:Truncated ARID1B resulted in loss of the BAF250 domain, which is part of SWI/SNF-like ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex. The severe clinical manifestation presented by the proband was attributed to the disappearance of the BAF250 domain in the ARID1B protein. Our finding provides strong evidence that this pathogenic variant of exon 19 caused a frameshift mutation in the ARID1B at the terminal exon, resulting in the expression of a severe phenotype of CSS.
Project description:Background: Multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by a wide range of clinical features, including muscle weakness, hypoglycemia, metabolic acidosis, and multisystem dysfunctions. Loss-of-function mutations in the electron transfer flavoprotein dehydrogenase (ETFDH) gene are associated with MADD. Disease-causing synonymous variants in the ETFDH gene have not been reported so far. Methods: We reported the clinical course of a Chinese girl who was diagnosed with late-onset MADD by the whole exome sequencing. The effects of variants on mRNA splicing were analyzed through transcript analysis in vivo and minigene splice assay in vitro. Results: The 6-month-old girl initially showed muscle weakness, muscular hypotonia, mild myogenic damage, and fatty liver. The blood and urine metabolic screening by tandem mass spectrometry suggested MADD. Molecular analysis of ETFDH gene revealed two novel heterozygous variants, a frameshift mutation c.1812delG (p.V605Yfs*34) in exon 13 and a synonymous variant c.579A>G (p.E193E) in exon 5. The transcript analysis in vivo exhibited that the synonymous variant c.579A>G caused exon 5 skipping. The minigene splice assay in vitro confirmed the alteration of ETFDH mRNA splicing which could lead to the production of a truncated protein. Supplementation of riboflavin, carnitine and low-fat diet improved the clinical symptoms. Conclusion: We firstly report a rare case of MADD with a pathogenic synonymous variant in the ETFDH gene which highlights the importance and necessity of bioinformatic analysis and functional testing for synonymous variants when searching for causative gene mutations. The results expand the spectrum of pathogenic variants in MADD.
Project description:Clinical management of breast cancer families is complicated by identification of BRCA1 and BRCA2 sequence alterations of unknown significance. Molecular assays evaluating the effect of intronic variants on native splicing can help determine their clinical relevance. Twenty-six intronic BRCA1/2 variants ranging from the consensus dinucleotides in the splice acceptor or donor to 53 nucleotides into the intron were identified in multiple-case families. The effect of the variants on splicing was assessed using HSF matrices, MaxEntScan and NNsplice, followed by analysis of mRNA from lymphoblastoid cell lines. A total of 12 variants were associated with splicing aberrations predicted to result in production of truncated proteins, including a variant located 12 nucleotides into the intron. The posterior probability of pathogenicity was estimated using a multifactorial likelihood approach, and provided a pathogenic or likely pathogenic classification for seven of the 12 spliceogenic variants. The apparent disparity between experimental evidence and the multifactorial predictions is likely due to several factors, including a paucity of likelihood information and a nonspecific prior probability applied for intronic variants outside the consensus dinucleotides. Development of prior probabilities of pathogenicity incorporating bioinformatic prediction of splicing aberrations should improve identification of functionally relevant variants and enhance multifactorial likelihood analysis of intronic variants.
Project description:Background:We report the first case of a missense variant in the APC gene that interrupts splicing by creating a new cryptic acceptor site. The variant, c.289G>A, p.(Gly97Arg), is located in exon 3, and qualitative and semi-quantitative RNA splicing analysis reveal that the variant results in skipping of the last 70 nucleotides of the exon, which leads to the introduction of a frameshift and a premature stop codon. Case presentation:The variant was detected in two, apparently unrelated, Danish families with an accumulation of colorectal cancers, colonic adenomas and other cancers. The families both have an attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis phenotype, which is consistent with the association of pathogenic variants in the 5' end of the gene.One variant-carrier also had Caroli Disease and a Caroli Disease associated hepatic mucinous cystadenocarcinoma. This is the first description of a person with both Caroli Disease and a pathogenic APC variant, and although the APC variant is not known to be connected to the development of the hepatic malformations in Caroli Disease, it remains unclear whether the variant could have contributed to the carcinogenesis of the liver tumour. Conclusions:Based on functional and co-segregation data we classify the APC c.289G>A, p.(Gly97Arg) variant as pathogenic (class 5). Our findings emphasize the importance of a functional evaluation of missense variants although located far from the exon-intron boundaries.
Project description:Alternative splicing contributes greatly to the diversification of mammalian proteomes, but the molecular basis for the evolutionary emergence of splice variants remains poorly understood. We have recently found a novel class of splicing regulatory elements between the polypyrimidine tract (Py) and 3' AG (REPA) at intron ends in many human genes, including the multifunctional PRMT5 (for protein arginine methyltransferase 5) gene. The PRMT5 element is comprised of two G tracts that arise in most mammals and accompany significant exon skipping in human transcripts. The G tracts inhibit splicing by recruiting heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) H and F (H/F) to reduce U2AF65 binding to the Py, causing exon skipping. The resulting novel shorter variant PRMT5S exhibits a histone H4R3 methylation effect similar to that seen with the original longer PRMT5L isoform but exhibits a distinct localization and preferential control of critical genes for cell cycle arrest at interphase in comparison to PRMT5L. This report thus provides a molecular mechanism for the evolutionary emergence of a novel splice variant with an opposite function in a fundamental cell process. The presence of REPA elements in a large group of genes implies their wider impact on different cellular processes for increased protein diversity in humans.
Project description:RNA splicing is a highly regulated process dependent on sequences near splice sites. Insertions of Alu retrotransposons can disrupt splice sites or bind splicing regulators. We hypothesized that some common inherited polymorphic Alu insertions are responsible for splicing QTLs (sQTL). We focused on intronic Alu variants mapping within 100 bp of an alternatively used exon and screened for those that alter splicing. We identify five loci, 21.7% of those assayed, where the polymorphic Alu alters splicing. While in most cases the Alu promotes exon skipping, at one locus the Alu increases exon inclusion. Of particular interest is an Alu polymorphism in the CD58 gene. Reduced CD58 expression is associated with risk for developing multiple sclerosis. We show that the Alu insertion promotes skipping of CD58 exon 3 and results in a frameshifted transcript, indicating that the Alu may be the causative variant for increased MS risk at this locus. Using RT-PCR analysis at the endogenous locus, we confirm that the Alu variant is a sQTL for CD58. In summary, altered splicing efficiency is a common functional consequence of Alu polymorphisms including at least one instance where the variant is implicated in disease risk. This work broadens our understanding of splicing regulatory sequences around exons.