NR2F1 mutations cause optic atrophy with intellectual disability.
ABSTRACT: Optic nerve atrophy and hypoplasia can be primary disorders or can result from trans-synaptic degeneration arising from cerebral visual impairment (CVI). Here we report six individuals with CVI and/or optic nerve abnormalities, born after an uneventful pregnancy and delivery, who have either de novo heterozygous missense mutations in NR2F1, also known as COUP-TFI, or deletions encompassing NR2F1. All affected individuals show mild to moderate intellectual impairment. NR2F1 encodes a nuclear receptor protein that regulates transcription. A reporter assay showed that missense mutations in the zinc-finger DNA-binding domain and the putative ligand-binding domain decrease NR2F1 transcriptional activity. These findings indicate that NR2F1 plays an important role in the neurodevelopment of the visual system and that its disruption can lead to optic atrophy with intellectual disability.
Project description:Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf optic atrophy syndrome (BBSOAS) is a recently described autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the NR2F1 gene. There are presently 28 cases of BBSOAS described in the literature. Its common features include developmental delay, intellectual disability, hypotonia, optic nerve atrophy, attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorder, seizures, hearing defects, spasticity, and thinning of the corpus callosum. Here we report two unrelated probands with novel, de novo, missense variants in NR2F1 The first is a 14-yr-old male patient with hypotonia, intellectual disability, optic nerve hypoplasia, delayed bone age, short stature, and altered neurotransmitter levels on cerebrospinal fluid testing. The second is a 5-yr-old female with severe developmental delay, motor and speech delay, and repetitive motion behavior. Whole-exome sequencing identified a novel missense NR2F1 variant in each case, Cys86Phe in the DNA-binding domain in Case 1, and a Leu372Pro in the ligand-binding domain in Case 2. The presence of clinical findings compatible with BBSOAS along with structural analysis at atomic resolution using homology-based molecular modeling and molecular dynamic simulations, support the pathogenicity of these variants for BBSOAS. Short stature, abnormal CNS neurotransmitters, and macrocephaly have not been previously reported for this syndrome and may represent a phenotypic expansion of BBSOAS. A review of published cases along with new evidence from this report support genotype-phenotype correlations for this disorder.
Project description:Optic nerve atrophy represents the most common form of hereditary optic neuropathies leading to vision impairment. The recently described Bosch-Boonstra-Schaaf optic atrophy (BBSOA) syndrome denotes an autosomal dominant genetic form of neuropathy caused by mutations or deletions in the NR2F1 gene. Herein, we describe a mouse model recapitulating key features of BBSOA patients-optic nerve atrophy, optic disc anomalies, and visual deficits-thus representing the only available mouse model for this syndrome. Notably, Nr2f1-deficient optic nerves develop an imbalance between oligodendrocytes and astrocytes leading to postnatal hypomyelination and astrogliosis. Adult heterozygous mice display a slower optic axonal conduction velocity from the retina to high-order visual centers together with associative visual learning deficits. Importantly, some of these clinical features, such the optic nerve hypomyelination, could be rescued by chemical drug treatment in early postnatal life. Overall, our data shed new insights into the cellular mechanisms of optic nerve atrophy in BBSOA patients and open a promising avenue for future therapeutic approaches.
Project description:The relationships between impaired cortical development and consequent malformations in neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as the genes implicated in these processes, are not fully elucidated to date. In this study, we report six novel cases of patients affected by BBSOAS (Boonstra-Bosch-Schaff optic atrophy syndrome), a newly emerging rare neurodevelopmental disorder, caused by loss-of-function mutations of the transcriptional regulator NR2F1. Young patients with NR2F1 haploinsufficiency display mild to moderate intellectual disability and show reproducible polymicrogyria-like brain malformations in the parietal and occipital cortex. Using a recently established BBSOAS mouse model, we found that Nr2f1 regionally controls long-term self-renewal of neural progenitor cells via modulation of cell cycle genes and key cortical development master genes, such as Pax6. In the human fetal cortex, distinct NR2F1 expression levels encompass gyri and sulci and correlate with local degrees of neurogenic activity. In addition, reduced NR2F1 levels in cerebral organoids affect neurogenesis and PAX6 expression. We propose NR2F1 as an area-specific regulator of mouse and human brain morphology and a novel causative gene of abnormal gyrification.
Project description:Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is a major cause of low vision in children due to impairment in projection and/or interpretation of the visual input in the brain. Although acquired causes for CVI are well known, genetic causes underlying CVI are largely unidentified. DNAs of 25 patients with CVI and intellectual disability, but without acquired (eg, perinatal) damage, were investigated by whole-exome sequencing. The data were analyzed for de novo, autosomal-recessive, and X-linked variants, and subsequently classified into known, candidate, or unlikely to be associated with CVI. This classification was based on the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database, literature reports, variant characteristics, and functional relevance of the gene. After classification, variants in four genes known to be associated with CVI (AHDC1, NGLY1, NR2F1, PGAP1) in 5 patients (20%) were identified, establishing a conclusive genetic diagnosis for CVI. In addition, in 11 patients (44%) with CVI, variants in one or more candidate genes were identified (ACP6, AMOT, ARHGEF10L, ATP6V1A, DCAF6, DLG4, GABRB2, GRIN1, GRIN2B, KCNQ3, KCTD19, RERE, SLC1A1, SLC25A16, SLC35A2, SOX5, UFSP2, UHMK1, ZFP30). Our findings show that diverse genetic causes underlie CVI, some of which will provide insight into the biology underlying this disease process.
Project description:A 9-yr 8-mo-old right-handed female presented with a history of gait difficulties, which first became apparent at age 9 mo of age, along with slurred speech and hand tremors while holding a tray. Her past medical history was significant for global developmental delay, and she was attending fourth grade special education classes. On examination, she had an ataxic gait, dysarthria, absent deep tendon reflexes, and flexor plantar responses. There were no signs of optic atrophy or hearing loss. Nerve conduction studies were consistent with an axonal neuropathy. A fascicular sural nerve biopsy showed a marked decrease of myelinated fibers larger than 6 µm in diameter as compared with an age-matched control. By electron microscopy, clusters of degenerating axonal mitochondria in both myelinated and unmyelinated fibers were frequently found. Whole-exome sequencing revealed a heterozygous c.314C > T (p.Thr105Met) missense variant in MFN2 in the patient but not in her mother. The father was unavailable for testing. The phenotypes with MFN2 variants can be quite variable, including intellectual disability, optic atrophy, auditory impairment, spinal atrophy with or without hydromyelia, and hydrocephalus. We report here that early onset ataxia with intellectual disability can also be associated with MFN2-related Charcot-Marie-Tooth, Type 2A2A diagnosis, the most common type of autosomal dominant axonal neuropathy.
Project description:In an effort to discover genes important for human development, we have ascertained patients with congenital anomalies and cytogenetically balanced chromosomal rearrangements. Herein, we report a 4-year-old girl with profound deafness, a history of feeding difficulties, dysmorphism, strabismus, developmental delay, and an apparently balanced de novo paracentric chromosome 5 inversion, inv(5)(q15q33.2). Molecular cytogenetic analysis of the inversion revealed the presence of microdeletions of approximately 400-500 kb at or near both breakpoints. The 5q15 microdeletion completely removes the nuclear receptor NR2F1 (COUP-TFI) from the inverted chromosome 5. We propose haploinsufficiency of NR2F1 to be the cause of the patient's deafness and many of the other associated anomalies based on striking similarity with the Nr2f1 null mouse. Additionally, this study further highlights the need for high resolution analysis of clinical samples with chromosomal rearrangements as associated deletions may be primarily responsible for the clinical features of these patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Identification of bona fide direct nuclear receptor gene targets has been challenging but essential for understanding regulation of organismal physiological processes. RESULTS:We describe a methodology to identify transcription factor binding sites and target genes in vivo by intersecting microarray data, computational binding site queries, and evolutionary conservation. We provide detailed experimental validation of each step and, as a proof of principle, utilize the methodology to identify novel direct targets of the orphan nuclear receptor NR2F1 (COUP-TFI). The first step involved validation of microarray gene expression profiles obtained from wild-type and COUP-TFI(-/-) inner ear tissues. Secondly, we developed a bioinformatic tool to search for COUP-TFI DNA binding sites in genomes, using a classification-type Hidden Markov Model trained with 49 published COUP-TF response elements. We next obtained a ranked list of candidate in vivo direct COUP-TFI targets by integrating the microarray and bioinformatics analyses according to the degree of binding site evolutionary conservation and microarray statistical significance. Lastly, as proof-of-concept, 5 specific genes were validated for direct regulation. For example, the fatty acid binding protein 7 (Fabp7) gene is a direct COUP-TFI target in vivo because: i) we identified 2 conserved COUP-TFI binding sites in the Fabp7 promoter; ii) Fapb7 transcript and protein levels are significantly reduced in COUP-TFI(-/-) tissues and in MEFs; iii) chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrates that COUP-TFI is recruited to the Fabp7 promoter in vitro and in vivo and iv) it is associated with active chromatin having increased H3K9 acetylation and enrichment for CBP and SRC-1 binding in the newborn brain. CONCLUSION:We have developed and validated a methodology to identify in vivo direct nuclear receptor target genes. This bioinformatics tool can be modified to scan for response elements of transcription factors, cis-regulatory modules, or any flexible DNA pattern.
Project description:Hundreds of thousands of cis-regulatory DNA sequences are predicted in vertebrate genomes, but unlike genes themselves, few have been characterized at the functional level or even unambiguously paired with a target gene. Here we serendipitously identified and started investigating the first reported long-range regulatory region for the Nr2f1 (Coup-TFI) transcription factor gene. NR2F1 is temporally and spatially regulated during development and required for patterning and regionalization in the nervous system, including sensory hair cell organization in the auditory epithelium of the cochlea. Analyzing the deaf wanderer (dwnd) spontaneous mouse mutation, we traced back the cause of its associated circling behavior to a 53?kb deletion removing five exons and adjacent intronic regions of the poorly characterized Mctp1 gene. Interestingly, loss of Mctp1 function cannot account for the hearing loss, inner ear dysmorphology and sensory hair cell disorganization observed in dwnd mutants. Instead, we found that the Mctp1dwnd deletion affects the Nr2f1 gene located 1.4?Mb away, downregulating transcription and protein expression in the embryonic cochlea. Remarkably, the Mctp1dwnd allele failed to complement a targeted inactivation allele of Nr2f1, and transheterozygotes or Mctp1dwnd homozygotes exhibit the same morphological defects observed in inner ears of Nr2f1 mutants without sharing their early life lethality. Defects include improper separation of the utricle and saccule in the vestibule not described previously, which can explain the circling behavior that first brought the spontaneous mutation to attention. By contrast, mice homozygous for a targeted inactivation of Mctp1 have normal hearing and inner ear structures. We conclude that the 53?kb Mctp1dwnd deletion encompasses a long-range cis-regulatory region essential for proper Nr2f1 expression in the embryonic inner ear, providing a first opportunity to investigate Nr2f1 function in postnatal inner ears. This work adds to the short list of long-range regulatory regions characterized as essential to drive expression of key developmental control genes.
Project description:PURPOSE: To describe the phenotype of a novel Wolframin (WFS1) mutation in a family with autosomal dominant optic neuropathy and deafness. The study is designed as a retrospective observational case series. METHODS: Seven members of a Dutch family underwent ophthalmological, otological, and genetical examinations in one institution. Fasting serum glucose was assessed in the affected family members. RESULTS: All affected individuals showed loss of neuroretinal rim of the optic nerve at fundoscopy with enlarged blind spots at perimetry. They showed a red-green color vision defect at color vision tests and deviations at visually evoked response tests. The audiograms of the affected individuals showed hearing loss and were relatively flat. The unaffected individuals showed no visual deviations or hearing impairment. The affected family members had no glucose intolerance. Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) mitochondrial mutations and mutations in the Optic atrophy-1 gene (OPA1) were excluded. In the affected individuals, a novel missense mutation c.2508G>C (p.Lys836Asn) in exon 8 of WFS1 was identified. CONCLUSIONS: This study describes the phenotype of a family with autosomal dominant optic neuropathy and hearing impairment associated with a novel missense mutation in WFS1.
Project description:Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to act as important cell biological regulators including cell fate decisions but are often ignored in human genetics. Combining differential lncRNA expression during neuronal lineage induction with copy number variation morbidity maps of a cohort of children with autism spectrum disorder/intellectual disability versus healthy controls revealed focal genomic mutations affecting several lncRNA candidate loci. Here we find that a t(5:12) chromosomal translocation in a family manifesting neurodevelopmental symptoms disrupts specifically lnc-NR2F1. We further show that lnc-NR2F1 is an evolutionarily conserved lncRNA functionally enhances induced neuronal cell maturation and directly occupies and regulates transcription of neuronal genes including autism-associated genes. Thus, integrating human genetics and functional testing in neuronal lineage induction is a promising approach for discovering candidate lncRNAs involved in neurodevelopmental diseases.