The genes COL4A5 and COL4A6, coding for basement membrane collagen chains alpha 5(IV) and alpha 6(IV), are located head-to-head in close proximity on human chromosome Xq22 and COL4A6 is transcribed from two alternative promoters.
ABSTRACT: The genes for the alpha 5(IV) and alpha 6(IV) chains of human basement membrane collagen type IV have been found together on chromosome X at segment q22 and have been reported to be arranged in a head-to-head fashion. Here we report the 5' flanking sequences of COL4A5 and COL4A6 and that COL4A6 is transcribed from two alternative promoters in a tissue-specific fashion. Analysis of the sequence immediately upstream of the transcription start sites revealed some features of housekeeping genes--i.e., the lack of a TATA motif and the presence of CCAAT and CTC boxes. Further analysis revealed that COL4A6 contains two alternative promoters that control the generation of two different transcripts. One transcription start site (from exon 1') is 442 bp away from the transcription start site of COL4A5, while an alternative transcription start site (from exon 1) is located 1050 bp from the first one and drives the expression of a second transcript that encodes an alpha 6(IV) chain with a different signal peptide. Reverse transcription-PCR experiments revealed that the transcript from exon 1' is abundant in placenta, whereas the transcript from exon 1 is more frequently found in kidney and lung. These results provide additional clues to answering the general question of what mechanisms are used to generate unique basement membrane structures in different tissues.
Project description:Diffuse esophageal leiomyomatosis (DL), a benign smooth-muscle-cell tumor, is characterized by abnormal cell proliferation. DL is sometimes associated with X-linked Alport syndrome (AS), an inherited nephropathy caused by COL4A5 gene mutations. COL4A5 is tightly linked, in a head-to-head fashion, to the functionally related and coordinately regulated COL4A6 gene. No X-linked AS cases are due to COL4A6 mutations, but all DL/AS cases are always associated with deletions spanning the 5' regions of the COL4A5/COL4A6 cluster. Unlike the COL4A5 breakpoints, those of COL4A6 are clustered within intron 2 of the gene. We identified a DL/AS deletion and the first characterization of the breakpoint sequences. We show that a deletion eliminates the first coding exon of COL4A5 and the first two coding exons of COL4A6. The breakpoints share the same sequence, which, in turn, is closely homologous to the consensus sequences of topoisomerases I and II. Additional DNA evidence suggested that the male patient is a somatic mosaic for the mutation. Immunohistochemical analysis using alpha-chain-specific monoclonal antibodies supported this conclusion, since it revealed the absence of the alpha5(IV) and alpha6(IV) collagen chains in most but not all of the basement membranes of the smooth-muscle-cell tumor. We also documented a similar segmental staining pattern in the glomerular basement membranes of the patient's kidney. This study is particularly relevant to the understanding of DL pathogenesis and its etiology.
Project description:Hereditary hearing loss is the most common human sensorineural disorder. Genetic causes are highly heterogeneous, with mutations detected in >40 genes associated with nonsyndromic hearing loss, to date. Whereas autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant inheritance is prevalent, X-linked forms of nonsyndromic hearing impairment are extremely rare. Here, we present a Hungarian three-generation family with X-linked nonsyndromic congenital hearing loss and the underlying genetic defect. Next-generation sequencing and subsequent segregation analysis detected a missense mutation (c.1771G>A, p.Gly591Ser) in the type IV collagen gene COL4A6 in all affected family members. Bioinformatic analysis and expression studies support this substitution as being causative. COL4A6 encodes the alpha-6 chain of type IV collagen of basal membranes, which forms a heterotrimer with two alpha-5 chains encoded by COL4A5. Whereas mutations in COL4A5 and contiguous X-chromosomal deletions involving COL4A5 and COL4A6 are associated with X-linked Alport syndrome, a nephropathy associated with deafness and cataract, mutations in COL4A6 alone have not been related to any hereditary disease so far. Moreover, our index patient and other affected family members show normal renal and ocular function, which is not consistent with Alport syndrome, but with a nonsyndromic type of hearing loss. In situ hybridization and immunostaining demonstrated expression of the COL4A6 homologs in the otic vesicle of the zebrafish and in the murine inner ear, supporting its role in normal ear development and function. In conclusion, our results suggest COL4A6 as being the fourth gene associated with X-linked nonsyndromic hearing loss.
Project description:Granule cells (GCs) are the major glutamatergic neurons in the cerebellum, and GC axon formation is an initial step in establishing functional cerebellar circuits. In the zebrafish cerebellum, GCs can be classified into rostromedial and caudolateral groups, according to the locations of their somata in the corresponding cerebellar lobes. The axons of the GCs in the caudolateral lobes terminate on crest cells in the dorsal hindbrain, as well as forming en passant synapses with Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. In the zebrafish mutant shiomaneki, the caudolateral GCs extend aberrant axons. Positional cloning revealed that the shiomaneki (sio) gene locus encodes Col4a6, a subunit of type IV collagen, which, in a complex with Col4a5, is a basement membrane (BM) component. Both col4a5 and col4a6 mutants displayed similar abnormalities in the axogenesis of GCs and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Although type IV collagen is reported to control axon targeting by regulating the concentration gradient of an axonal guidance molecule Slit, Slit overexpression did not affect the GC axons. The structure of the BM surrounding the tectum and dorsal hindbrain was disorganized in the col4a5 and col4a6 mutants. Moreover, the abnormal axogenesis of the caudolateral GCs and the RGCs was coupled with aberrant BM structures in the type IV collagen mutants. The regrowth of GC axons after experimental ablation revealed that the original and newly formed axons displayed similar branching and extension abnormalities in the col4a6 mutants. These results collectively suggest that type IV collagen controls GC axon formation by regulating the integrity of the BM, which provides axons with the correct path to their targets.
Project description:X-linked Alport syndrome is a progressive nephropathy associated with mutations in the COL4A5 gene. The kidney usually lacks the alpha3-alpha6 chains of collagen type IV, although each is coded by a separate gene. The molecular basis for this loss remains unclear. In canine X-linked hereditary nephritis, a model for X-linked Alport syndrome, a COL4A5 mutation results in reduced mRNA levels for the alpha3, alpha4, and alpha5 chains in the kidney, implying a mechanism coordinating the production of these 3 chains. To examine whether production of alpha6 chain is under the same control, we studied smooth muscle cells from this animal model. We determined the canine COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes are separated by 435 bp, with two first exons for COL4A6 separated by 978 bp. These two regions are >/= 78% identical to the human sequences that have promoter activity. Despite this potential basis for coordinated transcription of the COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes, the alpha6 mRNA level remained normal in affected male dog smooth muscle while the alpha5 mRNA level was markedly reduced. However, both alpha5 and alpha6 chains were absent at the protein level. Our results suggest that production of the alpha6 chain is under a control mechanism separate from that coordinating the alpha3-alpha5 chains and that the lack of the alpha6 chain in Alport syndrome is related to a failure at the protein assembly level, raising the possibility that the alpha5 and alpha6 chains are present in the same network. The lack of the alpha6 chain does not obviously result in disease, in particular leiomyomatosis, as is seen in Alport patients with deletions involving the COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes.
Project description:Type IV collagen is present ubiquitously in basement membranes. A bifunctional promoter regulates the expression of the alpha1/alpha2 genes, and the alpha3/alpha4 and the alpha5/alpha6 genes are also considered to be regulated by putative bifunctional promoters. Unlike the other type IV collagen chains, the alpha5(IV) and alpha6(IV) chains do not always co-localize and are present in distinct basement membranes. To address such dichotomy in the alpha5(IV) and alpha6(IV) gene regulation, we cloned a mouse genomic DNA fragment containing the promoter region between the two transcription start sites of these genes and we then placed this putative promoter sequence between the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase and Luciferase reporter genes, so that these genes would be transcribed in opposite directions in this unique construct. Glomerular endothelial cells and mesangial cells generate the kidney glomerular basement membrane, which always contains the alpha5(IV) chain but not the alpha6(IV) chain. In contrast, the basement membranes of Bowman's capsule and distal tubuli (produced by the tubular epithelial cells) contain the alpha6(IV) chain. We demonstrate that, in response to TGF-beta (transforming growth factor beta), epidermal growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor, expression from the alpha5(IV) gene is significantly enhanced in the glomerular endothelial cells and mesangial cells, but not expression from the alpha6(IV) gene. In contrast, the expression from the alpha6(IV) gene, and not that from the alpha5(IV) gene, was significantly enhanced in response to growth factors in the tubular epithelial cells. Our results demonstrate that the proximal bifunctional promoter regulates the expression of the alpha5(IV) and alpha6(IV) genes in a cell-specific manner and offers the first demonstration of the promoter plasticity in growth factor regulation of type IV collagen genes in different tissues of the body.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Diffuse oesophageal leiomyomatosis (DOL) is a rare disorder characterized by tumorous overgrowth of the muscular wall of the oesophagus. DOL is present in 5 % of Alport syndrome (AS) patients. AS is a rare hereditary disease that involves varying degrees of hearing impairment, ocular changes and progressive glomerulonephritis leading to renal failure. In DOL-AS patients, the genetic defect consists of a deletion involving the COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes on the X chromosome. CASE PRESENTATION: We report a two-generation family (4 individuals; parents and two children, one male and one female) with two members (mother and son) affected with oesophageal leiomyomatosis. Signs of potential renal failure, which characterizes AS, were only apparent in the index patient (son) 2 years and three months after the initial diagnosis of DOL. Blood DNA from the four family members were submitted to exome sequencing and array genotyping to perform a genome wide screening for disease causal single nucleotide (SN) and copy number (CN) variations. Analyses revealed a new 40kb deletion encompassing from intron 2 of COL4A5 to intron 1 of COL4A6 at Xq22.3. The breakpoints were also identified. Possible confounding pathogenic exonic variants in genes known to be involved in other extracellular matrices disorders were also shared by the two affected individuals. Meticulous analysis of the maternal DNA revealed a case of gonosomal mosaicism. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of gonadosomal mosaicism associated to DOL-AS.
Project description:Keratinized mucosa is of fundamental importance to maintain healthy gingival tissue, and understanding the mechanisms of oral mucosa keratinization is crucial to successfully manage healthy gingiva. Previous studies have shown a strong involvement of the basement membrane in the proliferation and differentiation of epithelial cells. Therefore, first, to identify the keratinized mucosa-specific basement membrane components, immunohistochemical analysis for the six alpha chains of type IV collagen was performed in 8-week-old mice. No difference in the expression pattern of type IV collagen ?1(IV) and ?2(IV) chains was observed in the keratinized and non-keratinized mucosa. Interestingly, however, type IV collagen ?5(IV) and ?6(IV) chains specifically were strongly detected in the keratinized mucosa. To analyze the functional roles of the type IV collagen isoform ?6(IV) in oral mucosa keratinization, we analyzed Col4a6-knockout mice. Epithelial developmental delay and low levels of KRT10 were observed in new-born Col4a6-knockout mice. Additionally, in vitro experiments with loss-of function analysis using human gingival epithelial cells confirmed the important role of ?6(IV) chain in epithelial keratinization. These findings indicate that ?112:?556 (IV) network, which is the only network that includes the ?6(IV) chain, is one regulator of KRT10 expression in keratinization of oral mucosal epithelium.
Project description:Deletions encompassing the 5' termini of the paired type IV collagen genes COL4A5 and COL4A6 on chromosome Xq22 give rise to Alport syndrome (AS) and associated diffuse leiomyomatosis (DL), a syndrome of disseminated smooth-muscle tumors involving the esophagus, large airways, and female reproductive tract. In this study, we report isolation and characterization of two deletion junctions. The first, in a patient described elsewhere, arose by a nonhomologous recombination event fusing a LINE-1 (L1) repetitive element in intron 1 of COL4A5 to intron 2 of COL4A6, resulting in a 13.4-kb deletion. The second, in a previously undescribed family, arose by unequal homologous recombination between the same L1 and a colinear L1 element in intron 2 of COL4A6, resulting in a>40-kb deletion. L1 elements have contributed to the emergence of this locus as a site of frequent recombinations by diverse mechanisms. These give rise to AS-DL by disruption of type IV collagen and perhaps other as yet unidentified genes, evidenced by deletions as small as 13.4 kb.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Many COL4A5 splice region variants have been described in patients with X-linked Alport syndrome, but few have been confirmed by functional analysis to actually cause defective splicing. We sought to demonstrate that a novel COL4A5 splice region variant in a family with Alport syndrome is pathogenic using functional studies. We also describe an alternative method of diagnosis. METHODS:Targeted next-generation sequencing results of an individual with Alport syndrome were analyzed and the results confirmed by Sanger sequencing in family members. A splicing reporter minigene assay was used to examine the variant's effect on splicing in transfected cells. Plucked hair follicles from patients and controls were examined for collagen IV proteins using immunofluorescence microscopy. RESULTS:A novel splice region mutation in COL4A5, c.1780-6T>G, was identified and segregated with disease in this family. This variant caused frequent skipping of exon 25, resulting in a frameshift and truncation of collagen ?5(IV) protein. We also developed and validated a new approach to characterize the expression of collagen ?5(IV) protein in the basement membranes of plucked hair follicles. Using this approach we demonstrated reduced collagen ?5(IV) protein in affected male and female individuals in this family, supporting frequent failure of normal splicing. CONCLUSIONS:Differing normal to abnormal transcript ratios in affected individuals carrying splice region variants may contribute to variable disease severity observed in Alport families. Examination of plucked hair follicles in suspected X-linked Alport syndrome patients may offer a less invasive alternative method of diagnosis and serve as a pathogenicity test for COL4A5 variants of uncertain significance.
Project description:PURPOSE: To describe an unusual ocular phenotype in a Chinese female patient with X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS), and to characterize the type IV collagen alpha 5 (COL4A5) gene mutation in the patient and her son. METHODS: Detailed ophthalmologic examinations and optical coherence tomography were performed in the patient and her family members. For gene analysis of COL4A5, the entire coding region of COL4A5 mRNA from cultured skin fibroblast was analyzed by using reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and direct sequencing, and genomic DNA was analyzed by using PCR and direct sequencing. RESULTS: The patient presented with progressive myopia at age 14 and bilateral giant macular holes (about 2 disc diameter) at age 28. At age 33 when presented to our hospital, slit lamp examination of the anterior segment showed bilateral anterior and posterior lenticonus; fundus photography and optical coherence tomography showed bilateral giant macular holes which were larger than photographed at age 28. Electron microscopy of renal biopsy showed irregular thinned and thickened areas of the glomerular basement membrane with splitting of the lamina densa. Her son was then found to have hematuria (at age 3), and indirect immunofluorescence of the epidermal basement membrane showed negative staining for the collagen ?5(IV) chain. However, the ophthalmological examinations of her son were unremarkable. A novel COL4A5 mutation g. 4400_4400+1del, leading to an indel in exon 45 (r. 4198delins4198+2_ 4198+72), was detected in the patient and her son. This mutation produces a shift in the reading frame, resulting in a missense sequence of 13 codons followed by a premature stop codon. Her mother was not affected with the mutation. CONCLUSIONS: Our report extends the phenotypic and genotypic spectrum of X-linked Alport syndrome.