Functional assessment of a novel COL4A5 splice region variant and immunostaining of plucked hair follicles as an alternative method of diagnosis in X-linked Alport syndrome.
ABSTRACT: 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:Alport syndrome is a hereditary progressive chronic kidney disease caused by mutations in type IV collagen genes COL4A3/4/5. X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) is caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene and is the most common form of Alport syndrome. A strong correlation between the type of COL4A5 mutation and the age developing end-stage renal disease in male patients has been found. Mutation to the ? (IV) chain causes retention of the protein to the endoplasmic reticulum lumen, which causes endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and subsequent exertion of deleterious intracellular effects through the activation of ERS. The exact time point that mutant type IV collagen ? chain exerts its deleterious effects remains elusive. In this study, we explored the relationship between the COL4A5 genotype and cell type in ERS activation. We obtained skin fibroblasts from Alport syndrome patients with different COL4A5 mutation categories [i.e., a missense mutation (c.4298G > T, p.Gly1433Val) in exon 47, a splicing mutation (c.1949-1G > A) in intron 25 and an insertion (c.573_c.574insG, p. Pro193Alafs*23) in exon 10], and then reprogrammed these fibroblasts into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Interestingly, no significant dysregulation of ERS pathway markers was observed for the three COL4A5 mutant iPSCs; however, significant activation of ERS in COL4A5 mutant fibroblasts was observed. In addition, we found that the activation levels of some ERS markers in fibroblasts varied among the three COL4A5 mutation types. Mutant COL4A5 proteins were demonstrated to have different effects on cells at different stages of ontogenesis, providing a theoretical basis for choosing the timing of intervention. The observed differences in activation of ERS by the COL4A5 mutant fibroblasts may contribute to the intracellular molecular mechanisms that describe the correlation between genotype and clinical features in XLAS.
Project description:<h4>Background and objectives</h4>X-linked Alport syndrome is caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene. Although many COL4A5 mutations have been detected, the mutation detection rate has been unsatisfactory. Some men with X-linked Alport syndrome show a relatively mild phenotype, but molecular basis investigations have rarely been conducted to clarify the underlying mechanism.<h4>Design, setting, participants, & measurements</h4>In total, 152 patients with X-linked Alport syndrome who were suspected of having Alport syndrome through clinical and pathologic investigations and referred to the hospital for mutational analysis between January of 2006 and January of 2013 were genetically diagnosed. Among those patients, 22 patients had suspected splice site mutations. Transcripts are routinely examined when suspected splice site mutations for abnormal transcripts are detected; 11 of them showed expected exon skipping, but others showed aberrant splicing patterns. The mutation detection strategy had two steps: (1) genomic DNA analysis using PCR and direct sequencing and (2) mRNA analysis using RT-PCR to detect RNA processing abnormalities.<h4>Results</h4>Six splicing consensus site mutations resulting in aberrant splicing patterns, one exonic mutation leading to exon skipping, and four deep intronic mutations producing cryptic splice site activation were identified. Interestingly, one case produced a cryptic splice site with a single nucleotide substitution in the deep intron that led to intronic exonization containing a stop codon; however, the patient showed a clearly milder phenotype for X-linked Alport syndrome in men with a truncating mutation. mRNA extracted from the kidney showed both normal and abnormal transcripts, with the normal transcript resulting in the milder phenotype. This novel mechanism leads to mild clinical characteristics.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This report highlights the importance of analyzing transcripts to enhance the mutation detection rate and provides insight into genotype-phenotype correlations. This approach can clarify the cause of atypically mild phenotypes in X-linked Alport syndrome.
Project description:Alport syndrome, historically referred to as hereditary glomerulonephritis with sensorineural deafness and anterior lenticonus, is a genetic disease of collagen ?3?4?5(IV) resulting in renal failure. The collagen ?3?4?5(IV) heterotrimer forms a network that is a major component of the kidney glomerular basement membrane (GBM) and basement membranes in the cochlea and eye. Alport syndrome, estimated to affect 1 in 5000-10,000 individuals, is caused by mutations in any one of the three genes that encode the ? chain components of the collagen ?3?4?5(IV) heterotrimer: COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5. Although angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition is effective in Alport syndrome patients for slowing progression to end-stage renal disease, it is neither a cure nor an adequate long-term protector. The 2014 International Workshop on Alport Syndrome, held in Oxford, UK, from January 3-5, was organized by individuals and families living with Alport syndrome, in concert with international experts in the clinical, genetic, and basic science aspects of the disease. Stakeholders from diverse communities-patient families, physicians, geneticists, researchers, Pharma, and funding organizations-were brought together so that they could meet and learn from each other and establish strategies and collaborations for the future, with the overall aim of discovering much needed new treatments to prolong kidney function.
Project description:Introduction:X-linked Alport syndrome (OMIM 301050) is caused by COL4A5 missense variants in 40% of families. This study examined the effects of chemical chaperone treatment (sodium 4-phenylbutyrate) on fibroblast cell lines derived from men with missense mutations. Methods:Dermal fibroblast cultures were established from 2 affected men and 3 normals. Proliferation rates were examined, the collagen IV ?5 chain localized with immunostaining, and levels of the intra- and extracellular chains quantitated with an in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. COL4A5 mRNA was measured using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) size was measured on electron micrographs and after HSP47 immunostaining. Markers of ER stress (ATF6, HSPA5, DDIT3), autophagy (ATG5, BECN1, ATG7), and apoptosis (CASP3, BAD, BCL2) were also quantitated by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Measurements were repeated after 48 hours of incubation with 10 mM sodium 4-phenylbutyrate acid. Results:Both COL4A5 missense variants were associated with reduced proliferation rates on day 6 (P = 0.01 and P = 0.03), ER enlargement, and increased mRNA for ER stress and autophagy (all P values < 0.05) when compared with normal. Sodium 4-phenylbutyrate treatment increased COL4A5 transcript levels (P < 0.01), and reduced ER size (P < 0.01 by EM and P < 0.001 by immunostaining), ER stress (p HSPA5 and DDIT3, all P values < 0.01) and autophagy (ATG7, P < 0.01). Extracellular collagen IV ?5 chain was increased in the M1 line only (P = 0.06). Discussion:Sodium 4-phenylbutyrate increases collagen IV ?5 mRNA levels, reduces ER stress and autophagy, and possibly facilitates collagen IV ?5 extracellular transport. Whether these actions delay end-stage renal failure in men with X-linked Alport syndrome and missense mutations will only be determined with clinical trials.
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:X-linked Alport syndrome is a progressive renal disease caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene, which encodes the alpha 5(IV) collagen chain. As an initial step toward gene therapy for Alport syndrome, we report on the expression of recombinant alpha 5(IV) collagen in vitro and in vivo. A full-length cDNA-encoding canine alpha 5(IV) collagen was cloned and expressed in vitro by transfection of HEK293 cells that synthesize the alpha1(IV) and alpha2(IV), but not the alpha 3(IV) to alpha 6(IV) collagen chains. By Northern blotting, an alpha 5(IV) mRNA transcript of 5.2 kb was expressed and the recombinant protein was detected by immunocytochemistry. The chain was secreted into the medium as a 190-kd monomer; no triple helical species were detected. Transfected cells synthesized an extracellular matrix containing the alpha1(IV) and alpha2(IV) chains but the recombinant alpha 5(IV) chain was not incorporated. These findings are consistent with the concept that the alpha 5(IV) chain requires one or more of the alpha 3(IV), alpha 4(IV), or alpha 6(IV) chains for triple helical assembly. In vivo studies were performed in dogs with X-linked Alport syndrome. An adenoviral vector containing the alpha 5(IV) transgene was injected into bladder smooth muscle that lacks both the alpha 5(IV) and alpha 6(IV) chains in these animals. At 5 weeks after injection, there was expression of both the alpha 5(IV) and alpha 6(IV) chains by smooth muscle cells at the injection site in a basement membrane distribution. Thus, this recombinant alpha 5(IV) chain is capable of restoring expression of a second alpha(IV) chain that requires the presence of the alpha 5(IV) chain for incorporation into collagen trimers. This vector will serve as a useful tool to further explore gene therapy for Alport syndrome.
Project description:A novel COL4A5 mutation causes rapid progression to end-stage renal disease in males, despite the absence of clinical and biopsy findings associated with Alport syndrome. Affected males have proteinuria, variable hematuria, and an early progression to end-stage renal disease. Renal biopsy findings include global and segmental glomerulosclerosis, mesangial hypercellularity and basement membrane immune complex deposition. Exon sequencing of the COL4A5 locus identified a thymine to guanine transversion at nucleotide 665, resulting in a phenylalanine to cysteine missense mutation at codon 222. The phenylalanine at position 222 is absolutely conserved among vertebrates. This mutation was confirmed in 4 affected males and 4 female obligate carriers, but was absent in 6 asymptomatic male family members and 198 unrelated individuals. Immunostaining for ?5(IV) collagen in renal biopsies from affected males was normal. This mutation, in a non-collagenous interruption associated with severe renal disease, provides evidence for the importance of this structural motif and suggests the range of phenotypes associated with COL4A5 mutations is more diverse than previously realized. Hence, COL4A5 mutation analysis should be considered when glomerulonephritis presents in an X-linked inheritance pattern, even with a presentation distinct from Alport syndrome.
Project description:Alport syndrome affects up to 60,000 people in the United States. The proposed reclassification of thin basement membrane nephropathy and some cases of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis as Alport syndrome could substantially increase the affected population. The reclassification scheme categorizes Alport syndrome as 3 distinct diseases of type IV collagen ?3/4/5 based on a genetic evaluation: X-linked, autosomal, and digenic. This approach has the advantage of identifying patients at risk for progressive loss of kidney function. Furthermore, the shared molecular cause of Alport syndrome and thin basement membrane nephropathy arises from mutations in the COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5 genes, which contribute to downstream pathophysiologic consequences, including chronic kidney inflammation. Recent evidence indicates that chronic inflammation and its regulation through anti-inflammatory nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and proinflammatory nuclear factor ?-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-?B) transcription factors plays a central role in renal tubular and glomerular cell responses to injury. Crosstalk between the Nrf2 and NF-?B pathways is important in the regulation of inflammation in patients with chronic kidney disease; moreover, there is evidence that an insufficient Nrf2 response to inflammation contributes to disease progression. Given the association between type IV collagen abnormalities and chronic inflammation, there is renewed interest in targeted anti-inflammatory therapies in Alport syndrome and other forms of progressive chronic kidney disease.
Project description:Mutation-induced activation of splice sites in intronic repetitive sequences has contributed significantly to the evolution of exon-intron structure and genetic disease. Such events have been associated with mutations within transposable elements, most frequently in mutation hot-spots of Alus. Here, we report a case of Alu exonization resulting from a 367-nt genomic COL4A5 deletion that did not encompass any recognizable transposed element, leading to the Alport syndrome. The deletion brought to proximity the 5' splice site of COL4A5 exon 33 and a cryptic 3' splice site in an antisense AluY copy in intron 32. The fusion exon was depleted of purines and purine-rich splicing enhancers, but had low levels of intramolecular secondary structure, was flanked by short introns and had strong 5' and Alu-derived 3' splice sites, apparently compensating poor composition and context of the new exon. This case demonstrates that Alu splice sites can be activated by outlying deletions, highlighting Alu versatility in shaping the exon-intron organization and expanding the spectrum of mutational mechanisms that introduce repetitive sequences in mRNAs.
Project description:Alport post-transplant nephritis (APTN) is an aggressive form of anti-glomerular basement membrane disease that targets the allograft in transplanted patients with X-linked Alport syndrome. Alloantibodies develop against the NC1 domain of ?5(IV) collagen, which occurs in normal kidneys, including renal allografts, forming distinct ?345(IV) and ?1256(IV) networks. Here, we studied the roles of these networks as antigens inciting alloimmunity and as targets of nephritogenic alloantibodies in APTN. We found that patients with APTN, but not those without nephritis, produce two kinds of alloantibodies against allogeneic collagen IV. Some alloantibodies targeted alloepitopes within ?5NC1 monomers, shared by ?345NC1 and ?1256NC1 hexamers. Other alloantibodies specifically targeted alloepitopes that depended on the quaternary structure of ?345NC1 hexamers. In Col4a5-null mice, immunization with native forms of allogeneic collagen IV exclusively elicited antibodies to quaternary ?345NC1 alloepitopes, whereas alloimmunogens lacking native quaternary structure elicited antibodies to shared ?5NC1 alloepitopes. These results imply that quaternary epitopes within ?345NC1 hexamers may initiate alloimmune responses after transplant in X-linked Alport patients. Thus, ?345NC1 hexamers are the culprit alloantigen and primary target of all alloantibodies mediating APTN, whereas ?1256NC1 hexamers become secondary targets of anti-?5NC1 alloantibodies. Reliable detection of alloantibodies by immunoassays using ?345NC1 hexamers may improve outcomes by facilitating early, accurate diagnosis.