Transcriptomic Profiling of Posterior Polymorphous Corneal Dystrophy.
ABSTRACT: To investigate the molecular basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) by examining the PPCD transcriptome and the effect of decreased ZEB1 expression on corneal endothelial cell (CEnC) gene expression.Next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses of corneal endothelium from two PPCD-affected individuals (one with PPCD3 and one of unknown genetic cause) compared with two age-matched controls, and primary human CEnC (pHCEnC) transfected with siRNA-mediated ZEB1 knockdown. The expression of selected differentially expressed genes was validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and/or assessed by in situ hybridization in the corneal endothelium of four independent cases of PPCD (one with PPCD3 and three of unknown genetic cause).Expression of 16% and 46% of the 104 protein-coding genes specific to ex vivo corneal endothelium was lost in the endothelium of two individuals with PPCD. Thirty-two genes associated with ZEB1 and 3 genes (BMP4, CCND1, ZEB1) associated with OVOL2 were differentially expressed in the same direction in both individuals with PPCD. Immunohistochemistry staining and RNA-seq analyses demonstrated variable expression of type IV collagens in PPCD corneas. Decreasing ZEB1 expression in pHCEnC altered expression of 711 protein-coding genes, many of which are associated with canonical pathways regulating various cellular processes.Identification of the altered transcriptome in PPCD and in a cell-based model of PPCD provided insight into the molecular alterations characterizing PPCD. Further study of the differentially expressed genes associated with ZEB1 and OVOL2 is expected to identify candidate genes for individuals with PPCD and without a ZEB1 or OVOL2 mutation.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>To identify the genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) in families mapped to the PPCD1 locus and in affected individuals without ZEB1 coding region mutations.<h4>Methods</h4>The promoter, 5' UTR, and coding regions of OVOL2 was screened in the PPCD family in which linkage analysis established the PPCD1 locus and in 26 PPCD probands who did not harbor a ZEB1 mutation. Copy number variation (CNV) analysis in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 intervals was performed on DNA samples from eight probands using aCGH. Luciferase reporter assays were performed in human corneal endothelial cells to determine the impact of the identified potentially pathogenic variants on OVOL2 promoter activity.<h4>Results</h4>OVOL2 mutation analysis in the first PPCD1-linked family demonstrated segregation of the c.-307T>C variant with the affected phenotype. In the other 26 probands screened, one heterozygous coding region variant and five promoter region heterozygous variants were identified, though none are likely pathogenic based on allele frequency. Array CGH in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci excluded the presence of CNV involving either OVOL2 or ZEB1, respectively. The c.-307T>C variant demonstrated increased promoter activity in corneal endothelial cells when compared to the wild-type sequence as has been demonstrated previously in another cell type.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Previously identified as the cause of PPCD1, the OVOL2 promoter variant c.-307T>C was herein identified in the original family that established the PPCD1 locus. However, the failure to identify presumed pathogenic coding or non-coding OVOL2 or ZEB1 variants, or CNV involving the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci in 26 other PPCD probands suggests that other genetic loci may be involved in the pathogenesis of PPCD.
Project description:In a large family of Czech origin, we mapped a locus for an autosomal-dominant corneal endothelial dystrophy, posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy 4 (PPCD4), to 8q22.3-q24.12. Whole-genome sequencing identified a unique variant (c.20+544G>T) in this locus, within an intronic regulatory region of GRHL2. Targeted sequencing identified the same variant in three additional previously unsolved PPCD-affected families, including a de novo occurrence that suggests this is a recurrent mutation. Two further unique variants were identified in intron 1 of GRHL2 (c.20+257delT and c.20+133delA) in unrelated PPCD-affected families. GRHL2 is a transcription factor that suppresses epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and is a direct transcriptional repressor of ZEB1. ZEB1 mutations leading to haploinsufficiency cause PPCD3. We previously identified promoter mutations in OVOL2, a gene not normally expressed in the corneal endothelium, as the cause of PPCD1. OVOL2 drives mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) by directly inhibiting EMT-inducing transcription factors, such as ZEB1. Here, we demonstrate that the GRHL2 regulatory variants identified in PPCD4-affected individuals induce increased transcriptional activity in vitro. Furthermore, although GRHL2 is not expressed in corneal endothelial cells in control tissue, we detected GRHL2 in the corneal "endothelium" in PPCD4 tissue. These cells were also positive for epithelial markers E-Cadherin and Cytokeratin 7, indicating they have transitioned to an epithelial-like cell type. We suggest that mutations inducing MET within the corneal endothelium are a convergent pathogenic mechanism leading to dysfunction of the endothelial barrier and disease.
Project description:Purpose: To identify the genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) in families mapped to the PPCD1 locus and in affected individuals without ZEB1 coding region mutations. Methods: The promoter and/or coding regions of OVOL2 were screened in the PPCD family in which linkage analysis established the PPCD1 locus and in 26 PPCD probands who did not harbor a ZEB1 mutation. Copy number variation (CNV) analysis in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 intervals was performed on DNA samples from eight probands using aCGH. Luciferase reporter assays were performed in human corneal endothelial cells to determine the impact of the identified potentially pathogenic variants on OVOL2 promoter activity. Results: OVOL2 screening in the first PPCD1-linked family demonstrated segregation of the c.-307T>C variant with the affected phenotype. In the other 26 probands screened, one heterozygous coding region variant and five promoter region heterozygous variants were identified, though none are likely pathogenic based on allele frequency. Array CGH in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci excluded the presence of CNV involving either OVOL2 or ZEB1, respectively. The c.-307T>C variant demonstrated increased promoter activity when compared to the wild-type sequence. Conclusions: The previously identified and presumed pathogenic OVOL2 promoter variant c.-307T>C was identified in the PPCD family that established the PPCD1 locus. However, the failure to identify presumed pathogenic coding or non-coding OVOL2 or ZEB1 variants, or CNV involving the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci in 26 other PPCD probands suggests that other genetic loci may be involved in the pathogenesis of PPCD. Overall design: Eight PPCD probands without a ZEB1 protein-coding region pathogenic variant were analyzed for copy number variation within the PPCD1 (chromosome 20) and the PPCD3 (chromosome 10) loci.
Project description:Name of the disease (synonyms) CUGC for posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD).OMIM# of the disease 122000; 609141; 618031.Name of the analysed genes or DNA/chromosome segments OVOL2 (PPCD1); ZEB1 (PPCD3); GRHL2 (PPCD4).OMIM# of the gene(s) 616441; 189909; 608576. Review of the analytical and clinical validity as well as of the clinical utility of DNA-based testing for variants in theOVOL2, ZEB1andGRHL2gene(s) in a diagnostic setting, predictive and parental settings and for risk assesment in relatives.
Project description:Posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD, also known as PPMD) is a rare disease involving metaplasia and overgrowth of corneal endothelial cells. In patients with PPCD, these cells manifest in an epithelial morphology and gene expression pattern, produce an aberrant basement membrane, and, sometimes, spread over the iris and nearby structures in a way that increases the risk for glaucoma. We previously mapped PPCD to a region (PPCD3) on chromosome 10 containing the gene that encodes the two-handed zinc-finger homeodomain transcription factor TCF8. Here, we report a heterozygous frameshift mutation in TCF8 that segregates with PPCD in the family used to map PPCD3 and four different heterozygous nonsense and frameshift mutations in TCF8 in four other PPCD probands. Family reports of inguinal hernia, hydrocele, and possible bone anomalies in affected individuals suggest that individuals with TCF8 mutations should be examined for nonocular anomalies. We detect transcripts of all three identified PPCD genes (VSX1, COL8A2, and TCF8) in the cornea. We show presence of a complex (core plus secondary) binding site for TCF8 in the promoter of Alport syndrome gene COL4A3, which encodes collagen type IV alpha 3, and we present immunohistochemical evidence of ectopic expression of COL4A3 in corneal endothelium of the proband of the original PPCD3 family. Identification of TCF8 as the PPCD3 gene provides a valuable tool for the study of critical gene regulation events in PPCD pathology and suggests a possible role for TCF8 mutations in altered structure and function of cells lining body cavities other than the anterior chamber of the eye. Thus, this study has identified TCF8 as the gene responsible for approximately half of the cases of PPCD, has implicated TCF8 mutations in developmental abnormalities outside the eye, and has presented the TCF8 regulatory target, COL4A3, as a key, shared molecular component of two different diseases, PPCD and Alport syndrome.
Project description:Congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy 1 (CHED1) and posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy 1 (PPCD1) are autosomal-dominant corneal endothelial dystrophies that have been genetically mapped to overlapping loci on the short arm of chromosome 20. We combined genetic and genomic approaches to identify the cause of disease in extensive pedigrees comprising over 100 affected individuals. After exclusion of pathogenic coding, splice-site, and copy-number variations, a parallel approach using targeted and whole-genome sequencing facilitated the identification of pathogenic variants in a conserved region of the OVOL2 proximal promoter sequence in the index families (c.-339_361dup for CHED1 and c.-370T>C for PPCD1). Direct sequencing of the OVOL2 promoter in other unrelated affected individuals identified two additional mutations within the conserved proximal promoter sequence (c.-274T>G and c.-307T>C). OVOL2 encodes ovo-like zinc finger 2, a C2H2 zinc-finger transcription factor that regulates mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition and acts as a direct transcriptional repressor of the established PPCD-associated gene ZEB1. Interestingly, we did not detect OVOL2 expression in the normal corneal endothelium. Our in vitro data demonstrate that all four mutated OVOL2 promoters exhibited more transcriptional activity than the corresponding wild-type promoter, and we postulate that the mutations identified create cryptic cis-acting regulatory sequence binding sites that drive aberrant OVOL2 expression during endothelial cell development. Our data establish CHED1 and PPCD1 as allelic conditions and show that CHED1 represents the extreme of what can be considered a disease spectrum. They also implicate transcriptional dysregulation of OVOL2 as a common cause of dominantly inherited corneal endothelial dystrophies.
Project description:The aim of this review was to provide an evidenced-based review of the genetic basis of the corneal endothelial dystrophies. A review of the English language peer-reviewed literature describing the molecular genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD), congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy (CHED), Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and X-linked endothelial corneal dystrophy (XECD) was performed. Mutations in several genes have been implicated as playing a pathogenic role in the corneal endothelial dystrophies: VSX1 mutations in PPCD1; COL8A2 mutations in PPCD2 and FECD; ZEB1 mutations in PPCD3 and FECD; and SLC4A11 mutations in CHED2 and FECD. However, linkage, association and familial segregation analyses support a role of only one gene in each corneal endothelial dystrophy: ZEB1 in PPCD3, SLC4A11 in CHED2 and COL8A2 in FECD (early onset). In addition, insufficient evidence exists to consider the autosomal dominant form of CHED (CHED1) as distinct from PPCD. An accurate classification of the corneal endothelial dystrophies requires a critical review of the evidence to support the role of each suggested chromosomal locus, gene and genetic mutation associated with a corneal endothelial dystrophy. Only after the separation of evidence from opinion is performed can a critical examination of the molecular pathways that lead to endothelial dysfunction in each of these disorders be accurately performed.
Project description:To investigate the functional role that the zinc e-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) gene, which underlies the genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy 3 (PPCD3), plays in corneal endothelial cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and barrier function.A human corneal endothelial cell line (HCEnC-21T) was transfected with siRNA targeting ZEB1 mRNA. Cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and barrier assays were performed: Cell proliferation was assessed with cell counting using a hemocytometer; cell apoptosis, induced by either ultraviolet C (UVC) radiation or doxorubicin treatment, was quantified by measuring cleaved caspase 3 (cCASP3) protein levels; and cell migration and barrier function were monitored with electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS).ZEB1 knockdown in HCEnC-21T cells transfected with siRNA targeting ZEB1 did not result in a significant difference in cell proliferation when compared with control. Although knockdown of ZEB1 in HCEnC-21T cells sensitized the cells to UV-induced apoptosis, ZEB1 knockdown did not alter the cells' susceptibility to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis, as measured with cCASP3 protein levels, compared with controls. Similarly, no difference was observed in cell migration following ZEB1 knockdown. However, cell barrier function increased significantly following ZEB1 knockdown.The corneal endothelium in PPCD3 is characterized by morphologic, anatomic, and molecular features that are more consistent with an epithelial-like rather than an endothelial-like phenotype. Although these characteristics have been well documented, we demonstrate for the first time that susceptibility to UV-induced apoptosis and cell barrier function are significantly altered in the setting of reduced ZEB1. The significance of an altered cellular response to apoptotic stimuli and increased cell barrier function in the pathobiology of PPCD remains to be fully elucidated.
Project description:The zinc finger e-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) transcription factor is a master regulator of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and of the reverse mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) processes. ZEB1 plays an integral role in mediating cell state transitions during cell lineage specification, wound healing and disease. EMT/MET are characterized by distinct changes in molecular and cellular phenotype that are generally context-independent. Posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD), associated with ZEB1 insufficiency, provides a new biological context in which to understand and evaluate the classic EMT/MET paradigm. PPCD is characterized by a cadherin-switch and transition to an epithelial-like transcriptomic and cellular phenotype, which we study in a cell-based model of PPCD generated using CRISPR-Cas9-mediated ZEB1 knockout in corneal endothelial cells (CEnCs). Transcriptomic and functional studies support the hypothesis that CEnC undergo a MET-like transition in PPCD, termed endothelial to epithelial transition (EnET), and lead to the conclusion that EnET may be considered a corollary to the classic EMT/MET paradigm.
Project description:A substantial proportion of patients with posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) lack a molecular diagnosis. We evaluated 14 unrelated probands who had a clinical diagnosis of PPCD who were previously determined to be negative for mutations in ZEB1 by direct sequencing. A combination of techniques was used including whole-exome sequencing (WES), single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array copy number variation (CNV) analysis, quantitative real-time PCR, and long-range PCR. Segregation of potentially pathogenic changes with disease was confirmed, where possible, in family members. A putative run of homozygosity on chromosome 10 was identified by WES in a three-generation PPCD family, suggestive of a heterozygous deletion. SNP array genotyping followed by long-range PCR and direct sequencing to define the breakpoints confirmed the presence of a large deletion that encompassed multiple genes, including ZEB1. Identification of a heterozygous deletion spanning ZEB1 prompted us to further investigate potential CNVs at this locus in the remaining probands, leading to detection of two additional heterozygous ZEB1 gene deletions. This study demonstrates that ZEB1 mutations account for a larger proportion of PPCD than previously estimated, and supports the hypothesis that haploinsufficiency of ZEB1 is the underlying molecular mechanism of disease for PPCD3.