Ectopic GRHL2 Expression Due to Non-coding Mutations Promotes Cell State Transition and Causes Posterior Polymorphous Corneal Dystrophy 4.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:<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: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: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: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:The identification of steep corneal curvatures in a significant percentage of patients with posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) confirms this previously reported association and suggests a role for the ZEB1 protein in keratocyte function.To determine whether PPCD is characterized by significant corneal steepening.Cross-sectional study at university-based and private ophthalmology practices of 38 individuals (27 affected and 11 unaffected) from 23 families with PPCD.Slitlamp examination and corneal topographic imaging were performed for individuals with PPCD and unaffected family members. Saliva or blood samples were obtained from each individual for DNA isolation and ZEB1 sequencing. Corneal ZEB1 expression was measured using immunohistochemistry.Percentage of individuals affected with PPCD and controls with an average keratometric value greater than 48.0 diopters (D) in each eye; the mean keratometric value averaged for both eyes of individuals with PPCD and controls; and the correlation of ZEB1 mutation with keratometric value.ZEB1 coding region mutations were identified in 7 of the 27 affected individuals. Ten of the 38 individuals (26.3%) had average keratometric values greater than 48.0 D OU: 10 of 27 individuals with PPCD (37.0%; 6 of 7 individuals with ZEB1 mutations [85.7%] and 4 of 20 individuals without ZEB1 mutations [20.0%]) and 0 of 11 unaffected individuals (P = .04 for unaffected vs affected individuals; P = .004 for individuals with PPCD with vs without ZEB1 mutation). The mean keratometric value of each eye of affected individuals (48.2 D) was significantly greater than that of each eye of unaffected family members (44.1 D) (P = .03). Affected individuals with ZEB1 mutations demonstrated a mean keratometric value of 53.3 D, which was significantly greater than that of affected individuals without ZEB1 mutations (46.5 D; P = .004). Fluorescence immunohistochemistry demonstrated ZEB1 expression in keratocyte nuclei.Abnormally steep corneal curvatures are identified in 37% of all individuals with PPCD and 86% of affected individuals with PPCD secondary to ZEB1 mutations. ZEB1 is present in keratocyte nuclei, suggesting a role for ZEB1 in keratocyte function. Therefore, ZEB1 may play a role in both corneal stromal and endothelial development and function, and PPCD should be considered both an endothelial dystrophy and an ectatic disorder.
Project description:Posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) is a dominantly inherited disorder of the corneal endothelium that has been associated with mutations in the zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 gene (ZEB1) gene in approximately one-third of affected families. While the corneal dystrophies have traditionally been considered isolated disorders of the corneal endothelium, we have recently identified two cases of maldevelopment of the corpus callosum in unrelated individuals with PPCD. The proband of the first family was diagnosed shortly after birth with agenesis of the corpus callosum and several other developmental abnormalities. Karyotype, FISH and whole genome copy number variant analyses were normal. She was subsequently diagnosed with PPCD, prompting screening of the ZEB1 gene, which identified a novel deletion (c.449delG; p.(Gly150Alafs*36)) present in the heterozygous state that was not identified in either unaffected parent. The proband of the second family was diagnosed several months after birth with thinning of the corpus callosum and PPCD. Whole genome copy number variant analysis revealed a 1.79 Mb duplication of 17q12 in the proband and her father and brother, neither of whom had PPCD. ZEB1 sequencing identified a novel deletion (c.1913-1914delCA; p.(Ser638Cysfs*5)) present in the heterozygous state, which was also identified in the proband's affected mother. Thus, we report the first two cases of the association of PPCD with a developmental abnormality of the brain, in this case maldevelopment of the corpus callosum.
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.