Premature fusion of the cranial sutures (craniosynostosis), affecting 1 in 2,000 newborns, is treated surgically in infancy to prevent adverse neurologic outcomes. To identify mutations contributing to common non-syndromic midline (sagittal and metopic) craniosynostosis, we performed exome sequencing of 132 parent-offspring trios and 59 additional probands. Thirteen probands (7%) had damaging de novo or rare transmitted mutations in SMAD6, an inhibitor of BMP - induced osteoblast differentiation (P < 10-20). SMAD6 mutations nonetheless showed striking incomplete penetrance (<60%). Genotypes of a common variant near BMP2 that is strongly associated with midline craniosynostosis explained nearly all the phenotypic variation in these kindreds, with highly significant evidence of genetic interaction between these loci via both association and analysis of linkage. This epistatic interaction of rare and common variants defines the most frequent cause of midline craniosynostosis and has implications for the genetic basis of other diseases.
Yale Center for Mendelian GenomicsPublicly available at the dbGaP (accession no: phs000744).
- Kaya Bilguvar
- Irina Tikhonova
- Shrikant Mane
- Eric D Brooks
- John A Persing
- Andrew T Timberlake
- Samir Zaidi
- Andrew T Timberlake
- Jungmin Choi
- Samir Zaidi
- Carol Nelson-Williams
- Erin Loring
- Richard P Lifton
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants or their parents provided written informed consent to participate in a study of genetic causes of craniosynostosis in their family. Written consent was obtained for publication of patient photographs. The study protocol was approved by the Yale Human Investigation Committee Institutional Review Board.
- David Ginsburg, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan, United States
© 2016, Timberlake et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Alternative polyadenylation yields many mRNA isoforms whose 3’ termini occur disproportionately in clusters within 3’ untranslated regions. Previously, we showed that profiles of poly(A) site usage are regulated by the rate of transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase (Pol) II (Geisberg et al., 2020). Pol II derivatives with slow elongation rates confer an upstream-shifted poly(A) profile, whereas fast Pol II strains confer a downstream-shifted poly(A) profile. Within yeast isoform clusters, these shifts occur steadily from one isoform to the next across nucleotide distances. In contrast, the shift between clusters – from the last isoform of one cluster to the first isoform of the next – is much less pronounced, even over large distances. GC content in a region 13–30 nt downstream from isoform clusters correlates with their sensitivity to Pol II elongation rate. In human cells, the upstream shift caused by a slow Pol II mutant also occurs continuously at single nucleotide resolution within clusters but not between them. Pol II occupancy increases just downstream of poly(A) sites, suggesting a linkage between reduced elongation rate and cluster formation. These observations suggest that (1) Pol II elongation speed affects the nucleotide-level dwell time allowing polyadenylation to occur, (2) poly(A) site clusters are linked to the local elongation rate, and hence do not arise simply by intrinsically imprecise cleavage and polyadenylation of the RNA substrate, (3) DNA sequence elements can affect Pol II elongation and poly(A) profiles, and (4) the cleavage/polyadenylation and Pol II elongation complexes are spatially, and perhaps physically, coupled so that polyadenylation occurs rapidly upon emergence of the nascent RNA from the Pol II elongation complex.
To mount a protective response to infection while preventing hyperinflammation, gene expression in innate immune cells must be tightly regulated. Despite the importance of pre-mRNA splicing in shaping the proteome, its role in balancing immune outcomes remains understudied. Transcriptomic analysis of murine macrophage cell lines identified Serine/Arginine Rich Splicing factor 6 (SRSF6) as a gatekeeper of mitochondrial homeostasis. SRSF6-dependent orchestration of mitochondrial health is directed in large part by alternative splicing of the pro-apoptosis pore-forming protein BAX. Loss of SRSF6 promotes accumulation of BAX-κ, a variant that sensitizes macrophages to undergo cell death and triggers upregulation of interferon stimulated genes through cGAS sensing of cytosolic mitochondrial DNA. Upon pathogen sensing, macrophages regulate SRSF6 expression to control the liberation of immunogenic mtDNA and adjust the threshold for entry into programmed cell death. This work defines BAX alternative splicing by SRSF6 as a critical node not only in mitochondrial homeostasis but also in the macrophage’s response to pathogens.