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Improving genetic diagnosis in Mendelian disease with transcriptome sequencing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ana Topf, Professor Volker Straub

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Abstract

© The Authors. Exome and whole-genome sequencing are becoming increasingly routine approaches in Mendelian disease diagnosis. Despite their success, the current diagnostic rate for genomic analyses across a variety of rare diseases is approximately 25 to 50%. We explore the utility of transcriptome sequencing [RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)] as a complementary diagnostic tool in a cohort of 50 patients with genetically undiagnosed rare muscle disorders. We describe an integrated approach to analyze patient muscle RNA-seq, leveraging an analysis framework focused on the detection of transcript-level changes that are unique to the patient compared to more than 180 control skeletal muscle samples. We demonstrate the power of RNA-seq to validate candidate splice-disrupting mutations and to identify splice-altering variants in both exonic and deep intronic regions, yielding an overall diagnosis rate of 35%. We also report the discovery of a highly recurrent de novo intronic mutation in COL6A1 that results in a dominantly acting splice-gain event, disrupting the critical glycine repeat motif of the triple helical domain. We identify this pathogenic variant in a total of 27 genetically unsolved patients in an external collagen VI-like dystrophy cohort, thus explaining approximately 25% of patients clinically suggestive of having collagen VI dystrophy in whom prior genetic analysis is negative. Overall, this study represents a large systematic application of transcriptome sequencing to rare disease diagnosis and highlights its utility for the detection and interpretation of variants missed by current standard diagnostic approaches. 2017


Publication metadata

Author(s): Cummings BB, Marshall JL, Tukiainen T, Lek M, Donkervoort S, Foley AR, Bolduc V, Waddell LB, Sandaradura SA, O'Grady GL, Estrella E, Reddy HM, Zhao F, Weisburd B, Karczewski KJ, O'Donnell-Luria AH, Birnbaum D, Sarkozy A, Hu Y, Gonorazky H, Claeys K, Joshi H, Bournazos A, Oates EC, Ghaoui R, Davis MR, Laing NG, Topf A, Kang PB, Beggs AH, North KN, Straub V, Dowling JJ, Muntoni F, Clarke NF, Cooper ST, Bonnemann CG, MacArthur DG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Science Translational Medicine

Year: 2017

Volume: 9

Issue: 386

Online publication date: 19/04/2017

Acceptance date: 29/03/2017

ISSN (print): 1946-6234

ISSN (electronic): 1946-6242

Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science

URL: https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aal5209

DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aal5209


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