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  • Vakkilainen, Svetlana; Constantini, Alice; Taskinen, Mervi; Wartiovaara-Kautto, Ulla; Mäkitie, Outi (2019)
  • Trotta, Luca; Hautala, Timo; Hamalainen, Sari; Syrjanen, Jaana; Viskari, Hanna; Almusa, Henrikki; Lepisto, Maija; Kaustio, Meri; Porkka, Kimmo; Palotie, Aarno; Seppanen, Mikko; Saarela, Janna (2016)
    Antibody class-switch recombination and somatic hypermutation critically depend on the function of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID). Rare variants in its gene AICDA have been reported to cause autosomal recessive AID deficiency (autosomal recessive hyper-IgM syndrome type 2 (HIGM2)). Exome sequencing of a multicase Finnish family with an HIGM2 phenotype identified a rare, homozygous, variant (c.416T > C, p.(Met139Thr)) in the AICDA gene, found to be significantly enriched in the Finnish population compared with other populations of European origin (38.56-fold, P <0.001). The population history of Finland, characterized by a restricted number of founders, isolation and several population bottlenecks, has caused enrichment of certain rare disease-causing variants and losses of others, as part of a phenomenon called the Finnish Disease Heritage. Accordingly, rare founder mutations cause the majority of observed Finnish cases in these mostly autosomal recessive disorders that consequently are more frequent in Finland than elsewhere. Screening of all currently known Finnish patients with an HIGM2 phenotype showed them to be homozygous for p.(Met139Thr). All the Finnish p.(Met139Thr) carriers with available data on their geographic descent originated from the eastern and northeastern parts of Finland. They were observed to share more of their genome identity by descent (IBD) than Finns in general (P <0.001), and they all carried a 207.5-kb ancestral haplotype containing the variant. In conclusion, the identified p.(Met139Thr) variant is significantly enriched in Finns and explains all thus far found AID deficiencies in Finland.
  • Costantini, Alice; Muurinen, Mari H.; Mäkitie, Outi (2021)
    In the last decade, the widespread use of massively parallel sequencing has considerably boosted the number of novel gene discoveries in monogenic skeletal diseases with short stature. Defects in genes playing a role in the maintenance and function of the growth plate, the site of longitudinal bone growth, are a well-known cause of skeletal diseases with short stature. However, several genes involved in extracellular matrix composition or maintenance as well as genes partaking in various biological processes have also been characterized. This review aims to describe the latest genetic findings in spondyloepiphyseal dysplasias, spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasias, and some monogenic forms of isolated short stature. Some examples of novel genetic mechanisms leading to skeletal conditions with short stature will be described. Strategies on how to successfully characterize novel skeletal phenotypes with short stature and genetic approaches to detect and validate novel gene-disease correlations will be discussed in detail. In summary, we review the latest gene discoveries underlying skeletal diseases with short stature and emphasize the importance of characterizing novel molecular mechanisms for genetic counseling, for an optimal management of the disease, and for therapeutic innovations.
  • Vakkilainen, Svetlana; Skoog, Tiina; Einarsdottir, Elisabet; Middleton, Anna; Pekkinen, Minna; Öhman, Tiina; Katayama, Shintaro; Krjutškov, Kaarel; Kovanen, Panu E.; Varjosalo, Markku; Lindqvist, Arne; Kere, Juha; Mäkitie, Outi (2019)
    RMRP was the first non-coding nuclear RNA gene implicated in a disease. Its mutations cause cartilage-hair hypoplasia (CHH), an autosomal recessive skeletal dysplasia with growth failure, immunodeficiency, and a high risk for malignancies. This study aimed to gain further insight into the role of RNA Component of Mitochondrial RNA Processing Endoribonuclease (RMRP) in cellular physiology and disease pathogenesis. We combined transcriptome analysis with single-cell analysis using fibroblasts from CHH patients and healthy controls. To directly assess cell cycle progression, we followed CHH fibroblasts by pulse-labeling and time-lapse microscopy. Transcriptome analysis identified 35 significantly upregulated and 130 downregulated genes in CHH fibroblasts. The downregulated genes were significantly connected to the cell cycle. Multiple other pathways, involving regulation of apoptosis, bone and cartilage formation, and lymphocyte function, were also affected, as well as PI3K-Akt signaling. Cell-cycle studies indicated that the CHH cells were delayed specifically in the passage from G2 phase to mitosis. Our findings expand the mechanistic understanding of CHH, indicate possible pathways for therapeutic intervention and add to the limited understanding of the functions of RMRP.