363 research outputs found

    Clinical profiling of MRD48 and functional characterization of two novel pathogenic RAC1 variants

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    : RAC1 is a member of the Rac/Rho GTPase subfamily within the RAS superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins, comprising 3 paralogs playing a critical role in actin cytoskeleton remodeling, cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. De novo missense variants in RAC1 are associated with a rare neurodevelopmental disorder (MRD48) characterized by DD/ID and brain abnormalities coupled with a wide range of additional features. Structural and functional studies have documented either a dominant negative or constitutively active behavior for a subset of mutations. Here, we describe two individuals with previously unreported de novo missense RAC1 variants. We functionally demonstrate their pathogenicity proving a gain-of-function (GoF) effect for both. By reviewing the clinical features of these two individuals and the previously published MRD48 subjects, we further delineate the clinical profile of the disorder, confirming its phenotypic variability. Moreover, we compare the main features of MRD48 with the neurodevelopmental disease caused by GoF variants in the paralog RAC3, highlighting similarities and differences. Finally, we review all previously reported variants in RAC proteins and in the closely related CDC42, providing an updated overview of the spectrum and hotspots of pathogenic variants affecting these functionally related GTPases

    The lived experience of depression: a bottom-up review co-written by experts by experience and academics

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    : We provide here the first bottom-up review of the lived experience of depression, co-written by experts by experience and academics. First-person accounts within and outside the medical field were screened and discussed in collaborative workshops involving numerous individuals with lived experience of depression, family members and carers, representing a global network of organizations. The material was enriched by phenomenologically informed perspectives and shared with all collaborators in a cloud-based system. The subjective world of depression was characterized by an altered experience of emotions and body (feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions, unable to experience positive emotions, stuck in a heavy aching body drained of energy, detached from the mind, the body and the world); an altered experience of the self (losing sense of purpose and existential hope, mismatch between the past and the depressed self, feeling painfully incarcerated, losing control over one's thoughts, losing the capacity to act on the world; feeling numb, empty, non-existent, dead, and dreaming of death as a possible escape route); and an altered experience of time (experiencing an alteration of vital biorhythms, an overwhelming past, a stagnation of the present, and the impossibility of the future). The experience of depression in the social and cultural context was characterized by altered interpersonal experiences (struggling with communication, feeling loneliness and estrangement, perceiving stigma and stereotypes), and varied across different cultures, ethnic or racial minorities, and genders. The subjective perception of recovery varied (feeling contrasting attitudes towards recovery, recognizing recovery as a journey, recognizing one's vulnerability and the need for professional help), as did the experience of receiving pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and social as well as physical health interventions. These findings can inform clinical practice, research and education. This journey in the lived experience of depression can also help us to understand the nature of our own emotions and feelings, what is to believe in something, what is to hope, and what is to be a living human being

    Case report: Expanding the phenotype of FOXP1-related intellectual disability syndrome and hyperkinetic movement disorder in differential diagnosis with epileptic seizures

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    ObjectiveWe aimed to report on previously unappreciated clinical features associated with FOXP1-related intellectual disability (ID) syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by global developmental delay, intellectual disability, and language delay, with or without autistic features.MethodsWe performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) to molecularly characterize an individual presenting with ID, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, behavioral problems, and facial dysmorphisms as major features.ResultsWES allowed us to identify a previously unreported de novo splice site variant, c.1429-1G>T (NM_032682.6), in the FOXP1 gene (OMIM*605515) as the causative event underlying the phenotype. Clinical reassessment of the patient and revision of the literature allowed us to refine the phenotype associated with FOXP1 haploinsufficiency, including hyperkinetic movement disorder and flat angiomas as associated features. Interestingly, the patient also has an asymmetric face and choanal atresia and a novel de novo variant of the CHD7 gene.ConclusionWe suggest that FOXP1-related ID syndrome may also predispose to the development of hyperkinetic movement disorders and flat angiomas. These features could therefore require specific management of this condition

    Revised gas-phase formation network of methyl cyanide: the origin of methyl cyanide and methanol abundance correlation in hot corinos

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    Methyl cyanide (CH3_3CN) is one of the most abundant and widely spread interstellar complex organic molecules (iCOMs). Several studies found that, in hot corinos, methyl cyanide and methanol abundances are correlated suggesting a chemical link, often interpreted as a synthesis of them on the interstellar grain surfaces. In this article, we present a revised network of the reactions forming methyl cyanide in the gas-phase. We carried out an exhaustive review of the gas-phase CH3_3CN formation routes, propose two new reactions and performed new quantum mechanics computations of several reactions. We found that 13 of the 15 reactions reported in the databases KIDA and UDfA have incorrect products and/or rate constants. The new corrected reaction network contains 10 reactions leading to methyl cyanide. We tested the relative importance of those reactions in forming CH3_3CN using our astrochemical model. We confirm that the radiative association of CH3+{_3}{^+} and HCN, forming CH3_{3}CNH+^{+}, followed by the electron recombination of CH3_{3}CNH+^{+}, is the most important CH3_3CN formation route in both cold and warm environments, notwithstanding that we significantly corrected the rate constants and products of both reactions. The two newly proposed reactions play an important role in warm environments. Finally, we found a very good agreement between the CH3_3CN predicted abundances with those measured in cold (∼\sim10 K) and warm (∼\sim90 K) objects. Unexpectedly, we also found a chemical link between methanol and methyl cyanide via the CH3+_{3}^{+} ion, which can explain the observed correlation between the CH3_3OH and CH3_3CN abundances measured in hot corinos.Comment: 24 pages, 19 figures, accepted in MNRA

    The Spectrum of Neurological and Sensory Abnormalities in Gaucher Disease Patients: A Multidisciplinary Study (SENOPRO)

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    Gaucher disease (GD) has been increasingly recognized as a continuum of phenotypes with variable neurological and sensory involvement. No study has yet specifically explored the spectrum of neuropsychiatric and sensory abnormalities in GD patients through a multidisciplinary approach. Abnormalities involving the nervous system, including sensory abnormalities, cognitive disturbances, and psychiatric comorbidities, have been identified in GD1 and GD3 patients. In this prospective study, named SENOPRO, we performed neurological, neuroradiological, neuropsychological, ophthalmological, and hearing assessments in 22 GD patients: 19 GD1 and 3 GD3. First, we highlighted a high rate of parkinsonian motor and non-motor symptoms (including high rates of excessive daytime sleepiness), especially in GD1 patients harboring severe glucocerebrosidase variants. Secondly, neuropsychological evaluations revealed a high prevalence of cognitive impairment and psychiatric disturbances, both in patients initially classified as GD1 and GD3. Thirdly, hippocampal brain volume reduction was associated with impaired short- and long-term performance in an episodic memory test. Fourthly, audiometric assessment showed an impaired speech perception in noise in the majority of patients, indicative of an impaired central processing of hearing, associated with high rates of slight hearing loss both in GD1 and GD3 patients. Finally, relevant structural and functional abnormalities along the visual system were found both in GD1 and GD3 patients by means of visual evoked potentials and optical coherence tomography. Overall, our findings support the concept of GD as a spectrum of disease subtypes, and support the importance of in-depth periodic monitoring of cognitive and motor performances, mood, sleep patterns, and sensory abnormalities in all patients with GD, independently from the patient’s initial classification

    Clinical variability in DYNC2H1-related skeletal ciliopathies includes Ellis-van Creveld syndrome

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    : Deleterious variants of DYNC2H1 gene are associated with a wide spectrum of skeletal ciliopathies (SC). We used targeted parallel sequencing to analyze 25 molecularly unsolved families with different SCs. Deleterious DYNC2H1 variants were found in six sporadic patients and two monozygotic (MZ) twins. Clinical diagnoses included short rib-polydactyly type 3 in two cases, and asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy (ATD) in one case. Remarkably, clinical diagnosis fitted with EvC, mixed ATD/EvC and short rib-polydactyly/EvC phenotypes in three sporadic patients and the MZ twins. EvC/EvC-like features always occurred in compound heterozygotes sharing a previously unreported splice site change (c.6140-5A>G) or compound heterozygotes for two missense variants. These results expand the DYNC2H1 mutational repertoire and its clinical spectrum, suggesting that EvC may be occasionally caused by DYNC2H1 variants presumably acting as hypomorphic alleles

    A Single-Molecule Bioelectronic Portable Array for Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer Precursors

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    A cohort of 47 patients is screened for pancreatic cancer precursors with a portable 96-well bioelectronic sensing-array for single-molecule assay in cysts fluid and blood plasma, deployable at point-of-care (POC). Pancreatic cancer precursors are mucinous cysts diagnosed with a sensitivity of at most 80% by state-of-the-art cytopathological molecular analyses (e.g., KRAS(mut) DNA). Adding the simultaneous assay of proteins related to malignant transformation (e.g., MUC1 and CD55) is deemed essential to enhance diagnostic accuracy. The bioelectronic array proposed here, based on single-molecule-with-a-large-transistor (SiMoT) technology, can assay both nucleic acids and proteins at the single-molecule limit-of-identification (LOI) (1% of false-positives and false-negatives). It comprises an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-like 8 x 12-array organic-electronics disposable cartridge with an electrolyte-gated organic transistor sensor array, and a reusable reader, integrating a custom Si-IC chip, operating via software installed on a USB-connected smart device. The cartridge is complemented by a 3D-printed sensing gate cover plate. KRAS(mut), MUC1, and CD55 biomarkers either in plasma or cysts-fluid from 5 to 6 patients at a time, are multiplexed at single-molecule LOI in 1.5 h. The pancreatic cancer precursors are classified via a machine-learning analysis resulting in at least 96% diagnostic-sensitivity and 100% diagnostic-specificity. This preliminary study opens the way to POC liquid-biopsy-based early diagnosis of pancreatic-cancer precursors in plasma

    Reconstructing landscapes through lithics. Raw material acquisition strategies and prehistoric mobility in central Italy: new data from Grotta Battifratta (RI)

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    Throughout Prehistory, humans have adapted to the natural environment shaping their coping strategies with the ecosystem. Tracing ancient movement is a key point to detect human interactions with the environment and adaptive mechanisms. Reconstructing past human routes means, indeed, to comprehend the ancient landscape as it was known and perceived and, consequently, its exploitation. Here, we will discuss the role of lithic data in investigating territorial behavior. Lithics are potentially informative of various aspects of ancient groups as they played an essential role during Prehistory. Siliceous rocks were diffusely exploited to produce stone artifacts and humans developed different supplying strategies to acquire raw materials. Therefore, human groups were deeply aware of the ecosystem they lived in. As a result, characterization and provenance analyses offer an interpretative tool to archaeologists to investigate connectivity and human-environment relationships, revealing to what extent humans exploited the surrounding ecosystem. These theoretical criteria have been applied through a geoarchaeological approach to the investigation of the Sabina region (northern Latium, central Italy), whose raw material sources are still unknown. Non-destructive petrographic analyses have been run on the lithic assemblage of Grotta Battifratta (RI), a cave site showing a long-term occupation from the upper Pleistocene on. The Neolithic sample suggests the exploitation of different siliceous rocks, whose variability has been analyzed using different methods with the aim of identifying raw material sources. The identification of lithic outcrops and deposits will help defining site-catchment areas, linking the site to a larger territory in order to trace spatial mobility and reconstruct the ancient landscape exploited during the Neolithic peopling of the region
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