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Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 24;9(1):753. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37277-0.

A Combined Targeted and Whole Exome Sequencing Approach Identified Novel Candidate Genes Involved in Heritable Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
2
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology & Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
3
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology & Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy. marco.sazzini2@unibo.it.
4
National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems (NIBB), Rome, Italy.

Abstract

The pathogenesis of idiopathic and heritable forms of pulmonary arterial hypertension is still not completely understood, even though several causative genes have been proposed, so that a third of patients remains genetically unresolved. Here we applied a multistep approach to extend identification of the genetic bases of such a disease by searching for novel candidate genes/pathways. Twenty-eight patients belonging to 18 families were screened for BMPR2 mutations and BMPR2-negative samples were tested for 12 additional candidate genes by means of a specific massive parallel sequencing-based assay. Finally, whole exome sequencing was performed on four patients showing no mutations at known disease genes, as well as on their unaffected parents. In addition to EIF2AK4, which has been already suggested to be associated with pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, we identified the novel candidate genes ATP13A3, CD248, EFCAB4B, involved in lung vascular remodeling that represent reliable drivers contributing to the disease according to their biological functions/inheritance patterns. Therefore, our results suggest that combining gene panel and whole exome sequencing provides new insights useful for the genetic diagnosis of familial and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, as well as for the identification of biological pathways that will be potentially targeted by new therapeutic strategies.

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