Neural tube defects (NTDs), primarily spina bifida and anencephaly, arise from a complex interplay of multiple gene interactions and environmental exposures. After 30 years of clinical and basic research, the field remains unable to accurately predict the risk for an individual couple of having a child affected by NTD, how folic acid (FA) works to prevent NTDs, whether or what dose of FA is likely provide effective prevention for them or whether there is another nutrient/supplement or intervention that would provide greater benefit The recent confluence of information from genetic mouse models, capabilities of molecular biological and biochemical detection in embryonic systems and advances in genomics and computational genetics now provides sufficient power to successfully address this complex genetic disorder. Project 1 will test the following hypotheses: 1. that combinations of rare variant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) will display associations useful for the definition of individual NTD risk in humans, and 2. that recognition of interactions between these genetic patterns with environmental conditions, including FA intake and factors common to inflammation or oxidative/nitrosative stress, can further increase their predictive value. This project will use deep resequencing of NTD patient DNA, targeted to human counterparts of some 1,000 genes implicated in NTD pathogenesis by clinical and animal model studies, to identify rare variant alleles that are overrepresented in NTD patients. These will be used to design custom SNP assays for screening larger patient numbers for analyses of single gene and pair-wise associations with NTD. Computational modeling will assess the potential impact of NTD associated SNPs on key developmental and metabolic pathways. The functional significance of SNP associations in humans will be functionally tested first for impact on Wnt/PCP, FA metabolism and oxidative/nitrosative stress using in vitro and mouse systems assays that will also be used to validate and inform computational modeling. Because the overt NTD phenotypes are readily recognized in humans and experimental animals, NTDs may well be the first complex genetic disorder for which gene-gene and gene-environment interactions can be understood in depth. Progress made for this disorder can provide useful analytical tools for identifying molecular network interactions relevant to later-onset complex genetic disorders, like schizophrenia and autism.

Public Health Relevance

This Program will provide the most comprehensive translational information to date toward the understanding of human NTD risk and prevention. It could also serve as a model strategy for investigating the involvement of FA metabolism and oxidative stress in other diseases, including complex genetic disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, thought to be subject to gene-environment interactions.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
5P01HD067244-04
Application #
8687505
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
Program Officer
Henken, Deborah B
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Department
Neurology
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
City
New York
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
10065
Hansler, Alex; Chen, Qiuying; Ma, Yuliang et al. (2016) Untargeted metabolite profiling reveals that nitric oxide bioynthesis is an endogenous modulator of carotenoid biosynthesis in Deinococcus radiodurans and is required for extreme ionizing radiation resistance. Arch Biochem Biophys 589:38-52
Akimova, Darya; Wlodarczyk, Bogdan J; Lin, Ying et al. (2016) Metabolite profiling of whole murine embryos reveals metabolic perturbations associated with maternal valproate-induced neural tube closure defects. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol :
Denny, Kerina J; Kelly, Christina F; Kumar, Vinod et al. (2016) Autoantibodies against homocysteinylated protein in a mouse model of folate deficiency-induced neural tube defects. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol 106:201-7
Ross, M Elizabeth; Mason, Christopher E; Finnell, Richard H (2016) Genomic approaches to the assessment of human spina bifida risk. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol :
Chen, Xiaoli; An, Yu; Gao, Yonghui et al. (2016) Rare Deleterious PARD3 Variants in the aPKC-Binding Region are Implicated in the Pathogenesis of Human Cranial Neural Tube Defects via Disrupting Apical Tight Junction Formation. Hum Mutat :
Mitchell, Emma; Klein, Shifra L; Argyropoulos, Kimon V et al. (2016) Behavioural traits propagate across generations via segregated iterative-somatic and gametic epigenetic mechanisms. Nat Commun 7:11492
Lei, Yunping; Finnell, Richard H (2016) New Techniques for the Study of Neural Tube Defects. Adv Tech Biol Med 4:
Shawlot, William; Vazquez-Chantada, Mercedes; Wallingford, John B et al. (2015) Rfx2 is required for spermatogenesis in the mouse. Genesis :
Lei, Yunping; Fathe, Kristin; McCartney, Danielle et al. (2015) Rare LRP6 variants identified in spina bifida patients. Hum Mutat 36:342-9
Cantarel, Brandi L; Lei, Yunping; Weaver, Daniel et al. (2015) Analysis of archived residual newborn screening blood spots after whole genome amplification. BMC Genomics 16:602

Showing the most recent 10 out of 38 publications