In the last few years it has become clear that polycystic kidney diseases (PKDs) are ciliopathies, due to mutations in cilia related genes. In this proposal we will study two apparently recessively inherited PKDs, autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD) and Meckel syndrome (MKS). In ARPKD, the disease is largely restricted to the kidney and liver, while MKS is a lethal, syndromic PKD in which central nervous system and digital defects are typically also found. ARPKD is considered a genetically homogenous disorder due to PKHD1 mutation, although studies of large populations with an ARPKD-like phenotype have found PKHD1 mutations in only about one half of individuals. MKS is genetically more complex with 11 genes identified and alleles at other loci also thought to play a role;possible oligogenic inheritance. Although on the surface these diseases appear very different, recent publications and our preliminary data suggest genetic overlap. Hypomorphic mutations in the autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) gene, PKD1, have been shown to cause an ARPKD-like disease and exon enrichment and NGS has shown PKHD1, and the related PKHDL1, alleles in MKS patients. The purpose of this study is to employ cutting-edge genetic methods to understand the full genetic load in these two disorders, while animal models will be utilized to determine the significance of detected variants, plus the strength of epistatic effects between ciliopathy genes. In the first aim a total of ~100 MKS and ~200 ARPKD-like families, that are genetically unresolved, will be analyzed by exon enrichment and next-generation sequencing of ciliopathy and other ciliogenes, plus, when appropriate, whole exome analysis. Variants will be assessed bioinformatically and in Aim 2 cellular systems and the model organisms C. elegans and zebrafish employed to assess the significance of the most promising variants. The concept that the phenotype found in MKS and some ARPKD-like families is due to alleles at more than one gene, that epistasis plays a central role, will be tested in Aim 3 employing C. elegans, zebrafish and interbreeding of mouse models of ciliopathies.
The final aim will explore the role of the PKHD1 paralog and suspected ciliogene, PKHDL1, by developing knock- in/out mouse models to characterize expression and the phenotype associated with disruption of all transcripts. Together these studies will provide a much clearer view of the etiology of ARPKD-like disease and MKS and clarify the true complexity of these """"""""simple"""""""" genetic diseases.
Polycystic kidney diseases (PKD) are a group of inherited disorders that result in cyst development in the kidney resulting in renal failure and a range of morbidities beyond the kidney. In this grant we will study two severe forms of PKD, ARPKD and Meckel syndrome (MKS) that result in utero and neonatal disease, and often result in death. These have been considered recessively inherited disorders but with new genetic tools we are uncovering more genetic complexity. Here we will determine the genetic cause of these disorders, not only in terms of the disease causing mutations but also identifying other genes that may modify the way the disease presents and progresses. Various cellular and model animal systems will be employed to determine the importance of DNA variants identified and genetic interaction between genes. These studies will be of diagnostic and prognostic importance in these disorders and help to understand the true complexity of simple genetic diseases.
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