MedGenome Labs Ltd. – Publications | MedGenome | MedGenome - Part 4


At MedGenome, we are deeply focused on continuous innovation, and publishing our findings for the larger benefit of the genetic testing community. Read through our publications for details of our latest work.

Date: October 11, 2019

This study investigated the potential of vitamin K1 as a novel lens aldose reductase inhibitor in a streptozotocin-induced diabetic cataract model. A single, intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ) (35 mg/kg) resulted in hyperglycemia, activation of lens aldose reductase 2 (ALR2) and accumulation of sorbitol in eye lens which could have contributed to diabetic cataract formation. However, when diabetic rats were treated with vitamin K1 (5 mg/kg, sc, twice a week) it resulted in lowering of blood glucose and inhibition of lens aldose reductase activity because of which there was a corresponding decrease in lens sorbitol accumulation. These results suggest that vitamin K1 is a potent inhibitor of lens aldose reductase enzyme and we made an attempt to understand the nature of this inhibition using crude lens homogenate as well as recombinant human aldose reductase enzyme. Our results from protein docking and spectrofluorimetric analyses clearly show that vitamin K1 is a potent inhibitor of ALR2 and this inhibition is primarily mediated by the blockage of DL-glyceraldehyde binding to ALR2. At the same time docking also suggests that vitamin K1 overlaps at the NADPH binding site of ALR2, which probably shows that vitamin K1 could possibly bind both these sites in the enzyme. Another deduction that we can derive from the experiments performed with pure protein is that ALR2 has three levels of affinity, first for NADPH, second for vitamin K1 and third for the substrate DL-glyceraldehyde. This was evident based on the dose-dependency experiments performed with both NADPH and DL-glyceraldehyde. Overall, our study shows the potential of vitamin K1 as an ALR2 inhibitor which primarily blocks enzyme activity by inhibiting substrate interaction of the enzyme. Further structural studies are needed to fully comprehend the exact nature of binding and inhibition of ALR2 by vitamin K1 that could open up possibilities of its therapeutic application.

Date: September 1, 2019

Proper vascular function is important for well-being of mother and growing fetus. VEGFTOTAL, and VEGF165b levels and its vascular endothelial complications in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) together with the association of inflammation and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are less studied. VEGF165b/VEGFTOTAL (VEGF RATIO) in GDM pregnant women was investigated in this study. Plasma VEGFTOTAL was lower in GDM (17.68 ± 1.30 pg/mL) compared to non-GDM (25.69 ± 1.40 pg/mL). VEGF165b, ICAM-1, and AGEs were higher in GDM (9.9 ± 1.4 pg/mL, 201.04 ± 7.85 µg/mL, and 10.40 ± 0.98 µg/mL, respectively) and lower in non-GDM (6.47 ± 0.70 pg/mL, 174.1 ± 7.11 µg/mL, and 4.71 ± 0.39 µg/mL, respectively). Compared to non GDM (0.25 ± 0.02), VEGF RATIO was higher in GDM (0.45 ± 0.04) and correlated with -ICAM-1 (r = 0.375, p < .001) and AGEs (r = 0.199, p < .05). Tertile stratification of VEGF RATIO implied that frequency of GDM increases with increasing tertiles of VEGF RATIO (p for trend <.001). Association of VEGF RATIO with GDM was significant even after adjusting for AGEs (OR = 1.279, CI = 1.118-1.462, p < .0010) but it lost its significance when adjusted for ICAM-1 (OR = 1.006, CI = 0.995-1.017, p = .308). VEGF RATIO plays an important role in GDM in association with vascular inflammation.

Date: August 21, 2019

Tobacco in its smoke and smokeless form are major risk factors for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). However, molecular alterations associated with smokeless tobacco exposure are poorly understood. In the Indian subcontinent, tobacco is predominantly consumed in chewing form. An understanding of molecular alterations associated with chewing tobacco exposure is vital for identifying molecular markers and potential targets. We developed an in vitro cellular model by exposing non-transformed esophageal epithelial cells to chewing tobacco over an eight-month period. Chronic exposure to chewing tobacco led to increase in cell proliferation, invasive ability and anchorage independent growth, indicating cell transformation. Molecular alterations associated with chewing tobacco exposure were characterized by carrying out exome sequencing and quantitative proteomic profiling of parental cells and chewing tobacco exposed cells. Quantitative proteomic analysis revealed increased expression of cancer stem cell markers in tobacco treated cells. In addition, tobacco exposed cells showed the Oxidative Phosphorylation (OXPHOS) phenotype with decreased expression of enzymes associated with glycolytic pathway and increased expression of a large number of mitochondrial proteins involved in electron transport chain as well as enzymes of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Electron micrographs revealed increase in number and size of mitochondria. Based on these observations, we propose that chronic exposure of esophageal epithelial cells to tobacco leads to cancer stem cell-like phenotype. These cells show the characteristic OXPHOS phenotype, which can be potentially targeted as a therapeutic strategy.

Date: August 1, 2019

Aim: The CYP2D6 gene is highly polymorphic and harbors population specific alleles that define its predominant metabolizer phenotype. This study aimed to identify polymorphisms in Indian population owing to scarcity of CYP2D6 data in this population. Materials & methods: The CYP2D6 gene was resequenced in 105 south Indians using next generation sequencing technology and haplotypes were reconstructed. Results & conclusion: Four novel missense variants have been designated as CYP2D6*110, *111, *112 and *113. The most common alleles were CYP2D6*1 (42%), *2 (32%), and *41 (12.3%) and diplotypes were CYP2D6*1/*2 (26%), *1/*1 (11%), *2/*41 (10%) and *1/*41 (7%) accounting for high incidence of extensive metabolizers in Indians.

Date: July 28, 2019

Wild pedigrees are critical for better understanding mating systems and inbreeding scenarios to inform conservation strategies for endangered species. To delineate pedigrees in wild populations, many identified individuals will have to be genotyped at thousands of loci, mostly from non-invasive samples. This requires us to quantify (a) the most common non-invasive sample available from identified individuals (b) the ability to acquire genome-wide data from such samples, and (c) the quality of such genome-wide data, and its ability to reconstruct relationships between animals within a population. We followed identified individuals from a wild endangered tiger population, and found that shed hair samples were most common compared to fecal samples, carcasses and opportunistic invasive samples. DNA extraction, library preparation and whole genome sequencing resulted in between 126,129 and 512,689 SNPs from across the genome for four such samples. Exploratory population genetic analyses revealed that these data were free of holistic biases, and could recover expected population structure and relatedness. Mitochondrial genomes recovered matrilineages as suggested by long-term monitoring data. Even with these few samples, we were able to uncover the matrilineage for an individual with unknown ancestry. In summary, we demonstrated that non-invasive shed hair samples yielded adequate quality/quantity DNA AND in conjunction with sensitive library preparation methods, provided reliable data from hundreds of thousands of SNPs across the genome. This makes shed hair are an effective resource for studying individual-based genetics of elusive endangered species.

Date: June 1, 2019

We describe an 11-month-old boy who presented with recurrent respiratory infections from 6 months of age. His elder sister died at 10 months with severe septicemia and meningitis. The boy had a mild motor delay. Investigations revealed T cell deficiency and very low serum uric acid suggestive of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) deficiency – a rare variant of severe combined immunodeficiency disease. A novel homozygous missense mutation of c.597C>G(p. S199R) of exon 5 on PNP gene confirmed the diagnosis. We suggest that uric acid should be a part of investigation profile for unidentified motor delay, as recurrent infections can be late presentation.

Date: May 29, 2019

“Background: Urothelial carcinoma is the most common malignancy of the bladder and is primarily considered as a disease of the elderly. Studies that address bladder tumor occurrence in young age groups are rare.
Case Presentation: A 19-year-old male presented with a gross total painless hematuria. A histology after biopsy revealed a high-grade transitional cell carcinoma with lymph node metastasis. The patient succumbed to the disease on day 72 of the treatment. Here, we used whole-exome sequencing of a paired tumor-normal sample to identify the somatic mutations and the possible targets of treatment.
Result: We predicted eight potential driver mutations (TP53 p.V157L, RB1 c.1498+1G>T, MED23 p.L1127P, CTNND1 p.S713C, NSD1 p.P2212A, MED17 p.G556V, DPYD p.Q814K, and SPEN p.S1078*). In addition, we predicted deleterious mutations in genes involved in the ion channels (CACNA1S p.E1581K, CACNG1 p.P71T, CACNG8 p.G404W, GRIN2B p.A1096T, KCNC1 p.G16V, KCNH4 p.E874K, KCNK9 p.R131S, P2RX7 p.A296D, and SCN8A p.R558H).
Conclusions: Most likely, mutations in genes involved in ion channels may be responsible for the aggressive behavior of a tumor. Ion channels are the second largest class of drug targets, and may thus serve as a putative potential therapeutic target in advanced stage urothelial carcinoma.”””

Date: May 15, 2019

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is one among the supreme metabolic issues observed in history since 3000 BCE and has gained much interest recently due to the increasing number of diabetic cases every year. Glucose is considered as the most iconic biomarker for diabetes detection, and fluctuations in its levels are related to different stages of DM. However, methylglyoxal (MG) is evolving as a diabetes marker since it plays a significant role in biological processes Apart from DM, MG causes several metabolic irregularities like hypertension, neuropathy, nephropathy, oxidative stress. Besides, MG is a predominant precursor of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which result in protein dysfunction, glycation of vascular tissues and aging. In this background, detection of MG has much importance, and the design of smart models is desirable. MG formation, detoxification, and its glycation effects have paved the way for the development of detection strategies which are described in detail here. The direct and indirect methods of MG measurement have been established in the past. At present, techniques like high-performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, capillary electrophoresis, electrochemical biosensors have been used to quantify MG present in the samples. Here, we have tried to correlate the function of MG and detection strategies to explain the major challenges posed towards implementation of easy, efficient and accurate standardization.

Date: May 7, 2019

Purpleputtu (Oryza sativa ssp. indica cv. Purpleputtu) is a unique rice landrace from southern India that exhibits predominantly purple color. This study reports the underlying genetic complexity of the trait, associated domestication and de-domestication processes during its coevolution with present day cultivars. Along-with genome level allelic variations in the entire gene repertoire associated with the purple, red coloration of grain and other plant parts. Comparative genomic analysis using ‘a panel of 108 rice lines’ revealed a total of 3,200,951 variants including 67,774 unique variations in Purpleputtu (PP) genome. Multiple sequence alignment uncovered a 14 bp deletion in Rc (Red colored, a transcription factor of bHLH class) locus of PP, a key regulatory gene of anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway. Interestingly, this deletion in Rc gene is a characteristic feature of the present-day white pericarped rice cultivars. Phylogenetic analysis of Rc locus revealed a distinct clade showing proximity to the progenitor species Oryza rufipogon and O. nivara. In addition, PP genome exhibits a well conserved 4.5 Mbp region on chromosome 5 that harbors several loci associated with domestication of rice. Further, PP showed 1,387 unique when SNPs compared to 3,023 lines of rice (SNP-Seek database). The results indicate that PP genome is rich in allelic diversity and can serve as an excellent resource for rice breeding for a variety of agronomically important traits such as disease resistance, enhanced nutritional values, stress tolerance, and protection from harmful UV-B rays.

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