Imperial College London

ProfessorStuartCook

Faculty of MedicineInstitute of Clinical Sciences

Visiting Professor
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 3313 1346stuart.cook

 
 
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Location

 

RF 16Sydney StreetRoyal Brompton Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

181 results found

Patel PN, Ito K, Willcox JAL, Haghighi A, Jang MY, Gorham JM, DePalma SR, Lam L, McDonough B, Johnson R, Lakdawala NK, Roberts A, Barton PJR, Cook SA, Fatkin D, Seidman CE, Seidman JGet al., 2021, Contribution of noncanonical splice variants to TTN truncating variants cardiomyopathy, Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, ISSN: 2574-8300

Background:Heterozygous TTN truncating variants cause 10% to 20% of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Although variants which disrupt canonical splice signals (ie, invariant dinucleotide of splice donor site, invariant dinucleotide of the splice acceptor site) at exon-intron junctions are readily recognized as TTN truncating variants, the effects of other nearby sequence variations on splicing and their contribution to disease is uncertain.Methods:Rare variants of unknown significance located in the splice regions of highly expressed TTN exons from 203 DCM cases, 3329 normal subjects, and clinical variant databases were identified. The effects of these variants on splicing were assessed using an in vitro splice assay.Results:Splice-altering variants of unknown significance were enriched in DCM cases over controls and present in 2% of DCM patients (P=0.002). Application of this method to clinical variant databases demonstrated 20% of similar variants of unknown significance in TTN splice regions affect splicing. Noncanonical splice-altering variants were most frequently located at position +5 of the donor site (P=4.4×107) and position -3 of the acceptor site (P=0.002). SpliceAI, an emerging in silico prediction tool, had a high positive predictive value (86%–95%) but poor sensitivity (15%–50%) for the detection of splice-altering variants. Alternate exons spliced out of most TTN transcripts frequently lacked the consensus base at +5 donor and −3 acceptor positions.Conclusions:Noncanonical splice-altering variants in TTN explain 1-2% of DCM and offer a 10-20% increase in the diagnostic power of TTN sequencing in this disease. These data suggest rules that may improve efforts to detect splice-altering variants in other genes and may explain the low percent splicing observed for many alternate TTN exons.

Journal article

Dong J, Viswanathan S, Adami E, Schafer S, Kuthubudeen FF, Widjaja AA, Cook SAet al., 2021, The pro-regenerative effects of HyperIL6 in drug induced liver injury are unexpectedly due to competitive inhibition of IL11 signaling., Elife, Vol: 10

It is generally accepted that IL6-mediated STAT3 signaling in hepatocytes, mediated via glycoprotein 130 (gp130; IL6ST), is beneficial and that the synthetic IL6:IL6ST fusion protein (HyperIL6) promotes liver regeneration. Recently, autocrine IL11 activity that also acts via IL6ST but uses ERK rather than STAT3 to signal, was found to be hepatotoxic. Here we examined whether the beneficial effects of HyperIL6 could reflect unappreciated competitive inhibition of IL11-dependent IL6ST signaling. In human and mouse hepatocytes, HyperIL6 reduced N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP)-induced cell death independent of STAT3 activation and instead, dose-dependently, inhibited IL11-related signaling and toxicities. In mice, expression of HyperIl6 reduced ERK activation and promoted STAT3-independent hepatic regeneration (PCNA, Cyclin D1, Ki67) following administration of either IL11 or APAP. Inhibition of putative intrinsic IL6 trans-signaling had no effect on liver regeneration in mice. Following APAP, mice deleted for Il11 exhibited spontaneous liver repair but HyperIl6, despite robustly activating STAT3, had no effect on liver regeneration in this strain. These data show that synthetic IL6ST binding proteins such as HyperIL6 can have unexpected, on-target effects and suggest IL11, not IL6, as important for liver regeneration.

Journal article

Widjaja AA, Dong J, Adami E, Viswanathan S, Ng B, Pakkiri LS, Chothani SP, Singh BK, Lim WW, Zhou J, Shekeran SG, Tan J, Lim SY, Goh J, Wang M, Holgate R, Hearn A, Felkin LE, Yen PM, Dear JW, Drum CL, Schafer S, Cook SAet al., 2021, Redefining IL11 as a regeneration-limiting hepatotoxin and therapeutic target in acetaminophen-induced liver injury, SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1946-6234

Journal article

Adami E, Viswanathan S, Widjaja AA, Ng B, Chothani S, Zhihao N, Tan J, Lio PM, George BL, Altunoglu U, Ghosh K, Paleja BS, Schafer S, Reversade B, Albani S, Ling ALH, O'Reilly S, Cook SAet al., 2021, IL11 is elevated in systemic sclerosis and IL11-dependent ERK signaling underlies TGFβ-mediated activation of dermal fibroblasts., Rheumatology (Oxford)

OBJECTIVES: Interleukin 11 (IL11) is highly upregulated in skin and lung fibroblasts from patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Here we tested whether IL11 is mechanistically linked with activation of human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) from patients with SSc or controls. METHODS: We measured serum IL11 levels in volunteers and patients with early diffuse SSc and manipulated IL11 signalling in HDFs using gain- and loss-of-function approaches that we combined with molecular and cellular phenotyping. RESULTS: In patients with SSc, serum IL11 levels are elevated as compared to healthy controls. All transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) isoforms induced IL11 secretion from HDFs, which highly express IL11RA and the gp130 co-receptor, suggestive of an autocrine loop of IL11 activity in HDFs. IL11 stimulated ERK activation in HDFs and resulted in HDF-to-myofibroblast transformation and extracellular matrix secretion. The pro-fibrotic action of IL11 in HDFs appeared unrelated to STAT3 activity, independent of TGFβ upregulation and was not associated with phosphorylation of SMAD2/3. Inhibition of IL11 signaling using either a neutralizing antibody against IL11 or siRNA against IL11RA reduced TGFβ-induced HDF proliferation, matrix production and cell migration, which was phenocopied by pharmacologic inhibition of ERK. CONCLUSIONS: These data reveal that autocrine IL11-dependent ERK activity alone, or downstream of TGFβ stimulation, promotes fibrosis phenotypes in dermal fibroblasts and suggest IL11 as a potential therapeutic target in SSc.

Journal article

Whiffin N, Karczewski KJ, Zhang X, Chothani S, Smith MJ, Evans DG, Roberts AM, Quaife NM, Schafer S, Rackham O, Alfoeldi J, O'Donnell-Luria AH, Francioli LC, Armean IM, Aguilar Salinas CA, Cook SA, Barton PJR, MacArthur DG, Ware JSet al., 2021, Characterising the loss-of-function impact of 5 ' untranslated region variants in 15,708 individuals (vol 11, 2523, 2020), Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-1, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

de Marvao A, McGurk KA, Zheng SL, Thanaj M, Bai W, Duan J, Biffi C, Mazzarotto F, Statton B, Dawes TJW, Savioli N, Halliday BP, Xu X, Buchan RJ, Baksi AJ, Quinlan M, Tokarczuk P, Tayal U, Francis C, Whiffin N, Theotokis PI, Zhang X, Jang M, Berry A, Pantazis A, Barton PJR, Rueckert D, Prasad SK, Walsh R, Ho CY, Cook SA, Ware JS, ORegan DPet al., 2021, Outcomes and phenotypic expression of rare variants in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy genes amongst UK Biobank participants, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is caused by rare variants in sarcomere-encoding genes, but little is known about the clinical significance of these variants in the general population.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>We compared outcomes and cardiovascular phenotypes in UK Biobank participants with whole exome sequencing stratified by sarcomere-encoding variant status.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>The prevalence of rare variants (allele frequency &lt;0.00004) in HCM-associated sarcomere-encoding genes in 200,584 participants was 2.9% (n=5,727; 1 in 35), of which 0.24% (n=474, 1 in 423) were pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants (SARC-P/LP). SARC-P/LP variants were associated with increased risk of death or major adverse cardiac events compared to controls (HR 1.68, 95% CI 1.37-2.06, p&lt;0.001), mainly due to heart failure (HR 4.40, 95% CI 3.22-6.02, p&lt;0.001) and arrhythmia (HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.18-2.03, p=0.002). In 21,322 participants with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, SARC-P/LP were associated with increased left ventricular maximum wall thickness (10.9±2.7 vs 9.4±1.6 mm, p&lt;0.001) and concentric remodelling (mass/volume ratio: 0.63±0.12 vs 0.58±0.09 g/mL, p&lt;0.001), but hypertrophy (≥13mm) was only present in 16% (n=7/43, 95% CI 7-31%). Other rare sarcomere-encoding variants had a weak effect on wall thickness (9.5±1.7 vs 9.4±1.6 mm, p=0.002) with no combined excess cardiovascular risk (HR 1.00 95% CI 0.92-1.08, p=0.9).</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusions</jats:title><jats:p>In the general population, SARC-P/LP variants have low aggregate penetrance for overt HCM bu

Working paper

Lim W-W, Corden B, Ye L, Viswanathan S, Widjaja AA, Xie C, Su L, Tee NGZ, Schafer S, Cook SAet al., 2021, Antibody-mediated neutralization of IL11 signalling reduces ERK activation and cardiac fibrosis in a mouse model of severe pressure overload, CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY, Vol: 48, Pages: 605-613, ISSN: 0305-1870

Journal article

Dong J, Viswanathan S, Adami E, Singh BK, Chothani SP, Ng B, Lim WW, Zhou J, Tripathi M, Ko NSJ, Shekeran SG, Tan J, Lim SY, Wang M, Lio PM, Yen PM, Schafer S, Cook SA, Widjaja AAet al., 2021, Hepatocyte-specific IL11 cis-signaling drives lipotoxicity and underlies the transition from NAFLD to NASH, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

Sweeney M, Corden B, Cook SA, 2020, Targeting cardiac fibrosis in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: mirage or miracle?, EMBO MOLECULAR MEDICINE, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1757-4676

Journal article

Pua CJ, Tham N, Chin CW, Walsh R, Khor CC, Toepfer CN, Repetti GG, Garfinkel AC, Ewoldt JF, Cloonan P, Chen CS, Lim SQ, Cai J, Loo LY, Kong SC, Chiang CWK, Whiffin N, de Marvao A, Lio PM, Hii AA, Yang CX, Le TT, Bylstra Y, Lim WK, Teo JX, Padilha K, Venturini G, Pan B, Govind R, Buchan RJ, Barton PJ, Tan P, Foo R, Yip JWL, Wong RCC, Chan WX, Pereira AC, Tang HC, Jamuar SS, Ware JS, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Cook SAet al., 2020, Genetic studies of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Singaporeans identify variants in TNNI3 and TNNT2 that are common in Chinese patients, Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine, Vol: 13, Pages: 424-434, ISSN: 2574-8300

Background - To assess the genetic architecture of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in patients of predominantly Chinese ancestry.Methods - We sequenced HCM disease genes in Singaporean patients (n=224) and Singaporean controls (n=3,634), compared findings with additional populations and Caucasian HCM cohorts (n=6,179) and performed in vitro functional studies.Results - Singaporean HCM patients had significantly fewer confidently interpreted HCM disease variants (Pathogenic (P)/Likely Pathogenic (LP):18%, p<0.0001) but an excess of variants of unknown significance (exVUS: 24%, p<0.0001), as compared to Caucasians (P/LP: 31%, exVUS: 7%). Two missense variants in thin filament encoding genes were commonly seen in Singaporean HCM (TNNI3:p.R79C, disease allele frequency (AF)=0.018; TNNT2:p.R286H, disease AF=0.022) and are enriched in Singaporean HCM when compared with Asian controls (TNNI3:p.R79C, Singaporean controls AF=0.0055, p=0.0057, gnomAD-East Asian (gnomAD-EA) AF=0.0062, p=0.0086; TNNT2:p.R286H, Singaporean controls AF=0.0017, p<0.0001, gnomAD-EA AF=0.0009, p<0.0001). Both these variants have conflicting annotations in ClinVar and are of low penetrance (TNNI3:p.R79C, 0.7%; TNNT2:p.R286H, 2.7%) but are predicted to be deleterious by computational tools. In population controls, TNNI3:p.R79C carriers had significantly thicker left ventricular walls compared to non-carriers while its etiological fraction is limited (0.70, 95% CI: 0.35-0.86) and thus TNNI3:p.R79C is considered a VUS. Mutant TNNT2:p.R286H iPSC-CMs show hypercontractility, increased metabolic requirements and cellular hypertrophy and the etiological fraction (0.93, 95% CI: 0.83-0.97) support the likely pathogenicity of TNNT2:p.R286H.Conclusions - As compared to Caucasians, Chinese HCM patients commonly have low penetrance risk alleles in TNNT2 or TNNI3 but exhibit few clinically actionable HCM variants overall. This highlights the need for greater study of HCM genetics in non-Caucasian pop

Journal article

Osimo E, Brugger S, De Marvao A, Pillinger T, Whitehurst T, Statton B, Quinlan M, Berry A, Cook SA, O'Regan D, Howes ODet al., 2020, Cardiac structure and function in schizophrenia: a cardiac MR imaging study, British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol: 217, Pages: 450-457, ISSN: 0007-1250

Background: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in schizophrenia. However, there has been little research directly examining cardiac function in schizophrenia.Aims:We investigated cardiac structure and function in patients with schizophrenia using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) after excluding medical and metabolic comorbidity. Methods:80 participants underwent CMR to determine biventricular volumes and function and measures of blood pressure, physical activity, and glycated haemoglobin levels. Patients and controls were matched for age, sex, ethnicity, and body surface area. Results:Patients with schizophrenia had significantly smaller indexed left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic volume (effect size, d=-0.82, p=0.001), LV end-systolic volume (d=-0.58, p=0.02), LV stroke volume (d=-0.85, p=0.001), right ventricular (RV) end-diastolic volume (d=-0.79, p=0.002), RV end-systolic volume (d=-0.58, p=0.02), and RV stroke volume (d=-0.87, p=0.001) but unaltered ejection fractions relative to controls. LV concentricity (d=0.73, p=0.003) and septal thickness (d=1.13, p<0.001) were significantly larger in schizophrenia. Mean concentricity in patients was above the reference range. The findings were largely unchanged after adjusting for smoking and/or exercise levels and were independent of medication dose and duration. Conclusions:Patients with schizophrenia show evidence of concentric cardiac remodelling compared to healthy controls of a similar age, sex, ethnicity, body surface area and blood pressure, and independent of smoking and activity levels. This could be contributing to the excess cardiovascular mortality observed in patients. Future studies should investigate the contribution of antipsychotic medication to these changes.

Journal article

Widjaja AA, Chothani SP, Cook SA, 2020, Different roles of interleukin 6 and interleukin 11 in the liver: implications for therapy, HUMAN VACCINES & IMMUNOTHERAPEUTICS, Vol: 16, Pages: 2357-2362, ISSN: 2164-5515

Journal article

Whiffin N, Karczewski KJ, Zhang X, Chothani S, Smith MJ, Evans DG, Roberts AM, Quaife NM, Schafer S, Rackham O, Alföldi J, O'Donnell-Luria AH, Francioli LC, Genome Aggregation Database Production Team, Genome Aggregation Database Consortium, Cook SA, Barton PJR, MacArthur DG, Ware JSet al., 2020, Characterising the loss-of-function impact of 5' untranslated region variants in 15,708 individuals, Nature Communications, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2041-1723

Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) are tissue-specific cis-regulators of protein translation. Isolated reports have shown that variants that create or disrupt uORFs can cause disease. Here, in a systematic genome-wide study using 15,708 whole genome sequences, we show that variants that create new upstream start codons, and variants disrupting stop sites of existing uORFs, are under strong negative selection. This selection signal is significantly stronger for variants arising upstream of genes intolerant to loss-of-function variants. Furthermore, variants creating uORFs that overlap the coding sequence show signals of selection equivalent to coding missense variants. Finally, we identify specific genes where modification of uORFs likely represents an important disease mechanism, and report a novel uORF frameshift variant upstream of NF2 in neurofibromatosis. Our results highlight uORF-perturbing variants as an under-recognised functional class that contribute to penetrant human disease, and demonstrate the power of large-scale population sequencing data in studying non-coding variant classes.

Journal article

Mazzarotto F, Tayal U, Buchan RJ, Midwinter W, Wilk A, Whiffin N, Govind R, Mazaika E, de Marvao A, Dawes T, Felkin LE, Ahmad M, Theotokis PI, Edwards E, Ing AI, Thomson KL, Chan LLH, Sim D, Baksi AJ, Pantazis A, Roberts AM, Watkins H, Funke B, O'Regan D, Olivotto I, Barton PJR, Prasad SK, Cook SA, Ware JS, Walsh Ret al., 2020, Re-evaluating the genetic contribution of monogenic dilated cardiomyopathy, Circulation, Vol: 141, Pages: 387-398, ISSN: 0009-7322

Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is genetically heterogeneous, with >100 purported disease genes tested in clinical laboratories. However, many genes were originally identified based on candidate-gene studies that did not adequately account for background population variation. Here we define the frequency of rare variation in 2538 DCM patients across protein-coding regions of 56 commonly tested genes and compare this to both 912 confirmed healthy controls and a reference population of 60,706 individuals in order to identify clinically interpretable genes robustly associated with dominant monogenic DCM.Methods: We used the TruSight Cardio sequencing panel to evaluate the burden of rare variants in 56 putative DCM genes in 1040 DCM patients and 912 healthy volunteers processed with identical sequencing and bioinformatics pipelines. We further aggregated data from 1498 DCM patients sequenced in diagnostic laboratories and the ExAC database for replication and meta-analysis.Results: Truncating variants in TTN and DSP were associated with DCM in all comparisons. Variants in MYH7, LMNA, BAG3, TNNT2, TNNC1, PLN, ACTC1, NEXN, TPM1 and VCL were significantly enriched in specific patient subsets, with the last 2 genes potentially contributing primarily to early-onset forms of DCM. Overall, rare variants in these 12 genes potentially explained 17% of cases in the outpatient clinic cohort representing a broad range of adult DCM patients and 26% of cases in the diagnostic referral cohort enriched in familial and early-onset DCM. Whilst the absence of a significant excess in other genes cannot preclude a limited role in disease, such genes have limited diagnostic value since novel variants will be uninterpretable and their diagnostic yield is minimal.Conclusion: In the largest sequenced DCM cohort yet described, we observe robust disease association with 12 genes, highlighting their importance in DCM and translating into high interpretability in diagnostic testing. The

Journal article

Mazzarotto F, Hawley M, Beltrami M, Beekman L, Boschi B, Girolami F, Roberts A, Lodder E, Cerbai E, Cook S, Ware J, Funke B, Olivotto I, Bezzina C, Barton PJR, Walsh Ret al., 2020, The genetic architecture of left ventricular non-compaction reveals both substantial overlap with other cardiomyopathies and a distinct aetiology in a subset of cases, Publisher: bioRxiv

Rationale: Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is a condition characterised by trabeculations in the myocardial wall and is the subject of considerable conjecture as to whether it represents a distinct pathology or a secondary phenotype associated with other cardiac diseases, particularly cardiomyopathies. Objective: To investigate the genetic architecture of LVNC by identifying genes and variant classes robustly associated with disease and comparing these to other genetically characterised cardiomyopathies. Methods and Results: We performed rare variant association analysis using six different LVNC cohorts comprising 840 cases together with 125,748 gnomAD population controls and compared results to similar analyses with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) cases. We observed substantial overlap in genes and variant classes enriched in LVNC and DCM/HCM, indicating that in many cases LVNC belongs to a spectrum of more established cardiomyopathies, with non-compaction representing a phenotypic variation in patients with DCM- or HCM-causing variants. In contrast, five variant classes were uniquely enriched in LVNC cases, of which truncating variants in MYH7, ACTN2 and PRDM16 may represent a distinct LVNC aetiology. MYH7 truncating variants are generally considered as non-pathogenic but were detected in 2% of LVNC cases compared to 0.1% of controls, including a cluster of variants around a single splice region. Additionally, structural variants (exon deletions) in RYR2 and missense variants in the transmembrane region of HCN4 were enriched in LVNC cases, confirming prior reports regarding the association of these variant classes with combined LVNC and arrhythmia phenotypes. Conclusions: We demonstrated that genetic association analysis can clarify the relationship between LVNC and established cardiomyopathies, highlighted substantial overlap with DCM/HCM but also identified variant classes associated with distinct LVNC and with joint LVN

Working paper

Lahrouchi N, Raju H, Lodder EM, Papatheodorou S, Miles C, Ware JS, Papadakis M, Tadros R, Cole D, Skinner JR, Crawford J, Love DR, Pua CJ, Soh BY, Bhalshankar JD, Govind R, Tfelt-Hansen J, Winkel BG, van der Werf C, Wijeyeratne YD, Mellor G, Till J, Cohen M, Tome-Esteban M, Sharma S, Wilde AAM, Cook SA, Sheppard MN, Bezzina CR, Behr ERet al., 2020, The yield of postmortem genetic testing in sudden death cases with structural findings at autopsy, European Journal of Human Genetics, Vol: 28, Pages: 17-22, ISSN: 1018-4813

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is often associated with structural abnormalities of the heart during autopsy. This study sought to compare the diagnostic yield of postmortem genetic testing in (1) cases with structural findings of uncertain significance at autopsy to (2) cases with autopsy findings diagnostic of cardiomyopathy. We evaluated 57 SCD cases with structural findings at cardiac autopsy. Next-generation sequencing using a panel of 77 primary electrical disorder and cardiomyopathy genes was performed. Pathogenic and likely pathogenic variants were classified using American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) consensus guidelines. In 29 cases (51%) autopsy findings of uncertain significance were identified whereas in 28 cases (49%) a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy was established. We identified a pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant in 10 cases (18%); in 1 (3%) case with non-specific autopsy findings compared with 9 (32%) cases with autopsy findings diagnostic of cardiomyopathy (p = 0.0054). The yield of genetic testing in SCD cases with autopsy findings consistent with cardiomyopathy is comparable with the yield in cardiomyopathy patients that are alive. Genetic testing in cases with findings of uncertain significance offers lower clinical utility than in cardiomyopathy, with lower yields than detected previously. This highlights the need for stringent evaluation of variant pathogenicity.

Journal article

Sun AX, Yuan Q, Fukuda M, Yu W, Yan H, Lim GGY, Nai MH, D'Agostino GA, Tran H-D, Itahana Y, Wang D, Lokman H, Itahana K, Lim SWL, Tang J, Chang YY, Zhang M, Cook SA, Rackham OJL, Lim CT, Tan EK, Ng HH, Lim KL, Jiang Y-H, Je HSet al., 2019, Potassium channel dysfunction in human neuronal models of Angelman syndrome., Science, Vol: 366, Pages: 1486-1492

Disruptions in the ubiquitin protein ligase E3A (UBE3A) gene cause Angelman syndrome (AS). Whereas AS model mice have associated synaptic dysfunction and altered plasticity with abnormal behavior, whether similar or other mechanisms contribute to network hyperactivity and epilepsy susceptibility in AS patients remains unclear. Using human neurons and brain organoids, we demonstrate that UBE3A suppresses neuronal hyperexcitability via ubiquitin-mediated degradation of calcium- and voltage-dependent big potassium (BK) channels. We provide evidence that augmented BK channel activity manifests as increased intrinsic excitability in individual neurons and subsequent network synchronization. BK antagonists normalized neuronal excitability in both human and mouse neurons and ameliorated seizure susceptibility in an AS mouse model. Our findings suggest that BK channelopathy underlies epilepsy in AS and support the use of human cells to model human developmental diseases.

Journal article

Teo JX, Davila S, Yang C, Hii AA, Pua CJ, Yap J, Tan SY, Sahlén A, Chin CW-L, Teh BT, Rozen SG, Cook SA, Yeo KK, Tan P, Lim WKet al., 2019, Digital phenotyping by consumer wearables identifies sleep-associated markers of cardiovascular disease risk and biological aging., Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0006-291X

Sleep is associated with various health outcomes. Despite their growing adoption, the potential for consumer wearables to contribute sleep metrics to sleep-related biomedical research remains largely uncharacterized. Here we analyzed sleep tracking data, along with questionnaire responses and multi-modal phenotypic data generated from 482 normal volunteers. First, we compared wearable-derived and self-reported sleep metrics, particularly total sleep time (TST) and sleep efficiency (SE). We then identified demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors associated with wearable-derived TST; they included age, gender, occupation and alcohol consumption. Multi-modal phenotypic data analysis showed that wearable-derived TST and SE were associated with cardiovascular disease risk markers such as body mass index and waist circumference, whereas self-reported measures were not. Using wearable-derived TST, we showed that insufficient sleep was associated with premature telomere attrition. Our study highlights the potential for sleep metrics from consumer wearables to provide novel insights into data generated from population cohort studies.

Journal article

Teo JX, Davila S, Yang C, Hii AA, Pua CJ, Yap J, Tan SY, Sahlén A, Chin CW-L, Teh BT, Rozen SG, Cook SA, Yeo KK, Tan P, Lim WKet al., 2019, Digital phenotyping by consumer wearables identifies sleep-associated markers of cardiovascular disease risk and biological aging., Commun Biol, Vol: 2

Sleep is associated with various health outcomes. Despite their growing adoption, the potential for consumer wearables to contribute sleep metrics to sleep-related biomedical research remains largely uncharacterized. Here we analyzed sleep tracking data, along with questionnaire responses and multi-modal phenotypic data generated from 482 normal volunteers. First, we compared wearable-derived and self-reported sleep metrics, particularly total sleep time (TST) and sleep efficiency (SE). We then identified demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors associated with wearable-derived TST; they included age, gender, occupation and alcohol consumption. Multi-modal phenotypic data analysis showed that wearable-derived TST and SE were associated with cardiovascular disease risk markers such as body mass index and waist circumference, whereas self-reported measures were not. Using wearable-derived TST, we showed that insufficient sleep was associated with premature telomere attrition. Our study highlights the potential for sleep metrics from consumer wearables to provide novel insights into data generated from population cohort studies.

Journal article

Ng B, Dong J, D'Agostino G, Viswanathan S, Widjaja AA, Lim W-W, Ko NSJ, Tan J, Chothani SP, Huang B, Xie C, Pua CJ, Chacko A-M, Guimaraes-Camboa N, Evans SM, Byrne AJ, Maher TM, Liang J, Jiang D, Noble PW, Schafer S, Cook SAet al., 2019, Interleukin-11 is a therapeutic target in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1946-6234

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive fibrotic lung disease where invasive pulmonary myofibroblasts secrete collagen and destroy lung integrity. Here, we show that interleukin-11 (IL11) is up-regulated in the lung of patients with IPF, associated with disease severity, and IL-11 is secreted from IPF fibroblasts. In vitro, IL-11 stimulates lung fibroblasts to become invasive actin alpha 2, smooth muscle–positive (ACTA2+), collagen-secreting myofibroblasts in an extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK)–dependent, posttranscriptional manner. In mice, fibroblast-specific transgenic expression or administration of murine IL-11 induces lung myofibroblasts and causes lung fibrosis. IL-11 receptor subunit alpha-1 (Il11ra1)–deleted mice, whose lung fibroblasts are unresponsive to profibrotic stimulation, are protected from fibrosis in the bleomycin mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis. We generated an IL-11–neutralizing antibody that blocks lung fibroblast activation downstream of multiple stimuli and reverses myofibroblast activation. In therapeutic studies, anti–IL-11 treatment diminished lung inflammation and reversed lung fibrosis while inhibiting ERK and SMAD activation in mice. These data prioritize IL-11 as a drug target for lung fibrosis and IPF.

Journal article

Orini M, Graham AJ, MartinezNaharro A, Andrews CM, de Marvao A, Statton B, Cook SA, O'Regan DP, Hawkins PN, Rudy Y, Fontana M, Lambiase PDet al., 2019, Noninvasive mapping of the electrophysiological substrate in cardiac amyloidosis and its relationship to structural abnormalities, Journal of the American Heart Association, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2047-9980

BackgroundThe relationship between structural pathology and electrophysiological substrate in cardiac amyloidosis is unclear. Differences between light‐chain (AL) and transthyretin (ATTR) cardiac amyloidosis may have prognostic implications.Methods and ResultsECG imaging and cardiac magnetic resonance studies were conducted in 21 cardiac amyloidosis patients (11 AL and 10 ATTR). Healthy volunteers were included as controls. With respect to ATTR, AL patients had lower amyloid volume (51.0/37.7 versus 73.7/16.4 mL, P=0.04), lower myocardial cell volume (42.6/19.1 versus 58.5/17.2 mL, P=0.021), and higher T1 (1172/64 versus 1109/80 ms, P=0.022) and T2 (53.4/2.9 versus 50.0/3.1 ms, P=0.003). ECG imaging revealed differences between cardiac amyloidosis and control patients in virtually all conduction‐repolarization parameters. With respect to ATTR, AL patients had lower epicardial signal amplitude (1.07/0.46 versus 1.83/1.26 mV, P=0.026), greater epicardial signal fractionation (P=0.019), and slightly higher dispersion of repolarization (187.6/65 versus 158.3/40 ms, P=0.062). No significant difference between AL and ATTR patients was found using the standard 12‐lead ECG. T1 correlated with epicardial signal amplitude (cc=−0.78), and extracellular volume with epicardial signal fractionation (cc=0.48) and repolarization time (cc=0.43). Univariate models based on single features from both cardiac magnetic resonance and ECG imaging classified AL and ATTR patients with an accuracy of 70% to 80%.ConclusionsIn this exploratory study cardiac amyloidosis was associated with ventricular conduction and repolarization abnormalities, which were more pronounced in AL than in ATTR. Combined ECG imaging–cardiac magnetic resonance analysis supports the hypothesis that additional mechanisms beyond infiltration may contribute to myocardial damage in AL amyloidosis. Further studies are needed to assess the clinical impact of this approach.

Journal article

Chothani S, Schäfer S, Adami E, Viswanathan S, Widjaja AA, Langley SR, Tan J, Wang M, Quaife NM, Pua CJ, D'Agostino G, Shekeran SG, George BL, Lim S, Cao EY, van Heesch S, Witte F, Felkin LE, Christodoulou EG, Dong J, Blachut S, Patone G, Barton PJR, Hubner N, Cook SA, Rackham OJLet al., 2019, Widespread translational control of fibrosis in the human heart by RNA-binding proteins, Circulation, Vol: 140, Pages: 937-951, ISSN: 0009-7322

BACKGROUND: Fibrosis is a common pathology in many cardiac disorders and is driven by the activation of resident fibroblasts. The global post-transcriptional mechanisms underlying fibroblast-to-myofibroblast conversion in the heart have not been explored. METHODS: Genome-wide changes of RNA transcription and translation during human cardiac fibroblast activation were monitored with RNA sequencing and ribosome profiling. We then used an RNA-binding protein-based analyses to identify translational regulators of fibrogenic genes. The integration with cardiac ribosome occupancy levels of 30 dilated cardiomyopathy patients demonstrates that these post-transcriptional mechanisms are also active in the diseased fibrotic human heart. RESULTS: We generated nucleotide-resolution translatome data during the TGFβ1-driven cellular transition of human cardiac fibroblasts to myofibroblasts. This identified dynamic changes of RNA transcription and translation at several time points during the fibrotic response, revealing transient and early-responder genes. Remarkably, about one-third of all changes in gene expression in activated fibroblasts are subject to translational regulation and dynamic variation in ribosome occupancy affects protein abundance independent of RNA levels. Targets of RNA-binding proteins were strongly enriched in post-transcriptionally regulated genes, suggesting genes such as MBNL2 can act as translational activators or repressors. Ribosome occupancy in the hearts of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy suggested the same post-transcriptional regulatory network was underlying cardiac fibrosis. Key network hubs include RNA-binding proteins such as PUM2 and QKI that work in concert to regulate the translation of target transcripts in human diseased hearts. Furthermore, silencing of both PUM2 and QKI inhibits the transition of fibroblasts toward pro-fibrotic myofibroblasts in response to TGFβ1. CONCLUSIONS: We reveal widespread translational effects of

Journal article

Chen H, Moreno-Moral A, Pesce F, Devapragash N, Mancini M, Heng EL, Rotival M, Srivastava PK, Harmston N, Shkura K, Rackham OJL, Yu W-P, Sun X-M, Tee NGZ, Tan ELS, Barton PJR, Felkin LE, Lara-Pezzi E, Angelini G, Beltrami C, Pravenec M, Schafer S, Bottolo L, Hubner N, Emanueli C, Cook SA, Petretto Eet al., 2019, Author Correction: WWP2 regulates pathological cardiac fibrosis by modulating SMAD2 signaling, Nature Communications, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

Chen H, Moreno-Moral A, Pesce F, Devapragash N, Mancini M, Heng E, Rotival M, Srivastava P, Harmston N, Shkura K, Rackham O, Yu W-P, Sun X-M, Gui Zhen Tee N, Tan E, Barton P, Felkin L, Lara-Pezzi E, Angelini G, Beltrami C, Pravenec M, Schafer S, Bottolo L, Hubner N, Emanueli C, Cook S, Petretto Eet al., 2019, WWP2 regulates pathological cardiac fibrosis by modulating SMAD2 signaling, Nature Communications, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 2041-1723

Cardiac fibrosis is a final common pathology in inherited and acquired heart diseases that causes cardiac electrical and pump failure. Here, we use systems genetics to identify a pro-fibrotic gene network in the diseased heart and show that this network is regulated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase WWP2, specifically by the WWP2-N terminal isoform. Importantly, the WWP2-regulated pro-fibrotic gene network is conserved across different cardiac diseases characterized by fibrosis: human and murine dilated cardiomyopathy and repaired tetralogy of Fallot. Transgenic mice lacking the N-terminal region of the WWP2 protein show improved cardiac function and reduced myocardial fibrosis in response to pressure overload or myocardial infarction. In primary cardiac fibroblasts, WWP2 positively regulates the expression of pro-fibrotic markers and extracellular matrix genes. TGFβ1 stimulation promotes nuclear translocation of the WWP2 isoforms containing the N-terminal region and their interaction with SMAD2. WWP2 mediates the TGFβ1-induced nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and transcriptional activity of SMAD2.

Journal article

Halliday BP, Baksi AJ, Gulati A, Ali A, Newsome S, Izgi C, Arzanauskaite M, Lota A, Tayal U, Vassiliou V, Gregson J, Alpendurada F, Frenneaux M, Cook S, Cleland J, Pennell D, Prasad Set al., 2019, Outcome in dilated cardiomyopathy related to the extent, location and pattern of late gadolinium enhancement, JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, Vol: 12, Pages: 1645-1655, ISSN: 1936-878X

ObjectivesThis study sought to investigate the association between the extent, location, and pattern of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and outcome in a large dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cohort.BackgroundThe relationship between LGE and prognosis in DCM is incompletely understood.MethodsWe examined the association between LGE and all-cause mortality and a sudden cardiac death (SCD) composite based on the extent, location, and pattern of LGE in DCM.ResultsOf 874 patients (588 men, median age 52 years) followed for a median of 4.9 years, 300 (34.3%) had nonischemic LGE. Estimated adjusted hazard ratios for patients with an LGE extent of 0 to 2.55%, 2.55% to 5.10%, and >5.10%, respectively, were 1.59 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.99 to 2.55), 1.56 (95% CI: 0.96 to 2.54), and 2.31 (95% CI: 1.50 to 3.55) for all-cause mortality, and 2.79 (95% CI: 1.42 to 5.49), 3.86 (95% CI: 2.09 to 7.13), and 4.87 (95% CI: 2.78 to 8.53) for the SCD end-point. There was a marked nonlinear relationship between LGE extent and outcome such that even small amounts of LGE predicted a substantial increase in risk. The presence of septal LGE was associated with increased mortality, but SCD was most associated with the combined presence of septal and free-wall LGE. Predictive models using LGE presence and location were superior to models based on LGE extent or pattern.ConclusionsIn DCM, the presence of septal LGE is associated with a large increase in the risk of death and SCD events, even when the extent is small. SCD risk is greatest with concomitant septal and free-wall LGE. The incremental value of LGE extent beyond small amounts and LGE pattern is limited.

Journal article

Biffi C, Cerrolaza JJ, Tarroni G, de Marvao A, Cook SA, O'Regan DP, Rueckert Det al., 2019, 3D high-resolution cardiac segmentation reconstruction from 2D views using conditional variational autoencoders, 16th IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 1643-1646, ISSN: 1945-7928

Accurate segmentation of heart structures imaged by cardiac MR is key for the quantitative analysis of pathology. High-resolution 3D MR sequences enable whole-heart structural imaging but are time-consuming, expensive to acquire and they often require long breath holds that are not suitable for patients. Consequently, multiplanar breath-hold 2D cines sequences are standard practice but are disadvantaged by lack of whole-heart coverage and low through-plane resolution. To address this, we propose a conditional variational autoencoder architecture able to learn a generative model of 3D high-resolution left ventricular (LV) segmentations which is conditioned on three 2D LV segmentations of one short-axis and two long-axis images. By only employing these three 2D segmentations, our model can efficiently reconstruct the 3D high-resolution LV segmentation of a subject. When evaluated on 400 unseen healthy volunteers, our model yielded an average Dice score of 87.92 ± 0.15 and outperformed competing architectures (TL-net, Dice score = 82.60 ± 0.23, p = 2.2 · 10 -16 ).

Conference paper

Garcia-Pavia P, Kim Y, Restrepo-Cordoba MA, Lunde IG, Wakimoto H, Smith AM, Toepfer CN, Getz K, Gorham J, Patel P, Ito K, Willcox JA, Arany Z, Li J, Owens AT, Govind R, Nuñez B, Mazaika E, Bayes-Genis A, Walsh R, Finkelman B, Lupon J, Whiffin N, Serrano I, Midwinter W, Wilk A, Bardaji A, Ingold N, Buchan R, Tayal U, Pascual-Figal DA, de Marvao A, Ahmad M, Garcia-Pinilla JM, Pantazis A, Dominguez F, John Baksi A, O'Regan DP, Rosen SD, Prasad SK, Lara-Pezzi E, Provencio M, Lyon AR, Alonso-Pulpon L, Cook SA, DePalma SR, Barton PJR, Aplenc R, Seidman JG, Ky B, Ware JS, Seidman CEet al., 2019, Genetic variants associated with cancer therapy-induced cardiomyopathy, Circulation, Vol: 140, Pages: 31-41, ISSN: 0009-7322

BackgroundCancer therapy-induced cardiomyopathy (CCM) is associated with cumulative drug exposures and pre-existing cardiovascular disorders. These parametersincompletely account for substantial inter-individual susceptibility to CCM. We hypothesized that rare variants in cardiomyopathy genes contribute to CCM.MethodsWe studied 213 CCM patients from three cohorts: retrospectively recruited adults with diverse cancers (n=99), prospectively phenotyped breast cancer adults (n=73) and prospectively phenotyped children with acute myeloid leukemia (n=41). Cardiomyopathy genes, including nine pre-specified genes were sequenced. The prevalence of rare variants was compared between CCM cohorts and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) participants(n=2053), healthy volunteers(n=445), and ancestry-matchedreference population. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were assessed, stratified by genotypes. A prevalent CCM genotype was modeled in anthracycline-treated mice.ResultsCCM was diagnosed 0.4-9 years after chemotherapy; 90% of these patients received anthracyclines. Adult CCM patients had cardiovascular risk factors similar to the U.S. population. Among nine prioritized genes CCM patients had more rare protein-altering variants than comparative cohorts (p≤1.98e-04). Titin-truncating variants (TTNtv) predominated, occurring in 7.5% CCM patients versus 1.1% TCGA participants (p=7.36e-08), 0.7% healthy volunteers (p=3.42e-06), and 0.6% reference population (p=5.87e-14). Adult CCM patients with TTNtv experienced more heart failure and atrial fibrillation (p=0.003)and impaired myocardial recovery (p=0.03) than those without.Consistent with human data, anthracycline-treated TTNtv mice and isolated TTNtv cardiomyocytes showed sustained contractile dysfunction unlike wildtype (p=0.0004 and p<0.002, respectively).ConclusionsUnrecognized rare variants in cardiomyopathy-associated genes, particularly TTNtv, increased the risk for CCM in children and adults, and adverse cardiac events

Journal article

Thomson KL, Ormondroyd E, Harper AR, Dent T, McGuire K, Baksi J, Blair E, Brennan P, Buchan R, Bueser T, Campbell C, Carr-White G, Cook S, Daniels M, Deevi SVV, Goodship J, Hayesmoore JBG, Henderson A, Lamb T, Prasad S, Rayner-Matthews P, Robert L, Sneddon L, Stark H, Walsh R, Ware JS, Farrall M, Watkins HC, NIHR BioResource Rare Diseases Consortiumet al., 2019, Analysis of 51 proposed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy genes from genome sequencing data in sarcomere negative cases has negligible diagnostic yield, Genetics in Medicine, Vol: 21, Pages: 1576-1584, ISSN: 1098-3600

PURPOSE: Increasing numbers of genes are being implicated in Mendelian disorders and incorporated into clinical test panels. However, lack of evidence supporting the gene-disease relationship can hinder interpretation. We explored the utility of testing 51 additional genes for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), one of the most commonly tested Mendelian disorders. METHODS: Using genome sequencing data from 240 sarcomere gene negative HCM cases and 6229 controls, we undertook case-control and individual variant analyses to assess 51 genes that have been proposed for HCM testing. RESULTS: We found no evidence to suggest that rare variants in these genes are prevalent causes of HCM. One variant, in a single case, was categorized as likely to be pathogenic. Over 99% of variants were classified as a variant of uncertain significance (VUS) and 54% of cases had one or more VUS. CONCLUSION: For almost all genes, the gene-disease relationship could not be validated and lack of evidence precluded variant interpretation. Thus, the incremental diagnostic yield of extending testing was negligible, and would, we propose, be outweighed by problems that arise with a high rate of uninterpretable findings. These findings highlight the need for rigorous, evidence-based selection of genes for clinical test panels.

Journal article

Corden B, Jarman J, Whiffin N, Tayal U, Buchan R, Sehmi J, Harper A, Midwinter W, Lascelles K, Mason M, Baksi J, Pantazis A, Pennell D, Barton P, Prasad S, Wong T, Cook S, Ware Jet al., 2019, Association between titin truncating variants and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and implantable defibrillator, JAMA Network Open, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2574-3805

Importance There is a need for better arrhythmic risk stratification in nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Titin-truncating variants (TTNtvs) in the TTN gene are the most common genetic cause of DCM and may be associated with higher risk of arrhythmias in patients with DCM.Objective To determine if TTNtv status is associated with the development of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia and new persistent atrial fibrillation in patients with DCM and implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) devices.Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective, multicenter cohort study recruited 148 patients with or without TTNtvs who had nonischemic DCM and ICD or CRT-D devices from secondary and tertiary cardiology clinics in the United Kingdom from February 1, 2011, to June 30, 2016, with a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 4.2 (2.1-6.5) years. Exclusion criteria were ischemic cardiomyopathy, primary valve disease, congenital heart disease, or a known or likely pathogenic variant in the lamin A/C gene. Analyses were performed February 1, 2017, to May 31, 2017.Main Outcome and Measures The primary outcome was time to first device-treated ventricular tachycardia of more than 200 beats/min or first device-treated ventricular fibrillation. Secondary outcome measures included time to first development of persistent atrial fibrillation.Results Of 148 patients recruited, 117 adult patients with nonischemic DCM and an ICD or CRT-D device (mean [SD] age, 56.9 [12.5] years; 76 [65.0%] men; 106 patients [90.6%] with primary prevention indications) were included. Having a TTNtv was associated with a higher risk of receiving appropriate ICD therapy (shock or antitachycardia pacing) for ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation (hazard ratio [HR], 4.9; 95% CI, 2.2-10.7; P < .001). This association was independent of all covariates, including midwall fibrosis measured by late gadolinium enhanc

Journal article

van Heesch S, Witte F, Schneider-Lunitz V, Schulz JF, Adami E, Faber AB, Kirchner M, Maatz H, Blachut S, Sandmann C-L, Kanda M, Worth CL, Schafer S, Calviello L, Merriott R, Patone G, Hummel O, Wyler E, Obermayer B, Mücke MB, Lindberg EL, Trnka F, Memczak S, Schilling M, Felkin LE, Barton PJR, Quaife NM, Vanezis K, Diecke S, Mukai M, Mah N, Oh S-J, Kurtz A, Schramm C, Schwinge D, Sebode M, Harakalova M, Asselbergs FW, Vink A, de Weger RA, Viswanathan S, Widjaja AA, Gärtner-Rommel A, Milting H, dos Remedios C, Knosalla C, Mertins P, Landthaler M, Vingron M, Linke WA, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Rajewsky N, Ohler U, Cook SA, Hubner Net al., 2019, The translational landscape of the human heart, Cell, Vol: 178, Pages: 242-260.e29, ISSN: 0092-8674

Gene expression in human tissue has primarily been studied on the transcriptional level, largely neglecting translational regulation. Here, we analyze the translatomes of 80 human hearts to identify new translation events and quantify the effect of translational regulation. We show extensive translational control of cardiac gene expression, which is orchestrated in a process-specific manner. Translation downstream of predicted disease-causing protein-truncating variants appears to be frequent, suggesting inefficient translation termination. We identify hundreds of previously undetected microproteins, expressed from lncRNAs and circRNAs, for which we validate the protein products in vivo. The translation of microproteins is not restricted to the heart and prominent in the translatomes of human kidney and liver. We associate these microproteins with diverse cellular processes and compartments and find that many locate to the mitochondria. Importantly, dozens of microproteins are translated from lncRNAs with well-characterized noncoding functions, indicating previously unrecognized biology.

Journal article

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