Protein modeling to assess the pathogenicity of rare variants of SERPINA1 in patients suspected of having Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.

TitleProtein modeling to assess the pathogenicity of rare variants of SERPINA1 in patients suspected of having Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsKueppers F, Andrake MD, Xu Q, Dunbrack RL, Kim J, Sanders CL
JournalBMC Med Genet
Date Published2019 Jul 15

BACKGROUND: Alpha 1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is a key serum proteinase inhibitor encoded by SERPINA1. Sequence variants of the gene can cause Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD), a condition associated with lung and liver disease. The majority of AATD cases are caused by the 'Z' and 'S' variants - single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) that result in amino acid substitutions of E342K and E264V. However, SERPINA1 is highly polymorphic, with numerous potentially clinically relevant variants reported. Novel variants continue to be discovered, and without reports of pathogenicity, it can be difficult for clinicians to determine the best course of treatment.

METHODS: We assessed the utility of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and predictive computational analysis to guide the diagnosis of patients suspected of having AATD. Blood samples on serum separator cards were submitted to the DNA Advanced Screening Program (Biocerna LLC, Fulton, Maryland, USA) by physicians whose patients were suspected of having AATD. Laboratory analyses included quantification of serum AAT levels, qualitative analysis by isoelectric focusing, and targeted genotyping and NGS of the SERPINA1 gene. Molecular modeling software UCSF Chimera (University College of San Francisco, CA) was used to visualize the positions of amino acid changes as a result of rare/novel SNVs. Predictive software was used to assess the potential pathogenicity of these variants; methods included a support vector machine (SVM) program, PolyPhen-2 (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA), and FoldX (Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain).

RESULTS: Samples from 23 patients were analyzed; 21 rare/novel sequence variants were identified by NGS, including splice variants (n = 2), base pair deletions (n = 1), stop codon insertions (n = 2), and SNVs (n = 16). Computational modeling of protein structures caused by the novel SNVs showed that 8 were probably deleterious, and two were possibly deleterious. For the majority of probably/possibly deleterious SNVs (I50N, P289S, M385T, M221T, D341V, V210E, P369H, V333M and A142D), the mechanism is probably via disruption of the packed hydrophobic core of AAT. Several deleterious variants occurred in combination with more common deficiency alleles, resulting in very low AAT levels.

CONCLUSIONS: NGS and computational modeling are useful tools that can facilitate earlier, more precise diagnosis, and consideration for AAT therapy in AATD.

Alternate JournalBMC Med. Genet.
PubMed ID31307431
PubMed Central IDPMC6631921
Grant ListP30 CA006927 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
N/A / / CSL Behring /