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Identification of two independent COL5A1 variants in dogs with Ehlers Danlos syndrome

By Anina Bauer, John F Bateman, Shireen R Lamande, Eric G Hanssen, Shannon G.M. Kirejczyk, Mark Yee, Ali Ramiche, Vidyha Jagannathan, Monika Welle, Tosso Leeb, Fiona L Bateman

Posted 05 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/660407

BACKGROUND: The Ehlers Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a heterogeneous group of heritable disorders affecting connective tissues. The mutations causing the various forms of EDS in humans are well characterized, but the genetic mutations causing EDS-like clinical pathology in dogs are not known, thus hampering accurate clinical diagnosis. RESULTS: Clinical analysis of two independent cases of skin hyperextensibility and fragility, one with pronounced joint hypermobility was suggestive of EDS. Whole genome sequencing revealed de novo mutations of COL5A1 in both cases, confirming the diagnosis of the classical form of EDS. The heterozygous COL5A1 p.Gly1013ValfsTer260 mutation characterized in case 1 introduced a premature termination codon and would be expected to result in alpha1(V) mRNA nonsense-mediated mRNA decay and collagen V haploinsufficiency. While mRNA was not available from this dog, biochemical analysis of the dermis suggested reduced collagen V in the dermis and ultrastructural analysis demonstrated variability in collagen fibril diameter and the presence of collagen aggregates, termed collagen cauliflowers, consistent with COL5A1 mutations underlying classical EDS. In the second case DNA sequencing demonstrated a p.Gly1571Arg missense variant in the COL5A1 gene. While samples were not available for further analysis, such a glycine substitution would be expected to destabilize the strict molecular structure of the collagen V triple helix and thus affect protein stability and/or integration of the mutant collagen into the collagen V/collagen I heterotypic dermal fibrils. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of genetic variants in the COL5A1 gene causing the clinical presentation of EDS in dogs. These data provide further evidence of the important role of collagen V in dermal collagen fibrillogenesis. Importantly from the clinical perspective we show the utility of DNA sequencing, combined with the established clinical criteria, in the accurate diagnosis of EDS in dogs.

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