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  • Author: M. Polenakovic x
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ABSTRACT

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem. It is a leading cause of chronic liver disease and the most common indication for liver transplantation. The therapy for eradication of HCV infection is successful in only 50.0-80.0% of patients and is highly dependent on the HCV genotype. Molecular detection and characterization of HCV in the Republic of Macedonia started in 1990. Since then, more than 4000 samples have been analyzed at the Research Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (RCGEB) “Georgi D. Efremov,” Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. The prevalence of HCV infections in the healthy population of the Republic of Macedonia was found to be 0.4%, while it varies between 23.0 and 43.0% in different at-risk groups of patients. The prevalence of HCV genotypes, according to associated risk factors in HCV infected patients from the Republic of Macedonia, was analyzed. We found genotype 1 to be predominant in a group of hemodialysis patients, while genotype 3 was predominant in intravenous (IV) drug users. Association of six polymorphisms in the Oligoadenylate synthetase (OASL)-like interferonstimulated gene with a sustained virological response was also analyzed. Our preliminary results suggest that non ancestral alleles in four of the six studies polymorphisms in OASL gene are associated with sustained virological response among HCV infected patients in R. Macedonia.

Abstract

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are a group of rare conditions characterized by discrepancy between chromosomal sex, gonads and external genitalia. Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract are often associated with DSD, mostly in multiple malformation syndromes. We describe the case of an 11-year-old Caucasian boy, with right kidney hypoplasia and hypospadias. Genome-wide copy number variation (CNV) analysis revealed a unique duplication of about 550 kb on chromosome Xq27, and a 46,XX karyotype, consistent with a sex reversal phenotype. This region includes multiple genes, and, among these, SOX3 emerged as the main phenotypic driver. This is the fifth case reporting a genomic imbalance involving the SOX3 gene in a 46,XX SRY-negative male, and the first with associated renal malformations. Our data provide plausible links between SOX3 gene dosage and kidney malformations. It is noteworthy that the current and reported SOX3 gene duplications are below the detection threshold of standard karyotypes and were found only by analyzing CNVs using DNA microarrays. Therefore, all 46,XX SRY-negative males should be screened for SOX3 gene duplications with DNA microarrays.

Abstract

BEN is a primary, chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis characterized with chronic anemia, absence of edema, xantoderma, normal blood pressure and normal findings on the fundus oculi. The disease is distributed in restricted areas in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Former Yugoslavia. Despite numerous studies on genetic and environmental factors and their possible involvement in BEN, its etiopathogenesis still remains elusive.

Our recent study aim to elucidate the possible epigenetic component in BEN development. Whole genome DNA array methylation analysis was applied to compare the methylation profiles of male and female BEN patients from endemic regions in Bulgaria and Serbia and healthy controls.

All three most prominent candidate genes with aberrations in the epigenetic profile discovered with this study are involved in the inflammatory/immune processes and oncogenesis. These data are in concordance with the reported pathological alterations in BEN. This research supports the role of epigenetic changes in BEN pathology.

Exome sequencing of 22.000 genes with Illumina Nextera Exome Enrichment Kit revealed three mutant genes (CELA1, HSPG2, and KCNK5) in BEN patients which encode proteins involved in basement membrane/extracellular matrix and vascular tone, tightly connected to process of angiogenesis. We suggest that an abnormal process of angiogenesis plays a key role in the molecular pathogenesis of BEN.