Transcriptome analysis of neural progenitor cells derived from Lowe syndrome induced pluripotent stem cells: Identification of candidate genes for the neurodevelopmental and eye manifestations

Hequn Liu, Jesse Barnes, Erika Pedrosa, Nathaniel S. Herman, Franklin Salas, Ping Wang, Deyou Zheng, Herbert M. Lachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Lowe syndrome (LS) is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the X-linked gene OCRL, which codes for an inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase that plays a key role in endosome recycling, clathrin-coated pit formation, and actin polymerization. It is characterized by congenital cataracts, intellectual and developmental disability, and renal proximal tubular dysfunction. Patients are also at high risk for developing glaucoma and seizures. We recently developed induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from three patients with LS who have hypomorphic variants affecting the 3′ end of the gene, and their neurotypical brothers to serve as controls. Methods: In this study, we used RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to obtain transcriptome profiles in LS and control neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Results: In a comparison of the patient and control NPCs (n = 3), we found 16 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at the multiple test adjusted p value (padj) < 0.1, with nine at padj < 0.05. Using nominal p value < 0.05, 319 DEGs were detected. The relatively small number of DEGs could be due to the fact that OCRL is not a transcription factor per se, although it could have secondary effects on gene expression through several different mechanisms. Although the number of DEGs passing multiple test correction was small, those that were found are quite consistent with some of the known molecular effects of OCRL protein, and the clinical manifestations of LS. Furthermore, using gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), we found that genes increased expression in the patient NPCs showed enrichments of several gene ontology (GO) terms (false discovery rate < 0.25): telencephalon development, pallium development, NPC proliferation, and cortex development, which are consistent with a condition characterized by intellectual disabilities and psychiatric manifestations. In addition, a significant enrichment among the nominal DEGs for genes implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was found (e.g., AFF2, DNER, DPP6, DPP10, RELN, CACNA1C), as well as several that are strong candidate genes for the development of eye problems found in LS, including glaucoma. The most notable example is EFEMP1, a well-known candidate gene for glaucoma and other eye pathologies. Conclusion: Overall, the RNA-seq findings present several candidate genes that could help explain the underlying basis for the neurodevelopmental and eye problems seen in boys with LS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 11 2020


  • Cataracts
  • DPP10
  • Dent disease
  • EFEMP1
  • Glaucoma
  • Kv4.2
  • Lowe syndrome
  • MEIS2
  • Macular degeneration
  • OCRL
  • SPON1
  • TMEM132

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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