Combining data assets for research has historically involved the movement of data between organisations. Trusted Research Environments (TREs) now offer an alternative to data sharing by providing secure environments for approved researchers to access and analyse data. However, data are still held separately. Even where researchers have permission to use data held in two separate TREs, moving data between organisations from one TRE to another can be costly, complicated and time consuming. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate how TREs can be enabled to ‘talk to each other’ to facilitate analysis across separate databases as if they were one, a process known as ‘federation.’
EXTL3 regulates the biosynthesis of heparan sulfate (HS), important for both skeletal development and hematopoiesis, through the formation of HS proteoglycans (HSPGs). By whole-exome sequencing, we identified homozygous missense mutations c.1382C>T, c.1537C>T, c.1970A>G, and c.2008T>G in EXTL3 in nine affected individuals from five unrelated families. Notably, we found the identical homozygous missense mutation c.1382C>T (p.Pro461Leu) in four affected individuals from two unrelated families. Affected individuals presented with variable skeletal abnormalities and neurodevelopmental defects. Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) with a complete absence of T cells was observed in three families. EXTL3 was most abundant in hematopoietic stem cells and early progenitor T cells, which is in line with a SCID phenotype at the level of early T cell development in the thymus. To provide further support for the hypothesis that mutations in EXTL3 cause a neuro-immuno-skeletal dysplasia syndrome, and to gain insight into the pathogenesis of the disorder, we analyzed the localization of EXTL3 in fibroblasts derived from affected individuals and determined glycosaminoglycan concentrations in these cells as well as in urine and blood. We observed abnormal glycosaminoglycan concentrations and increased concentrations of the non-sulfated chondroitin disaccharide D0a0 and the disaccharide D0a4 in serum and urine of all analyzed affected individuals. In summary, we show that biallelic mutations in EXTL3 disturb glycosaminoglycan synthesis and thus lead to a recognizable syndrome characterized by variable expression of skeletal, neurological, and immunological abnormalities.
Signaling through the T-cell receptor (TCR) is critical for T-cell development and function. Linker for activation of T cells (LAT) is a transmembrane adaptor signaling molecule that is part of the TCR complex and essential for T-cell development, as demonstrated by LAT-deficient mice, which show a complete lack of peripheral T cells. We describe a pedigree affected by a severe combined immunodeficiency phenotype with absent T cells and normal B-cell and natural killer cell numbers. A novel homozygous frameshift mutation in the gene encoding for LAT was identified in this kindred.