Somatic Variants in SVIL in Cerebral Aneurysms

Pui Man Rosalind Lai, Jee Yeon Ryu, Sang Cheol Park, Bradley A. Gross, Lawrence D. Dickinson, Sarajune Dagen, Mohammad Ali Aziz-Sultan, Alan S. Boulos, Daniel L. Barrow, H. Hunt Batjer, Spiros Blackburn, Edward F. Chang, P. Roc Chen, Geoffrey P. Colby, Garth Rees Cosgrove, Carlos A. David, Arthur L. Day, Kai U. Frerichs, Mika Niemela, Steven G. OjemannNirav J. Patel, Xiangen Shi, Edison P. Valle-Giler, Anthony C. Wang, Babu G. Welch, Edie E. Zusman, Scott T. Weiss, Rose Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and ObjectivesWhile somatic mutations have been well-studied in cancer, their roles in other complex traits are much less understood. Our goal is to identify somatic variants that may contribute to the formation of saccular cerebral aneurysms.MethodsWe performed whole-exome sequencing on aneurysm tissues and paired peripheral blood. RNA sequencing and the CRISPR/Cas9 system were then used to perform functional validation of our results.ResultsSomatic variants involved in supervillin (SVIL) or its regulation were found in 17% of aneurysm tissues. In the presence of a mutation in the SVIL gene, the expression level of SVIL was downregulated in the aneurysm tissue compared with normal control vessels. Downstream signaling pathways that were induced by knockdown of SVIL via the CRISPR/Cas9 system in vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) were determined by evaluating changes in gene expression and protein kinase phosphorylation. We found that SVIL regulated the phenotypic modulation of vSMCs to the synthetic phenotype via Krüppel-like factor 4 and platelet-derived growth factor and affected cell migration of vSMCs via the RhoA/ROCK pathway.DiscussionWe propose that somatic variants form a novel mechanism for the development of cerebral aneurysms. Specifically, somatic variants in SVIL result in the phenotypic modulation of vSMCs, which increases the susceptibility to aneurysm formation. This finding suggests a new avenue for the therapeutic intervention and prevention of cerebral aneurysms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere200040
JournalNeurology: Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 28 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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