Publications by authors named "Willy M Nillesen"

34 Publications

The spectrum of DNMT3A variants in Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome overlaps with that in hematologic malignancies.

Am J Med Genet A 2017 Nov 21;173(11):3022-3028. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah.

De novo, germline variants in DNMT3A cause Tatton-Brown-Rahman syndrome (TBRS). This condition is characterized by overgrowth, distinctive facial appearance, and intellectual disability. Somatic DNMT3A variants frequently occur in hematologic malignances, particularly acute myeloid leukemia. The Arg882 residue is the most common site of somatic DNMT3A variants, and has also been altered in patients with TBRS. Here we present three additional patients with this disorder attributed to DNMT3A germline variants that disrupt the Arg882 codon, suggesting that this codon may be a germline mutation hotspot in this disorder. Furthermore, based on the investigation of previously reported variants in patients with TBRS, we found overlap in the spectrum of DNMT3A variants observed in this disorder and somatic variants in hematological malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.38485DOI Listing
November 2017

YY1 Haploinsufficiency Causes an Intellectual Disability Syndrome Featuring Transcriptional and Chromatin Dysfunction.

Am J Hum Genet 2017 Jun;100(6):907-925

Laboratory of Cytogenetics, Rouen University Hospital, 76031 Rouen, France.

Yin and yang 1 (YY1) is a well-known zinc-finger transcription factor with crucial roles in normal development and malignancy. YY1 acts both as a repressor and as an activator of gene expression. We have identified 23 individuals with de novo mutations or deletions of YY1 and phenotypic features that define a syndrome of cognitive impairment, behavioral alterations, intrauterine growth restriction, feeding problems, and various congenital malformations. Our combined clinical and molecular data define "YY1 syndrome" as a haploinsufficiency syndrome. Through immunoprecipitation of YY1-bound chromatin from affected individuals' cells with antibodies recognizing both ends of the protein, we show that YY1 deletions and missense mutations lead to a global loss of YY1 binding with a preferential retention at high-occupancy sites. Finally, we uncover a widespread loss of H3K27 acetylation in particular on the YY1-bound enhancers, underscoring a crucial role for YY1 in enhancer regulation. Collectively, these results define a clinical syndrome caused by haploinsufficiency of YY1 through dysregulation of key transcriptional regulators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.05.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5473733PMC
June 2017

Truncating de novo mutations in the Krüppel-type zinc-finger gene ZNF148 in patients with corpus callosum defects, developmental delay, short stature, and dysmorphisms.

Genome Med 2016 12 13;8(1):131. Epub 2016 Dec 13.

Department of Clinical Genetics, Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC+), PO Box 5800, 6202, AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Background: Krüppel-type zinc finger genes (ZNF) constitute a large yet relatively poorly characterized gene family. ZNF genes encode proteins that recognize specific DNA motifs in gene promotors. They act as transcriptional co-activators or -repressors via interaction with chromatin remodeling proteins and other transcription factors. Only few ZNF genes are currently linked to human disorders and identification of ZNF gene-associated human diseases may help understand their function. Here we provide genetic, statistical, and clinical evidence to support association of ZNF148 with a new intellectual disability (ID) syndrome disorder.

Methods: Routine diagnostic exome sequencing data were obtained from 2172 patients with ID and/or multiple congenital anomalies.

Results: In a cohort of 2172 patient-parent trios referred for routine diagnostic whole exome sequencing for ID and/or multiple congenital anomalies (MCA) in the period 2012-2016, four patients were identified who carried de novo heterozygous nonsense or frameshift mutations in the ZNF148 gene. This was the only ZNF gene with recurrent truncating de novo mutations in this cohort. All mutations resulted in premature termination codons in the last exon of ZNF148. The number of the de novo truncating mutations in the ZNF148 gene was significantly enriched (p = 5.42 × 10). The newly described ZNF148-associated syndrome is characterized by underdevelopment of the corpus callosum, mild to moderate developmental delay and ID, variable microcephaly or mild macrocephaly, short stature, feeding problems, facial dysmorphisms, and cardiac and renal malformations.

Conclusions: We propose ZNF148 as a gene involved in a newly described ID syndrome with a recurrent phenotype and postulate that the ZNF148 is a hitherto unrecognized but crucial transcription factor in the development of the corpus callosum. Our study illustrates the advantage of whole exome sequencing in a large cohort using a parent-offspring trio approach for identifying novel genes involved in rare human diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-016-0386-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5155377PMC
December 2016

Haploinsufficiency of MeCP2-interacting transcriptional co-repressor SIN3A causes mild intellectual disability by affecting the development of cortical integrity.

Nat Genet 2016 08 11;48(8):877-87. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Department of Molecular Animal Physiology, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Numerous genes are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but their dysfunction is often poorly characterized. Here we identified dominant mutations in the gene encoding the transcriptional repressor and MeCP2 interactor switch-insensitive 3 family member A (SIN3A; chromosome 15q24.2) in individuals who, in addition to mild intellectual disability and ASD, share striking features, including facial dysmorphisms, microcephaly and short stature. This phenotype is highly related to that of individuals with atypical 15q24 microdeletions, linking SIN3A to this microdeletion syndrome. Brain magnetic resonance imaging showed subtle abnormalities, including corpus callosum hypoplasia and ventriculomegaly. Intriguingly, in vivo functional knockdown of Sin3a led to reduced cortical neurogenesis, altered neuronal identity and aberrant corticocortical projections in the developing mouse brain. Together, our data establish that haploinsufficiency of SIN3A is associated with mild syndromic intellectual disability and that SIN3A can be considered to be a key transcriptional regulator of cortical brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3619DOI Listing
August 2016

Novel genetic causes for cerebral visual impairment.

Eur J Hum Genet 2016 May 9;24(5):660-5. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is a major cause of low vision in children due to impairment in projection and/or interpretation of the visual input in the brain. Although acquired causes for CVI are well known, genetic causes underlying CVI are largely unidentified. DNAs of 25 patients with CVI and intellectual disability, but without acquired (eg, perinatal) damage, were investigated by whole-exome sequencing. The data were analyzed for de novo, autosomal-recessive, and X-linked variants, and subsequently classified into known, candidate, or unlikely to be associated with CVI. This classification was based on the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database, literature reports, variant characteristics, and functional relevance of the gene. After classification, variants in four genes known to be associated with CVI (AHDC1, NGLY1, NR2F1, PGAP1) in 5 patients (20%) were identified, establishing a conclusive genetic diagnosis for CVI. In addition, in 11 patients (44%) with CVI, variants in one or more candidate genes were identified (ACP6, AMOT, ARHGEF10L, ATP6V1A, DCAF6, DLG4, GABRB2, GRIN1, GRIN2B, KCNQ3, KCTD19, RERE, SLC1A1, SLC25A16, SLC35A2, SOX5, UFSP2, UHMK1, ZFP30). Our findings show that diverse genetic causes underlie CVI, some of which will provide insight into the biology underlying this disease process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2015.186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4930090PMC
May 2016

Analysis of rare variants in the CFH gene in patients with the cuticular drusen subtype of age-related macular degeneration.

Mol Vis 2015 15;21:285-92. Epub 2015 Mar 15.

Department of Ophthalmology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands ; Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Purpose: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cuticular drusen (CD), a clinical subtype of AMD, have been linked to genetic variants in the complement factor H (CFH) gene. In this study, we aimed to investigate the frequency of rare variants in the CFH gene in 180 cases with CD. In addition, we aimed to determine the frequency of a previously reported rare, highly penetrant CFH variant (p.Arg1210Cys) in a Dutch-German non-CD-type AMD case-control cohort, and to describe the phenotype of patients carrying the p.Arg1210Cys variant.

Methods: Study subjects were selected from the European Genetic Database (EUGENDA), a joint AMD database of the Radboud University Medical Centre and the University Hospital of Cologne, and graded at the Cologne Image Reading Centre and Laboratory (CIRCL). Additionally, two CD cases were recruited from the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam. The CFH gene was analyzed in 180 CD cases with Sanger sequencing. All identified variants were analyzed for potential damaging effects with prediction software tools Sorting Intolerant from Tolerant (SIFT) and Polymorphism Phenotyping (PolyPhen). In addition, we genotyped the p.Arg1210Cys variant in 813 non-CD type AMD cases and 1175 controls.

Results: Sequencing identified 11 rare, heterozygous missense variants, one frameshift variant, and one splice acceptor site variant in 16 CD cases. The p.Arg1210Cys variant was identified in two CD cases but was not identified in our Dutch-German non-CD-type AMD case-control cohort.

Conclusions: The present study identified the presence of rare variants in the CFH gene in 16 (8.8%) of 180 patients with the CD subtype of AMD. The carriers of rare CFH variants displayed a significantly earlier age at onset than non-carriers (p=0.016). The rare missense variant p.Arg1210Cys was identified in two CD cases, but was not detected in 813 non-CD type AMD cases or in the 1,175 controls of our Dutch-German cohort. The current study suggests that the p.Arg1210Cys variant may be restricted to a subset of patients with the CD subtype of AMD. Detailed clinical phenotyping, including fluorescein angiography, of patients with AMD carrying the p.Arg1210Cys variant in other cohorts is required to confirm this finding.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4360166PMC
September 2015

Variants in CUL4B are associated with cerebral malformations.

Hum Mutat 2015 Jan;36(1):106-17

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences and Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Variants in cullin 4B (CUL4B) are a known cause of syndromic X-linked intellectual disability. Here, we describe an additional 25 patients from 11 families with variants in CUL4B. We identified nine different novel variants in these families and confirmed the pathogenicity of all nontruncating variants. Neuroimaging data, available for 15 patients, showed the presence of cerebral malformations in ten patients. The cerebral anomalies comprised malformations of cortical development (MCD), ventriculomegaly, and diminished white matter volume. The phenotypic heterogeneity of the cerebral malformations might result from the involvement of CUL-4B in various cellular pathways essential for normal brain development. Accordingly, we show that CUL-4B interacts with WDR62, a protein in which variants were previously identified in patients with microcephaly and a wide range of MCD. This interaction might contribute to the development of cerebral malformations in patients with variants in CUL4B.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.22718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608231PMC
January 2015

Two male adults with pathogenic AUTS2 variants, including a two-base pair deletion, further delineate the AUTS2 syndrome.

Eur J Hum Genet 2015 Jun 10;23(6):803-7. Epub 2014 Sep 10.

Department of Clinical Genetics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

AUTS2 syndrome is characterized by low birth weight, feeding difficulties, intellectual disability, microcephaly and mild dysmorphic features. All affected individuals thus far were caused by chromosomal rearrangements, variants at the base pair level disrupting AUTS2 have not yet been described. Here we present the full clinical description of two affected men with intragenic AUTS2 variants (one two-base pair deletion in exon 7 and one deletion of exon 6). Both variants are de novo and are predicted to cause a frameshift of the full-length transcript but are unlikely to affect the shorter 3' transcript starting in exon 9. The similarities between the phenotypes of both men are striking and further support that AUTS2 syndrome is a single gene disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2014.173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4795056PMC
June 2015

Heterozygous germline mutations in A2ML1 are associated with a disorder clinically related to Noonan syndrome.

Eur J Hum Genet 2015 Mar 18;23(3):317-24. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

1] Hubrecht Institute-KNAW and University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands [2] Institute of Biology, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Noonan syndrome (NS) is a developmental disorder characterized by short stature, facial dysmorphisms and congenital heart defects. To date, all mutations known to cause NS are dominant, activating mutations in signal transducers of the RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. In 25% of cases, however, the genetic cause of NS remains elusive, suggesting that factors other than those involved in the canonical RAS/MAPK pathway may also have a role. Here, we used family-based whole exome sequencing of a case-parent trio and identified a de novo mutation, p.(Arg802His), in A2ML1, which encodes the secreted protease inhibitor α-2-macroglobulin (A2M)-like-1. Subsequent resequencing of A2ML1 in 155 cases with a clinical diagnosis of NS led to the identification of additional mutations in two families, p.(Arg802Leu) and p.(Arg592Leu). Functional characterization of these human A2ML1 mutations in zebrafish showed NS-like developmental defects, including a broad head, blunted face and cardiac malformations. Using the crystal structure of A2M, which is highly homologous to A2ML1, we identified the intramolecular interaction partner of p.Arg802. Mutation of this residue, p.Glu906, induced similar developmental defects in zebrafish, strengthening our conclusion that mutations in A2ML1 cause a disorder clinically related to NS. This is the first report of the involvement of an extracellular factor in a disorder clinically related to RASopathies, providing potential new leads for better understanding of the molecular basis of this family of developmental diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2014.115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4326711PMC
March 2015

Subtelomeric chromosomal rearrangements in a large cohort of unexplained intellectually disabled individuals in Indonesia: A clinical and molecular study.

Indian J Hum Genet 2013 Apr;19(2):171-8

Division of Human Genetics, Center for Biomedical Research, Faculty of Medicine Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia ; Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Context: Unbalanced subtelomeric chromosomal rearrangements are often associated with intellectual disability (ID) and malformation syndromes. The prevalence of such rearrangements has been reported to be 5-9% in ID populations.

Aims: To study the prevalence of subtelomeric rearrangements in the Indonesian ID population.

Materials And Methods: We tested 436 subjects with unexplained ID using multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA) using the specific designed sets of probes to detect human subtelomeric chromosomal imbalances (SALSA P070 and P036D). If necessary, abnormal findings were confirmed by other MLPA probe kits, fluorescent in situ hybridization or Single Nucleotide Polymorphism array.

Results: A subtelomeric aberration was identified in 3.7% of patients (16/436). Details on subtelomeric aberrations and confirmation analyses are discussed.

Conclusion: This is the first study describing the presence of subtelomeric rearrangements in individuals with ID in Indonesia. Furthermore, it shows that also in Indonesia such abnormalities are a prime cause of ID and that in developing countries with limited diagnostic services such as Indonesia, it is important and feasible to uncover the genetic etiology in a significant number of cases with ID.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758723PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0971-6866.116118DOI Listing
April 2013

GATAD2B loss-of-function mutations cause a recognisable syndrome with intellectual disability and are associated with learning deficits and synaptic undergrowth in Drosophila.

J Med Genet 2013 Aug 4;50(8):507-14. Epub 2013 May 4.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: GATA zinc finger domain containing 2B (GATAD2B) encodes a subunit of the MeCP1-Mi-2/nucleosome remodelling and deacetylase complex involved in chromatin modification and regulation of transcription. We recently identified two de novo loss-of-function mutations in GATAD2B by whole exome sequencing in two unrelated individuals with severe intellectual disability.

Methods: To identify additional individuals with GATAD2B aberrations, we searched for microdeletions overlapping with GATAD2B in inhouse and international databases, and performed targeted Sanger sequencing of the GATAD2B locus in a selected cohort of 80 individuals based on an overlap with the clinical features in the two index cases. To address whether GATAD2B is required directly in neurones for cognition and neuronal development, we investigated the role of Drosophila GATAD2B orthologue simjang (simj) in learning and synaptic connectivity.

Results: We identified a third individual with a 240 kb microdeletion encompassing GATAD2B and a fourth unrelated individual with GATAD2B loss-of-function mutation. Detailed clinical description showed that all four individuals with a GATAD2B aberration had a distinctive phenotype with childhood hypotonia, severe intellectual disability, limited speech, tubular shaped nose with broad nasal tip, short philtrum, sparse hair and strabismus. Neuronal knockdown of Drosophila GATAD2B orthologue, simj, resulted in impaired learning and altered synapse morphology.

Conclusions: We hereby define a novel clinically recognisable intellectual disability syndrome caused by loss-of-function of GATAD2B. Our results in Drosophila suggest that GATAD2B is required directly in neurones for normal cognitive performance and synapse development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2012-101490DOI Listing
August 2013

Prenatal diagnostic testing of the Noonan syndrome genes in fetuses with abnormal ultrasound findings.

Eur J Hum Genet 2013 Sep 16;21(9):936-42. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Department of Paediatrics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

In recent studies on prenatal testing for Noonan syndrome (NS) in fetuses with an increased nuchal translucency (NT) and a normal karyotype, mutations have been reported in 9-16% of cases. In this study, DNA of 75 fetuses with a normal karyotype and abnormal ultrasound findings was tested in a diagnostic setting for mutations in (a subset of) the four most commonly mutated NS genes. A de novo mutation in either PTPN11, KRAS or RAF1 was detected in 13 fetuses (17.3%). Ultrasound findings were increased NT, distended jugular lymphatic sacs (JLS), hydrothorax, renal anomalies, polyhydramnios, cystic hygroma, cardiac anomalies, hydrops fetalis and ascites. A second group, consisting of anonymized DNA of 60 other fetuses with sonographic abnormalities, was tested for mutations in 10 NS genes. In this group, five possible pathogenic mutations have been identified (in PTPN11 (n=2), RAF1, BRAF and MAP2K1 (each n=1)). We recommend prenatal testing of PTPN11, KRAS and RAF1 in pregnancies with an increased NT and at least one of the following additional features: polyhydramnios, hydrops fetalis, renal anomalies, distended JLS, hydrothorax, cardiac anomalies, cystic hygroma and ascites. If possible, mutation analysis of BRAF and MAP2K1 should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2012.285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746261PMC
September 2013

Interpretation of clinical relevance of X-chromosome copy number variations identified in a large cohort of individuals with cognitive disorders and/or congenital anomalies.

Eur J Med Genet 2012 Nov 14;55(11):586-98. Epub 2012 Jul 14.

849 Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Genome-wide array studies are now routinely being used in the evaluation of patients with cognitive disorders (CD) and/or congenital anomalies (CA). Therefore, inevitably each clinician is confronted with the challenging task of the interpretation of copy number variations detected by genome-wide array platforms in a diagnostic setting. Clinical interpretation of autosomal copy number variations is already challenging, but assessment of the clinical relevance of copy number variations of the X-chromosome is even more complex. This study provides an overview of the X-Chromosome copy number variations that we have identified by genome-wide array analysis in a large cohort of 4407 male and female patients. We have made an interpretation of the clinical relevance of each of these copy number variations based on well-defined criteria and previous reports in literature and databases. The prevalence of X-chromosome copy number variations in this cohort was 57/4407 (∼1.3%), of which 15 (0.3%) were interpreted as (likely) pathogenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejmg.2012.05.001DOI Listing
November 2012

Disruption of an EHMT1-associated chromatin-modification module causes intellectual disability.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 Jul 21;91(1):73-82. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands.

Intellectual disability (ID) disorders are genetically and phenotypically highly heterogeneous and present a major challenge in clinical genetics and medicine. Although many genes involved in ID have been identified, the etiology is unknown in most affected individuals. Moreover, the function of most genes associated with ID remains poorly characterized. Evidence is accumulating that the control of gene transcription through epigenetic modification of chromatin structure in neurons has an important role in cognitive processes and in the etiology of ID. However, our understanding of the key molecular players and mechanisms in this process is highly fragmentary. Here, we identify a chromatin-modification module that underlies a recognizable form of ID, the Kleefstra syndrome phenotypic spectrum (KSS). In a cohort of KSS individuals without mutations in EHMT1 (the only gene known to be disrupted in KSS until now), we identified de novo mutations in four genes, MBD5, MLL3, SMARCB1, and NR1I3, all of which encode epigenetic regulators. Using Drosophila, we demonstrate that MBD5, MLL3, and NR1I3 cooperate with EHMT1, whereas SMARCB1 is known to directly interact with MLL3. We propose a highly conserved epigenetic network that underlies cognition in health and disease. This network should allow the design of strategies to treat the growing group of ID pathologies that are caused by epigenetic defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.05.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3397275PMC
July 2012

Mutations in the chromatin modifier gene KANSL1 cause the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome.

Nat Genet 2012 Apr 29;44(6):639-41. Epub 2012 Apr 29.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

We show that haploinsufficiency of KANSL1 is sufficient to cause the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome, a multisystem disorder characterized by intellectual disability, hypotonia and distinctive facial features. The KANSL1 protein is an evolutionarily conserved regulator of the chromatin modifier KAT8, which influences gene expression through histone H4 lysine 16 (H4K16) acetylation. RNA sequencing studies in cell lines derived from affected individuals and the presence of learning deficits in Drosophila melanogaster mutants suggest a role for KANSL1 in neuronal processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.2262DOI Listing
April 2012

Two families with sibling recurrence of the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome due to low-grade mosaicism.

Eur J Hum Genet 2012 Jul 1;20(7):729-33. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome is characterised by intellectual disability, epilepsy, distinctive facial dysmorphism, and congenital anomalies. To date, all individuals reported with this syndrome have been simplex patients, resulting from de novo deletions. Here, we report sibling recurrence of the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome in two independent families. In both families, the mother was confirmed to be the parent-of-origin for the 17q21.31 deletion. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation analyses in buccal mucosa cells, of the mother of family 1, identified monosomy 17q21.31 in 4/50 nuclei (8%). In mother of family 2, the deletion was identified in 2/60 (3%) metaphase and in 3/100 (3%) interphase nuclei in peripheral lymphocytes, and in 7/100 (7%) interphase nuclei in buccal cells. A common 17q21.31 inversion polymorphism predisposes to non-allelic homologous recombination and hereby to the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome. On the basis of the 17q21.31 inversion status of the parents, we calculated that the probability of the second deletion occurring by chance alone was 1/14,438 and 1/4812, respectively. If the inversion status of the parents of a child with the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome is unknown, the overall risk of a second child with the 17q21.31 microdeletion is 1/9461. We conclude that the presence of low-level maternal somatic-gonadal mosaicism is associated with the microdeletion recurrence in these families. This suggests that the recurrence risk for parents with a child with a 17q21.31 microdeletion for future pregnancies is higher than by chance alone and testing for mosaicism in the parents might be considered as a helpful tool in the genetic counselling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2012.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3376266PMC
July 2012

A cytogenetic study in a large population of intellectually disabled Indonesians.

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers 2012 May 22;16(5):412-7. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Division of Human Genetics, Center for Biomedical Research, Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University GSG, Semarang, Indonesia.

Genetic factors play a significant role in the etiology of intellectual disability (ID). The goal of this study was to identify microscopically visible chromosomal abnormalities in an Indonesian ID population and to determine their frequency, pattern, and clinical features. A total of 527 intellectually disabled individuals from special schools and institutions in 4 different areas on Java Island, Indonesia, were screened for cytogenetic abnormalities. Additional analyses were carried out for verification or further characterization by using fluorescence in situ hybridization, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, or analysis of the FMR1 promoter CGG(n) repeat. Of the 527 individuals with ID, chromosomal abnormalities were found in 87 (16.5%). Trisomy 21 was the major chromosomal abnormality, identified in 74 patients (14%). Other chromosome abnormalities included 8 X-chromosomal and 5 autosomal aberrations. Details on chromosome aberrations and confirmation analyses are discussed. This study shows that chromosomal abnormalities are an important cause of ID in Indonesia. Cytogenetic analysis is important for an adequate diagnosis in patients and subsequent genetic counseling for their families, especially in developing countries with limited facilities, such as Indonesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/gtmb.2011.0157DOI Listing
May 2012

Chromosome 1p21.3 microdeletions comprising DPYD and MIR137 are associated with intellectual disability.

J Med Genet 2011 Dec 15;48(12):810-8. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Background: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding gene transcripts involved in post-transcriptional regulation of genes. Recent studies identified miRNAs as important regulators of learning and memory in model organisms. So far, no mutations in specific miRNA genes have been associated with impaired cognitive functions.

Methods And Results: In three sibs and two unrelated patients with intellectual disability (ID), overlapping 1p21.3 deletions were detected by genome-wide array analysis. The shortest region of overlap included dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD) and microRNA 137 (MIR137). DPYD is involved in autosomal recessive dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency. Hemizygous DPYD deletions were previously suggested to contribute to a phenotype with autism spectrum disorder and speech delay. Interestingly, the mature microRNA transcript microRNA-137 (miR-137) was recently shown to be involved in modulating neurogenesis in adult murine neuronal stem cells. Therefore, this study investigated the possible involvement of MIR137 in the 1p21.3-deletion phenotype. The patients displayed a significantly decreased expression of both precursor and mature miR-137 levels, as well as significantly increased expression of the validated downstream targets microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) and Enhancer of Zeste, Drosophila, Homologue 2 (EZH2), and the newly identified target Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4). The study also demonstrated significant enrichment of miR-137 at the synapses of cortical and hippocampal neurons, suggesting a role of miR-137 in regulating local synaptic protein synthesis machinery.

Conclusions: This study showed that dosage effects of MIR137 are associated with 1p21.3 microdeletions and may therefore contribute to the ID phenotype in patients with deletions harbouring this miRNA. A local effect at the synapse might be responsible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2011-100294DOI Listing
December 2011

Characterization of a novel transcript of the EHMT1 gene reveals important diagnostic implications for Kleefstra syndrome.

Hum Mutat 2011 Jul;32(7):853-9

Department of Human Genetics, RUNMC, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The core phenotype of Kleefstra syndrome (KS) is characterized by intellectual disability, childhood hypotonia, and a characteristic facial appearance. This can be caused by either submicroscopic 9q34 deletions or loss of function mutations of the EHMT1 gene. Remarkably, in three patients with a clinical suspicion of KS, molecular cytogenetic analysis revealed an interstitial 9q34 microdeletion proximal to the coding region of the EHMT1 gene based on the NM_ 024757.3 transcript. Because we found a mono-allelic EHMT1 transcript suggestive for haploinsufficiency of EHMT1 in two of these patients tested, we hypothesized that a deletion of regulatory elements or so far unknown coding sequences in the 5' region of the EHMT1 gene, might result in a phenotype compatible with KS. We further characterized the molecular content of deletions proximal to the transcript NM_ 024757.3 and confirmed presence of a novel predicted open reading frame comprising 27 coding exons (NM_ 024757.4). Further analysis showed that all three deletions included the presumed novel first exon of the EHMT1 gene. Subsequent testing of 75 individuals without previously detectable EHMT1 aberrations showed one additional case with a deletion comprising only this 5' part of the gene. These results have important implications for the genetic screening of KS and for studies of the functional significance of EHMT1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.21523DOI Listing
July 2011

Cancer risk in patients with Noonan syndrome carrying a PTPN11 mutation.

Eur J Hum Genet 2011 Aug 16;19(8):870-4. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Noonan syndrome (NS) is characterized by short stature, facial dysmorphisms and congenital heart defects. PTPN11 mutations are the most common cause of NS. Patients with NS have a predisposition for leukemia and certain solid tumors. Data on the incidence of malignancies in NS are lacking. Our objective was to estimate the cancer risk and spectrum in patients with NS carrying a PTPN11 mutation. In addition, we have investigated whether specific PTPN11 mutations result in an increased malignancy risk. We have performed a cohort study among 297 Dutch NS patients with a PTPN11 mutation (mean age 18 years). The cancer histories were collected from the referral forms for DNA diagnostics, and by consulting the Dutch national registry of pathology and the Netherlands Cancer Registry. The reported frequencies of cancer among NS patients were compared with the expected frequencies using population-based incidence rates. In total, 12 patients with NS developed a malignancy, providing a cumulative risk for developing cancer of 23% (95% confidence interval (CI), 8-38%) up to age 55 years, which represents a 3.5-fold (95% CI, 2.0-5.9) increased risk compared with that in the general population. Hematological malignancies occurred most frequently. Two malignancies, not previously observed in NS, were found: a malignant mastocytosis and malignant epithelioid angiosarcoma. No correlation was found between specific PTPN11 mutations and cancer occurrence. In conclusion, this study provides first evidence of an increased risk of cancer in patients with NS and a PTPN11 mutation, compared with that in the general population. Our data do not warrant specific cancer surveillance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2011.37DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3172922PMC
August 2011

Noonan syndrome gain-of-function mutations in NRAS cause zebrafish gastrulation defects.

Dis Model Mech 2011 May 24;4(3):393-9. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Hubrecht Institute-KNAW and University Medical Center Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584 CT Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Noonan syndrome is a relatively common developmental disorder that is characterized by reduced growth, wide-set eyes and congenital heart defects. Noonan syndrome is associated with dysregulation of the Ras-mitogen-activated-protein-kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Recently, two mutations in NRAS were reported to be associated with Noonan syndrome, T50I and G60E. Here, we report a mutation in NRAS, resulting in an I24N amino acid substitution, that we identified in an individual bearing typical Noonan syndrome features. The I24N mutation activates N-Ras, resulting in enhanced downstream signaling. Expression of N-Ras-I24N, N-Ras-G60E or the strongly activating mutant N-Ras-G12V, which we included as a positive control, results in developmental defects in zebrafish embryos, demonstrating that these activating N-Ras mutants are sufficient to induce developmental disorders. The defects in zebrafish embryos are reminiscent of symptoms in individuals with Noonan syndrome and phenocopy the defects that other Noonan-syndrome-associated genes induce in zebrafish embryos. MEK inhibition completely rescued the activated N-Ras-induced phenotypes, demonstrating that these defects are mediated exclusively by Ras-MAPK signaling. In conclusion, mutations in NRAS from individuals with Noonan syndrome activated N-Ras signaling and induced developmental defects in zebrafish embryos, indicating that activating mutations in NRAS cause Noonan syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dmm.007112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097460PMC
May 2011

Mitochondrial dysfunction and organic aciduria in five patients carrying mutations in the Ras-MAPK pathway.

Eur J Hum Genet 2011 Feb 10;19(2):138-44. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Various syndromes of the Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, including the Noonan, Cardio-Facio-Cutaneous, LEOPARD and Costello syndromes, share the common features of craniofacial dysmorphisms, heart defect and short stature. In a subgroup of patients, severe muscle hypotonia, central nervous system involvement and failure to thrive occur as well. In this study we report on five children diagnosed initially with classic metabolic and clinical symptoms of an oxidative phosphorylation disorder. Later in the course of the disease, the children presented with characteristic features of Ras-MAPK pathway-related syndromes, leading to the reevaluation of the initial diagnosis. In the five patients, in addition to the oxidative phosphorylation disorder, disease-causing mutations were detected in the Ras-MAPK pathway. Three of the patients also carried a second, mitochondrial genetic alteration, which was asymptomatically present in their healthy relatives. Did we miss the correct diagnosis in the first place or is mitochondrial dysfunction directly related to Ras-MAPK pathway defects? The Ras-MAPK pathway is known to have various targets, including proteins in the mitochondrial membrane influencing mitochondrial morphology and dynamics. Prospective screening of 18 patients with various Ras-MAPK pathway defects detected biochemical signs of disturbed oxidative phosphorylation in three additional children. We concluded that only a specific, metabolically vulnerable sub-population of patients with Ras-MAPK pathway mutations presents with mitochondrial dysfunction and a more severe, early-onset disease. We postulate that patients with Ras-MAPK mutations have an increased susceptibility, but a second metabolic hit is needed to cause the clinical manifestation of mitochondrial dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2010.171DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025797PMC
February 2011

Phenotypic spectrum of 20 novel patients with molecularly defined supernumerary marker chromosomes 15 and a review of the literature.

Am J Med Genet A 2010 Sep;152A(9):2221-9

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Supernumerary marker chromosomes (SMC) originating from chromosome 15 are the most common SMCs. They encompass clinically irrelevant SMC(15)s containing only heterochromatin and 15p material, and clinically relevant SMC(15)s that consist of both eu- and heterochromatic 15q material. On the basis of size, the clinically relevant SMC(15)s can be subdivided into type A, "large" asymmetric and type B, "small" symmetric SMC(15)s. Type B SMC(15)s contain the triplicated 15pter to BP3 (located at 26.5 Mb) region, while type A SMC(15)s consist of 15pter --> BP4(28.5 Mb)::BP5(30.5 Mb) --> 15pter. In this study, the clinical and molecular features of 18 patients with A and B SMC(15)s and two patients with a partial trisomy 15q were reviewed. Questionnaires (including Child Behavior Check Lists) were used to assess behavior and developmental features in more detail. The marker size and parental origin were determined by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). Based on the MLPA results, the majority of patients (14/18) had type A SMC(15)s. The phenotype observed did not show significant differences between types A and B SMC(15)s. A high prevalence of autistic-like behavior, attention problems, aggressive behavior, anxiety, and sleeping problems was reported. Motor and speech development varied extensively among the patients. An association was found between positive seizure history and degree of intellectual disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.33529DOI Listing
September 2010

Heterozygous germline mutations in the CBL tumor-suppressor gene cause a Noonan syndrome-like phenotype.

Am J Hum Genet 2010 Aug 8;87(2):250-7. Epub 2010 Jul 8.

Dipartimento di Ematologia, Oncologia e Medicina Molecolare, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

RAS signaling plays a key role in controlling appropriate cell responses to extracellular stimuli and participates in early and late developmental processes. Although enhanced flow through this pathway has been established as a major contributor to oncogenesis, recent discoveries have revealed that aberrant RAS activation causes a group of clinically related developmental disorders characterized by facial dysmorphism, a wide spectrum of cardiac disease, reduced growth, variable cognitive deficits, ectodermal and musculoskeletal anomalies, and increased risk for certain malignancies. Here, we report that heterozygous germline mutations in CBL, a tumor-suppressor gene that is mutated in myeloid malignancies and encodes a multivalent adaptor protein with E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, can underlie a phenotype with clinical features fitting or partially overlapping Noonan syndrome (NS), the most common condition of this disease family. Independent CBL mutations were identified in two sporadic cases and two families from among 365 unrelated subjects who had NS or suggestive features and were negative for mutations in previously identified disease genes. Phenotypic heterogeneity and variable expressivity were documented. Mutations were missense changes altering evolutionarily conserved residues located in the RING finger domain or the linker connecting this domain to the N-terminal tyrosine kinase binding domain, a known mutational hot spot in myeloid malignancies. Mutations were shown to affect CBL-mediated receptor ubiquitylation and dysregulate signal flow through RAS. These findings document that germline mutations in CBL alter development to cause a clinically variable condition that resembles NS and that possibly predisposes to malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.06.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917705PMC
August 2010

Noonan syndrome, the SOS1 gene and embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer 2010 Jul;49(7):635-41

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Noonan Syndrome (NS) is an autosomal dominant condition characterized by short stature, facial dysmorphisms, and congenital heart defects, and is caused by mutations in either PTPN11, KRAS, NRAS, SHOC2, RAF1, or SOS1. Furthermore, NS is known for its predisposition to develop cancer, particularly hematological malignancies and specific solid tumors, mainly neuroblastoma and embryonal rhabdomyosacroma (ERMS). Until recently, however, cancer predisposition in NS patients with SOS1 mutations was not reported. Here we present a NS patient with a de novo germline SOS1 mutation (p.Lys728Ile) and ERMS. This heterozygous germline mutation was homozygously present in the ERMS of this patient due to an acquired uniparental disomy (UPD) of chromosome 2. In addition, several other chromosomal aberrations were encountered, some of which are known to recurrently occur in ERMS. Sequence analysis of the SOS1 gene in 20 sporadic ERMS tumors failed to reveal any pathogenic mutations, implicating that SOS1 is not a major player in the development of this tumor outside the context of NS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gcc.20773DOI Listing
July 2010

Genomic microarrays in mental retardation: a practical workflow for diagnostic applications.

Hum Mutat 2009 Mar;30(3):283-92

Department of Human Genetics, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Microarray-based copy number analysis has found its way into routine clinical practice, predominantly for the diagnosis of patients with unexplained mental retardation. However, the clinical interpretation of submicroscopic copy number variants (CNVs) is complicated by the fact that many CNVs are also present in the general population. Here we introduce and discuss a workflow that can be used in routine diagnostics to assess the clinical significance of the CNVs identified. We applied this scheme to our cohort of 386 individuals with unexplained mental retardation tested using a genome-wide tiling-resolution DNA microarray and to 978 additional patients with mental retardation reported in 15 genome-wide microarray studies extracted from the literature. In our cohort of 386 patients we identified 25 clinically significant copy number losses (median size 2.6 Mb), nine copy number gains (median size 2.0 Mb), and one mosaic numerical chromosome aberration. Accordingly, the overall diagnostic yield of clinically significant CNVs was 9.1%. Taken together, our cohort and the patients described in the literature include a total of 1,364 analyses of DNA copy number in which a total of 11.2% (71.9% losses, 19.6% gains, 8.5% complex) could be identified, reflecting the overall diagnostic yield of clinically significant CNVs in individuals with unexplained mental retardation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.20883DOI Listing
March 2009

Structural variation in Xq28: MECP2 duplications in 1% of patients with unexplained XLMR and in 2% of male patients with severe encephalopathy.

Eur J Hum Genet 2009 Apr 5;17(4):444-53. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Duplications in Xq28 involving MECP2 have been described in patients with severe mental retardation, infantile hypotonia, progressive spasticity, and recurrent infections. However, it is not yet clear to what extent these and accompanying symptoms may vary. In addition, the frequency of Xq28 duplications including MECP2 has yet to be determined in patients with unexplained X-linked mental retardation and (fe)males with severe encephalopathy. In this study, we used multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification to screen Xq28 including MECP2 for deletions and duplications in these patient cohorts. In the group of 283 patients with X-linked mental retardation, we identified three Xq28 duplications including MECP2, which suggests that approximately 1% of unexplained X-linked mental retardation may be caused by MECP2 duplications. In addition, we found three additional MECP2 duplications in 134 male patients with mental retardation and severe, mostly progressive, neurological symptoms, indicating that the mutation frequency could be as high as 2% in this group of patients. In 329 female patients, no Xq28 duplications were detected. In total, we assessed 13 male patients with a MECP2 duplication from six unrelated families. Moderate to severe mental retardation and childhood hypotonia was noted in all patients. The majority of the patients also presented with absent speech, seizures, and progressive spasticity as well as ataxia or an ataxic gait and cerebral atrophy, two previously unreported symptoms. We propose to implement DNA copy number testing for MECP2 in the current diagnostic testing in all males with moderate to severe mental retardation accompanied by (progressive) neurological symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2008.208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2986218PMC
April 2009

Loss-of-function mutations in euchromatin histone methyl transferase 1 (EHMT1) cause the 9q34 subtelomeric deletion syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2006 Aug 13;79(2):370-7. Epub 2006 Jun 13.

Department of Human Genetics 849, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

A clinically recognizable 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome has recently been established. Common features seen in these patients are severe mental retardation, hypotonia, brachycephaly, flat face with hypertelorism, synophrys, anteverted nares, cupid bow or tented upper lip, everted lower lip, prognathism, macroglossia, conotruncal heart defects, and behavioral problems. The minimal critical region responsible for this 9q subtelomeric deletion (9q-) syndrome has been estimated to be <1 Mb and comprises the euchromatin histone methyl transferase 1 gene (EHMT1). Previous studies suggested that haploinsufficiency for EHMT1 is causative for 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome. We have performed a comprehensive mutation analysis of the EHMT1 gene in 23 patients with clinical presentations reminiscent of 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome. This analysis revealed three additional microdeletions that comprise the EHMT1 gene, including one interstitial deletion that reduces the critical region for this syndrome. Most importantly, we identified two de novo mutations--a nonsense mutation and a frameshift mutation--in the EHMT1 gene in patients with a typical 9q- phenotype. These results establish that haploinsufficiency of EHMT1 is causative for 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/505693DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1559478PMC
August 2006

Interstitial 2.2 Mb deletion at 9q34 in a patient with mental retardation but without classical features of the 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2006 Mar;140(6):618-23

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands.

In a female patient with mild mental retardation an interstitial subtelomeric 9q34.3 deletion was identified by a multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) based screen for subtelomeric abnormalities. Further characterization of the deletion by high-resolution tiling path array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) revealed a size of 2.2 Mb. The woman lacked the typical 9qter deletion phenotype characteristics, which is inline with the finding that both Eu-HMTase1 (EHMT) genes were present. However, she presented with mild mental retardation, some mild facial dysmorphisms and aplasia cutis. This is another example of an interstitial subtelomeric deletion, which underscores that further characterizing the precise nature of the deletion is of clinical importance. Moreover, it confirms the importance of the Eu-HMTase1 gene as the major causative factor of the classical 9qter syndrome phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.31123DOI Listing
March 2006