Eur J Med Genet 2010 Sep-Oct;53(5):337-9. Epub 2010 Jul 27.
We provide the first description of a patient with a heterozygous deletion of the Attractin-like (ATRNL1) gene. The patient presented with a novel and distinctive phenotype comprising dysmorphic facial appearance, ventricular septal defect, toe syndactyly, radioulnar synostosis, postnatal growth retardation, cognitive impairment with autistic features, and ataxia. A 325 kb de novo deletion in ATRNL1 was demonstrated using SNP microarray and confirmed by FISH analysis using BAC probes. Sequence analysis of the undeleted allele did not identify any alterations, suggesting that the phenotype was the result of haploinusfficiency. ATRNL1 and its paralog ATRN are highly conserved transmembrane proteins thought to be involved in cell adhesion and signalling events. The phenotype of mice with homozygous Atrn mutations overlaps considerably with the features observed in our patient. We therefore postulate that our patient's phenotype is caused by the deletion of ATRNL1, and provide further insight into the role of ATRNL1 in human development.