A number of neurodevelopmental syndromes are caused by mutations in genes encoding proteins that normally function in epigenetic regulation. Identification of epigenetic alterations occurring in these disorders could shed light on molecular pathways relevant to neurodevelopment.
Using a genome-wide approach, we identified genes with significant loss of DNA methylation in blood of males with intellectual disability and mutations in the X-linked KDM5C gene, encoding a histone H3 lysine 4 demethylase, in comparison to age/sex matched controls. Loss of DNA methylation in such individuals is consistent with known interactions between DNA methylation and H3 lysine 4 methylation. Further, loss of DNA methylation at the promoters of the three top candidate genes FBXL5, SCMH1, CACYBP was not observed in more than 900 population controls. We also found that DNA methylation at these three genes in blood correlated with dosage of KDM5C and its Y-linked homologue KDM5D. In addition, parallel sex-specific DNA methylation profiles in brain samples from control males and females were observed at FBXL5 and CACYBP.
We have, for the first time, identified epigenetic alterations in patient samples carrying a mutation in a gene involved in the regulation of histone modifications. These data support the concept that DNA methylation and H3 lysine 4 methylation are functionally interdependent. The data provide new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of intellectual disability. Further, our data suggest that some DNA methylation marks identified in blood can serve as biomarkers of epigenetic status in the brain.
KDM5C; DNA methylation; H3K4 methylation; Intellectual disability
Split-hand/foot malformation with long-bone deficiency (SHFLD) is a relatively rare autosomal-dominant skeletal disorder, characterized by variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance. Although several chromosomal loci for SHFLD have been identified, the molecular basis and pathogenesis of most SHFLD cases are unknown. In this study we describe three unrelated kindreds, in which SHFLD segregated with distinct but overlapping duplications in 17p13.3, a region previously linked to SHFLD. In a large three-generation family, the disorder was found to segregate with a 254 kb microduplication; a second microduplication of 527 kb was identified in an affected female and her unaffected mother, and a 430 kb microduplication versus microtriplication was identified in three affected members of a multi-generational family. These findings, along with previously published data, suggest that one locus responsible for this form of SHFLD is located within a 173 kb overlapping critical region, and that the copy gains are incompletely penetrant.
split-hand/foot malformation; SHFM; SHFLD; microduplication; microarray; conserved regulatory element
Large-scale next generation resequencing of X chromosome genes identified a missense mutation in the CLIC2 gene on Xq28 in a male with X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) and not found in healthy individuals. At the same time, numerous nsSNPs (nonsynonomous SNP) have been reported in the CLIC2 gene in healthy individuals indicating that the CLIC2 protein can tolerate amino acid substitutions and be fully functional. To test the possibility that p.H101Q is a disease-causing mutation, we performed in silico simulations to calculate the effects of the p.H101Q mutation on CLIC2 stability, dynamics and ionization states while comparing the effects obtained for presumably harmless nsSNPs. It was found that p.H101Q, in contrast with other nsSNPs, (a) lessens the flexibility of the joint loop which is important for the normal function of CLIC2, (b) makes the overall 3D structure of CLIC2 more stable and thus reduces the possibility of the large conformational change expected to occur when CLIC2 moves from a soluble to membrane form and (c) removes the positively charged residue, H101, which may be important for the membrane association of CLIC2. The results of in silico modeling, in conjunction with the polymorphism analysis, suggest that p.H101Q may be a disease-causing mutation, the first one suggested in the CLIC family.
CLIC2; missense mutations; mental disorder; energy calculations; pKa calculations; electrostatics; molecular dynamics simulations
The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) modulates executive functions, learning, and emotional processing, all of which are impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Our previous findings suggest a role for dopamine-related genes in families with only affected males.
We examined two additional genes which affect DA function, the DRD2 and PPP1R1B (DARPP-32) genes, in a cohort of 112 male-only affected sib-pair families. Selected polymorphisms spanning these genes were genotyped and both family-based and population-based tests were carried out for association analysis. General discriminant analysis was used to examine the gene-gene interactions in predicting autism susceptibility.
There was a significantly increased frequency of the DRD2 rs1800498TT genotype (P = 0.007) in affected males compared to the comparison group, apparently due to over-transmission of the T allele (P = 0.0003). The frequency of the PPP1R1B rs1495099CC genotype in affected males was also higher than that in the comparison group (P = 0.002) due to preferential transmission of the C allele from parents to affected children (P = 0.0009). Alleles rs1800498T and rs1495099C were associated with more severe problems in social interaction (P = 0.0002 and P = 0.0016, respectively) and communication (P = 0.0004 and P = 0.0046), and increased stereotypic behaviours (P = 0.0021 and P = 0.00072). General discriminant analysis found that the DRD2 and PPP1R1B genes additively predicted ASDs (P = 0.00011; Canonical R = 0.26) and explain ~7% of the variance in our families. All findings remained significant following corrections for multiple testing.
Our findings support a role for the DRD2 and PPP1R1B genes in conferring risk for autism in families with only affected males and show an additive effect of these genes towards prediction of affected status in our families.
Autism spectrum disorders; Dopamine receptors; DARPP-32; Association study; Candidate gene
Background and aim
Martin–Probst syndrome (MPS) is a rare X-linked disorder characterised by deafness, cognitive impairment, short stature and distinct craniofacial dysmorphisms, among other features. The authors sought to identify the causative mutation for MPS.
Methods and results
Massively parallel sequencing in two affected, related male subjects with MPS identified a RAB40AL (also called RLGP) missense mutation (chrX:102,079,078-102,079,079AC→GA p.D59G; hg18). RAB40AL encodes a small Ras-like GTPase protein with one suppressor of cytokine signalling box. The p.D59G variant is located in a highly conserved region of the GTPase domain between β-2 and β-3 strands. Using RT-PCR, the authors show that RAB40AL is expressed in human fetal and adult brain and kidney, and adult lung, heart, liver and skeletal muscle. RAB40AL appears to be a primate innovation, with no orthologues found in mouse, Xenopus or zebrafish. Western analysis and fluorescence microscopy of GFP-tagged RAB40AL constructs from transiently transfected COS7 cells show that the D59G missense change renders RAB40AL unstable and disrupts its cytoplasmic localisation.
This is the first study to show that mutation of RAB40AL is associated with a human disorder. Identification of RAB40AL as the gene mutated in MPS allows for further investigations into the molecular mechanism(s) of RAB40AL and its roles in diverse processes such as cognition, hearing and skeletal development.
Genetics; guidelines; molecular genetics; clinical genetics; microarray; copy-number; complex traits; developmental; epigenetics; academic medicine; genome-wide; genetic epidemiology; chromosomal
A structure-based approach is described for predicting the effects of amino acid substitutions on protein function. Structures were predicted using a homology modelling method. Folding and binding energy differences between wild-type and mutant structures were computed to quantitatively assess the effects of amino acid substitutions on protein stability and protein–protein interaction, respectively. We demonstrated that pathogenic mutations at the interaction interface could affect binding energy and destabilise protein complex, whereas mutations at the non-interface might reduce folding energy and destabilise monomer structure. The results suggest that the structure-based analysis can provide useful information for understanding the molecular mechanisms of diseases.
Amino acid substitutions; homology modeling; folding energy; binding energy; protein stability; protein-protein interaction
The X-linked creatine transporter defect is caused by mutations in the SLC6A8 gene. Until now, 66 synonymous and intronic variants in SLC6A8 were detected in our laboratory. To gain more insight in the effect of the detected variants, we applied five free web-based splice-site analysis tools to 25 published variants that were stratified as (non-)disease causing. All were correctly predicted to have no effect (n=18) or to cause erroneous splicing (n=7), with the exception of a pathogenic de novo 24 bp intronic deletion. Second, 41 unclassified variants, including 28 novel, were subjected to analysis by these tools. At least four splice-site analysis tools predicted that three of the variants would affect splicing as the mutations disrupted the canonical splice site. Urinary creatine/creatinine and brain MRS confirmed creatine transporter deficiency in five patients (four families), including one female. Another variant was predicted to moderately affect splicing by all five tools. However, transient transfection of a minigene containing the variant in a partial SLC6A8 segment showed no splicing errors, and thus was finally classified as non-disease causing. This study shows that splice tools are useful for the characterization of the majority of variants, but also illustrates that the actual effect can be misclassified in rare occasions. Therefore, further laboratory studies should be considered before final conclusions on the disease-causing nature are drawn. To provide an accessible database, the 109 currently known SLC6A8 variants, including 35 novel ones, are included in a newly developed LOVD DNA variation database.
SLC6A8; XLMR; splicing; LOVD
The Snyder-Robinson syndrome is caused by missense mutations in the spermine sythase gene that encodes a protein (SMS) of 529 amino acids. Here we investigate, in silico, the molecular effect of three missense mutations, c.267G>A (p.G56S), c.496T>G (p.V132G) and c.550T>C (p.I150T) in SMS that were clinically identified to cause the disease. Single-point energy calculations, molecular dynamics simulations and pKa calculations revealed the effects of these mutations on SMS's stability, flexibility and interactions. It was predicted that the catalytic residue, Asp276, should be protonated prior binding the substrates. The pKa calculations indicated the p.I150T mutation causes pKa changes with respect to the wild type SMS which involve titratable residues interacting with the S-methyl-5'-thioadenosine (MTA) substrate. The p.I150T missense mutation was also found to decrease the stability of the C-terminal domain and to induce structural changes in the vicinity of the MTA binding site. The other two missense mutations, p.G56S and p.V132G, are away from active site and do not perturb its wild type properties, but affect the stability of both the monomers and the dimer. Specifically, the p.G56S mutation is predicted to greatly reduce the affinity of monomers to form a dimer and therefore should have a dramatic effect on SMS function since dimerization is essential for SMS activity.
spermine synthase; SMS; Snyder-Robinson syndrome; mental retardation; protein stability
Spermine synthase (SMS) is a key enzyme controlling the concentration of spermidine and spermine in the cell. The importance of SMS is manifested by the fact that single missense mutations were found to cause Snyder-Robinson Syndrome (SRS). At the same time, currently there are no non-synonymous single nucleoside polymorphisms, nsSNPs (harmless mutations), found in SMS, which may imply that the SMS does not tolerate amino acid substitutions, i.e. is not mutable.
To investigate the mutability of the SMS, we carried out in silico analysis and in vitro experiments of the effects of amino acid substitutions at the missense mutation sites (G56, V132 and I150) that have been shown to cause SRS. Our investigation showed that the mutation sites have different degree of mutability depending on their structural micro-environment and involvement in the function and structural integrity of the SMS. It was found that the I150 site does not tolerate any mutation, while V132, despite its key position at the interface of SMS dimer, is quite mutable. The G56 site is in the middle of the spectra, but still quite sensitive to charge residue replacement.
The performed analysis showed that mutability depends on the detail of the structural and functional factors and cannot be predicted based on conservation of wild type properties alone. Also, harmless nsSNPs can be expected to occur even at sites at which missense mutations were found to cause diseases.
Opitz and Kaveggia  reported on a family of five affected males with distinctive facial appearance, mental retardation, macrocephaly, imperforate anus and hypotonia. Risheg et al.  identified an identical mutation (p.R961W) in MED12 in six families with Opitz-Kaveggia syndrome, including a surviving affected man from the family reported in 1974. The previously defined behavior phenotype of hyperactivity, affability, and excessive talkativeness is very frequent in young boys with this mutation, along with socially oriented, attention-seeking behaviors. We present case studies of two older males with FG syndrome and the p.R961W mutation to illustrate how their behavior changes with age. We also characterize the behavior of eight additional individuals with FG syndrome and this recurrent mutation in MED12 using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales 2nd ed., the Reiss Profile of Fundamental Goals and Motivation Sensitivities, and the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. Males with this MED12 mutation had deficits in communication skills compared to their socialization and daily living skills. In addition, they were at increased risk for maladaptive behavior, with a propensity towards aggression, anxiety, and inattention. Based on the behavior phenotype in 10 males with this recurrent MED12 mutation, we offer specific recommendations and interventional strategies. Our findings reinforce the importance of testing for the p.R961W MED12 mutation in males who are suspected of having developmental and behavioral problems with a clinical phenotype that is consistent with FG syndrome.
FG Syndrome; Opitz-Kaveggia Syndrome; FGS1; Behavior Phenotype; X-Linked Mental Retardation; Cognitive Disability
We have studied a family with severe mental retardation characterized by the virtual absence of speech, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, late-onset ataxia, weakness and dystonia. Post-mortem examination of two males revealed widespread neuronal loss, with the most striking finding being neuronal and glial tau deposition in a pattern reminiscent of corticobasal degeneration. Electron microscopic examination of isolated tau filaments demonstrated paired helical filaments and ribbon-like structures. Biochemical studies of tau demonstrated a preponderance of 4R tau isoforms. The phenotype was linked to Xq26.3, and further analysis identified an in-frame 9 base pair deletion in the solute carrier family 9, isoform A6 (SLC9A6 gene), which encodes sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 localized to endosomal vesicles. Sodium/hydrogen exchanger-6 is thought to participate in the targeting of intracellular vesicles and may be involved in recycling synaptic vesicles. The striking tau deposition in our subjects reveals a probable interaction between sodium/proton exchangers and cytoskeletal elements involved in vesicular transport, and raises the possibility that abnormalities of vesicular targeting may play an important role in more common disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders.
mental retardation; corticobasal degeneration; tau expression; SLC9A6; autism
Mutations of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) gene have recently been associated with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) with microcephaly, optic atrophy and brainstem and cerebellar hypoplasia, as well as with an X-linked syndrome having some FG-like features. Our group has recently identified four male probands from 358 probable XLMR families with missense mutations (p.Y268H, p.P396S, p.D710G and p.W919R) in the CASK gene. Congenital nystagmus, a rare and striking feature, was present in two of these families. We screened a further 45 probands with either nystagmus or microcephaly and mental retardation (MR), and identified two further mutations, a missense mutation (p.Y728C) and a splice mutation (c.2521-2A>T) in two small families with nystagmus and MR. Detailed clinical examinations of all six families, including an ophthalmological review in four families, were undertaken to further characterise the phenotype. We report on the clinical features of 24 individuals, mostly male, from six families with CASK mutations. The phenotype was variable, ranging from non-syndromic mild MR to severe MR associated with microcephaly and dysmorphic facial features. Carrier females were variably affected. Congenital nystagmus was found in members of four of the families. Our findings reinforce the CASK gene as a relatively frequent cause of XLMR in females and males. We further define the phenotypic spectrum and demonstrate that affected males with missense mutations or in-frame deletions in CASK are frequently associated with congenital nystagmus and XLMR, a striking feature not previously reported.
CASK gene; XLMR; intellectual disability; congenital nystagmus
CUL4A and B encode subunits of E3-ubiquitin ligases implicated in diverse processes including nucleotide excision repair, regulating gene expression and controlling DNA replication fork licensing. But, the functional distinction between CUL4A and CUL4B, if any, is unclear. Recently, mutations in CUL4B were identified in humans associated with mental retardation, relative macrocephaly, tremor and a peripheral neuropathy. Cells from these patients offer a unique system to help define at the molecular level the consequences of defective CUL4B specifically. We show that these patient-derived cells exhibit sensitivity to camptothecin (CPT), impaired CPT-induced topoisomerase I (Topo I) degradation and ubiquitination, thereby suggesting Topo I to be a novel Cul4-dependent substrate. Consistent with this, we also find that these cells exhibit increased levels of CPT-induced DNA breaks. Furthermore, over-expression of known CUL4-dependent substrates including Cdt1 and p21 appear to be a feature of these patient-derived cells. Collectively, our findings highlight the interplay between CUL4A and CUL4B and provide insight into the pathogenesis of CUL4B-deficiency in humans.
Snyder–Robinson syndrome (SRS) is a form of X-linked mental retardation resulting from mutations in spermine synthase (SMS), which impact neurodevelopment and cognitive outcome. We obtained cerebral, cerebellum, hippocampus, and red nucleus volumes from two males with SRS and 24 age- and gender-matched typically developing controls using volumetric neuroimaging analyses. Total brain volume was enlarged in males with SRS while cerebellum, hippocampus, and red nucleus volumes tended to be reduced compared to controls. Mutations of the X chromosome may modulate the risk for mental retardation through altered early neurodevelopment, disruption in receptor function, and ongoing neural organization and plasticity. Disruption of SMS function may negatively affect regional brain volumes that subserve cognitive and motor abilities. This research provides valuable insight into the effects of polyamine function on brain development.
SMS; Spermine synthase; Snyder–Robinson syndrome; MRI; Red nucleus; Cerebellum; Hippocampus; Cerebrum
A syndrome with multisystem manifestations has been observed in three generations of a Caucasian family. The findings in seven females provide a composite clinical picture of microcephaly, short stature, small retroverted ears, full tip of the nose overhanging the columella, short philtrum, thin upper lip, soft tissue excrescences at the angle of the mouth, small mandible, small hands and feet with brachydactyly, finger V clinodactyly, flat feet, an excessive number of fingerprint arches, and mild impairment of cognitive function. Two males were more severely affected and died in the initial months of life. They showed intrauterine growth retardation, broad cranium with wide sutures and fontanelles, cardiac defects, small hands and feet with abnormal digital creases and small nails, and genital abnormalities. The affected males had low serum calcium in the neonatal period. Serum calcium, phosphorous, and parathormone levels in the females were normal. Radiographs showed cortical thickening of the long bones, underdevelopment of the frontal sinuses, narrow pelvis and hypoplasia of the middle phalanx of finger five. MRI of the brain showed slightly reduced brain volumes and an extra gyrus of the superior temporal region. X-inactivation studies showed near complete skewing in two affected females, but were not informative in three others. X-linkage as the mode of inheritance is proposed on the basis of different severity in males/females, complete skewing of X-inactivation in informative females, and a lod score (1.5) suggestive of linkage to markers in Xq26-q27.
X-linked dominant; microcephaly; cognitive impairment; male lethality; birth defects
Coffin–Lowry syndrome (CLS) is a rare form of X-linked mental retardation caused by mutations of the RSK2 gene, associated with cognitive impairment and skeletal malformations. We conducted the first morphometric study of CLS brain morphology by comparing brain volumes from two CLS families with healthy controls. Individuals with CLS consistently showed markedly reduced total brain volume. Cerebellum and hippocampus volumes were particularly impacted by CLS and may be associated with specific interfamilial RSK2 mutations. We provide preliminary evidence that the magnitude of hippocampus volume deviation from that of controls may predict general cognitive outcome in CLS.
Coffin–Lowry syndrome; RSK2; MRI; Hippocampus; X-linked mental retardation
Mental retardation (MR) is characterized by cognitive impairment with an IQ <70. Many of the major causes are genetically determined and the ∼30% male excess suggests that mutations in genes carried on the X chromosome are disproportionably represented. One such gene, jumonji AT-rich interactive domain 1C (JARID1C) on Xp11.2, has been identified in families with X-linked MR (XLMR), with 18 different mutations reported to date. As part of a systematic resequencing of 720 genes in 208 XLMR families of the International Genetic of Learning Disability (IGOLD) consortium, two novel nucleotide changes in the JARID1C coding region were identified, with the nucleotide changes segregating with the disease phenotype in the two families. The first mutation is a single-nucleotide insertion in exon 21 (c.3258_3259insC p.K1087fs*43) causing a frameshift and resulting in a premature termination codon (PTC). Such PTC-containing mRNAs are generally degraded by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) surveillance, but our results show that this is not the case with this mutation. The other change is a single-nucleotide substitution in exon 12 (c.1160C>A) in a published family with nonsyndromic MR, MRX13. This change occurs in a highly conserved amino acid, with proline (P) being substituted by threonine (T) (p.P544T). Functional analysis shows that this amino-acid substitution compromises both tri- and didemethylase activity of the JARID1C protein. We conclude that the two novel changes impair JARID1C protein function and are disease-causing mutations in these families.
JARID1C; X-linked mental retardation; JmjC domain; mutation analysis
Microarray gene expression data are accumulating in public databases. The expression profiles contain valuable information for understanding human gene expression patterns. However, the effective use of public microarray data requires integrating the expression profiles from heterogeneous sources.
In this study, we have compiled a compendium of microarray expression profiles of various human tissue samples. The microarray raw data generated in different research laboratories have been obtained and combined into a single dataset after data normalization and transformation. To demonstrate the usefulness of the integrated microarray data for studying human gene expression patterns, we have analyzed the dataset to identify potential tissue-selective genes. A new method has been proposed for genome-wide identification of tissue-selective gene targets using both microarray intensity values and detection calls. The candidate genes for brain, liver and testis-selective expression have been examined, and the results suggest that our approach can select some interesting gene targets for further experimental studies.
A computational approach has been developed in this study for combining microarray expression profiles from heterogeneous sources. The integrated microarray data can be used to investigate tissue-selective expression patterns of human genes.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a retrovirus implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Press releases have suggested that it could contribute to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this study we used two PCR assays and one antibody assay to screen 25 blood samples from autistic children born to mothers with CFS and from 20 mixed controls including family members of the children assayed, people with fibromyalgia and people with chronic Lyme disease. Using a real-time PCR assay, we screened an additional 48 South Carolina autism disorder samples, 96 Italian ASD samples, 61 South Carolina ASD samples and 184 healthy controls. Despite having the ability to detect low copy number XMRV DNA in a large background of cellular DNA, none of the PCR assays found any evidence of XMRV infection in blood cells from patients or controls. Further, no anti-XMRV antibodies were detected, ruling out possible low level or abortive infections in blood or in other reservoirs. These results imply that XMRV is not associated with autism.
A novel missense mutation in the mediator of RNA polymerase II transcription subunit 12 (MED12) gene has been found in the original family with Lujan syndrome and in a second family (K9359) that was initially considered to have Opitz–Kaveggia (FG) syndrome. A different missense mutation in the MED12 gene has been reported previously in the original family with FG syndrome and in five other families with compatible clinical findings. Neither sequence alteration has been found in over 1400 control X chromosomes. Lujan (Lujan–Fryns) syndrome is characterised by tall stature with asthenic habitus, macrocephaly, a tall narrow face, maxillary hypoplasia, a high narrow palate with dental crowding, a small or receding chin, long hands with hyperextensible digits, hypernasal speech, hypotonia, mild‐to‐moderate mental retardation, behavioural aberrations and dysgenesis of the corpus callosum. Although Lujan syndrome has not been previously considered to be in the differential diagnosis of FG syndrome, there are some overlapping clinical manifestations. Specifically, these are dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, macrocephaly/relative macrocephaly, a tall forehead, hypotonia, mental retardation and behavioural disturbances. Thus, it seems that these two X‐linked mental retardation syndromes are allelic, with mutations in the MED12 gene.
An estimated 1-3% of individuals within the United States are diagnosed with mental retardation (MR), yet the cause is unknown in nearly 50% of the patients. While several environmental, genetic and combined teratogenetic etiologies have been identified, many causative genes remain to be identified. Furthermore, the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying MR are known for very few of these genes. Males have a much higher incidence of MR implicating genes on the X-chromosome. We have recently identified a novel gene, SIZN1, on the X-chromosome and showed that it functions in modulating the BMP signaling pathway. Furthermore, we have shown this gene is necessary for basal forebrain cholinergic neuron (BFCN) specific gene expression. Given that cognitive function is impaired when BFCNs are lost or functionally disrupted, we undertook a screen of cognitively impaired males for SIZN1 mutations. We report on four different sequence variants in SIZN1 in 11 individuals with nonsyndromic X-linked mental retardation. Our data implicate SIZN1 as a candidate gene for X-linked mental retardation and/or as a neurocognitive functional modifier.
BMP; SIZN1(ZCCHC12); forebrain cholinergic neuron; X-linked mental retardation
Mediator occupies a central role in RNA polymerase II transcription as a sensor, integrator, and processor of regulatory signals that converge on protein-coding gene promoters. Compared to its role in gene activation, little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms and biological implications of Mediator as a transducer of repressive signals. Here, we describe a protein interaction network required for extra-neuronal gene silencing comprising Mediator, G9a histone methyltransferase, and the RE1 silencing transcription factor (REST; also known as neuron restrictive silencing factor, NRSF). We show that the MED12 interface in Mediator links REST with G9a-dependent histone H3K9 di-methylation to suppress neuronal genes in non-neuronal cells. Notably, missense mutations in MED12 causing the X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) disorders FG syndrome and Lujan syndrome disrupt its REST corepressor function. These findings implicate Mediator in epigenetic restriction of neuronal gene expression to the nervous system and suggest a pathologic basis for MED12-associated XLMR involving impaired REST-dependent neuronal gene regulation.
We report a recurrent microdeletion syndrome causing mental retardation, epilepsy and variable facial and digital dysmorphisms. We describe nine patients, including six probands; two with de novo deletions, two who inherited the deletion from an affected parent, and two with unknown inheritance. The proximal breakpoint of the largest deletion is contiguous with breakpoint 3 (BP3) of the Prader-Willi and Angelman syndrome region extending 3.95 Mb distally to BP5. A smaller 1.5 Mb deletion has proximal breakpoint within the larger deletion (BP4) and shares the same distal BP5. This recurrent 1.5 Mb deletion contains six genes, including a candidate gene for epilepsy (CHRNA7) that is likely responsible for the observed seizure phenotype. The BP4-BP5 region undergoes frequent inversion, suggesting a possible link between this inversion polymorphism and recurrent deletion. The frequency of these microdeletions in mental retardation cases is ~0.3% (6/2082 tested), a prevalence comparable to that of the Williams, Angelman, and Prader-Willi syndromes.
genomic disorder; array CGH; epilepsy; segmental duplication; CHRNA7