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Mutations in the MESP2 gene cause spondylothoracic dysostosis/Jarcho-Levin syndrome.

Cornier A.S., Staehling-Hampton K., Delventhal K.M., Saga Y., Caubet J.-F., Sasaki N., Ellard S., Young E., Ramirez N., Carlo S.E., Torres J., Emans J.B., Turnpenny P.D., Pourquie O.

Spondylothoracic dysostosis (STD), also known as Jarcho-Levin syndrome (JLS), is an autosomal-recessive disorder characterized by abnormal vertebral segmentation and defects affecting spine formation, with complete bilateral fusion of the ribs at the costovertebral junction producing a "crab-like" configuration of the thorax. The shortened spine and trunk can severely affect respiratory function during early childhood. The condition is prevalent in the Puerto Rican population, although it is a panethnic disorder. By sequencing a set of candidate genes involved in mouse segmentation, we identified a recessive E103X nonsense mutation in the mesoderm posterior 2 homolog (MESP2) gene in a patient, of Puerto Rican origin and from the Boston area, who had been diagnosed with STD/JLS. We then analyzed 12 Puerto Rican families with STD probands for the MESP2 E103X mutation. Ten patients were homozygous for the E103X mutation, three patients were compound heterozygous for a second nonsense mutation, E230X, or a missense mutation, L125V, which affects a conserved leucine residue within the bHLH region. Thus, all affected probands harbored the E103X mutation. Our findings suggest a founder-effect mutation in the MESP2 gene as a major cause of the classical Puerto Rican form of STD/JLS.

Am. J. Hum. Genet. 82:1334-1341(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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