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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutations in PITX2 may contribute to cases of omphalocele and VATER-like syndromes.

Omphalocele is a congenital anomaly with substantial morbidity. Rieger syndrome, an autosomal dominant disorder, is characterized by craniofacial abnormalities and abdominal wall defects. PITX2 mutations are etiologic in >40% of cases of Rieger syndrome. We demonstrate that the birth prevalence of omphalocele is significantly higher in Rieger syndrome than in the general population, with omphaloceles found in 0.03% in the Iowa newborn population and 4.3% of patients with Rieger syndrome. Our objective was to screen coding and conserved non-coding regions of PITX2 for mutations in 209 patients with omphalocele. We identified remarkable evolutionarily conserved regions by comparing the 3'UTR of Pitx2 in 13 vertebrate and 3 invertebrate species. No mutations changing the amino acid sequence were found within the omphalocele population. In one case of omphalocele with VATER-like additional anomalies, a three nucleotide deletion was found in the 3'UTR. This deletion was not seen in 1,186 controls. Also in the 3'UTR, we identified a single nucleotide polymorphism at a highly conserved residue. Our findings suggest additional studies of PITX2 conserved regions will be valuable. We also screened the omphalocele cases for mutations in exon 5 of the gene FLNA. Mutations in FLNA have been shown to cause a broad range of congenital malformations, including otopalatodigital syndrome type 2 in which a missense mutation occurring in exon 5 of FLNA results in omphalocele as part of the phenotype. We did not find any mutations in exon 5 of FLNA in 179 omphalocele cases studied.[1]


  1. Mutations in PITX2 may contribute to cases of omphalocele and VATER-like syndromes. Katz, L.A., Schultz, R.E., Semina, E.V., Torfs, C.P., Krahn, K.N., Murray, J.C. Am. J. Med. Genet. A (2004) [Pubmed]
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