Characterization of a dominant negative C. elegans Twist mutant protein with implications for human Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. (25/135)

Twist is a transcription factor that is required for mesodermal cell fates in all animals studied to date. Mutations of this locus in humans have been identified as the cause of the craniofacial disorder Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. The Caenorhabditis elegans Twist homolog is required for the development of a subset of the mesoderm. A semidominant allele of the gene that codes for CeTwist, hlh-8, has defects that occur earlier in the mesodermal lineage than a previously studied null allele of the gene. The semidominant allele has a charge change (E29K) in the basic DNA-binding domain of CeTwist. Surprisingly, the mutant protein retains DNA-binding activity as both a homodimer and a heterodimer with its partner E/Daughterless (CeE/DA). However, the mutant protein blocks the activation of the promoter of a target gene. Therefore, the mutant CeTwist may cause cellular defects as a dominant negative protein by binding to target promoters as a homo- or heterodimer and then blocking transcription. Similar phenotypes as those caused by the E29K mutation were observed when amino acid substitutions in the DNA-binding domain that are associated with the human Saethre-Chotzen syndrome were engineered into the C. elegans protein. These data suggest that Saethre-Chotzen syndrome may be caused, in some cases, by dominant negative proteins, rather than by haploinsufficiency of the locus.  (+info)

Craniosynostosis in Twist heterozygous mice: a model for Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. (26/135)

Saethre-Chotzen syndrome is a common autosomal dominant form of craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of the sutures of the calvarial bones of the skull. Most Saethre-Chotzen syndrome cases are caused by haploinsufficiency for the TWIST gene. Mice heterozygous for a null mutation of the Twist gene replicate certain features of Saethre-Chotzen syndrome, but have not been reported to exhibit craniosynostosis. We demonstrate that Twist heterozygous mice exhibit fusions of the coronal suture and other cranial suture abnormalities, indicating that Twist heterozygous mice constitute a better animal model for Saethre-Chotzen syndrome than was previously appreciated.  (+info)

Expression profiles of craniosynostosis-derived fibroblasts. (27/135)

BACKGROUND: Craniosynostosis syndromes, a group of connective disorders characterized by abnormalities in vault osteogenesis and premature fusion of bone sutures, are associated with point mutations in FGF receptor family members. The cellular phenotype is characterized by abnormal extracellular matrix turnover. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We used primary cultures of periosteal fibroblasts derived from two different craniosynostosis syndromes, the Apert and Crouzon syndromes. The FGFR2 third immunoglobulin-like domain and its flanking linker regions were analyzed for mutation. DNA microarrays containing 19,200 cDNAs were used to study the gene expression profiles of Apert and Crouzon fibroblasts. The pathologic cells were compared to wild-type human periosteal fibroblasts. RESULTS: The P253R missense mutation and the G338R mutation were observed in Apert and Crouzon fibroblasts, respectively. The genetic profiles, as evaluated by DNA microarrays, yielded different clusters of expressed sequence tag (ESTs) expression within the experiment. Expression profiles from craniosynostosis-derived fibroblasts differ from those of wild-type fibroblasts (288 human ESTs, p< 0.01, pFDR = 0.12). Furthermore, two ESTs clusters discriminate the Crouzon from Apert fibroblasts. The differentially expressed genes cover a broad range of functional activities, including (1) bone differentiation, (2) cell-cycle regulation, (3) apoptotic stimulation, and (4) signaling transduction, cytoskeleton, and vesicular transport. CONCLUSIONS: The transcriptional program of craniosynostosis fibroblasts differs from that of wild-type fibroblasts. Expression profiles of Crouzon and Apert fibroblasts can also be distinguished by two EST expression clusters, thus hinting at a different genetic background.  (+info)

Evidence for selective advantage of pathogenic FGFR2 mutations in the male germ line. (28/135)

Observed mutation rates in humans appear higher in male than female gametes and often increase with paternal age. This bias, usually attributed to the accumulation of replication errors or inefficient repair processes, has been difficult to study directly. Here, we describe a sensitive method to quantify substitutions at nucleotide 755 of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene in sperm. Although substitution levels increase with age, we show that even high levels originate from infrequent mutational events. We propose that these FGFR2 mutations, although harmful to embryonic development, are paradoxically enriched because they confer a selective advantage to the spermatogonial cells in which they arise.  (+info)

The paternal-age effect in Apert syndrome is due, in part, to the increased frequency of mutations in sperm. (29/135)

A paternal-age effect and the exclusive paternal origin of mutations have been reported in Apert syndrome (AS). As the incidence of sporadic AS births increases exponentially with paternal age, we hypothesized that the frequency of AS mutations in sperm would also increase. To determine the frequency of two common FGFR2 mutations in AS, we developed allele-specific peptide nucleic acid-PCR assays. Analyzing sperm DNA from 148 men, age 21-80 years, we showed that the number of sperm with mutations increased in the oldest age groups among men who did not have a child with AS. These older men were also more likely to have both mutations in their sperm. However, this age-related increase in mutation frequency was not sufficient to explain the AS-birth frequency. In contrast, the mutation frequency observed in men who were younger and had children with AS was significantly greater. In addition, our data suggest selection for sperm with specific mutations. Therefore, contributing factors to the paternal-age effect may include selection and a higher number of mutant sperm in a subset of men ascertained because they had a child with AS. No age-related increase in the frequency of these mutations was observed in leukocytes. Selection and/or quality-control mechanisms, including DNA repair and apoptosis, may contribute to the cell-type differences in mutation frequency.  (+info)

The mapping of a gene for craniosynostosis: evidence for linkage of the Saethre-Chotzen syndrome to distal chromosome 7p. (30/135)

Craniosynostosis or premature closure of the cranial sutures is a common abnormality occurring in about 1 in 2500 children. There is evidence of mendelian inheritance in some 20% of cases. Published reports of patients with structural alterations of the short arm of chromosome 7 have suggested that two or more genes for craniosynostosis may be situated in this region. The Saethre-Chotzen syndrome (acrocephalosyndactyly type III) is one of the most common autosomal dominant craniosynostosis syndromes. Results of molecular genetic linkage studies provide evidence for localisation of the gene responsible to distal chromosome 7p.  (+info)

Pfeiffer Syndrome type 2--case report. (31/135)

OBJECTIVE: To report on a case of Pfeiffer Syndrome, with a discussion of the diagnostic characteristics and features of disease types and the differential diagnosis. DESCRIPTION: The authors describe a newborn with cloverleaf skull, extreme bilateral exorbitism and choanal atresia, partial syndactyly of the second and third toes and broad medially-deviated big toes. The case reported was Pfeiffer Syndrome type 2, which usually has a poor prognosis. COMMENTS: Pfeiffer Syndrome is a clinically variable disorder and consists of an autosomal dominantly-inherited osteochondrodysplasia with craniosynostosis. It has been divided into three types. Type 1 is commonly associated with normal intelligence and generally good outcome. Types 2 and 3 generally have severe neurological compromise, poor prognosis, early death and sporadic occurrence. Potential for prolonged useful survival outcome can be achieved in some cases with early aggressive medical and surgical management according to recent literature.  (+info)

Apert syndrome: analysis of associated brain malformations and conformational changes determined by surgical treatment. (32/135)

Apert Syndrome, also called acrocephalosyndactylia type 1, is characterized by craniostenosis with early fusion of sutures of the vault and/or cranial base, associated to mid-face hypoplasia, symmetric syndactylia of the hands and feet and other systemic malformations. CNS malformations and intracranial hypertension are frequently observed in these patients. Early surgical treatment aims to minimize the deleterious effects of intracranial hypertension. Fronto-orbital advancement, the usual surgical technique, increases the intracranial Volume and improves the disposition of encephalic structures previously deformed by a short skull. This study analyzes CNS alterations revealed by magnetic resonance in 18 patients presenting Apert Syndrome, and the conformational alterations in the encephalic structures after surgical treatment. The patients' age in February 2001 ranged from 14 to 322 Months (m=107). Image study included brain magnetic resonance showing ventricular enlargement in five cases (27.8%), corpus callosum hypoplasia in five cases (27.8%), septum pellucidum hypoplasia in five cases (27.8%), cavum vergae in two cases (11.1%) and, arachnoid cyst in the posterior fossa in two cases (11.1%). Absence of CNS alterations was noted in 44.4% of cases. A corpus callosum morphologic index was established by dividing its height by its length, which revealed values that ranged from 0.4409 to 1.0237. The values of this index were correlated to the occurrence or absence of surgical treatment (p=0.012; t=2.83). Data analysis allowed the conclusion that the corpus callosum morphologic measure quantified the conformational alterations of the cerebral structures determined by the surgical treatment.  (+info)