Mutations in MEOX1, Encoding Mesenchyme Homeobox 1, Cause Klippel-Feil Anomaly.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 11.2). 12/2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.11.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) is a segmentation malformation of the cervical spine; clinically, it manifests as a short neck with reduced mobility and a low posterior hairline. Several genes have been proposed as candidates for KFS when it is present with other associated anomalies, but the genetics of isolated KFS have been difficult to study because of the syndrome's mostly sporadic occurrence. We describe a multiplex consanguineous family in which isolated KFS maps to a single 17q21.31 locus that harbors a homozygous frameshift deletion in MEOX1; this deletion results in complete instability of the transcript. Direct sequencing of this gene in two siblings from another consanguineous family affected by isolated KFS uncovered another homozygous truncating (nonsense) MEOX1 mutation that also leads to complete degradation of the transcript. This gene encodes a transcription factor with a well-established and nonredundant role in somite development, and homozygous null alleles of Meox1 in mice have a cervical skeletal defect that is remarkably similar to the one we observe in human individuals with MEOX1 mutations. Our data strongly suggest that KFS is the human phenotypic equivalent of the sclerotome polarity defect that results from Meox1 deficiency in mice.