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Eur J Hum Genet. 2000 Mar;8(3):215-22.

WBSCR14, a putative transcription factor gene deleted in Williams-Beuren syndrome: complete characterisation of the human gene and the mouse ortholog.

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  • 1Servicio de GenĂ©tica, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain.


Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting several systems caused by a heterozygous deletion in the chromosomal region 7q11.23. A common interval that includes up to 17 genes reported so far is deleted in the great majority of patients. Elastin haploinsufficiency is responsible for the cardiovascular features, but the specific contribution of other deleted genes to the WBS phenotype remains unknown. We have fully characterised a gene commonly deleted in WBS, WBSCR14, previously reported in a truncated form as WS-bHLH. The WBSCR14 cDNA encodes an 852amino acid protein with a basic helix-loop-helix-leucine-zipper motif (bHLHZip) and a bipartite nuclear localisation signal (BNLS), suggesting a function as a transcription factor. WBSCR14 is expressed as a 4.2kb transcript predominantly in adult liver and at late stages of foetal development. The WBSCR14 locus encompasses 33 kb of genomic DNA with 17 exons. Two intragenic polymorphic dinucleotide repeats have been identified and used to verify hemizygosity in WBS patients. We have also cloned the mouse ortholog and mapped its locus to mouse chromosome 5, in a region of conserved synteny with human 7q11.23. Given that other bHLHZip proteins are dosage sensitive and based on the putative function of WBSCR14 as a transcription factor, hemizygosity at this locus could be involved in some features of WBS.

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