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Blood. 2008 Nov 1;112(9):3594-600. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-05-153445. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

TINF2 mutations result in very short telomeres: analysis of a large cohort of patients with dyskeratosis congenita and related bone marrow failure syndromes.

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  • 1Centre for Paediatrics, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London Children's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is a multisystem bone marrow failure syndrome characterized by a triad of mucocutaneous abnormalities and a predisposition to cancer. The genetic basis of DC remains unknown in more than 60% of patients. Mutations have been identified in components of the telomerase complex (dyskerin, TERC, TERT, NOP10, and NHP2), and recently in one component of the shelterin complex TIN2 (gene TINF2). To establish the role of TINF2 mutations, we screened DNA from 175 uncharacterised patients with DC as well as 244 patients with other bone marrow failure disorders. Heterozygous coding mutations were found in 33 of 175 previously uncharacterized DC index patients and 3 of 244 other patients. A total of 21 of the mutations affected amino acid 282, changing arginine to histidine (n = 14) or cysteine (n = 7). A total of 32 of 33 patients with DC with TINF2 mutations have severe disease, with most developing aplastic anaemia by the age of 10 years. Telomere lengths in patients with TINF2 mutations were the shortest compared with other DC subtypes, but TERC levels were normal. In this large series, TINF2 mutations account for approximately 11% of all DC, but they do not play a significant role in patients with related disorders. This study emphasises the role of defective telomere maintenance on human disease.

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