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Eur J Hum Genet. 2012 Aug;20(8):863-9. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2012.16. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

TBX5 intragenic duplication: a family with an atypical Holt-Oram syndrome phenotype.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Genetics, Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK.


Holt-Oram syndrome (HOS) is a rare autosomal dominant heart-hand syndrome due to mutations in the TBX5 transcription factor. Affected individuals can have structural cardiac defects and/or conduction abnormalities, and exclusively upper limb defects (typically bilateral, asymmetrical radial ray defects). TBX5 mutations reported include nonsense, missense, splicing mutations and exon deletions. Most result in a null allele and haploinsufficiency, but some impair nuclear localisation of TBX5 protein or disrupt its interaction with co-factors and downstream targets. We present a five generation family of nine affected individuals with an atypical HOS phenotype, consisting of ulnar ray defects (ulnar hypoplasia, short fifth fingers with clinodactyly) and very mild radial ray defects (short thumbs, bowing of the radius and dislocation of the radial head). The cardiac defects seen are those more rarely reported in HOS (atrioventricular septal defect, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, mitral valve disease and pulmonary stenosis). Conduction abnormalities include atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and sick sinus syndrome. TBX5 mutation screening (exons 3-10) identified no mutations. Array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) revealed a 48 kb duplication at 12q24.21, encompassing exons 2-9 of the TBX5 gene, with breakpoints within introns 1-2 and 9-10. The duplication segregates with the phenotype in the family, and is likely to be pathogenic. This is the first known report of an intragenic duplication of TBX5 and its clinical effects; an atypical HOS phenotype. Further functional studies are needed to establish the effects of the duplication and pathogenic mechanism. All typical/atypical HOS cases should be screened for TBX5 exon duplications.

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