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Hum Mol Genet. 1998 Sep;7(9):1497-505.

Goosecoid-like, a gene deleted in DiGeorge and velocardiofacial syndromes, recognizes DNA with a bicoid-like specificity and is expressed in the developing mouse brain.

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  • 1Division of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The vast majority of patients with DiGeorge syndrome (DGS) and velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) have deletions of chromosomal region 22q11.2. These patients exhibit broad and variable phenotypes that include conotruncal cardiac defects, hypocalcemia, palatal and facial anomalies and developmental delay. Most of these abnormalities are thought to be due to defects in neural crest cell migration or differentiation. We have identified a homeobox-containing gene, Goosecoid-like (GSCL), that is in the region within 22q11 that is deleted most consistently in patients with DGS/VCFS. The GSCL gene is expressed in a limited number of adult tissues as well as in early human development, and is a member of a family of homeobox genes in vertebrates that includes Goosecoid and GSX. In this report, we present functional studies of the GSCL protein and determine the expression pattern of the GSCL gene in mouse embryos. We demonstrate that GSCL exhibits DNA sequence-specific recognition of sites bound by the Drosophila anterior morphogen, Bicoid. Several of these sites (TAATCCC) were found in the 5' upstream region of the GSCL gene itself, and we present evidence suggesting that GSCL might regulate its own transcription. In situ hybridization revealed that the mouse ortholog of GSCL, Gscl, is expressed in the brain starting as early as embryonic day 9.5, and expression continues in adults. This expression pattern is consistent with GSCL having either an indirect role in the development of neural crest-derived structures or a direct role in a subset of the phenotype observed in DGS/VCFS, such as learning disorders or psychiatric disease.

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