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Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Apr 1;14(7):885-92. Epub 2005 Feb 9.

Identification of a novel nuclear localization signal in Tbx1 that is deleted in DiGeorge syndrome patients harboring the 1223delC mutation.

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Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


DiGeorge syndrome (DGS) is the most common human chromosomal deletion syndrome and is frequently associated with deletions on chromosome 22q11. Approximately 17% of patients with the phenotypic features of this syndrome have no detectable genomic deletion. Animal studies using mouse models have implicated Tbx1 as a critical gene within the commonly deleted region, and several mutations in TBX1 have been identified recently in non-deleted patients, including missense and frameshift mutations. The mechanisms by which these mutations cause disease have remained unclear. We have identified a previously unrecognized and novel nuclear localization signal (NLS) at the C-terminus of Tbx1 that is deleted by the 1223delC mutation, thus explaining the mechanism of disease in these patients. This NLS is conserved across species, among a subfamily of T-box proteins including Brachyury and Tbx10, and among additional nuclear proteins. By providing functional data to indicate loss-of-function produced by the 1223delC TBX1 mutation, our results provide strong support for the conclusion that TBX1 mutations can cause DGS in humans.

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