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Science. 2006 Sep 22;313(5794):1751.

SUMO1 haploinsufficiency leads to cleft lip and palate.

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  • 1Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, NRB-458, 77 Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The posttranslational modification sumoylation can have multiple effects on its substrate proteins. We studied a patient with isolated cleft lip and palate and a balanced chromosomal translocation that disrupts the SUMO1 (small ubiquitin-related modifier) gene, resulting in haploinsufficiency. In mouse, we found that Sumo1 is expressed in the developing lip and palate and that a Sumo1 hypomorphic allele manifests an incompletely penetrant orofacial clefting phenotype. Products of several genes implicated in clefting are sumoylated, and the Sumo1 hypomorphic allele interacts genetically with a loss-of-function allele for one of these loci. Thus, sumoylation defines a network of genes important for palatogenesis.

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