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Hum Mutat. 2010 Oct;31(10):1155-62. doi: 10.1002/humu.21338.

Mutations in GDF5 presenting as semidominant brachydactyly A1.

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  • 1Department of Regenerative Medicine, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and University of Ottawa Centre for Neuromuscular Disease, Ottawa, ON, Canada.


Brachydactyly A1 (BDA1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by shortness of all middle phalanges of the hands and toes, shortness of the proximal phalanges of the first digit, and short stature. Missense mutations in the Indian Hedgehog gene (IHH) are known to cause BDA1, and a second locus has been mapped to chromosome 5p. In a consanguineous French Canadian kindred with BDA1, both IHH and the 5p locus were excluded. Microsatellites flanking GDF5 on chromosome 20q were found to cosegregate with the disease. Sequencing of the GDF5 coding region revealed that a mildly affected individual in the family was heterozygous, and that all of the severely affected individuals were homozygous for a novel missense c.1195C>T mutation that predicts a p.Arg399Cys substitution at a highly conserved amino acid. Functional analysis demonstrated that although the p.Arg399Cys mutant is able to stimulate chondrogenesis, it is much less effective than wild-type GDF5. This data confirms genetic heterogeneity in BDA1, demonstrates that mutations upstream of IHH can result in BDA1, and shows that BDA1 can result from semidominant mutations in GDF5.

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