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Mol Syndromol. 2012 Aug;3(2):76-81. doi: 10.1159/000339668. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Novel VANGL1 Gene Mutations in 144 Slovakian, Romanian and German Patients with Neural Tube Defects.

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Institute of Human Genetics, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


Neural tube defects (NTDs) are a group of congenital malformations of the central nervous system occurring at an average rate of 1 per 1,000 human pregnancies worldwide. Numerous genetic and environmental factors are discussed to be relevant in their etiology. In mice, mutants in >200 genes including the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway are known to cause NTDs, and recently, heterozygous mutations in the human VANGL1 gene have been described in a small subset of patients with NTDs. We performed a VANGL1 mutation analysis in 144 unrelated individuals with NTDs from Slovakia, Romania and Germany and identified 3 heterozygous missense mutations: c.613G>A (p.Gly205Arg) with an open spina bifida (lumbosacral meningomyelocele), c.557G>A (p.Arg186His) with a closed spina bifida (tethered cord and spinal lipoma) and c.518G>A (p.Arg173His) with an unknown NTD. The c.613G>A mutation was also found in a healthy sibling. None of the mutations were described previously. Findings support that heterozygous VANGL1 mutations represent hypomorphs or conditional mutants predisposing to NTDs and occur at a frequency of approximately 2.1% of open and closed spinal NTDs. The mutations (p.Arg173His, p.Arg186His, p.Gly205Arg) modified conserved regions of the VANGL1 protein and shared similarities with previously described mutants, providing further evidence for the presence of mutational hot spots in these patients.


Mutational hot spots; Neural tube defects; Planar cell polarity pathway; VANGL1

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