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Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Dec;21(12):1349-55. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2013.86. Epub 2013 May 1.

Platelet defects in congenital variant of Rett syndrome patients with FOXG1 mutations or reduced expression due to a position effect at 14q12.

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1] Department of cardiovascular sciences, Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium [2] Department of Pediatrics, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


The Forkhead box G1 (FOXG1) gene encodes a transcriptional repressor essential for early development of the telencephalon. Intragenic mutations and gene deletions leading to haploinsufficiency cause the congenital variant of Rett syndrome. We here describe Rett syndrome-like patients, three of them carrying a balanced translocation with breakpoint in the chromosome 14q12 region, and one patient having a 14q12 microdeletion excluding the FOXG1 gene. The hypothesis of long-range FOXG1-regulatory elements in this region was supported by our finding of reduced FOXG1 mRNA and protein levels in platelets and skin fibroblasts from these cases. Given that FOXG1 is not only expressed in brain but also in platelets, we have studied platelet morphology in these patients and two additional patients with FOXG1 mutations. Electron microscopy of their platelets showed some enlarged, rounder platelets with often abnormal alpha, and fewer dense granules. Platelet function studies were possible in one 14q12 translocation patient with a prolonged Ivy bleeding time and a patient with a heterozygous FOXG1 c.1248C>G mutation (p.Tyr416X). Both have a prolonged PFA-100 occlusion time with collagen and epinephrine and reduced aggregation responses to low dose of ADP and epinephrine. Dense granule ATP secretion was normal for strong agonists but absent for epinephrine. In conclusion, our study shows that by using platelets functional evidence of cis-regulatory elements in the 14q12 region result in reduced FOXG1 levels in patients' platelets having translocations or deletions in that region. These platelet functional abnormalities deserve further investigation regarding a non-transcriptional regulatory role for FOXG1 in these anucleated cells.

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