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Mol Genet Metab. 2015 Aug;115(4):193-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2015.05.010. Epub 2015 May 27.

Genetic and structural variation in the SH2B1 gene in the Belgian population.

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Centre of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Pediatrics, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Pediatrics, Jessa Hospital, Hasselt, Belgium.
Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium.
Centre of Medical Genetics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. Electronic address:



Animal studies, genome-wide association and genomic structural variation studies have identified the SH2B1 gene as a candidate gene for obesity. Therefore, we have designed an extensive mutation and copy number variation (CNV) analysis investigating the prevalence of genetic and structural variations in SH2B1 in the Belgian population.


In the first part of this study, we performed a mutation screen for variants in the SH2B1 coding region in 581 obese children and adolescents and 433 healthy, lean individuals with high-resolution melting curve analysis followed by direct sequencing. In the second part of this study, Multiplex Amplicon Quantification (MAQ) analysis was used to identify CNVs in the distal SH2B1-containing chr.16p11.2 region in 421 obese children and adolescents with no developmental delay or behavioral phenotype.


Mutation analysis resulted in the identification of fifteen rare non-synonymous heterozygous variants. Several of these were found both in lean and obese subjects, suggesting that these are neutral polymorphisms. However, six private, heterozygous, non-synonymous variations were present in obese children only. Furthermore, we also identified six missense variants solely in lean individuals. CNV analysis could not identify carriers of the distal 16p11.2 deletion in our population.


Our mutation analysis has demonstrated that variation in the SH2B1 gene is frequent in both lean and obese groups, with distinctive variations being present on either side of the weight spectrum. Although the equal variation frequency does not immediately support disease causality, it cannot be excluded that some variations are weight-increasing or -decreasing. Further functional testing of the variants will be necessary to fully understand the impact of these variants on SH2B1. We were not able to detect carriers of the distal 16p11.2 deletion in our study population. As we excluded patients with developmental or behavioral problems, we suggest that in addition to obesity, the distal deletion might predispose for these traits. Further characterization of the phenotype is therefore necessary to clearly identify the phenotype of the distal 16p11.2 microdeletion syndrome.


CNV analysis; Mutation analysis; Obesity; SH2B1

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