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Am J Med Genet A. 2017 May 5. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.38247. [Epub ahead of print]

Whole exome sequencing of families with 1q21.1 microdeletion or microduplication.

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Department of Pathology, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Division of Advanced Diagnostics-Metabolism Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Medical Genetics, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Recurrent microduplications/microdeletions of 1q21.1 are characterized by variable phenotypes ranging from normal development to developmental delay (DD) and congenital anomalies. Their interpretation is challenging especially in families with affected and unaffected carriers. We used whole exome sequencing (WES) to look for sequence variants in two male probands with inherited 1q21.1 CNVs that could explain their more severe phenotypes. One proband had a 1q21.1 deletion transmitted from maternal grandmother, while the other had a paternal duplication. We found mutations in five genes (SMPD1, WNK3, NOS1, ATF6, and EFHC1) that could contribute to the more severe phenotype in the probands in comparison to their mildly affected or unaffected 1q21.1 CNV carrying relatives. Interestingly, all genes have roles in stress responses (oxidative/Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)/osmotic). One of the variants was in an X-linked gene WNK3 and segregated with the developmental features and X inactivation pattern in the family with 1q21.1 deletion transmitted from maternal grandmother. In silico analysis of all rare deleterious variants in both probands identified enrichment in nervous system diseases, metabolic pathways, protein processing in the ER and protein export. Our studies suggest that rare deleterious variants outside of the 1q21.1 CNV, individually or as a pool, could contribute to phenotypic variability in carriers of this CNV. Rare deleterious variants in stress response genes are of interest and raise the possibility of susceptibility of carriers to variable environmental influences. Next generation sequencing of additional familial cases with 1q21.1 CNV could further help determine the possible causes of phenotypic variability in carriers of this CNV.


1q21 microdeletions/microduplications; ER stress response; copy number variants (CNVs); phenotypic variability; sequence variants; whole exome sequencing (WES)


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