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Cell. 1995 Mar 24;80(6):837-45.

Mutations in a putative global transcriptional regulator cause X-linked mental retardation with alpha-thalassemia (ATR-X syndrome).

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Medical Research Council Molecular Haematology Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford, England.


The ATR-X syndrome is an X-linked disorder comprising severe psychomotor retardation, characteristic facial features, genital abnormalities, and alpha-thalassemia. We have shown that ATR-X results from diverse mutations of XH2, a member of a subgroup of the helicase superfamily that includes proteins involved in a wide range of cellular functions, including DNA recombination and repair (RAD16, RAD54, and ERCC6) and regulation of transcription (SW12/SNF2, MOT1, and brahma). The complex ATR-X phenotype suggests that XH2, when mutated, down-regulates expression of several genes, including the alpha-globin genes, indicating that it could be a global transcriptional regulator. In addition to its role in the ATR-X syndrome, XH2 may be a good candidate for other forms of X-linked mental retardation mapping to Xq13.

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