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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 May;58(5):923-32.

Differential effects of FGFR2 mutations on syndactyly and cleft palate in Apert syndrome.

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Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.


Apert syndrome is a distinctive human malformation characterized by craniosynostosis and severe syndactyly of the hands and feet. It is caused by specific missense substitutions involving adjacent amino acids (Ser252Trp or Pro253Arg) in the linker between the second and third extracellular immunoglobulin domains of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2). We have developed a simple PCR assay for these mutations in genomic DNA, based on the creation of novel (SfiI) and (BstUI) restriction sites. Analysis of DNA from 70 unrelated patients with Apert syndrome showed that 45 had the Ser252Trp mutation and 25 had the Pro253Arg mutation. Phenotypic differences between these two groups of patients were investigated. Significant differences were found for severity of syndactyly and presence of cleft palate. The syndactyly was more severe with the Pro253Arg mutation, for both the hands and the feet. In contrast, cleft palate was significantly more common in the Ser252Trp patients. No convincing differences were found in the prevalence of other malformations associated with Apert syndrome. We conclude that, although the phenotype attributable to the two mutations is very similar, there are subtle differences. The opposite trends for severity of syndactyly and cleft palate in relation to the two mutations may relate to the varying patterns of temporal and tissue-specific expression of different fibroblast growth factors, the ligands for FGFR2.

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