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Genome Res. 1997 Mar;7(3):223-34.

Identification of the complete coding sequence and genomic organization of the Treacher Collins syndrome gene.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.


Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) is an autosomal dominant disorder of craniofacial development, the features of which include conductive hearing loss and cleft palate. Recently, the demonstration of a series of 10 mutations within a partial-length cDNA clone have indicated that the TCS gene (TCOF1) has been positionally cloned. Although it has been shown that the gene is expressed in a wide variety of fetal and adult tissues, database sequence comparisons have failed to provide significant information on the function of the gene. In the current investigation, a combination of cDNA library screening and rapid amplification of cDNA ends has permitted the isolation of the complete coding sequence of TCOF1, which is encoded by 26 exons and predicts a low complexity, serine/alanine-rich protein of approximately 144 kD. The use of a variety of bioinformatics tools has resulted in the identification of repeated units within the gene, each of which maps onto an individual exon. The predicted protein Treacle contains numerous potential phosphorylaiton sites, a number of which map to similar positions within the repeated units, and shows weak but significant homology to the nucleolar phosphoproteins. Although the precise function of Treacle remains unknown, these observations suggest that phosphorylation may be important for its role in early embryonic development and that it may play a role in nucleolar-cytoplasmic shuttling. The information presented in this study will allow continued mutation analysis in families with a history of TCS and should facilitate continued experimentation to shed further light on the function of the gene/protein during development of the craniofacial complex.

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