Human homologue sequences to the Drosophila dishevelled segment-polarity gene are deleted in the DiGeorge syndrome

Antonio Pizzuti, Giuseppe Novelli, Aldo Mari, Antonia Ratti, Alessia Colosimo, Francesca Amati, Donata Penso, Federica Sangiuolo, Giuseppe Calabrese, Giandomenico Palka, Vincenzo Silani, Massimo Gennarelli, Rita Mingarelli, Guglielmo Scarlato, Peter Scambler, Bruno Dallapiccola

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DiGeorge syndrome (DGS) is a developmental defect of some of the neural crest derivatives. Most DGS patients show haploinsufficiency due to interstitial deletions of the proximal long arm of chromosome 22. Deletions of 22q11 have also been reported in patients with the velocardio-facial syndrome and familial conotruncal heart defects. It has been suggested that the wide phenotype spectrum associated with 22q11 monosomy is a consequence of contiguous-gene deletions. We report the isolation of human cDNAs homologous to the Drosophila dishevelled (dsh) segment-polarity gene. Sequences homologous to the 3' UTR of these transcripts (DVL-22) were positioned within the DGS critical region and were found to be deleted in DGS patients. Human DVL mRNAs are expressed in several fetal and adult tissues, including the thymus and, at high levels, the heart. Two transcripts, 3.2 and 5 kb, were detected, in northern blot analysis, with different expression patterns in the surveyed tissues when different cDNAs were used. The isolated cDNAs exhibit high amino acid homology with the mouse and Xenopus Dvl- 1 gene, the only other vertebrate dsh homologues so far isolated. The pivotal role of dsh in fly development suggests an analogous key function in vertebrate embryogenesis of its homologue genes. Since DGS may be due to perturbation of differentiation mechanisms at decisive embryological stages, a Dsh-like gene in the small-region overlap (SRO) might be a candidate for the pathogenesis of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-729
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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