HomozygousHOXB1loss-of-function mutation in a large family with hereditary congenital facial paresis

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Hereditary congenital facial paresis (HCFP) belongs to the congenital cranial dysinnervation disorders. HCFP is characterized by the isolated dysfunction of the seventh cranial nerve and can be associated with hearing loss, strabismus, and orofacial anomalies. Möbius syndrome shares facial palsy with HCFP, but is additionally characterized by limited abduction of the eye(s). Genetic heterogeneity has been documented for HCFP as one locus mapped to chromosome 3q21-q22 (HCFP1) and a second to 10q21.3-q22.1 (HCFP2). The only known causative gene for HCFP is HOXB1 (17q21; HCFP3), encoding a homeodomain-containing transcription factor of the HOX gene family, which are master regulators of early developmental processes. The previously reported HOXB1 mutations change arginine 207 to another residue in the homeodomain and alter binding capacity of HOXB1 for transcriptional co-regulators and DNA. We performed whole exome sequencing in HCFP-affected individuals of a large consanguineous Moroccan family. The homozygous nonsense variant c.66C>G/p.(Tyr22*) in HOXB1 was identified in the four patients with HCFP and ear malformations, while healthy family members carried the mutation in the heterozygous state. This is the first disease-associated HOXB1 mutation with a likely loss-of-function effect suggesting that all HOXB1 variants reported so far also have severe impact on activity of this transcriptional regulator. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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