Determination of the molecular basis of Marfan syndrome: a growth industry

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Although it has been known for more than a decade that Marfan syndrome - a dominantly inherited connective tissue disorder characterized by tall stature, arachnodactyly, lens subluxation, and a high risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection - results from mutations in the FBN1 gene, which encodes fibrillin-1, the precise mechanism by which the pleiotropic phenotype is produced has been unclear. A report in this issue now proposes that loss of fibrillin-1 protein by any of several mechanisms and the subsequent effect on the pool of TGF-β may be more relevant in the development of Marfan syndrome than mechanisms previously proposed in a dominant-negative disease model (see the related article beginning on page 172). The model proposed in this issue demonstrates several strategies for clinical intervention.

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