Three genes, TTF1, TTF2, and PAX8, involved in thyroid gland development and migration have been identified. Yet systematic screening for defects in these genes in thyroid dysgenesis gave essentially negative results. In particular, no TTF1 gene defects were found in 76 individuals with thyroid dysgenesis even though a deletion of this gene in the mouse results in thyroid and lung agenesis and defective diencephalon. We report a 6-year-old boy with predominant dyskinesia, neonatal respiratory distress, and mild hyperthyrotropinemia. One allele of his TTF1 gene had a guanidine inserted into codon 86 producing a nonsense protein of 407, rather than 371, amino acids. The mutant TTF1 did not bind to its canonical cis-element or transactivate a reporter gene driven by the thyroglobulin promoter, a natural target of TTF1. Failure of the mutant TTF1 to interfere with binding and transactivation functions of the wild-type TTF1 suggested that the syndrome was caused by haploinsufficiency. This was confirmed in mice heterozygous for Ttf1 gene deletion, heretofore considered to be normal. Compared with wild-type littermates, Ttf1+/– mice had poor coordination and a significant elevation of serum thyrotropin. Therefore, haploinsufficiency of the TTF1 gene results in a predominantly neurological phenotype and secondary hyperthyrotropinemia.
Joachim Pohlenz, Alexandra Dumitrescu, Dorothee Zundel, Ursula Martiné, Winfried Schönberger, Eugene Koo, Roy E. Weiss, Ronald N. Cohen, Shioko Kimura, Samuel Refetoff
The occurrence of neurological symptoms and developmental delay in patients affected by congenital hypothyroidism (CH) has been attributed to the lack of thyroid hormone in the developing CNS. Accordingly, after the introduction of neonatal screening programs for CH, which allowed early and adequate treatment, an almost normal outcome for most CH patients could be achieved. However, a few patients did not reach this favorable outcome despite early and adequate treatment. Here we describe five patients with variable degrees of CH who suffered from choreoathetosis, muscular hypotonia, and pulmonary problems, an association of symptoms that had not been described before this study. Since this clinical picture matched the phenotype of mice targeted for deletion of the transcription factor gene Nkx2-1, we investigated the human NKX2-1 gene in these five patients. We found heterozygous loss of function mutations in each of these five patients, e.g., one complete gene deletion, one missense mutation (G2626T), and three nonsense mutations (2595insGG, C2519A, C1302A). Therefore, the unfavorable outcome in patients with CH, especially those with choreoathetosis and pulmonary symptoms, can be explained by mutations in the NKX2-1 gene rather than by hypothyroidism. Moreover, the association of symptoms in the patients with NKX2-1 mutations points to an important role of human NKX2-1 in the development and function of thyroid, basal ganglia, and lung, as already described for rodents.
Heiko Krude, Barbara Schütz, Heike Biebermann, Arpad von Moers, Dirk Schnabel, Heidi Neitzel, Holger Tönnies, Dagmar Weise, Antony Lafferty, Siegfried Schwarz, Mario DeFelice, Andreas von Deimling, Frank van Landeghem, Roberto DiLauro, Annette Grüters
The congenital polycystic kidney (cpk) mutation is the most extensively characterized mouse model of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). The renal cystic disease is fully expressed in homozygotes and is strikingly similar to human autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD), whereas genetic background modulates the penetrance of the corresponding defect in the developing biliary tree. We now describe the positional cloning, mutation analysis, and expression of a novel gene that is disrupted in cpk mice. The cpk gene is expressed primarily in the kidney and liver and encodes a hydrophilic, 145–amino acid protein, which we term cystin. When expressed exogenously in polarized renal epithelial cells, cystin is detected in cilia, and its expression overlaps with polaris, another PKD-related protein. We therefore propose that the single epithelial cilium is important in the functional differentiation of polarized epithelia and that ciliary dysfunction underlies the PKD phenotype in cpk mice.
Xiaoying Hou, Michal Mrug, Bradley K. Yoder, Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Gabriel Kremmidiotis, Peter D’Eustachio, David R. Beier, Lisa M. Guay-Woodford