De novo loss-of-function mutations in WAC cause a recognizable intellectual disability syndrome and learning deficits in Drosophila
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SourceEuropean Journal of Human Genetics, 24, 8, (2016), pp. 1145-53
Article / Letter to editor
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European Journal of Human Genetics
SubjectRadboudumc 12: Sensory disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 12: Sensory disorders RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 3: Disorders of movement DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 9: Rare cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Recently WAC was reported as a candidate gene for intellectual disability (ID) based on the identification of a de novo mutation in an individual with severe ID. WAC regulates transcription-coupled histone H2B ubiquitination and has previously been implicated in the 10p12p11 contiguous gene deletion syndrome. In this study, we report on 10 individuals with de novo WAC mutations which we identified through routine (diagnostic) exome sequencing and targeted resequencing of WAC in 2326 individuals with unexplained ID. All but one mutation was expected to lead to a loss-of-function of WAC. Clinical evaluation of all individuals revealed phenotypic overlap for mild ID, hypotonia, behavioral problems and distinctive facial dysmorphisms, including a square-shaped face, deep set eyes, long palpebral fissures, and a broad mouth and chin. These clinical features were also previously reported in individuals with 10p12p11 microdeletion syndrome. To investigate the role of WAC in ID, we studied the importance of the Drosophila WAC orthologue (CG8949) in habituation, a non-associative learning paradigm. Neuronal knockdown of Drosophila CG8949 resulted in impaired learning, suggesting that WAC is required in neurons for normal cognitive performance. In conclusion, we defined a clinically recognizable ID syndrome, caused by de novo loss-of-function mutations in WAC. Independent functional evidence in Drosophila further supported the role of WAC in ID. On the basis of our data WAC can be added to the list of ID genes with a role in transcription regulation through histone modification.
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