Characterization of a novel transcript of the EHMT1 gene reveals important diagnostic implications for Kleefstra syndrome.

Marcella Zollino, Marco Moscarda, Giovanni Neri, Wm Nillesen, Hg Yntema, Ne Verbeek, Lc Wilson, F Cowan, M Schepens, A Raas Rothschild, O Gafni Weinstein, R Vijzelaar, M Nelen, H Bokhoven, J Giltay, T. Kleefstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The core phenotype of Kleefstra syndrome (KS) is characterized by intellectual disability, childhood hypotonia and a characteristic facial appearance. This can be caused by either submicroscopic 9q34 deletions or loss of function mutations of the EHMT1 gene. Remarkably, in three patients with a clinical suspicion of KS, molecular cytogenetic analysis revealed an interstitial 9q34 microdeletion proximal to the coding region of the EHMT1 gene based on the NM_024757.3 transcript. Since we found a mono-allelic EHMT1 transcript suggestive for haploinsufficiency of EHMT1 in two of these patients tested, we hypothesized that a deletion of regulatory elements or so far unknown coding sequences in the 5' region of the EHMT1 gene, might result in a phenotype compatible with KS. We further characterized the molecular content of deletions proximal to the transcript NM_024757.3 and confirmed presence of a novel predicted open reading frame comprising 27 coding exons (NM_024757.4). Further analysis showed that all three deletions included the presumed novel first exon of the EHMT1 gene and subsequent testing of 75 individuals without previously detectable EHMT1 aberrations, showed one additional case with a deletion comprising only this 5' part of the gene. These results have important implications for the genetic screening of KS and for studies of the functional significance of EHMT1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Mutation
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • 9qSTDS
  • Chromosome 9q
  • EHMT1
  • Kleefstra syndrome
  • Subtelomere deletion


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