Molecular syndromology

Disturbed Wnt Signalling due to a Mutation in CCDC88C Causes an Autosomal Recessive Non-Syndromic Hydrocephalus with Medial Diverticulum.

PMID 21031079


The etiology of non-syndromic hydrocephalus is poorly understood. Via positional cloning in a consanguineous family with autosomal recessive hydrocephalus we have now identified a homozygous splice site mutation in the CCDC88C gene as a novel cause of a complex hydrocephalic brain malformation. The only living patient showed normal psychomotor development at the age of 3 years and 3 months and her deceased aunt, who was assumed to suffer from the same condition, had mild mental retardation. The mutation in the affected patients, a homozygous substitution in the donor splice site of intron 29, resulted in a shorter transcript due to exclusion of exon 29 and loss of functional protein, as shown by Western blotting (p.S1591HfsX7). In normal human tissue panels, we found CCDC88C ubiquitously expressed, but most prominently in the fetal brain, especially in pons and cerebellum, while expression in the adult brain appeared to be restricted to cortex and medulla oblongata. CCDC88C encodes DAPLE (HkRP2), a Hook-related protein with a binding domain for the central Wnt signalling pathway protein Dishevelled. Targeted quantitative RT-PCR and expression profiling of 84 genes from the Wnt signalling pathway in peripheral blood from the index patient and her healthy mother revealed increased mRNA levels of CCDC88C indicating transcriptional upregulation. Due to loss of CCDC88C function β-catenin (CTNNB1) and the downstream target LEF1 showed increased mRNA levels in the patient, but many genes from the Wnt pathway and transcriptional target genes showed reduced expression, which might be explained by a complex negative feedback loop. We have thus identified a further essential component of the Wnt signalling pathway in human brain development.