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Human mutation

Heterozygous deletion of FOXA2 segregates with disease in a family with heterotaxy, panhypopituitarism, and biliary atresia.


PMID 25765999

Abstract

Biliary atresia (BA) is a pediatric cholangiopathy with unknown etiology occurring in isolated and syndromic forms. Laterality defects affecting the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems are the most common features present in syndromic BA. Most cases are sporadic, although reports of familial cases have led to the hypothesis of genetic susceptibility in some patients. We identified a child with BA, malrotation, and interrupted inferior vena cava whose father presented with situs inversus, polysplenia, panhypopituitarism, and mildly dysmorphic facial features. Chromosomal microarray analysis demonstrated a 277 kb heterozygous deletion on chromosome 20, which included a single gene, FOXA2, in the proband and her father. This deletion was confirmed to be de novo in the father. The proband and her father share a common diagnosis of heterotaxy, but they also each presented with a variety of other issues. Further genetic screening revealed that the proband carried an additional protein-altering polymorphism (rs1904589; p.His165Arg) in the NODAL gene that is not present in the father, and this variant has been shown to decrease expression of the gene. As FOXA2 can be a regulator of NODAL expression, we propose that haploinsufficiency for FOXA2 combined with a decreased expression of NODAL is the likely cause for syndromic BA in this proband.