Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with multisystemic manifestations caused by heterozygosity for a partial deletion of chromosome band 7q11.23. The breakpoints cluster within regions located ~1 cM either side of the elastin (ELN) locus. We have characterized a duplicated region near the common deletion breakpoints, which includes a transcribed gene. The centromeric (C) and telomeric (T) copies are almost identical in the duplicated 3' portions but diverge at their 5'-ends. C-specific 4.3 kb mRNA and T-specific 5.4 kb mRNA are widely expressed in embryonic and adult tissues. The telomeric gene gives rise to several alternatively spliced forms and is deleted in all WBS individuals who have documented ELN deletions. Database searches revealed that this gene encodes BAP-135, a protein phosphorylated by Bruton's tyrosine kinase in B cells, as well as the multifunctional transcription factor TFII-I, hence the gene name GTF2I. The centromeric gene is not deleted in WBS and appears to be a partially truncated expressed pseudogene with no protein product (gene name GTF2IP1). Both loci map to different genomic clone contigs that also contain other deleted and non-deleted loci. A probe from the shared region recognizes a > 3 Mb Notl junction fragment that is unique to individuals with the WBS deletion. Therefore, the duplicated region containing GTF2I and GTF2IP1 respectively is located close to the deletion breakpoints and may predispose to unequal meiotic recombination between chromosome 7 homologs and/or to intrachromosomal rearrangements. Hemizygosity for GTF2I may also contribute to the WBS phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology