An aberrant splice acceptor site due to a novel intronic nucleotide substitution in MSX1 gene is the cause of congenital tooth agenesis in a Japanese family.

Research paper by Tadashi T Tatematsu, Masashi M Kimura, Mitsuko M Nakashima, Junichiro J Machida, Seishi S Yamaguchi, Akio A Shibata, Hiroki H Goto, Atsuo A Nakayama, Yujiro Y Higashi, Hitoshi H Miyachi, Kazuo K Shimozato, Naomichi N Matsumoto, Yoshihito Y Tokita

Indexed on: 02 Jun '15Published on: 02 Jun '15Published in: PloS one


Congenital tooth agenesis is caused by mutations in the MSX1, PAX9, WNT10A, or AXIN2 genes. Here, we report a Japanese family with nonsyndromic tooth agenesis caused by a novel nucleotide substitution in the intronic region between exons 1 and 2 of the MSX1 gene. Because the mutation is located 9 bp before exon 2 (c.452-9G>A), we speculated that the nucleotide substitution would generate an abnormal splice site. Using cDNA analysis of an immortalized patient blood cell, we confirmed that an additional 7-nucleotide sequence was inserted at the splice junction between exons 1 and 2 (c.451_452insCCCTCAG). The consequent frameshift generated a homeodomain-truncated MSX1 (p.R151fsX20). We then studied the subcellular localization of truncated MSX1 protein in COS cells, and observed that it had a whole cell distribution more than a nuclear localization, compared to that of wild-type protein. This result suggests a deletion of the nuclear localization signal, which is mapped to the MSX1 homeodomain. These results indicate that this novel intronic nucleotide substitution is the cause of tooth agenesis in this family. To date, most MSX1 variants isolated from patients with tooth agenesis involve single amino acid substitutions in the highly conserved homeodomain or deletion mutants caused by frameshift or nonsense mutations. We here report a rare case of an intronic mutation of the MSX1 gene responsible for human tooth agenesis. In addition, the missing tooth patterns were slightly but significantly different between an affected monozygotic twin pair of this family, showing that epigenetic or environmental factors also affect the phenotypic variations of missing teeth among patients with nonsyndromic tooth agenesis caused by an MSX1 haploinsufficiency.