Indexed on: 20 May '99Published on: 20 May '99Published in: The American Journal of Human Genetics
Ulnar-mammary syndrome (UMS) is a pleiotropic disorder affecting limb, apocrine-gland, tooth, hair, and genital development. Mutations that disrupt the DNA-binding domain of the T-box gene, TBX3, have been demonstrated to cause UMS. However, the 3' terminus of the open reading frame (ORF) of TBX3 was not identified, and mutations were detected in only two families with UMS. Furthermore, no substantial homology outside the T-box was found among TBX3 and its orthologues. The subsequent cloning of new TBX3 cDNAs allowed us to complete the characterization of TBX3 and to identify alternatively transcribed TBX3 transcripts, including one that interrupts the T-box. The complete ORF of TBX3 is predicted to encode a 723-residue protein, of which 255 amino acids are encoded by newly identified exons. Comparison of other T-box genes to TBX3 indicates regions of substantial homology outside the DNA-binding domain. Novel mutations have been found in all of eight newly reported families with UMS, including five mutations downstream of the region encoding the T-box. This suggests that a domain(s) outside the T-box is highly conserved and important for the function of TBX3. We found no obvious phenotypic differences between those who have missense mutations and those who have deletions or frameshifts.