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Keywords:

  • SOX10 protein;
  • Waardenburg syndrome;
  • Hirschsprung disease;
  • pigmentation disorders;
  • c-ret;
  • proto-oncogene protein;
  • phenotype;
  • genotype

Waardenburg syndrome (WS) is characterized by an association of pigmentation abnormalities and sensorineural hearing loss. Four types, defined on clinical grounds, have been delineated, but this phenotypic classification correlates imperfectly with known molecular anomalies. SOX10 mutations have been found in patients with type II and type IV WS (i.e., with Hirschsprung disease), more complex syndromes, and partial forms of the disease. The phenotype induced by SOX10 mutations is highly variable and, except for the neurological forms of the disease, no genotype–phenotype correlation has been characterized to date. There is no mutation hotspot in SOX10 and most cases are sporadic, making it particularly difficult to correlate the phenotypic and genetic variability. This study reports on three independent families with SOX10 mutations predicted to result in the same missense mutation at the protein level (p.Met112Ile), offering a rare opportunity to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying phenotypic variability. The pigmentation defects of these patients are very similar, and the neurological symptoms showed a somewhat similar evolution over time, indicating a potential partial genotype–phenotype correlation. However, variability in gastrointestinal symptoms suggests that other genetic factors contribute to the expression of these phenotypes. No correlation between the rs2435357 polymorphism of RET and the expression of Hirschsprung disease was found. In addition, one of the patients has esophageal achalasia, which has rarely been described in WS. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.