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Investigations of the genomic region that contains the clf1 mutation, a causal gene in multifactorial cleft lip and palate in mice




Human nonsyndromic cleft lip and palate, CL(P), is genetically complex, with one contributing gene on chromosome 17q. A potentially homologous gene, clf1 on distal chromosome 11, is part of the digenic cause of the 10–30% CL(P) in the A/WySn mouse strain. Here we report our progress toward identifying the clf1 mutation.


Transcription from all of the known and predicted genes in the 1.5-Mb candidate region was examined in A/WySn and control (AXB-4/Pgn) ED10–11 embryo heads. The marker haplotype for 28 inbred strains across the clf1 region was obtained. The entire transcripts of Wnt9b and Wnt3 in A/WySn were sequenced. Using long PCR, the genomic region from Wnt3 throughWnt9b was screened in A/WySn for an inserted retrotransposon.


Gosr2, Wnt9b, Wnt3, Nsf, Arf2, Crhr1, Mapt, Cdc27, Myl4, Itgb3, chr11_20.152, chr11_20.154, chr11_20.155, and chr11_20.156 are expressed in ED10–11 heads. None is absent or detectably reduced in A/WySn. The ancestral pre-clf1 mutation haplotype was found in CBA/J mice. By a test-cross, CBA/J was confirmed to lack the clf1 mutation. Three single-nucleotide variants in A/WySn (vs. C57BL/6J) were found in each of the 3′ untranslated regions (3′UTRs) of Wnt3 and of Wnt9b, respectively; their presence in CBA/J shows that none are the clf1 mutation. An inserted intracisternal A particle (IAP) retrotransposon located 6.6 kb from the 3′ end of Wnt9b was found in A/WySn and in all clf1 strains tested. This IAP is absent in C57BL/6J and CBA/J.


The clf1 mutation is a genomic alteration present in A/WySn and absent in the ancestral chromosomal segment in CBA/J. The IAP retrotransposon insertion near Wnt9b in A/WySn fits this criterion; we predict that interference with Wnt9b function by this IAP is the clf1 mutation. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.