Zebrafish gene knockdowns imply roles for human YWHAG in infantile spasms and cardiomegaly



Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder presenting with an elfin-like face, supravalvular aortic stenosis, a specific cognitive-behavioral profile, and infantile hypercalcemia. We encountered two WBS patients presenting with infantile spasms, which is extremely rare in WBS. Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analyses revealed atypical 5.7-Mb and 4.1-Mb deletions at 7q11.23 in the two patients, including the WBS critical region and expanding into the proximal side and the telomeric side, respectively. On the proximal side, AUTS2 and CALN1 may contribute to the phenotype. On the telomeric side, there are two candidate genes HIP1 and YWHAG. Because detailed information of them was unavailable, we investigated their functions using gene knockdowns of zebrafish. When zebrafish ywhag1 was knocked down, reduced brain size and increased diameter of the heart tube were observed, indicating that the infantile spasms and cardiomegaly seen in the patient with the telomeric deletion may be derived from haploinsufficiency of YWHAG. genesis 48:233–243, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.