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Keywords:

  • ALX4;
  • sagittal;
  • craniosynostosis;
  • gain-of-function;
  • dual luciferase

Abstract

Craniosynostosis is the early fusion of one or more sutures of the infant skull and is a common defect occurring in approximately 1 of every 2,500 live births. Nonsyndromic craniosynostosis (NSC) accounts for approximately 80% of all cases and is thought to have strong genetic determinants that are yet to be identified. ALX4 is a homeodomain transcription factor with known involvement in osteoblast regulation. By direct sequencing of the ALX4 coding region in sagittal or sagittal-suture-involved nonsyndromic craniosynostosis probands, we identified novel, nonsynonymous, familial variants in three of 203 individuals with NSC. Using dual-luciferase assay we show that two of these variants (V7F and K211E) confer a significant gain-of-function effect on ALX4. Our results suggest that ALX4 variants may have an impact on the genetic etiology of NSC. Hum Mutat 33:1626–1629, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.