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Analysis of the p63 gene in classical EEC syndrome, related syndromes, and non-syndromic orofacial clefts
  1. L L Barrow1,
  2. H van Bokhoven2,
  3. S Daack-Hirsch3,
  4. T Andersen3,
  5. S E C van Beersum2,
  6. R Gorlin4,
  7. J C Murray3
  1. 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  2. 2Department of Human Genetics, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  4. 4Department of Oral Pathology and Genetics, University of Minnesota, MN, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr J C Murray, Department of Pediatrics, 140G EMRB, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA;


EEC syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder with the cardinal signs of ectrodactyly, ectodermal dysplasia, and orofacial clefts. EEC syndrome has been linked to chromosome 3q27 and heterozygous p63 mutations were detected in unrelated EEC families. In addition, homozygous p63 null mice exhibit craniofacial abnormalities, limb truncations, and absence of epidermal appendages, such as hair follicles and tooth primordia. In this study, we screened 39 syndromic patients, including four with EEC syndrome, five with syndromes closely related to EEC syndrome, and 30 with other syndromic orofacial clefts and/or limb anomalies. We identified heterozygous p63 mutations in three unrelated cases of EEC syndrome, two Iowa white families and one sporadic case in a Filipino boy. One family is atypical for EEC and has features consistent with Hay-Wells syndrome. In this family, the mutation ablates a splice acceptor site and, in the other two, mutations produce amino acid substitutions, R280C and R304Q, which alter conserved DNA binding sites. Germline mosaicism was detected in the founder of the mutation in one case. These three cases show significant interfamilial and intrafamilial variability in expressivity. We also screened p63 in 62 patients with non-syndromic orofacial clefts, identifying an intronic single nucleotide polymorphism but finding no evidence of mutations that would explain even a subset of non-syndromic orofacial clefts. This study supports a common role for p63 in classical EEC syndrome, both familial and sporadic, but not in other related or non-syndromic forms of orofacial clefts.

  • p63
  • EEC syndrome
  • cleft
  • mutational analysis

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