Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Short report
10q23.31 microduplication encompassing PTEN decreases mTOR signalling activity and is associated with autosomal dominant primary microcephaly
  1. Danyllo Oliveira1,
  2. Gabriela Ferraz Leal2,3,
  3. Andréa L Sertié4,
  4. Luiz Carlos Caires Jr1,
  5. Ernesto Goulart1,
  6. Camila Manso Musso1,
  7. João Ricardo Mendes de Oliveira5,
  8. Ana Cristina Victorino Krepischi1,
  9. Angela Maria Vianna-Morgante1,
  10. Mayana Zatz1
  1. 1 Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, Human Genome and Stem-Cell Research Center, Institute of Biosciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  2. 2 Fernando Figueira Integral Medicine Institute, Recife, Brazil
  3. 3 Amaury de Medeiros Health Center, University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
  4. 4 Hospital Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil
  5. 5 Neuropsychiatry Department, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mayana Zatz, Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, Human Genome and Stem-Cell Research Center, University of Sao Paulo, SP03178-200, Brazil; mayazatz{at}


Background Hereditary primary microcephaly (MCPH) is mainly characterised by decreased occipitofrontal circumference and variable degree of intellectual disability. MCPH with a dominant pattern of inheritance is a rare condition, so far causally linked to pathogenic variants in the ALFY, DPP6, KIF11 and DYRK1A genes.

Objective This study aimed at identifying the causative variant of the autosomal dominant form of MCPH in a Brazilian family with three affected members.

Methods Following clinical evaluation of two sibs and their mother presenting with autosomal dominant MCPH, array comparative genome hybridisation was performed using genomic DNA from peripheral blood of the family members. Gene and protein expression studies were carried out in cultured skin fibroblasts.

Results A 382 kb microduplication at 10q23.31 was detected, encompassing the entire PTEN, KLLN and ATAD1 genes. PTEN haploinsufficiency has been causally associated with macrocephaly and autism spectrum disorder and, therefore, was considered the most likely candidate gene to be involved in this autosomal dominant form of MCPH. In the patients’ fibroblasts, PTEN mRNA and protein were found to be overexpressed, and the phosphorylation patterns of upstream and downstream components of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway were dysregulated.

Conclusions Taken together, our results demonstrate that the identified submicroscopic 10q23.31 duplication in a family with MCPH leads to markedly increased expression of PTEN and reduced activity of the mTOR signalling pathway. These results suggest that the most probable pathomechanism underlying the microcephaly phenotype in this family involves downregulation of the mTOR pathway through overexpression of PTEN.

  • copy number variation
  • primary microcephaly
  • neurodevelopmental disorders
  • molecular genetics

Statistics from


  • Contributors DO, ALS, LCC, EG and CMM performed the experiments, designed the study and wrote the paper. GFL and JRMdO performed clinical analysis and collected samples. AMV-M, ACVK and MZ designed the study and wrote the paper.

  • Funding This work was supported by CEPID/ FAPESP 2013/080828-1, INCT (465355/2014-5), CNPq and CAPES (PROEX:1575087).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This work was approved by the Ethical Committees of the participating institutions.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.