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Open Access Research article

Genomic analysis of the chromosome 15q11-q13 Prader-Willi syndrome region and characterization of transcripts for GOLGA8E and WHCD1L1 from the proximal breakpoint region

Yong-hui Jiang1*, Kekio Wauki13, Qian Liu1, Jan Bressler1, Yanzhen Pan1, Catherine D Kashork12, Lisa G Shaffer12 and Arthur L Beaudet1

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA

2 Signature Genomics Laboratories, LLC, 120 North Pine Street, Suite 242C, Spokane, WA 99202, USA

3 Shinshu University School of Medicine, Dept of Medical Genetics, 3-1-1 Asahi, Nagano, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-50

Published: 28 January 2008

Abstract

Background

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by neonatal hypotonia, childhood obesity, dysmorphic features, hypogonadism, mental retardation, and behavioral problems. Although PWS is most often caused by a paternal interstitial deletion of a 6-Mb region of chromosome 15q11-q13, the identity of the exact protein coding or noncoding RNAs whose deficiency produces the PWS phenotype is uncertain. There are also reports describing a PWS-like phenotype in a subset of patients with full mutations in the FMR1 (fragile X mental retardation 1) gene. Taking advantage of the human genome sequence, we have performed extensive sequence analysis and molecular studies for the PWS candidate region.

Results

We have characterized transcripts for the first time for two UCSC Genome Browser predicted protein-coding genes, GOLGA8E (golgin subfamily a, 8E) and WHDC1L1 (WAS protein homology region containing 1-like 1) and have further characterized two previously reported genes, CYF1P1 and NIPA2; all four genes are in the region close to the proximal/centromeric deletion breakpoint (BP1). GOLGA8E belongs to the golgin subfamily of coiled-coil proteins associated with the Golgi apparatus. Six out of 16 golgin subfamily proteins in the human genome have been mapped in the chromosome 15q11-q13 and 15q24-q26 regions. We have also identified more than 38 copies of GOLGA8E-like sequence in the 15q11-q14 and 15q23-q26 regions which supports the presence of a GOLGA8E-associated low copy repeat (LCR). Analysis of the 15q11-q13 region by PFGE also revealed a polymorphic region between BP1 and BP2. WHDC1L1 is a novel gene with similarity to mouse Whdc1 (WAS protein homology region 2 domain containing 1) and human JMY protein (junction-mediating and regulatory protein). Expression analysis of cultured human cells and brain tissues from PWS patients indicates that CYFIP1 and NIPA2 are biallelically expressed. However, we were not able to determine the allele-specific expression pattern for GOLGA8E and WHDC1L1 because these two genes have highly related sequences that might also be expressed.

Conclusion

We have presented an updated version of a sequence-based physical map for a complex chromosomal region, and we raise the possibility of polymorphism in the genomic orientation of the BP1 to BP2 region. The identification of two new proteins GOLGA8E and WHDC1L1 encoded by genes in the 15q11-q13 region may extend our understanding of the molecular basis of PWS. In terms of copy number variation and gene organization, this is one of the most polymorphic regions of the human genome, and perhaps the single most polymorphic region of this type.