Large deletions in Xq21 often are associated with contiguous gene syndromes consisting of X-linked deafness type 3 (DFN3), mental retardation (MRX), and choroideremia (CHM). The identification of deletions associated with classic CHM or DFN3 facilitated the positional cloning of the underlying genes, REP-1 and POU3F4, respectively, and enabled the positioning of the MRX gene in between these genes. Here, we report the cloning and characterization of a novel gene, ribosomal S6-kinase 4 (RSK4; HGMW-approved symbol RPS6KA6), which maps in the MRX critical region. RSK4 is completely deleted in eight patients with the contiguous gene syndrome including MRX, partially deleted in a patient with DFN3 and present in patients with an Xq21 deletion and normal intellectual abilities. RSK4 is most abundantly expressed in brain and kidney. The predicted protein of 746 amino acids shows a high level of homology to three previously isolated members of the human RSK family. RSK2 is involved in Coffin-Lowry syndrome and nonspecific MRX. The localization of RSK4 in the interval that is commonly deleted in mentally retarded males together with the high degree of amino acid identity with RSK2 suggests that RSK4 plays a role in normal neuronal development. Further mutation analyses in males with X-linked mental retardation must prove that RSK4 is indeed a novel MRX gene.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.