SOX proteins are transcription factors that are characterized by a common DNA-binding motif known as the HMG domain. We describe the 5. 4-kb human SOX8 gene that codes for a 446-amino-acid protein and that is expressed strongly in brain and less abundantly in other tissues. SOX8 shows an overall identity of 47% to SOX9 and SOX10. The latter two possess a C-terminal transactivation domain, whereas in SOX8, this domain is located in the central part of the protein. We have mapped SOX8 within 700 kb of the telomeric repeats of band 16p13.3. Hemizygosity for 1 Mb from this region causes the ATR-16 syndrome characterized by alpha-thalassemia and mental retardation. We show that SOX8 is deleted in an ATR-16 patient, and from its location, we deduce that it should be deleted in all previously described cases. Thus, SOX8 is a good candidate gene contributing to the mental retardation phenotype seen in ATR-16 patients.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.