Identification of a 3.0-kb major recombination hotspot in patients with Sotos syndrome who carry a common 1.9-Mb microdeletion

Am J Hum Genet. 2005 Jan;76(1):52-67. doi: 10.1086/426950. Epub 2004 Nov 16.


Sotos syndrome (SoS) is a congenital dysmorphic disorder characterized by overgrowth in childhood, distinctive craniofacial features, and mental retardation. Haploinsufficiency of the NSD1 gene owing to either intragenic mutations or microdeletions is known to be the major cause of SoS. The common approximately 2.2-Mb microdeletion encompasses the whole NSD1 gene and neighboring genes and is flanked by low-copy repeats (LCRs). Here, we report the identification of a 3.0-kb major recombination hotspot within these LCRs, in which we mapped deletion breakpoints in 78.7% (37/47) of patients with SoS who carry the common microdeletion. The deletion size was subsequently refined to 1.9 Mb. Sequencing of breakpoint fragments from all 37 patients revealed junctions between a segment of the proximal LCR (PLCR-B) and the corresponding region of the distal LCR (DLCR-2B). PLCR-B and DLCR-2B are the only directly oriented regions, whereas the remaining regions of the PLCR and DLCR are in inverted orientation. The PLCR, with a size of 394.0 kb, and the DLCR, with a size of of 429.8 kb, showed high overall homology (approximately 98.5%), with an increased sequence similarity (approximately 99.4%) within the 3.0-kb breakpoint cluster. Several recombination-associated motifs were identified in the hotspot and/or its vicinity. Interestingly, a 10-fold average increase of a translin motif, as compared with the normal distribution within the LCRs, was recognized. Furthermore, a heterozygous inversion of the interval between the LCRs was detected in all fathers of the children carrying a deletion in the paternally derived chromosome. The functional significance of these findings remains to be elucidated. Segmental duplications of the primate genome play a major role in chromosomal evolution. Evolutionary study showed that the duplication of the SoS LCRs occurred 23.3-47.6 million years ago, before the divergence of Old World monkeys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gigantism
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • Syndrome