Haploinsufficiency of FOXF1 causes an autosomal dominant neonatally lethal lung disorder, alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of pulmonary veins (ACDMPV). We identified novel 0.8-kb deletion within the 1.4-kb intron of FOXF1 in a deceased newborn diagnosed with ACDMPV. The deletion arose de novo on the maternal copy of the chromosome 16, and did not affect FOXF1 minigene splicing tested in lung fibroblasts. However, FOXF1 transcript level in the ACDMPV peripheral lung tissue was reduced by almost 40%. We found that, in an in vitro reporter assay, the FOXF1 intron exhibited moderate transcriptional enhancer activity, correlating with the presence of binding sites for expression regulators CTCF and CEBPB, whereas its truncated copy, which lost major CTCF and CEBPB-binding sites, inhibited the FOXF1 promoter. Our data further emphasize the importance of testing the non-protein coding regions of the genome currently not covered by diagnostic chromosomal microarray analyses or whole-exome sequencing.
Keywords: CNV; FOXF1; enhancer; intronic copy-number variants; splicing.
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