Notch signaling determines and reinforces cell fate in bilaterally symmetric multicellular eukaryotes. Despite the involvement of Notch in many key developmental systems, human mutations in Notch signaling components have mainly been described in disorders with vascular and bone effects. Here, we report five heterozygous NOTCH1 variants in unrelated individuals with Adams-Oliver syndrome (AOS), a rare disease with major features of aplasia cutis of the scalp and terminal transverse limb defects. Using whole-genome sequencing in a cohort of 11 families lacking mutations in the four genes with known roles in AOS pathology (ARHGAP31, RBPJ, DOCK6, and EOGT), we found a heterozygous de novo 85 kb deletion spanning the NOTCH1 5' region and three coding variants (c.1285T>C [p.Cys429Arg], c.4487G>A [p.Cys1496Tyr], and c.5965G>A [p.Asp1989Asn]), two of which are de novo, in four unrelated probands. In a fifth family, we identified a heterozygous canonical splice-site variant (c.743-1 G>T) in an affected father and daughter. These variants were not present in 5,077 in-house control genomes or in public databases. In keeping with the prominent developmental role described for Notch1 in mouse vasculature, we observed cardiac and multiple vascular defects in four of the five families. We propose that the limb and scalp defects might also be due to a vasculopathy in NOTCH1-related AOS. Our results suggest that mutations in NOTCH1 are the most common cause of AOS and add to a growing list of human diseases that have a vascular and/or bony component and are caused by alterations in the Notch signaling pathway.
Copyright © 2014 The American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.