Agnathia-otocephaly complex and asymmetric velopharyngeal insufficiency due to an in-frame duplication in OTX2

J Hum Genet. 2015 Apr;60(4):199-202. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2014.122. Epub 2015 Jan 15.


Agnathia-otocephaly complex is a malformation characterized by absent/hypoplastic mandible and abnormally positioned ears. Mutations in two genes, PRRX1 and OTX2, have been described in a small number of families with this disorder. We performed clinical and genetic testing in an additional family. The proband is a healthy female with a complicated pregnancy history that includes two offspring diagnosed with agnathia-otocephaly during prenatal ultrasound scans. Exome sequencing was performed in fetal DNA from one of these two offspring revealing a heterozygous duplication in OTX2: c.271_273dupCAG, p.(Gln91dup). This change leads to the insertion of a glutamine within the OTX2 homeodomain region, and is predicted to alter this signaling molecule's ability to interact with DNA. The same variant was also identified in the proband's clinically unaffected 38-year-old husband and their 9-year-old daughter, who presented with a small mandible, normal ears and velopharyngeal insufficiency due to a short hemi-palate. This unusual presentation of OTX2-related disease suggests that OTX2 might have a role in palatal hypoplasia cases. A previously unreported OTX2 variant associated with extreme intrafamilial variability is described and the utility of exome sequencing as a tool to confirm the diagnosis of agnathia-otocephaly and to inform the reproductive decisions of affected families is highlighted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Otx Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Otx Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Conformation
  • Reading Frames*
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency / genetics*


  • OTX2 protein, human
  • Otx Transcription Factors