DVL1 frameshift mutations clustering in the penultimate exon cause autosomal-dominant Robinow syndrome

Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Apr 2;96(4):612-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.02.015. Epub 2015 Mar 26.


Robinow syndrome is a genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by mesomelic limb shortening, genital hypoplasia, and distinctive facial features and for which both autosomal-recessive and autosomal-dominant inheritance patterns have been described. Causative variants in the non-canonical signaling gene WNT5A underlie a subset of autosomal-dominant Robinow syndrome (DRS) cases, but most individuals with DRS remain without a molecular diagnosis. We performed whole-exome sequencing in four unrelated DRS-affected individuals without coding mutations in WNT5A and found heterozygous DVL1 exon 14 mutations in three of them. Targeted Sanger sequencing in additional subjects with DRS uncovered DVL1 exon 14 mutations in five individuals, including a pair of monozygotic twins. In total, six distinct frameshift mutations were found in eight subjects, and all were heterozygous truncating variants within the penultimate exon of DVL1. In five families in which samples from unaffected parents were available, the variants were demonstrated to represent de novo mutations. All variant alleles are predicted to result in a premature termination codon within the last exon, escape nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), and most likely generate a C-terminally truncated protein with a distinct -1 reading-frame terminus. Study of the transcripts extracted from affected subjects' leukocytes confirmed expression of both wild-type and variant alleles, supporting the hypothesis that mutant mRNA escapes NMD. Genomic variants identified in our study suggest that truncation of the C-terminal domain of DVL1, a protein hypothesized to have a downstream role in the Wnt-5a non-canonical pathway, is a common cause of DRS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / genetics*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Dwarfism / genetics*
  • Exome / genetics
  • Exons / genetics
  • Frameshift Mutation / genetics*
  • Gene Components
  • Humans
  • Limb Deformities, Congenital / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / genetics*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • DNA Primers
  • DVL1 protein, human
  • Dishevelled Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Robinow Syndrome