Study design: A hypothesis-driven study was conducted in a familial cohort to determine the potential association between variants within the TBX6 gene and Familial Idiopathic Scoliosis (FIS).
Objective: To determine if variants within exons of the TBX6 gene segregate with the FIS phenotype within a sample of families with FIS.
Summary of background data: Idiopathic Scoliosis (IS) is a structural curvature of the spine whose underlying genetic etiology has not been established. IS has been reported to occur at a higher rate than expected in family members of individuals with congenital scoliosis (CS), suggesting that the two diseases might have a shared etiology. The TBX6 gene on chromosome 16p, essential to somite development, has been associated with CS in a Chinese population. Previous studies have identified linkage to this locus in families with FIS, and specifically with rs8060511, located in an intron of the TBX6 gene.
Methods: Parent-offspring trios from 11 families (13 trios, 42 individuals) with FIS were selected for Sanger sequencing of the TBX6 gene. Trios were selected from a large population of families with FIS in which a genome-wide scan had resulted in linkage to 16p.
Results: Sequencing analyses of the subset of families resulted in the identification of five coding variants. Three of the five variants were novel; the remaining two variants were previously characterized and account for 90% of the observed variants in these trios. In all cases, there was no correlation between transmission of the TBX6 variant allele and FIS phenotype. However, an analysis of regulatory markers in osteoblasts showed that rs8060511 is in a putative enhancer element.
Conclusions: Although this study did not identify any TBX6 coding variants that segregate with FIS, we identified a variant that is located in a potential TBX6 enhancer element. Therefore, further investigation of the region is needed.
Keywords: DNA sequencing; TBX6 gene; chromosome 16p11.2; congenital scoliosis; idiopathic scoliosis.