Copy-number variation analysis in familial nonsyndromic congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract: Evidence for the causative role of a transposable element-associated genomic rearrangement

Mol Med Rep. 2017 Jun;15(6):3631-3636. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2017.6462. Epub 2017 Apr 12.


Most congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) are sporadic, but familial occurrence has been described, suggesting a genetic contribution. Copy‑number variations (CNVs) were detected in patients with CAKUT to identify possible novel genomic regions associated with CAKUT. CNVs were investigated in 7 children with CAKUT from three unrelated families using array comparative genomic hybridization: female monozygotic twins with bilateral duplex collecting system/vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)/unilateral renal hypodyspasia (URHD); two male siblings with VUR/URHD; 3 male second cousins, one with bilateral VUR/URHD, one with bilateral VUR and one with ureterovesical junction obstruction (UVJO). Five patients had a normal constitution of CNVs, one had a duplication of 0.2 Mb on the 5q‑arm (5q23.3), probably unrelated to CAKUT, and one with UVJO had a 1.4 Mb deletion on the 17q‑arm (17q12) which includes a known CAKUT gene, HNF1B. The phenotype of HNF1B deletion was extended including renal magnesium wasting. A higher coverage in transposable elements (TEs) was found in the deleted region compared with the expected density in any random genomic region. Notably, the 5' breakpoint was mapped within a solo long terminal repeat (LTR) sequence. Moreover, highly similar members of solo LTR and mammalian interspersed repetitive (MIR) elements, as well as nucleotide sequence microhomology were detected at the breakpoint regions. In conclusion, the deletion detected in one patient suggests this genomic imbalance as causative for UVJO. A not very well known phenotype of HNF1B deletion resulting in both low urinary tract malformations and renal wasting of magnesium was described. The high load in TEs of the deleted region, the presence of highly similar elements, and the microhomology found at breakpoint regions may have contributed to the generation of the deletion. CNV analysis could reveal novel causative genomic regions in patients with CAKUT, and further studies in larger cohorts are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 5
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney / abnormalities*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Urinary Tract / abnormalities*
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements