Functional analysis of a novel ENG variant in a patient with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) identifies a new Sp1 binding-site

Gene. 2018 Mar 20;647:85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2018.01.007. Epub 2018 Jan 4.


Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) is a rare disease, with an autosomal dominant inheritance and a worldwide incidence of about 1: 5000 individuals. In >80% of patients, HHT is caused by mutations in either ENG or ACVRL1, which code for ENDOGLIN and Activin A Receptor Type II-Like Kinase 1 (ALK1), belonging to the TGF-β/BMP signalling pathway. Typical HHT clinical features are mucocutaneous telangiectases, arteriovenous malformations, spontaneous and recurrent epistaxis, as well as gastrointestinal bleedings. An additional, but less frequent, clinical manifestation in some HHT patients is the presence of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). The aim of this work is to describe the functional role of a novel ENG intronic variant found in a patient affected by both HHT and PAH, in order to assess whether it has a pathogenic role. We proved that the variant lies in a novel binding-site for the transcription factor Sp1, known to be involved in the regulation of ENG and ACVRL1 transcription. We confirmed a pathogenic role for this intronic variant, as it significantly reduces ENG transcription by affecting this novel Sp1 binding-site.

Keywords: ENG transcription; Intronic variant; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Rendu-Osler-Weber syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors, Type II / genetics
  • Binding Sites / genetics*
  • Endoglin / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Sp1 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / genetics*


  • ENG protein, human
  • Endoglin
  • Sp1 Transcription Factor
  • Sp1 protein, human
  • Activin Receptors, Type II