The natriuretic peptide signaling pathway has been implicated in many cellular processes, including endochondral ossification and bone growth. More precisely, different mutations in the NPR-B receptor and the CNP ligand have been identified in individuals with either short or tall stature. In this study we show that the NPR-C receptor (encoded by NPR3) is also important for the regulation of linear bone growth. We report four individuals, originating from three different families, with a phenotype characterized by tall stature, long digits, and extra epiphyses in the hands and feet. In addition, aortic dilatation was observed in two of these families. In each affected individual, we identified a bi-allelic loss-of-function mutation in NPR3. The missense mutations (c.442T>C [p.Ser148Pro] and c.1088A>T [p.Asp363Val]) resulted in intracellular retention of the NPR-C receptor and absent localization on the plasma membrane, whereas the nonsense mutation (c.1524delC [p.Tyr508∗]) resulted in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Biochemical analysis of plasma from two affected and unrelated individuals revealed a reduced NTproNP/NP ratio for all ligands and also high cGMP levels. These data strongly suggest a reduced clearance of natriuretic peptides by the defective NPR-C receptor and consequently increased activity of the NPR-A/B receptors. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that loss-of-function mutations in NPR3 result in increased NPR-A/B signaling activity and cause a phenotype marked by enhanced bone growth and cardiovascular abnormalities.
Keywords: NPR3; aortic dilatation; extra epiphyses; natriuretic peptide signaling; tall stature.
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