OFCD syndrome and extraembryonic defects are revealed by conditional mutation of the Polycomb-group repressive complex 1.1 (PRC1.1) gene BCOR

Dev Biol. 2020 Dec 1;468(1-2):110-132. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.06.013. Epub 2020 Jul 18.


BCOR is a critical regulator of human development. Heterozygous mutations of BCOR in females cause the X-linked developmental disorder Oculofaciocardiodental syndrome (OFCD), and hemizygous mutations of BCOR in males cause gestational lethality. BCOR associates with Polycomb group proteins to form one subfamily of the diverse Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) complexes, designated PRC1.1. Currently there is limited understanding of differing developmental roles of the various PRC1 complexes. We therefore generated a conditional exon 9-10 knockout Bcor allele and a transgenic conditional Bcor expression allele and used these to define multiple roles of Bcor, and by implication PRC1.1, in mouse development. Females heterozygous for Bcor exhibiting mosaic expression due to the X-linkage of the gene showed reduced postnatal viability and had OFCD-like defects. By contrast, Bcor hemizygosity in the entire male embryo resulted in embryonic lethality by E9.5. We further dissected the roles of Bcor, focusing on some of the tissues affected in OFCD through use of cell type specific Cre alleles. Mutation of Bcor in neural crest cells caused cleft palate, shortening of the mandible and tympanic bone, ectopic salivary glands and abnormal tongue musculature. We found that defects in the mandibular region, rather than in the palate itself, led to palatal clefting. Mutation of Bcor in hindlimb progenitor cells of the lateral mesoderm resulted in 2/3 syndactyly. Mutation of Bcor in Isl1-expressing lineages that contribute to the heart caused defects including persistent truncus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect and fetal lethality. Mutation of Bcor in extraembryonic lineages resulted in placental defects and midgestation lethality. Ubiquitous over expression of transgenic Bcor isoform A during development resulted in embryonic defects and midgestation lethality. The defects we have found in Bcor mutants provide insights into the etiology of the OFCD syndrome and how BCOR-containing PRC1 complexes function in development.

Keywords: Cardiac; Craniofacial; Oculofaciocardiodental syndrome; Placenta; Salivary glands; X-linked developmental disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cataract / congenital*
  • Cataract / embryology
  • Cataract / genetics
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Embryo, Mammalian* / embryology
  • Embryo, Mammalian* / pathology
  • Heart Septal Defects* / embryology
  • Heart Septal Defects* / genetics
  • Heart Septal Defects* / pathology
  • Mice
  • Microphthalmos* / embryology
  • Microphthalmos* / genetics
  • Microphthalmos* / pathology
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1* / genetics
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1* / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins* / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins* / metabolism


  • Bcor protein, mouse
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1

Supplementary concepts

  • Microphthalmia, syndromic 2