A novel germ line mutation in SOX9 causes familial campomelic dysplasia and sex reversal

Hum Mol Genet. 1996 Oct;5(10):1625-30. doi: 10.1093/hmg/5.10.1625.


Mutations in the gene SOX9 result in the syndrome of campomelic dysplasia (CD) which includes sex-reversal in 75% of 46,XY affected individuals. These mutations only affect a single allele of SOX9 suggesting a dominant mode of inheritance for this syndrome. Consequently, CD and autosomal sex reversal may result from haploinsufficiency of SOX9. The SOX9 gene maps to the long arm of human chromosome 17 and translocations in this region also result in CD. We report a family in which there were three affected patients, two of whom showed 46,XY sex-reversal. Interestingly, despite all three patients being heterozygous for a familial mutation in SOX9 (Insertion of a cytosine residue at nucleotide position 1096), their gonadal phenotypes varied widely. The proband was found to have 46,XY true hermaphroditism with ambiguous genitalia. The other two sibs were 46,XY and 46,XX, and both had bilateral ovaries with normal female genitalia. The somatic cells in both parents revealed wild-type SOX9 nucleotide sequences. However, mutational analysis of the SOX9 gene in the father's germ cells revealed they were mosaic for mutant and wild-type sequences. This family is particularly informative as it demonstrates that the same SOX9 mutation can produce very different 46,XY gonadal phenotypes. The range of gonadal morphologies observed may be explained by several possible mechanisms such as variable penetrance of the mutation, increased activity of the non-mutant SOX9 allele or stochastic environmental factors. These results also demonstrate that paternal germ cell mosaicism of a mutant SOX9 sequence can result in a CD phenotype amongst his offspring.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disorders of Sex Development*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • SOX9 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors