A new Rett syndrome family consistent with X-linked inheritance expands the X chromosome exclusion map

Am J Hum Genet. 1997 Sep;61(3):634-41. doi: 10.1086/515525.


Although familial recurrences of Rett syndrome (RTT) comprise only approximately 1% of the reported cases, it is these cases that hold the key for the understanding of the genetic basis of the disorder. Families in which RTT occurs in mother and daughter, aunt and niece, and half sisters are consistent with dominant inheritance and variable expressivity of the phenotype. Recurrence of RTT in sisters is likely due to germ-line mosaicism in one of the parents, rather than to recessive inheritance. The exclusive occurrence of classic RTT in females led to the hypothesis that it is X-linked and may be lethal in males. In an X-linked dominant disorder, unaffected obligate-carrier females would be expected to show nonrandom or skewed inactivation of the X chromosome bearing the mutant allele. We investigated the X chromosome inactivation (XCI) patterns in the female members of a newly identified family with recurrence of RTT in a maternal aunt and a niece. Skewing of XCI is present in the obligate carrier in this family, supporting the hypothesis that RTT is an X-linked disorder. However, evaluation of the XCI pattern in the mother of affected half sisters shows random XCI, suggesting germ-line mosaicism as the cause of repeated transmission in this family. To determine which regions of the X chromosome were inherited concordantly/discordantly by the probands, we genotyped the individuals in the aunt-niece family and two previously reported pairs of half sisters. These combined exclusion-mapping data allow us to exclude the RTT locus from the interval between DXS1053 in Xp22.2 and DXS1222 in Xq22.3. This represents an extension of the previous exclusion map.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mosaicism / genetics
  • Rett Syndrome / genetics*
  • X Chromosome / genetics*