Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is an autosomal dominant disorder of increased prenatal growth and predisposition to embryonal cancers such as Wilms tumor. BWS is thought to involve one or more imprinted genes, since some patients show paternal uniparental disomy, and others show balanced germ-line chromosomal rearrangements involving the maternal chromosome. We previously mapped BWS, by genetic linkage analysis, to 11p15.5, which we and others also found to contain several imprinted genes; these include the gene for insulin-like growth factor II (IGF2) and H19, which show abnormal imprint-specific expression and/or methylation in 20% of BWS patients, and p57(KIP2), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, which we found showed biallelic expression in one of nine BWS patients studied. In addition, p57(KIP2) was recently reported to show mutations in two of nine BWS patients. We have now analyzed the entire coding sequence and intron-exon boundaries of p57(KIP2) in 40 unrelated BWS patients. Of these patients, only two (5%) showed mutations, both involving frameshifts in the second exon. In one case, the mutation was transmitted to the proband's mother, who was also affected, from the maternal grandfather, suggesting that p57(KIP2) is not imprinted in at least some affected tissues at a critical stage of development and that haploinsufficiency due to mutation of either parental allele may cause at least some features of BWS. The low frequency of p57(KIP2) mutations, as well as our recent discovery of disruption of the K(v)LQT1 gene in patients with chromosomal rearrangements, suggest that BWS can involve disruption of multiple independent 11p15.5 genes.
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