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Glutamine Repeat Variants in Human RUNX2 Associated with Decreased Femoral Neck BMD, Broadband Ultrasound Attenuation and Target Gene Transactivation
Published: Monday, August 13, 2012
Author: Nigel A. Morrison et al.

by Nigel A. Morrison, Alexandre A. Stephens, Motomi Osato, Patsie Polly, Timothy C. Tan, Namiko Yamashita, James D. Doecke, Julie Pasco, Nicolette Fozzard, Graeme Jones, Stuart H. Ralston, Philip N. Sambrook, Richard L. Prince, Geoff C. Nicholson

RUNX2 is an essential transcription factor required for skeletal development and cartilage formation. Haploinsufficiency of RUNX2 leads to cleidocranial displaysia (CCD) a skeletal disorder characterised by gross dysgenesis of bones particularly those derived from intramembranous bone formation. A notable feature of the RUNX2 protein is the polyglutamine and polyalanine (23Q/17A) domain coded by a repeat sequence. Since none of the known mutations causing CCD characterised to date map in the glutamine repeat region, we hypothesised that Q-repeat mutations may be related to a more subtle bone phenotype. We screened subjects derived from four normal populations for Q-repeat variants. A total of 22 subjects were identified who were heterozygous for a wild type allele and a Q-repeat variant allele: (15Q, 16Q, 18Q and 30Q). Although not every subject had data for all measures, Q-repeat variants had a significant deficit in BMD with an average decrease of 0.7SD measured over 12 BMD-related parameters (p?=?0.005). Femoral neck BMD was measured in all subjects (-0.6SD, p?=?0.0007). The transactivation function of RUNX2 was determined for 16Q and 30Q alleles using a reporter gene assay. 16Q and 30Q alleles displayed significantly lower transactivation function compared to wild type (23Q). Our analysis has identified novel Q-repeat mutations that occur at a collective frequency of about 0.4%. These mutations significantly alter BMD and display impaired transactivation function, introducing a new class of functionally relevant RUNX2 mutants.