3' deletions cause aniridia by preventing PAX6 gene expression

James D. Lauderdale, Jonathan S. Wilensky, Edward R. Oliver, David S. Walton, Thomas M Glaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Aniridia is a panocular human eye malformation caused by heterozygous null mutations within PAX6, a paired-box transcription factor, or cytogenetic deletions of chromosome 11p13 that encompass PAX6. Chromosomal rearrangements also have been described that disrupt 11p13 but spare the PAX6 transcription unit in two families with aniridia. These presumably cause a loss of gene expression, by removing positive cis regulatory elements or juxtaposing negative DNA sequences. We report two submicroscopic de novo deletions of 11p13 that cause aniridia but are located > 11 kb from the 3' end of PAX6. The clinical manifestations are indistinguishable from cases with chain-terminating mutations in the coding region. Using human x mouse retinoblastoma somatic cell hybrids, we show that PAX6 is transcribed only from the normal allele but not from the deleted chromosome 11 homolog. Our findings suggest that remote 3' regulatory elements are required for initiation of PAX6 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13755-13759
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 5 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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