Children with constitutional deletions of chromosome 11p13 suffer from aniridia, genitourinary malformations, and mental retardation and are predisposed to develop bilateral Wilms tumor (the WAGR syndrome). The critical region for these defects has been narrowed to a segment of band 11p13 between the catalase and the β-follicle-stimulating hormone genes. In this report, we have cloned the endpoints from a WAGR patient whose large cytogenetic deletion, del(11)(p14.3::p13), does not include the catalase gene. The deletion was characterized using DNA polymorphisms and found to originate in the paternally derived chromosome 11. The distal endpoint was identified as a rearrangement of locus D11S21 in conventional Southern blots of the patient's genomic DNA, but was not detected in leukocyte DNA from either parent or in sperm DNA from the father. The proximal endpoint was isolated by cloning the junction fragment and was mapped in relation to other markers and breakpoints. It defines a new locus in 11p13-ΔJ, which is close to the Wilms tumor gene and the breakpoint cluster region (TCL2) of the frequent t(11;14)(p13;q11) translocation in acute T-cell leukemia. An unusual concentration of base pair substitutions was discovered at ΔJ, in which 9 of 44 restriction sites tested (>20%) vary in the population. This property makes ΔJ one of the most polymorphic loci on chromosome 11 and may reflect an underlying instability that contributed to the original mutation. The breakpoint extends the genetic map of this region and provides a useful marker for linkage studies and the analysis of allelic segregation in tumor cells.
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