Phenotypic consequences of copy number variation: Insights from smith-magenis and Potocki-Lupski syndrome mouse models

Guénola Ricard, Jessica Molina, Jacqueline Chrast, Wenli Gu, Nele Gheldof, Sylvain Pradervand, Frédéric Schütz, Juan I. Young, James R. Lupski, Alexandre Reymond, Katherina Walz

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69 Scopus citations


A large fraction of genome variation between individuals is comprised of submicroscopic copy number variation of genomic DNA segments. We assessed the relative contribution of structural changes and gene dosage alterations on phenotypic outcomes with mouse models of Smith-Magenis and Potocki-Lupski syndromes. We phenotyped mice with 1n (Deletion/+), 2n (+/+), 3n (Duplication/+), and balanced 2n compound heterozygous (Deletion/Duplication) copies of the same region. Parallel to the observations made in humans, such variation in gene copy number was sufficient to generate phenotypic consequences: in a number of cases diametrically opposing phenotypes were associated with gain versus loss of gene content. Surprisingly, some neurobehavioral traits were not rescued by restoration of the normal gene copy number. Transcriptome profiling showed that a highly significant propensity of transcriptional changes map to the engineered interval in the five assessed tissues. A statistically significant overrepresentation of the genes mapping to the entire length of the engineered chromosome was also found in the top-ranked differentially expressed genes in the mice containing rearranged chromosomes, regardless of the nature of the rearrangement, an observation robust across different cell lineages of the central nervous system. Our data indicate that a structural change at a given position of the human genome may affect not only locus and adjacent gene expression but also "genome regulation." Furthermore, structural change can cause the same perturbation in particular pathways regardless of gene dosage. Thus, the presence of a genomic structural change, as well as gene dosage imbalance, contributes to the ultimate phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000543
JournalPLoS biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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