Congenital hydrocephalus is an etiologically diverse, poorly understood, but relatively common birth defect. Most human cases are sporadic with familial forms showing considerable phenotypic and etiologic heterogeneity. We have studied the autosomal recessive mouse mutation congenital hydrocephalus (ch) to identify candidate human hydrocephalus genes and their modifiers. ch mice have a congenital, lethal hydrocephalus in association with multiple developmental defects, notably skeletal defects, in tissues derived from the cephalic neural crest. We utilized positional cloning methods to map ch in the vicinity of D13Mit294 and confirm that the ch phenotype is caused by homozygosity for a nonsense mutation in a gene encoding a winged helix/forkhead transcription factor (Mf1). Based on linked genetic markers, we performed detailed phenotypic characterization of mutant homozygotes and heterozygotes to demonstrate the pleiotropic effects of the mutant gene. Surprisingly, ch heterozygotes have the glaucoma-related distinct phenotype of multiple anterior segment defects resembling Axenfeld-Rieger anomaly. We also localized a second member of this gene family (Hfh1), a candidate for other developmental defects, ~ 470 kb proximal to Mf1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology