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      Mutations and promoter SNPs in RUNX2, a transcriptional regulator of bone formation.

      Molecular Genetics and Metabolism
      Animals, Base Sequence, Bone Development, genetics, Cell Line, Core Binding Factor Alpha 1 Subunit, DNA Primers, Female, Humans, Male, Mice, Mutation, Osteochondrodysplasias, Pedigree, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Transcription, Genetic

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          Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is a dominantly inherited skeletal malformation syndrome with high penetrance and variable expressivity. It is caused by loss of function mutations in the RUNX2 gene that encodes for a transcription factor essential for osteoblast differentiation and chondrocyte maturation. To identify new pathogenic mutations associated with CCD we screened 38 CCD patients for mutations in the RUNX2 coding sequence. We also report the mutation screening of the "bone-related" RUNX2 promoter in CCD patients without mutation in the RUNX2 coding region. We identify eight new and three previously described mutations in the RUNX2 gene. Additionally, a total of five sequence variants in the RUNX2 promoter were detected. Three of them occur within putative zinc finger transcription factor binding sites. DHPLC analysis of chromosomes from the control population and CCD patients showed that two promoter sequence variants were unique for CCD families. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) with protein extracts from ROS17/2.8 and C3H10T1/2 cell lines demonstrated that the promoter sequence variants altered DNA-protein binding specificity. Moreover, one of the variants significantly decreased the expression of a RUNX2 reporter gene in osteoblastic ROS17/2.8 cells, but not in multipotent, mesenchymal C3H10T1/2 cells. Interestingly, one of these sites bound the TRPS1 transcription factor and we demonstrated that TRPS1 is able to repress the RUNX2 promoter. The in vitro functional studies in conjunction with analysis of clinical phenotype of CCD patients suggest that these promoter sequence variants may affect transcriptional activity of the RUNX2 gene. Analysis of the promoter variants and RUNX2-interacting proteins may help to identify important cis-elements and trans-factors that regulate the RUNX2 transcriptional network and identify new susceptibility markers for more common bone disorders.

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