Background: A gain-of-function mutation in germline ABL1 causes a syndrome including congenital heart defects. However, the molecular mechanisms of this syndrome remain unknown. In this study, we found a novel ABL1 mutation in a Japanese family with ventricular septal defect, finger contracture, skin abnormalities and failure to thrive, and the molecular mechanisms of these phenotypes were investigated. Methods and results: Whole-exome sequencing on several family members revealed a novel mutation (c.1522A > C, p.I508L) in the tyrosine kinase domain of ABL1, and complete co-segregation with clinical presentations was confirmed in all members. Wild-type and mutant ABL1 were transfected into human embryonic kidney 293 cells for functional analysis. Western blotting confirmed that tyrosine phosphorylation in STAT5, a substrate of ABL1, was enhanced, and the novel mutation was proved to be a gain-of-function mutation. Since this novel mutation in ABL1 enhances tyrosine kinase activity, phosphorylated proteome analysis was used to elucidate the molecular pathology. The proteome analysis showed that phosphorylation in proteins such as UFD1, AXIN1, ATRX, which may be involved in the phenotypes, was enhanced in the mutant group. Conclusions: The onset of congenital heart defects associated with this syndrome appears to involve a mechanism caused by UFD1 common to 22q.11.2 deletion syndrome. On the other hand, AXIN1 and ATRX may be important in elucidating the mechanisms of other phenotypes, such as finger contracture and failure to thrive. Verification of these hypotheses would lead to further understanding of the pathophysiology and the development of treatment methods.
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