Acrofrontofacionasal Dysostosis type 1 (AFFND1) is an extremely rare, autosomal recessive syndrome, comprising facial and skeletal abnormalities, short stature and intellectual disability. We analyzed an Indian family with two affected siblings by exome sequencing and identified a novel homozygous truncating mutation in the Neuroblastoma-Amplified Sequence (NBAS) gene in the patients’ genome. Mutations in the NBAS gene have recently been associated with different phenotypes mainly involving skeletal formation, liver and cognitive development. The NBAS protein has been implicated in two key cellular processes, namely the non-sense mediated decay and the Golgi-to-Endoplasmic Reticulum retrograde traffic. Both functions were impaired in HEK293T cells overexpressing the truncated NBAS protein, as assessed by Real-Time PCR, Western blot analysis, co-immunoprecipitation, and immunofluorescence analysis. We examined the expression of NBAS protein in mouse embryos at various developmental stages by immunohistochemistry, and detected expression in developing chondrogenic and osteogenic structures of the skeleton as well as in the cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum, which is compatible with a role in bone and brain development. Functional genetics in the zebrafish model showed that depletion of endogenous z-nbas in fish embryos results in defective morphogenesis of chondrogenic cranial skeletal elements. Overall, our data point to a conserved function of NBAS in skeletal morphogenesis during development, support the hypothesis of a causative role of the mutated NBAS gene in the pathogenesis of AFFND1 and extend the spectrum of phenotypes associated with defects in this gene.
- Nonsense-mediated decay
- Retrograde transport