Recurrent 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 microdeletions and microduplications in the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders

Chiara Picinelli, Carla Lintas, Ignazio Stefano Piras, Stefano Gabriele, Roberto Sacco, Claudia Brogna, Antonio Maria Persico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rare and common CNVs can contribute to the etiology of neurodevelopmental disorders. One of the recurrent genomic aberrations associated with these phenotypes and proposed as a susceptibility locus is the 15q11.2 BP1-BP2 CNV encompassing TUBGCP5, CYFIP1, NIPA2, and NIPA1. Characterizing by array-CGH a cohort of 243 families with various neurodevelopmental disorders, we identified five patients carrying the 15q11.2 duplication and one carrying the deletion. All CNVs were confirmed by qPCR and were inherited, except for one duplication where parents were not available. The phenotypic spectrum of CNV carriers was broad but mainly neurodevelopmental, in line with all four genes being implicated in axonal growth and neural connectivity. Phenotypically normal and mildly affected carriers complicate the interpretation of this aberration. This variability may be due to reduced penetrance or altered gene dosage on a particular genetic background. We evaluated the expression levels of the four genes in peripheral blood RNA and found the expected reduction in the deleted case, while duplicated carriers displayed high interindividual variability. These data suggest that differential expression of these genes could partially account for differences in clinical phenotypes, especially among duplication carriers. Furthermore, urinary Mg2+ levels appear negatively correlated with NIPA2 gene copy number, suggesting they could potentially represent a useful biomarker, whose reliability will need replication in larger samples.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics - Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Biomarker
  • CYFIP1
  • Magnesium
  • NIPA2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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