Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) is a complex disorder that exhibits incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity due to interactions among multiple susceptibility genes. Studies in HSCR families have identified RET-dependent modifiers for short-segment HSCR (S-HSCR), but epistatic effects in long-segment (L-HSCR) and syndromic cases have not been fully explained.
In a study reported in the June 2005 issue of Human Molecular Genetics (Vol. 14: 1549-1558), the authors focused on enteric ganglia deficits in Sox10Dom mice and defined aganglionosis as a quantitative trait in Sox10Dom intercross progeny to investigate the contribution of strain background to variation in enteric nervous system deficits.
They observed that the phenotype of Sox10Dom/+ mutants ranges over a continuum from severe aganglionosis to no detectable phenotype in the gut. To systematically identify genes that modulate Sox10-dependent aganglionosis, the authors performed a single nucleotide polymorphism-based genome scan in Sox10Dom/+ F1 intercross progeny. Their analysis reveals modifier loci on mouse chromosomes 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14 with distinct effects on penetrance and severity of aganglionosis. Three of these loci on chromosomes 3, 8 and 11 do not coincide with previously known aganglionosis susceptibility genes or modifier loci and offer new avenues for elucidating the genetic network that modulates this complex neurocristopathy
E. Michelle Southard-Smith
Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 529 Light Hall, 2215 Garland Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232-0275, USA.
Also available online.
(C) Human Molecular Genetics.
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