Genomic disorders are conditions that result from DNA rearrangements, such as deletions or duplications. The identification of the dosage-sensitive gene(s) within the rearranged genomic interval is important for the elucidation of genes responsible for complex neurobehavioral phenotypes. Smith-Magenis syndrome is associated with a 3.7-Mb deletion in 17p11.2, and its clinical presentation is caused by retinoic acid inducible 1 (RAI1) haploinsufficiency. The reciprocal microduplication syndrome, dup(17)(p11.2p11.2), manifests several neurobehavioral abnormalities, but the responsible dosage-sensitive gene(s) remain undefined. We previously generated a mouse model for dup(17)(p11.2p11.2), Dp(11)17/+, that recapitulated most of the phenotypes observed in human patients. We have now analyzed compound heterozygous mice carrying a duplication [Dp(11)17] in one chromosome 11 along with a null allele of Rai1 in the other chromosome 11 homologue [Dp(11)17/Rai1– mice] in order to study the relationship between Rai1 gene copy number and the Dp(11)17/+ phenotypes. Normal disomic Rai1 gene dosage was sufficient to rescue the complex physical and behavioral phenotypes observed in Dp(11)17/+ mice, despite altered trisomic copy number of the other 18 genes present in the rearranged genomic interval. These data provide a model for variation in copy number of single genes that could influence common traits such as obesity and behavior.


Katherina Walz, Richard Paylor, Jiong Yan, Weimin Bi, James R. Lupski


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