Rare copy number variants implicated in posterior urethral valves

Nansi S. Boghossian, Robert J. Sicko, Denise M. Kay, Shannon L. Rigler, Michele Caggana, Michael Y. Tsai, Edwina H. Yeung, Nathan Pankratz, Benjamin R. Cole, Charlotte M. Druschel, Paul A. Romitti, Marilyn L. Browne, Ruzong Fan, Aiyi Liu, Lawrence C. Brody, James L. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The cause of posterior urethral valves (PUV) is unknown, but genetic factors are suspected given their familial occurrence. We examined cases of isolated PUV to identify novel copy number variants (CNVs). We identified 56 cases of isolated PUV from all live-births in New York State (1998-2005). Samples were genotyped using Illumina HumanOmni2.5 microarrays. Autosomal and sex-linked CNVs were identified using PennCNV and cnvPartition software. CNVs were prioritized for follow-up if they were absent from in-house controls, contained ≥10 consecutive probes, were ≥20Kb in size, had ≤20% overlap with variants detected in other birth defect phenotypes screened in our lab, and were rare in population reference controls. We identified 47 rare candidate PUV-associated CNVs in 32 cases; one case had a 3.9Mb deletion encompassing BMP7. Mutations in BMP7 have been associated with severe anomalies in the mouse urethra. Other interesting CNVs, each detected in a single PUV case included: a deletion of PIK3R3 and TSPAN1, duplication/triplication in FGF12, duplication of FAT1-a gene essential for normal growth and development, a large deletion (>2Mb) on chromosome 17q that involves TBX2 and TBX4, and large duplications (>1Mb) on chromosomes 3q and 6q. Our finding of previously unreported novel CNVs in PUV suggests that genetic factors may play a larger role than previously understood. Our data show a potential role of CNVs in up to 57% of cases examined. Investigation of genes in these CNVs may provide further insights into genetic variants that contribute to PUV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)622-633
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Congenital urinary tract obstruction
  • Copy number variant
  • Posterior urethral valve
  • Urethra
  • Urinary tract malformation


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