Novel Variants of SOX4 in Patients with Intellectual Disability

SOX4 is a transcription factor with pleiotropic functions required for different developmental processes, such as corticogenesis. As with all SOX proteins, it contains a conserved high mobility group (HMG) and exerts its function via interaction with other transcription factors, such as POU3F2. Recently, pathogenic SOX4 variants have been identified in several patients who had clinical features overlapping with Coffin–Siris syndrome. In this study, we identified three novel variants in unrelated patients with intellectual disability, two of which were de novo (c.79G>T, p.Glu27*; c.182G>A p.Arg61Gln) and one inherited (c.355C>T, p.His119Tyr). All three variants affected the HMG box and were suspected to influence SOX4 function. We investigated the effects of these variants on transcriptional activation by co-expressing either wildtype (wt) or mutant SOX4 with its co-activator POU3F2 and measuring their activity in reporter assays. All variants abolished SOX4 activity. While our experiments provide further support for the pathogenicity of SOX4 loss-of-function (LOF) variants as a cause of syndromic intellectual disability (ID), our results also indicate incomplete penetrance associated with one variant. These findings will improve classification of novel, putatively pathogenic SOX4 variants.

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