The fragile site FRA12A

A high level of cytogenetic expression of the rare folate-sensitive fragile site FRA12A is significantly associated with mental retardation. We identified an elongated polymorphic CGG repeat as the molecular basis of FRA12A. This repeat is in the 5' untranslated region of the gene DIP2B, which encodes a protein with a DMAP1-binding domain, which suggests a role in DNA methylation machinery. DIP2B mRNA levels were halved in two subjects with FRA12A with mental retardation in whom the repeat expansion was methylated. In two individuals without mental retardation but with an expanded and methylated repeat, DIP2B expression was reduced to approximately two-thirds of the values observed in controls. Interestingly, a carrier of an unmethylated CGG-repeat expansion showed increased levels of DIP2B mRNA, which suggests that the repeat elongation increases gene expression, as previously described for the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. Our work suggest that deficiency of DIP2B, a brain-expressed gene, may mediate the neurocognitive problems associated with FRA12A.


Winnepenninckx B, Debacker K, Ramsay J, Smeets D, Smits A, FitzPatrick DR, Kooy RF. 2007. CGG repeat expansion in the DIP2B gene is associated with the fragile site FRA12A on chromosome 12q13.1. Am J Hum Genet 80:221-231.