Germ line Mutation in ATR in Autosomal-Dominant Oropharyngeal Cancer Syndrome

Akio Tanaka, Sarah Weinel, Nikoletta Nagy, Mark O'Driscoll, Joey E. Lai-Cheong, Carol L. Kulp-Shorten, Alfred Knable, Gillian Carpenter, Sheila A. Fisher, Makiko Hiragun, Yuhki Yanase, Michihiro Hide, Jeffrey Callen, John A. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related) is an essential regulator of genome integrity. It controls and coordinates DNA-replication origin firing, replication-fork stability, cell-cycle checkpoints, and DNA repair. Previously, autosomal-recessive loss-of-function mutations in ATR have been demonstrated in Seckel syndrome, a developmental disorder. Here, however, we report on a different kind of genetic disorder that is due to functionally compromised ATR activity, which translates into an autosomal-dominant inherited disease. The condition affects 24 individuals in a five-generation pedigree and comprises oropharyngeal cancer, skin telangiectases, and mild developmental anomalies of the hair, teeth, and nails. We mapped the disorder to a similar to 16.8 cM interval in chromosomal region 3q22-24, and by sequencing candidate genes, we found that ATR contained a heterozygous missense mutation (c.6431A>G [p.Gln2144Arg] that segregated with the disease. The mutation occurs within the FAT (MAP, ATM, and TRRAP) domain-which can activate p53-of ATR. The mutation did not lead to a reduction in ATR expression, but cultured fibroblasts showed lower p53 levels after activation of AIR with hydroxyurea than did normal control fibroblasts. Moreover, loss of heterozygosity for the ATR locus was noted in oropharyngeal-tumor tissue. Collectively, the clinicopathological and molecular findings point to a cancer syndrome and provide evidence implicating a germline mutation in ATR and susceptibility to malignancy in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511 - 517
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2012


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