Neural-tube defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida constitute a group of common congenital malformations caused by complex genetic and environmental factors. We have identified three mutations in the VANGL1 gene in patients with familial types (V239I and R274Q) and a sporadic type (M328T) of the disease, including a spontaneous mutation (V239I) appearing in a familial setting. In a protein–protein interaction assay V239I abolished interaction of VANGL1 protein with its binding partners, disheveled-1, -2, and -3. These findings implicate VANGL1 as a risk factor in human neural-tube defects.
Kibar Z. et al. Mutations in VANGL1 Associated with Neural-Tube Defects. N Engl J Med 2007;356:1432-7.