Multiple pterygium syndromes (MPSs) comprise a group of multiple-congenital-anomaly disorders characterized by webbing (pterygia) of the neck, elbows, and/or knees and joint contractures (arthrogryposis). In addition, a variety of developmental defects (e.g., vertebral anomalies) may occur. MPSs are phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous but are traditionally divided into prenatally lethal and nonlethal (Escobar) types. To elucidate the pathogenesis of MPS, we undertook a genomewide linkage scan of a large consanguineous family and mapped a locus to 2q36-37. We then identified germline-inactivating mutations in the embryonal acetylcholine receptor gamma subunit (CHRNG) in families with both lethal and nonlethal MPSs. These findings extend the role of acetylcholine receptor dysfunction in human disease and provide new insights into the pathogenesis and management of fetal akinesia syndromes.
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