A deletion of the HBII-85 class of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) is associated with hyperphagia, obesity and hypogonadism.
de Smith AJ., Purmann C., Walters RG., Ellis RJ., Holder SE., Van Haelst MM., Brady AF., Fairbrother UL., Dattani M., Keogh JM., Henning E., Yeo GS., O'Rahilly S., Froguel P., Farooqi IS., Blakemore AI.
Genetic studies in patients with severe early-onset obesity have provided insights into the molecular and physiological pathways that regulate body weight in humans. We report a 19-year-old male with hyperphagia and severe obesity, mild learning difficulties and hypogonadism, in whom diagnostic tests for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) had been negative. We carried out detailed clinical and metabolic phenotyping of this patient and investigated the genetic basis of this obesity syndrome using Agilent 185 k array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and Affymetrix 6.0 genotyping arrays. The identified deletion was validated using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and long-range PCR, followed by breakpoint sequencing which enabled precise localization of the deletion. We identified a approximately 187 kb microdeletion at chromosome 15q11-13 that encompasses non-coding small nucleolar RNAs (including HBII-85 snoRNAs) which were not expressed in peripheral lymphocytes from the patient. Characterization of the clinical phenotype revealed increased ad libitum food intake, normal basal metabolic rate when adjusted for fat-free mass, partial hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and growth failure. We have identified a novel deletion on chromosome 15q11-13 in an individual with hyperphagia, obesity, hypogonadism and other features associated with PWS, which is normally caused by deficiency of several paternally expressed imprinted transcripts within chromosome 15q11-13, a region that includes multiple protein-coding genes as well as several non-coding snoRNAs. These findings provide direct evidence for the role of a particular family of non-coding RNAs, the HBII-85 snoRNA cluster, in human energy homeostasis, growth and reproduction.