An autosomal recessive syndrome of nonprogressive cerebellar ataxia and mental retardation is associated with inferior cerebellar hypoplasia and mild cerebral gyral simplification in the Hutterite population. An identity-by-descent mapping approach using eight patients from three interrelated Hutterite families localized the gene for this syndrome to chromosome region 9p24. Haplotype analysis identified familial and ancestral recombination events and refined the minimal region to a 2-Mb interval between markers D9S129 and D9S1871. A 199-kb homozygous deletion encompassing the entire very low density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) gene was present in all affected individuals. VLDLR is part of the reelin signaling pathway, which guides neuroblast migration in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. To our knowledge, this syndrome represents the first human lipoprotein receptor malformation syndrome and the second human disease associated with a reelin pathway defect.
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