Background: GATA-binding protein 4 (GATA4) and Friend of GATA 2 protein (FOG2, also known as ZFPM2) form a heterodimer complex that has been shown to influence transcription of genes in a number of developmental systems. Recent evidence has also shown these genes play a role in gonadal sexual differentiation in humans. Previously we identified four variants in GATA4 and an unexpectedly large number of variants in ZFPM2 in a cohort of individuals with 46,XY Differences/Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) (Eggers et al, Genome Biology, 2016; 17: 243). Method: Here, we review variant curation and test the functional activity of GATA4 and ZFPM2 variants. We assess variant transcriptional activity on gonadal specific promoters (Sox9 and AMH) and variant protein–protein interactions. Results: Our findings support that the majority of GATA4 and ZFPM2 variants we identified are benign in their contribution to 46,XY DSD. Indeed, only one variant, in the conserved N-terminal zinc finger of GATA4, was considered pathogenic, with functional analysis confirming differences in its ability to regulate Sox9 and AMH and in protein interaction with ZFPM2. Conclusions: Our study helps define the genetic factors contributing to 46,XY DSD and suggests that the majority of variants we identified in GATA4 and ZFPM2/FOG2 are not causative.
- disorders of sexual development
- functional analysis