Wu H et al.
For genetically heterogeneous diseases a better understanding of how the underlying gene defects are functionally interconnected will be important for dissecting disease etiology. The Immunodeficiency, Centromeric instability, Facial anomalies (ICF) syndrome is a chromatin disorder characterized by mutations in DNMT3B, ZBTB24, CDCA7 or HELLS. Here, we generated a Zbtb24 BTB domain deletion mouse and found that loss of functional Zbtb24 leads to early embryonic lethality. Transcriptome analysis identified Cdca7 as the top down-regulated gene in Zbtb24 homozygous mutant mESCs, which can be restored by ectopic ZBTB24 expression. We further demonstrate enrichment of ZBTB24 at the CDCA7 promoter suggesting that ZBTB24 can function as a transcription factor directly controlling Cdca7 expression. Finally, we show that this regulation is conserved between species and that CDCA7 levels are reduced in patients carrying ZBTB24 nonsense mutations. Together, our findings demonstrate convergence of the two ICF genes ZBTB24 and CDCA7 at the level of transcription.