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The official name of this gene is “msh homeobox 2.”
MSX2 is the gene's official symbol. The MSX2 gene is also known by other names, listed below.
The MSX2 gene provides instructions for producing a protein that is necessary for proper development throughout the body. The MSX2 protein is a transcription factor, which means it attaches (binds) to specific regions of DNA and helps control the activity of certain genes. The presence of the MSX2 protein seems to be particularly critical for the complete development of the skull.
The MSX2 gene belongs to a family of genes called homeobox (homeoboxes).
A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genefamilies) in the Handbook.
More than 10 mutations in the MSX2 gene have been identified in people with enlarged parietal foramina type 1. These mutations include a change of one protein building block (amino acid) in the MSX2 protein and deletions of one or more DNA building blocks (nucleotides) from the gene. These genetic changes result in the production of an unstable MSX2 protein that cannot bind to DNA. A nonfunctional MSX2 protein impairs the regulation of cell growth and division (proliferation); cell maturation and specialization (differentiation); and the balance of cell survival and self-destruction in certain areas of the skull. These impairments of cell function lead to problems with bone formation (ossification), which cause enlarged parietal foramina.
A mutation in the MSX2 gene causes a condition called craniosynostosis type 2 (also known as Boston type). Craniosynostosis involves a premature closure of the bones of the skull, leading to a misshapen head. People with craniosynostosis type 2 can have skull malformations including a protruding forehead (frontal bossing), a short wide head that is pointed at the top (turribrachycephaly), or a cloverleaf-shaped skull (Kleeblattschaedel deformity). Most affected people have vision problems, and a few have experienced seizures. Intelligence is typically normal.
Only one mutation has been found to cause craniosynostosis type 2. This mutation changes one protein building block (amino acid) in the MSX2 protein. Specifically, the amino acid proline is replaced with the amino acid histidine at position 148 (written Pro148His or P148H). Craniosynostosis type 2 has been found to affect multiple members of a single multi-generational family.
Cytogenetic Location: 5q35.2
Molecular Location on chromosome 5: base pairs 174,724,076 to 174,730,898
The MSX2 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 5 at position 35.2.
More precisely, the MSX2 gene is located from base pair 174,724,076 to base pair 174,730,898 on chromosome 5.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genelocation) in the Handbook.
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about MSX2 helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/naming) in the Handbook.
amino acid ; bone formation ; cell ; craniosynostosis ; differentiation ; DNA ; gene ; histidine ; homeobox ; mutation ; ossification ; proliferation ; proline ; protein ; transcription ; transcription factor
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary (http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary).
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/findingprofessional) in the Handbook.