Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) and its anosmia-associated form (Kallmann syndrome [KS]) are genetically heterogeneous. Among the >15 genes implicated in these conditions, mutations in FGF8 and FGFR1 account for ∼12% of cases; notably, KAL1 and HS6ST1 are also involved in FGFR1 signaling and can be mutated in CHH. We therefore hypothesized that mutations in genes encoding a broader range of modulators of the FGFR1 pathway might contribute to the genetics of CHH as causal or modifier mutations. Thus, we aimed to (1) investigate whether CHH individuals harbor mutations in members of the so-called “FGF8 synexpression” group and (2) validate the ability of a bioinformatics algorithm on the basis of protein-protein interactome data (interactome-based affiliation scoring [IBAS]) to identify high-quality candidate genes. On the basis of sequence homology, expression, and structural and functional data, seven genes were selected and sequenced in 386 unrelated CHH individuals and 155 controls. Except for FGF18 and SPRY2, all other genes were found to be mutated in CHH individuals: FGF17 (n = 3 individuals), IL17RD (n = 8), DUSP6 (n = 5), SPRY4 (n = 14), and FLRT3 (n = 3). Independently, IBAS predicted FGF17 and IL17RD as the two top candidates in the entire proteome on the basis of a statistical test of their protein-protein interaction patterns to proteins known to be altered in CHH. Most of the FGF17 and IL17RD mutations altered protein function in vitro. IL17RD mutations were found only in KS individuals and were strongly linked to hearing loss (6/8 individuals). Mutations in genes encoding components of the FGF pathway are associated with complex modes of CHH inheritance and act primarily as contributors to an oligogenic genetic architecture underlying CHH.
This workwas supported by theEunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health R01HD056264 (N.P.), R01HD15788 (W.C.), through Cooperative Agreement U54HD028138 as part of the Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproduction and Infertility Research, 2R01DE013686-11 (MM), NINDS R01 NS34661 (J.R.), the Swiss National Science Foundation (N.P.), and COST Action BM1105