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Dominantly acting mutations of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 2 (FGFR2) gene have been implicated in various craniosynostosis syndromes. Apert syndrome, characterized in addition by syndactyly of the limbs, involves specific mutations at two adjacent residues, Ser252Trp and Pro253Arg, predicted to lie in the linker region between IgII and IgIII of the FGFR2 ligand-binding domain. We have analysed the interaction of FGF ligands with wild-type and Apert-type mutant FGFR2 ectodomains in solution. Wild-type and Apert-type receptors form a complex with FGF ligands with a stoichiometry of 2:2 (ligand:receptor). The kinetics and specificity of ligand binding to wild-type and Apert mutant receptors have been analysed using surface plasmon resonance techniques. This reveals that Apert mutations, compared with wild-type, exhibit a selective decrease in the dissociation kinetics of FGF2, but not of other FGF ligands examined. In contrast, the substitution Ser252Leu in FGFR2, previously observed in several asymptomatic individuals, exhibited wild-type kinetics. These findings indicate that Apert syndrome arises as a result of increased affinity of mutant receptors for specific FGF ligands which leads to activation of signalling under conditions where availability of ligand is limiting.

Original publication




Journal article


Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date





1475 - 1483


Acrocephalosyndactylia, Biosensing Techniques, Fibroblast Growth Factors, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Kinetics, Ligands, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Phenotype, Point Mutation, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2, Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Recombinant Proteins