Legius Syndrome and SPRED1


Legius syndrome, initially reported as neurofibromatosis type 1‐like syndrome, is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by heterozygous inactivating SPRED1 mutations. The disease is characterised by multiple café‐au‐lait spots (CALs), sometimes associated with axillary or inguinal freckling and macrocephaly as seen in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Other typical NF1 associated features (Lisch nodules, bone abnormalities, neurofibromas, optic pathway gliomas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours) are lacking. Some degree of learning disability and/or speech problems in infancy are frequently observed and are usually milder than in NF1.

The SPRED1 protein is a negative regulator of the RAS (rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog)‐MAPK (mitogen‐activated protein kinase) pathway. CALs in Legius syndrome result from bi‐allelic SPRED1 inactivation in melanocytes. SPRED1 loss‐of‐function results in overactivation of the RAS‐MAPK signalling pathway. This is similar to what is seen in a group of disorders caused by mutations in other genes coding for key proteins of the RAS‐MAPK pathway (referred as RASopathies).

Key Concepts:

  • Legius syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder.

  • It is caused by heterozygous mutations in the SPRED1 gene.

  • The phenotype consists of café‐au‐lait spots, sometimes with axillary or inguinal freckling and a variable degree of macrocephaly.

  • Learning disabilities and speech problems in infants are frequently reported.

  • SPRED1 is a negative regulator of the RAS‐MAPK pathway at the level of activation of RAF by RAS‐GTP.

  • Legius syndrome is a RASopathy (RAS‐MAPK syndrome).

Keywords: Legius syndrome; SPRED1; neurofibromatosis type 1; neurofibromatosis type 1‐like syndrome; RAS‐MAPK pathway; RASopathy; café‐au‐lait spot

Figure 1.

Exon–intron structure of human SPRED1 showing noncoding sequences as open boxes and protein‐coding exons as filled grey boxes. Exons are numbered from 1 to 7. The boxes at the bottom represent the structure of the SPRED protein, showing the Ena/vasodilator‐stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) homology domain (EVH‐1), KIT‐binding domain (KBD) and the SPROUTY‐like domain (SPR). The different SPRED1 mutations in functional and nonfunctional domains are indicated. Stop mutations are in red, pathogenic missense mutations in blue, potential pathogenic missense mutations in green, frameshift mutations in black, splice site mutation in pink and in frame deletion in grey. The numbers in brackets reflect the number of cases reported for each mutation.

Figure 2.

Overview of the RAS‐MAPK signal transduction pathway. Neurofibromin and SPRED1 are both negative regulators of this pathway, neurofibromin as a RAS‐GAP (GTPase‐activating protein) and SPRED1 with its effect on RAS–RAF interaction.



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Further Reading

Bundschu K, Walter U and Schuh K (2006) The VASP‐Spred‐Sprouty domain puzzle. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281(48): 36477–36481.

Denayer E, de Ravel T and Legius E (2008) Clinical and molecular aspects of RAS related disorders. Journal of Medical Genetics 45(11): 695–703.

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Yoshimura A (2009) Regulation of cytokine signaling by the SOCS and Spred family proteins. Keio Journal of Medicine 58(2): 73–83.

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Brems, Hilde, de Ravel, Thomy, and Legius, Eric(Oct 2010) Legius Syndrome and SPRED1. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0022475]