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RAI1 is a dosage-sensitive gene whose decreased or increased expression by recurrent and non-recurrent 17p11.2 deletions or duplications causes Smith-Magenis (SMS) or Potocki-Lupski syndromes (PTLS), respectively. Here we report on a 21-year-old female patient showing SMS phenotype who was found to carry a 3.4 kb de novo intragenic RAI1 deletion. Interestingly, a significant increase in RAI1 transcript levels was identified in the patient’s, brother’s and mother’s peripheral blood cells. Allele-specific dosage analysis revealed that the patient’s maternally inherited overexpressed RAI1 allele harbors the intragenic deletion, confirming the SMS diagnosis due to the presence of a single wild-type RAI1 functional allele. The mother and brother do not present any PTLS neurologic/behavioral clinical features. Extensive sequencing of RAI1 promoter and predicted regulatory regions showed no potential causative variants accounting for gene overexpression. However, the mother and both children share a novel private missense variant in RAI1 exon 3, currently classified as a VUS (uncertain significance), though predicted by two bioinformatic tools to disrupt the binding site of one specific transcription factor. The reported familial case, the second showing RAI1 overexpression in the absence of RAI1 duplication, may help to understand the regulation of RAI1 dosage sensitivity although its phenotypic effect remains to be determined.

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