Heather C Etchevers

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Congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS or Ondine's curse; OMIM 209880) is a life-threatening disorder involving an impaired ventilatory response to hypercarbia and hypoxemia. This core phenotype is associated with lower-penetrance anomalies of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) including Hirschsprung disease and tumors of neural-crest derivatives(More)
Birth defects (congenital anomalies) are the leading cause of death in babies under 1 year of age. Neural tube defects (NTD), with a birth incidence of approximately 1/1000 in American Caucasians, are the second most common type of birth defect after congenital heart defects. The most common presentations of NTD are spina bifida and anencephaly. The(More)
FTO is a nuclear protein belonging to the AlkB-related non-haem iron- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase family. Although polymorphisms within the first intron of the FTO gene have been associated with obesity, the physiological role of FTO remains unknown. Here we show that a R316Q mutation, inactivating FTO enzymatic activity, is responsible for an(More)
Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) is an important subgroup of cleft palate. We report several lines of evidence for the existence of a 17q24 locus underlying PRS, including linkage analysis results, a clustering of translocation breakpoints 1.06-1.23 Mb upstream of SOX9, and microdeletions both approximately 1.5 Mb centromeric and approximately 1.5 Mb telomeric(More)
Most connective tissues in the head develop from neural crest cells (NCCs), an embryonic cell population present only in vertebrates. We show that NCC-derived pericytes and smooth muscle cells are distributed in a sharply circumscribed sector of the vasculature of the avian embryo. As NCCs detach from the neural folds that correspond to the future posterior(More)
Neural progenitor proliferation and migration influence brain size during neurogenesis. We report an autosomal recessive microcephaly syndrome cosegregating with a homozygous balanced translocation between chromosomes 3p and 10q, and we show that a position effect at the breakpoint on chromosome 3 silences the eomesodermin transcript (EOMES), also known as(More)
The fields of both developmental and stem cell biology explore how functionally distinct cell types arise from a self-renewing founder population. Multipotent, proliferative human neural crest cells (hNCC) develop toward the end of the first month of pregnancy. It is assumed that most differentiate after migrating throughout the organism, although in animal(More)
Microphthalmia and anophthalmia are at the severe end of the spectrum of abnormalities in ocular development. Mutations in several genes have been involved in syndromic and non-syndromic anophthalmia. Previously, RAX recessive mutations were implicated in a single patient with right anophthalmia, left microphthalmia and sclerocornea. In this study, we(More)
The prosencephalon, or embryonic forebrain, grows within a mesenchymal matrix of local paraxial mesoderm and of neural crest cells (NCC) derived from the posterior diencephalon and mesencephalon. Part of this NCC population forms the outer wall of capillaries within the prosencephalic leptomeninges and neuroepithelium itself. The surgical removal of NCC(More)