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Reviewed January 2009

What is the official name of the MSX1 gene?

The official name of this gene is “msh homeobox 1.”

MSX1 is the gene's official symbol. The MSX1 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.

What is the normal function of the MSX1 gene?

The MSX1 gene provides instructions for making a protein that regulates the activity of other genes. The MSX1 gene is part of a larger family of homeobox genes, which act during early development to control the formation of many body structures. Specifically, this gene is critical for the normal development of the teeth and other structures in the mouth. It may also be important for development of the fingernails and toenails.

Does the MSX1 gene share characteristics with other genes?

The MSX1 gene belongs to a family of genes called homeobox (homeoboxes).

A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? in the Handbook.

How are changes in the MSX1 gene related to health conditions?

Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome - associated with the MSX1 gene

The MSX1 gene is often deleted in people with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, even though it is located outside the region of chromosome 4 that is typically deleted in people with this condition. A loss of the MSX1 gene probably disrupts the regulation of several other genes, particularly genes involved in the development of the mouth and teeth. Researchers believe that a deletion of the MSX1 gene disrupts the formation of oral structures in early development, leading to missing teeth and other dental abnormalities. A loss of the MSX1 gene probably also causes an opening in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate) and/or a split in the upper lip (cleft lip) in some people with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.

other disorders - associated with the MSX1 gene

Changes in the MSX1 gene are also associated with other abnormalities of mouth and tooth development. For example, changes in this gene contribute to some cases of cleft lip and/or cleft palate in people who do not have Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. These genetic variations (polymorphisms) have been associated with isolated cleft lip and cleft palate in several different populations worldwide. MSX1 polymorphisms appear to be one of many genetic and environmental factors that play a role in oral clefting.

At least six MSX1 mutations are responsible for oligodontia, a condition in which multiple teeth fail to develop. Some individuals with MSX1 mutations have a combination of oligodontia and cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Mutations in the MSX1 gene likely reduce the amount of functional MSX1 protein within cells, which disrupts the early development of structures in the mouth.

Another mutation in the MSX1 gene has been found to cause Witkop syndrome (also known as tooth-and-nail syndrome) in one large family. This rare condition is characterized by a variable number of missing teeth and abnormalities of the fingernails and toenails. The MSX1 mutation responsible for Witkop syndrome, written as Ser202Ter or S202X, leads to the production of an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of the MSX1 protein. A loss of this protein disrupts the formation of the teeth and nails during early development.

Where is the MSX1 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 4p16.2

Molecular Location on chromosome 4: base pairs 4,859,665 to 4,863,936

(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBIThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference.)

The MSX1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 4 at position 16.2.

The MSX1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 4 at position 16.2.

More precisely, the MSX1 gene is located from base pair 4,859,665 to base pair 4,863,936 on chromosome 4.

See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about MSX1?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about MSX1 helpful.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for the MSX1 gene or gene products?

  • homeobox 7
  • homeobox protein MSX-1
  • HOX7
  • HYD1
  • msh homeo box 1
  • msh homeobox homolog 1
  • MSH Homeo Box Homolog 1 (Drosophila) Gene
  • OFC5

Where can I find general information about genes?

The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.

These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.

What glossary definitions help with understanding MSX1?

agenesis ; chromosome ; cleft palate ; deletion ; gene ; homeobox ; hypodontia ; mutation ; oligodontia ; palate ; protein ; syndrome ; transcription ; transcription factor

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (11 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: January 2009
Published: February 1, 2016