Publications by authors named "Mais Hashem"

82 Publications

Mitochondrial "dysmorphology" in variant classification.

Hum Genet 2021 Nov 8. Epub 2021 Nov 8.

Department of Translational Genomics, Center for Genomic Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Mitochondrial disorders are challenging to diagnose. Exome sequencing has greatly enhanced the diagnostic precision of these disorders although interpreting variants of uncertain significance (VUS) remains a formidable obstacle. Whether specific mitochondrial morphological changes can aid in the classification of these variants is unknown. Here, we describe two families (four patients), each with a VUS in a gene known to affect the morphology of mitochondria through a specific role in the fission-fusion balance. In the first, the missense variant in MFF, encoding a fission factor, was associated with impaired fission giving rise to a characteristically over-tubular appearance of mitochondria. In the second, the missense variant in DNAJA3, which has no listed OMIM phenotype, was associated with fragmented appearance of mitochondria consistent with its published deficiency states. In both instances, the highly specific phenotypes allowed us to upgrade the classification of the variants. Our results suggest that, in select cases, mitochondrial "dysmorphology" can be helpful in interpreting variants to reach a molecular diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-021-02378-wDOI Listing
November 2021

Lethal variants in humans: lessons learned from a large molecular autopsy cohort.

Genome Med 2021 10 13;13(1):161. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Department of Translational Genomics, Center for Genomic Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Background: Molecular autopsy refers to DNA-based identification of the cause of death. Despite recent attempts to broaden its scope, the term remains typically reserved to sudden unexplained death in young adults. In this study, we aim to showcase the utility of molecular autopsy in defining lethal variants in humans.

Methods: We describe our experience with a cohort of 481 cases in whom the cause of premature death was investigated using DNA from the index or relatives (molecular autopsy by proxy). Molecular autopsy tool was typically exome sequencing although some were investigated using targeted approaches in the earlier stages of the study; these include positional mapping, targeted gene sequencing, chromosomal microarray, and gene panels.

Results: The study includes 449 cases from consanguineous families and 141 lacked family history (simplex). The age range was embryos to 18 years. A likely causal variant (pathogenic/likely pathogenic) was identified in 63.8% (307/481), a much higher yield compared to the general diagnostic yield (43%) from the same population. The predominance of recessive lethal alleles allowed us to implement molecular autopsy by proxy in 55 couples, and the yield was similarly high (63.6%). We also note the occurrence of biallelic lethal forms of typically non-lethal dominant disorders, sometimes representing a novel bona fide biallelic recessive disease trait. Forty-six disease genes with no OMIM phenotype were identified in the course of this study. The presented data support the candidacy of two other previously reported novel disease genes (FAAH2 and MSN). The focus on lethal phenotypes revealed many examples of interesting phenotypic expansion as well as remarkable variability in clinical presentation. Furthermore, important insights into population genetics and variant interpretation are highlighted based on the results.

Conclusions: Molecular autopsy, broadly defined, proved to be a helpful clinical approach that provides unique insights into lethal variants and the clinical annotation of the human genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-021-00973-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8511862PMC
October 2021

PLXNA2 as a candidate gene in patients with intellectual disability.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 12 29;185(12):3859-3865. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Translational Genomics, Center for Genomic Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Intellectual disability (ID) is one of the most common disabilities in humans. In an effort to contribute to the expanding genetic landscape of ID, we describe a novel autosomal recessive ID candidate gene. Combined autozygome/exome analysis was performed in two unrelated consanguineous families with ID. Each of the two families had a novel homozygous likely deleterious variant in PLXNA2 and displayed the core phenotype of ID. PLXNA2 belongs to a family of transmembrane proteins that function as semaphorin receptors. Sema5A-PlexinA2 is known to regulate brain development in mouse, and Plxna2-/- mice display defective associative learning, sociability, and sensorimotor gating. We note the existence of variability in the phenotype among the three patients, including the existence of variable degree of ID, ranging from borderline intellectual functioning to moderate-severe ID, and the presence of cardiac anomalies in only one of the patients. We propose incomplete penetrance as a possible explanation of the observed difference in phenotypes. Future cases will be needed to support the proposed link between PLXNA2 and ID in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62440DOI Listing
December 2021

Missense NAA20 variants impairing the NatB protein N-terminal acetyltransferase cause autosomal recessive developmental delay, intellectual disability, and microcephaly.

Genet Med 2021 11 6;23(11):2213-2218. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Purpose: N-terminal acetyltransferases modify proteins by adding an acetyl moiety to the first amino acid and are vital for protein and cell function. The NatB complex acetylates 20% of the human proteome and is composed of the catalytic subunit NAA20 and the auxiliary subunit NAA25. In five individuals with overlapping phenotypes, we identified recessive homozygous missense variants in NAA20.

Methods: Two different NAA20 variants were identified in affected individuals in two consanguineous families by exome and genome sequencing. Biochemical studies were employed to assess the impact of the NAA20 variants on NatB complex formation and catalytic activity.

Results: Two homozygous variants, NAA20 p.Met54Val and p.Ala80Val (GenBank: NM_016100.4, c.160A>G and c.239C>T), segregated with affected individuals in two unrelated families presenting with developmental delay, intellectual disability, and microcephaly. Both NAA20-M54V and NAA20-A80V were impaired in their capacity to form a NatB complex with NAA25, and in vitro acetylation assays revealed reduced catalytic activities toward different NatB substrates. Thus, both NAA20 variants are impaired in their ability to perform cellular NatB-mediated N-terminal acetylation.

Conclusion: We present here a report of pathogenic NAA20 variants causing human disease and data supporting an essential role for NatB-mediated N-terminal acetylation in human development and physiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01264-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8553619PMC
November 2021

CHEDDA syndrome is an underrecognized neurodevelopmental disorder with a highly restricted ATN1 mutation spectrum.

Clin Genet 2021 10 13;100(4):468-477. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Department of Translational Genomics, Center for Genomic Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

We describe the clinical features of nine unrelated individuals with rare de novo missense or in-frame deletions/duplications within the "HX motif" of exon 7 of ATN1. We previously proposed that individuals with such variants should be considered as being affected by the syndromic condition of congenital hypotonia, epilepsy, developmental delay, and digital anomalies (CHEDDA), distinct from dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) secondary to expansion variants in exon 5 of ATN1. We confirm that the universal phenotypic features of CHEDDA are distinctive facial features and global developmental delay. Infantile hypotonia and minor hand and feet differences are common and can present as arthrogryposis. Common comorbidities include severe feeding difficulties, often requiring gastrostomy support, as well as visual and hearing impairments. Epilepsy and congenital malformations of the brain, heart, and genitourinary systems are frequent but not universal. Our study confirms the clinical entity of CHEDDA secondary to a mutational signature restricted to exon 7 of ATN1. We propose a clinical schedule for assessment upon diagnosis, surveillance, and early intervention including the potential of neuroimaging for prognostication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cge.14022DOI Listing
October 2021

Bi-allelic premature truncating variants in LTBP1 cause cutis laxa syndrome.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 06 14;108(6):1095-1114. Epub 2021 May 14.

Center for Medical Genetics Ghent, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent 9000, Belgium; Department of Biomolecular Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium. Electronic address:

Latent transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-binding proteins (LTBPs) are microfibril-associated proteins essential for anchoring TGFβ in the extracellular matrix (ECM) as well as for correct assembly of ECM components. Variants in LTBP2, LTBP3, and LTBP4 have been identified in several autosomal recessive Mendelian disorders with skeletal abnormalities with or without impaired development of elastin-rich tissues. Thus far, the human phenotype associated with LTBP1 deficiency has remained enigmatic. In this study, we report homozygous premature truncating LTBP1 variants in eight affected individuals from four unrelated consanguineous families. Affected individuals present with connective tissue features (cutis laxa and inguinal hernia), craniofacial dysmorphology, variable heart defects, and prominent skeletal features (craniosynostosis, short stature, brachydactyly, and syndactyly). In vitro studies on proband-derived dermal fibroblasts indicate distinct molecular mechanisms depending on the position of the variant in LTBP1. C-terminal variants lead to an altered LTBP1 loosely anchored in the microfibrillar network and cause increased ECM deposition in cultured fibroblasts associated with excessive TGFβ growth factor activation and signaling. In contrast, N-terminal truncation results in a loss of LTBP1 that does not alter TGFβ levels or ECM assembly. In vivo validation with two independent zebrafish lines carrying mutations in ltbp1 induce abnormal collagen fibrillogenesis in skin and intervertebral ligaments and ectopic bone formation on the vertebrae. In addition, one of the mutant zebrafish lines shows voluminous and hypo-mineralized vertebrae. Overall, our findings in humans and zebrafish show that LTBP1 function is crucial for skin and bone ECM assembly and homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206382PMC
June 2021

Genetic testing results of children suspected to have Stickler syndrome type collagenopathy after ocular examination.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2021 05 5;9(5):e1628. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Genetics, KFSHRC, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Purpose: Stickler syndrome is a collagenopathy that is typically COL2A1-related (autosomal dominant) and less commonly related to other collagen gene mutations. Diagnosis is straightforward when a child has myopia or retinal detachment in the setting of classic diagnostic criteria such as hearing impairment, midfacial hypoplasia, and arthropathy. However, some children have primarily ocular disease with mild or no extraocular features. Such children can remain undiagnosed unless suspicion is raised by the ophthalmologist.

Methods: Retrospective consecutive case series (2014-2016) of children (<12 years old) suspected to have Stickler syndrome type collagenopathy by a single ophthalmologist and able to complete genetic testing for this possibility. Suspicion was based on vitreous abnormalities and myopia or lens opacities in the setting of prior retinal detachment, hearing impairment, or facial flatness.

Results: Average age of the 12 identified children was 8 years old (range 3-11; five boys). Average spherical equivalent for phakic eyes was -13 (range -3.5 to -30). Nine children had lens opacities or aphakia; two with aphakia also had lens subluxation or iridodonesis. Other recurrent clinical features included flat facies (12/12), hearing impairment (5/12), and prior retinal detachment (4/12). Pathogenic variants for collagenopathy were uncovered in 10/12 children: COL11A1 (heterozygous) in six, COL2A1 (heterozygous) in two, and COL9A1 (homozygous) in two. One child was homozygous for pathogenic variation in LRPAP1. One child had no detectable gene mutations.

Conclusions: Taken together, these clinical features (particularly vitreous abnormality, myopia, and lens opacity) had a high molecular yield for collagen gene mutation. Ophthalmologists who see such children should suspect Stickler syndrome, even in the absence of overt systemic disease. COL11A1-related rather than COL2A1-related autosomal dominant disease may be more common when undiagnosed children are identified based on ocular examination. Biallelic mutations in LRPAP1 can result in a phenotype that may resemble Stickler syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.1628DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8172201PMC
May 2021

Clinical, neuroimaging, and molecular spectrum of TECPR2-associated hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy with intellectual disability.

Hum Mutat 2021 06 11;42(6):762-776. Epub 2021 May 11.

Oxford Centre for Genomic Medicine, Oxford, UK.

Bi-allelic TECPR2 variants have been associated with a complex syndrome with features of both a neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorder. Here, we provide a comprehensive clinical description and variant interpretation framework for this genetic locus. Through international collaboration, we identified 17 individuals from 15 families with bi-allelic TECPR2-variants. We systemically reviewed clinical and molecular data from this cohort and 11 cases previously reported. Phenotypes were standardized using Human Phenotype Ontology terms. A cross-sectional analysis revealed global developmental delay/intellectual disability, muscular hypotonia, ataxia, hyporeflexia, respiratory infections, and central/nocturnal hypopnea as core manifestations. A review of brain magnetic resonance imaging scans demonstrated a thin corpus callosum in 52%. We evaluated 17 distinct variants. Missense variants in TECPR2 are predominantly located in the N- and C-terminal regions containing β-propeller repeats. Despite constituting nearly half of disease-associated TECPR2 variants, classifying missense variants as (likely) pathogenic according to ACMG criteria remains challenging. We estimate a pathogenic variant carrier frequency of 1/1221 in the general and 1/155 in the Jewish Ashkenazi populations. Based on clinical, neuroimaging, and genetic data, we provide recommendations for variant reporting, clinical assessment, and surveillance/treatment of individuals with TECPR2-associated disorder. This sets the stage for future prospective natural history studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24206DOI Listing
June 2021

Further delineation of SMG9-related heart and brain malformation syndrome.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 05 20;185(5):1624-1630. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Department of Translational Genomics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.62139DOI Listing
May 2021

Exploiting the Autozygome to Support Previously Published Mendelian Gene-Disease Associations: An Update.

Front Genet 2020 31;11:580484. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

There is a growing interest in standardizing gene-disease associations for the purpose of facilitating the proper classification of variants in the context of Mendelian diseases. One key line of evidence is the independent observation of pathogenic variants in unrelated individuals with similar phenotypes. Here, we expand on our previous effort to exploit the power of autozygosity to produce homozygous pathogenic variants that are otherwise very difficult to encounter in the homozygous state due to their rarity. The identification of such variants in genes with only tentative associations to Mendelian diseases can add to the existing evidence when observed in the context of compatible phenotypes. In this study, we report 20 homozygous variants in 18 genes (, and ) that satisfy the ACMG classification for pathogenic/likely pathogenic if the involved genes had confirmed rather than tentative links to diseases. These variants were selected because they were truncating, founder with compelling segregation or supported by robust functional assays as with the variant that we present its validation using yeast model. Our findings support the previously reported disease associations for these genes and represent a step toward their confirmation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2020.580484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7806527PMC
December 2020

Biallelic UBE4A loss-of-function variants cause intellectual disability and global developmental delay.

Genet Med 2021 04 8;23(4):661-668. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Division of Medical Genetics, Department of Pediatric, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Purpose: To identify novel genes associated with intellectual disability (ID) in four unrelated families.

Methods: Here, through exome sequencing and international collaboration, we report eight individuals from four unrelated families of diverse geographic origin with biallelic loss-of-function variants in UBE4A.

Results: Eight evaluated individuals presented with syndromic intellectual disability and global developmental delay. Other clinical features included hypotonia, short stature, seizures, and behavior disorder. Characteristic features were appreciated in some individuals but not all; in some cases, features became more apparent with age. We demonstrated that UBE4A loss-of-function variants reduced RNA expression and protein levels in clinical samples. Mice generated to mimic patient-specific Ube4a loss-of-function variant exhibited muscular and neurological/behavioral abnormalities, some of which are suggestive of the clinical abnormalities seen in the affected individuals.

Conclusion: These data indicate that biallelic loss-of-function variants in UBE4A cause a novel intellectual disability syndrome, suggesting that UBE4A enzyme activity is required for normal development and neurological function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-01047-zDOI Listing
April 2021

Recessive, Deleterious Variants in SMG8 Expand the Role of Nonsense-Mediated Decay in Developmental Disorders in Humans.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 12 25;107(6):1178-1185. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Deparment of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia; Deparment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh 11533, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

We have previously described a heart-, eye-, and brain-malformation syndrome caused by homozygous loss-of-function variants in SMG9, which encodes a critical component of the nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) machinery. Here, we describe four consanguineous families with four different likely deleterious homozygous variants in SMG8, encoding a binding partner of SMG9. The observed phenotype greatly resembles that linked to SMG9 and comprises severe global developmental delay, microcephaly, facial dysmorphism, and variable congenital heart and eye malformations. RNA-seq analysis revealed a general increase in mRNA expression levels with significant overrepresentation of core NMD substrates. We also identified increased phosphorylation of UPF1, a key SMG1-dependent step in NMD, which most likely represents the loss of SMG8--mediated inhibition of SMG1 kinase activity. Our data show that SMG8 and SMG9 deficiency results in overlapping developmental disorders that most likely converge mechanistically on impaired NMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.11.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820624PMC
December 2020

Further delineation of MYO18B-related autosomal recessive Klippel-Feil syndrome with myopathy and facial dysmorphism.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 02 11;185(2):370-376. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Klippel-Feil syndrome 4 (KFS4; MIM# 616549) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in MYO18B and comprises, in addition to Klippel-Feil anomaly (KFA), nemaline myopathy, facial dysmorphism, and short stature. We aim to outline the natural history of KFS4 and provide an updated description of its clinical, radiological, laboratory, and molecular findings. We comprehensively analyzed the medical records of 6 Saudi and 1 American patients (including 5 previously unpublished cases) with a molecularly confirmed diagnosis of KFS4. All patients had myopathy of varying severity that followed a slowly progressive or non-progressive course, affecting primarily the proximal musculature of the lower limb although hand involvement with distal arthrogryposis and abnormal interphalangeal creases was also observed. KFA and characteristic dysmorphic features, including ptosis and bulbous nose, were observed in all but two patients. The causal MYO18B variants were a founder NM_032608.5:c.6905C>A; p.(Ser2302*) variant in the Saudi patients (P1-P6) and a novel MYO18B homozygous variant (c.6660_6670del;p.[Arg2220Serfs*74]) in the American Caucasian patient (P7). We report the phenotypic and genetic findings in seven patients with KFS4. We describe the natural history of this disease, confirm myopathy as a universal feature and describe its pattern and progression, and note interesting differences between the phenotypes observed in patients with KFA and those without.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61957DOI Listing
February 2021

Survey of disorders of sex development in a large cohort of patients with diverse Mendelian phenotypes.

Am J Med Genet A 2021 09 19;185(9):2789-2800. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions with atypical development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex. The estimated incidence ranges from 1 in 4,500-5,500 for strictly defined "ambiguous genitalia" to 1 in 300 or higher when a broader definition is implemented. In this study, we aim to define DSD phenotypes encountered in a large heterogeneous cohort of molecularly characterized Mendelian disorders in a single center. Data were retrieved for patients with documented abnormal genitalia based on the 2006 consensus criteria. Out of 149 patients (129 families) with compatible human phenotype ontology, 76 patients (68 families) had an identified genetic cause and were included in our analysis. Potentially causal variants were identified in 42 genes, and two patients had a dual molecular diagnosis. Six genes have no associated phenotype in OMIM (PIANP, CELSR2, USP2, FAM179B, TXNDC15, and CCDC96). Thirteen genes have non-DSD OMIM phenotypes, thus we are expanding their phenotype to include DSD. We also highlight how certain disorders are under-recognized despite their established DSD phenotype in OMIM, especially CTU2-related DREAM-PL syndrome and TSPYL1-related sudden infant death with dysgenesis of the testes syndrome. In conclusion, this study of a large heterogeneous Mendelian cohort expands the list of genes and disorders beyond those classically DSD-linked.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61876DOI Listing
September 2021

Clinical, molecular, and biochemical delineation of asparagine synthetase deficiency in Saudi cohort.

Genet Med 2020 12 3;22(12):2071-2080. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Center for Genetics and Inherited Diseases, Taibah University, Almadinah Almunwarah, Saudi Arabia.

Purpose: Asparagine synthetase deficiency (ASNSD) is a rare neurometabolic disease. Patients may not demonstrate low asparagine levels, which highlights the advantage of molecular over biochemical testing in the initial work-up of ASNSD. We aimed to further delineate the ASNSD variant and phenotypic spectrum and determine the value of biochemical testing as a frontline investigation in ASNSD.

Methods: We retrospectively collected the clinical and molecular information on 13 families with ASNSD from the major metabolic clinics in Saudi Arabia.

Results: The major phenotypes included congenital microcephaly (100%), facial dysmorphism (100%), global developmental delay (100%), brain abnormalities (100%), spasticity (86%), and infantile-onset seizures (93%). Additional unreported phenotypes included umbilical hernia, osteopenia, eczema, lung hypoplasia, and hearing loss. Overall, seven homozygous variants accounted for ASNSD. The p.Tyr398Cys and p.Asn75Ile variants accounted for 54% of the cases. The clinical sensitivity and specificity of the proposed biochemical analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for the detection of patients with ASNSD were 83% and 98%, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study describes the largest reported ASNSD cohort with clinical, molecular, and biochemical characterization. Taking into consideration the suboptimal sensitivity of biochemical screening, the delineation of the phenotype variant spectrum is of diagnostic utility for accurate diagnosis, prognosis, counseling, and carrier screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0919-xDOI Listing
December 2020

Analysis of transcript-deleterious variants in Mendelian disorders: implications for RNA-based diagnostics.

Genome Biol 2020 06 17;21(1):145. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Background: At least 50% of patients with suspected Mendelian disorders remain undiagnosed after whole-exome sequencing (WES), and the extent to which non-coding variants that are not captured by WES contribute to this fraction is unclear. Whole transcriptome sequencing is a promising supplement to WES, although empirical data on the contribution of RNA analysis to the diagnosis of Mendelian diseases on a large scale are scarce.

Results: Here, we describe our experience with transcript-deleterious variants (TDVs) based on a cohort of 5647 families with suspected Mendelian diseases. We first interrogate all families for which the respective Mendelian phenotype could be mapped to a single locus to obtain an unbiased estimate of the contribution of TDVs at 18.9%. We examine the entire cohort and find that TDVs account for 15% of all "solved" cases. We compare the results of RT-PCR to in silico prediction. Definitive results from RT-PCR are obtained from blood-derived RNA for the overwhelming majority of variants (84.1%), and only a small minority (2.6%) fail analysis on all available RNA sources (blood-, skin fibroblast-, and urine renal epithelial cells-derived), which has important implications for the clinical application of RNA-seq. We also show that RNA analysis can establish the diagnosis in 13.5% of 155 patients who had received "negative" clinical WES reports. Finally, our data suggest a role for TDVs in modulating penetrance even in otherwise highly penetrant Mendelian disorders.

Conclusions: Our results provide much needed empirical data for the impending implementation of diagnostic RNA-seq in conjunction with genome sequencing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-020-02053-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298854PMC
June 2020

Expanding the clinical and phenotypic heterogeneity associated with biallelic variants in ACO2.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2020 06 9;7(6):1013-1028. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Department of Clinical Genomics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Objective: We describe the clinical characteristics and genetic etiology of several new cases within the ACO2-related disease spectrum. Mitochondrial aconitase (ACO2) is a nuclear-encoded tricarboxylic acid cycle enzyme. Homozygous pathogenic missense variants in the ACO2 gene were initially associated with infantile degeneration of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and retina, resulting in profound intellectual and developmental disability and early death. Subsequent studies have identified a range of homozygous and compound heterozygous pathogenic missense, nonsense, frameshift, and splice-site ACO2 variants in patients with a spectrum of clinical manifestations and disease severities.

Methods: We describe a cohort of five novel patients with biallelic pathogenic variants in ACO2. We review the clinical histories of these patients as well as the molecular and functional characterization of the associated ACO2 variants and compare with those described previously in the literature.

Results: Two siblings with relatively mild symptoms presented with episodic ataxia, mild developmental delays, severe dysarthria, and behavioral abnormalities including hyperactivity and depressive symptoms with generalized anxiety. One patient presented with the classic form with cerebellar hypoplasia, ataxia, seizures, optic atrophy, and retinitis pigmentosa. Another unrelated patient presented with ataxia but developed severe progressive spastic quadriplegia. Another patient demonstrated a spinal muscular atrophy-like presentation with severe neonatal hypotonia, diminished reflexes, and poor respiratory drive, leading to ventilator dependence until death at the age of 9 months.

Interpretation: In this study, we highlight the importance of recognizing milder forms of the disorder, which may escape detection due to atypical disease presentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318087PMC
June 2020

An exome-first approach to aid in the diagnosis of primary ciliary dyskinesia.

Hum Genet 2020 Oct 4;139(10):1273-1283. Epub 2020 May 4.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Unlike disorders of primary cilium, primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) has a much narrower clinical spectrum consistent with the limited tissue distribution of motile cilia. Nonetheless, PCD diagnosis can be challenging due to the overlapping features with other disorders and the requirement for sophisticated tests that are only available in specialized centers. We performed exome sequencing on all patients with a clinical suspicion of PCD but for whom no nasal nitric oxide test or ciliary functional assessment could be ordered. Among 81 patients (56 families), in whom PCD was suspected, 68% had pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in established PCD-related genes that fully explain the phenotype (20 variants in 11 genes). The major clinical presentations were sinopulmonary infections (SPI) (n = 58), neonatal respiratory distress (NRD) (n = 2), laterality defect (LD) (n = 6), and combined LD/SPI (n = 15). Biallelic likely deleterious variants were also encountered in AKNA and GOLGA3, which we propose as novel candidates in a lung phenotype that overlaps clinically with PCD. We also encountered a PCD phenocopy caused by a pathogenic variant in ITCH, and a pathogenic variant in CEP164 causing Bardet-Biedl syndrome and PCD presentation as a very rare example of the dual presentation of these two disorders of the primary and motile cilia. Exome sequencing is a powerful tool that can help "democratize" the diagnosis of PCD, which is currently limited to highly specialized centers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-020-02170-2DOI Listing
October 2020

The natural history of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 05 1;15(1):109. Epub 2020 May 1.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Background: Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (INAD) is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder of early onset causing premature death. It results from biallelic pathogenic variants in PLA2G6, which encodes a calcium-independent phospholipase A2.

Objective: We aim to outline the natural history of INAD and provide a comprehensive description of its clinical, radiological, laboratory, and molecular findings.

Materials And Methods: We comprehensively analyzed the charts of 28 patients: 16 patients from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 8 patients from North and South America and 4 patients from Europe with a molecularly confirmed diagnosis of PLA2G6-associated neurodegeneration (PLAN) and a clinical history consistent with INAD.

Results: In our cohort, speech impairment and loss of gross motor milestones were the earliest signs of the disease. As the disease progressed, loss of fine motor milestones and bulbar dysfunction were observed. Temporo-frontal function was among the last of the milestones to be lost. Appendicular spastic hypertonia, axial hypotonia, and hyperreflexia were common neurological findings. Other common clinical findings include nystagmus (60.7%), seizures (42.9%), gastrointestinal disease (42.9%), skeletal deformities (35.7%), and strabismus (28.6%). Cerebellar atrophy and elevations in serum AST and LDH levels were consistent features of INAD. There was a statistically significant difference when comparing patients with non-sense/truncating variants compared with missense/in-frame deletions in the time of initial concern (p = 0.04), initial loss of language (p = 0.001), initial loss of fine motor skills (p = 0.009), and initial loss of bulbar skills (p = 0.007).

Conclusion: INAD is an ultra-rare neurodegenerative disorder that presents in early childhood, with a relentlessly progressive clinical course. Knowledge of the natural history of INAD may serve as a resource for healthcare providers to develop a targeted care plan and may facilitate the design of clinical trials to treat this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01355-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193406PMC
May 2020

A genomics approach to females with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Hum Genet 2020 May 14;139(5):605-613. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Infertility affects 10% of reproductive-age women and is extremely heterogeneous in etiology. The genetic contribution to female infertility is incompletely understood, and involves chromosomal and single-gene defects. Our aim in this study is to decipher single-gene causes in infertile women in whom endocrinological, anatomical, and chromosomal causes have been excluded. Our cohort comprises women with recurrent pregnancy loss and no offspring from spontaneous pregnancies (RPL, n = 61) and those who never achieved clinical pregnancy and were referred for in vitro fertilization [primary infertility (PI), n = 14]. Whole-exome sequencing revealed candidate variants in 14, which represents 43% of those with PI and 13% of those with RPL. These include variants in previously established female infertility-related genes (TLE6, NLRP7, FSHR, and ZP1) as well as genes with only tentative links in the literature (NLRP5). Candidate variants in genes linked to primary ciliary dyskinesia (DNAH11 and CCNO) were identified in individuals with and without systemic features of the disease. We also identified variants in genes not previously linked to female infertility. These include one homozygous variant each in CCDC68, CBX3, CENPH, PABPC1L, PIF1, PLK1, and REXO4, which we propose as candidate genes for infertility based on their established biology or compatible animal models. Our study expands the contribution of single genes to the etiology of PI and RPL, improves the precision of disease classification at the molecular level, and offers the potential for future treatment and development of human genetics-inspired fertility regulators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-020-02143-5DOI Listing
May 2020

The morbid genome of ciliopathies: an update.

Genet Med 2020 06 14;22(6):1051-1060. Epub 2020 Feb 14.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Purpose: Ciliopathies are highly heterogeneous clinical disorders of the primary cilium. We aim to characterize a large cohort of ciliopathies phenotypically and molecularly.

Methods: Detailed phenotypic and genomic analysis of patients with ciliopathies, and functional characterization of novel candidate genes.

Results: In this study, we describe 125 families with ciliopathies and show that deleterious variants in previously reported genes, including cryptic splicing variants, account for 87% of cases. Additionally, we further support a number of previously reported candidate genes (BBIP1, MAPKBP1, PDE6D, and WDPCP), and propose nine novel candidate genes (CCDC67, CCDC96, CCDC172, CEP295, FAM166B, LRRC34, TMEM17, TTC6, and TTC23), three of which (LRRC34, TTC6, and TTC23) are supported by functional assays that we performed on available patient-derived fibroblasts. From a phenotypic perspective, we expand the phenomenon of allelism that characterizes ciliopathies by describing novel associations including WDR19-related Stargardt disease and SCLT1- and CEP164-related Bardet-Biedl syndrome.

Conclusion: In this cohort of phenotypically and molecularly characterized ciliopathies, we draw important lessons that inform the clinical management and the diagnostics of this class of disorders as well as their basic biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-0761-1DOI Listing
June 2020

Loss-of-function mutations in UDP-Glucose 6-Dehydrogenase cause recessive developmental epileptic encephalopathy.

Nat Commun 2020 01 30;11(1):595. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Department of Neurology, & the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Developmental epileptic encephalopathies are devastating disorders characterized by intractable epileptic seizures and developmental delay. Here, we report an allelic series of germline recessive mutations in UGDH in 36 cases from 25 families presenting with epileptic encephalopathy with developmental delay and hypotonia. UGDH encodes an oxidoreductase that converts UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronic acid, a key component of specific proteoglycans and glycolipids. Consistent with being loss-of-function alleles, we show using patients' primary fibroblasts and biochemical assays, that these mutations either impair UGDH stability, oligomerization, or enzymatic activity. In vitro, patient-derived cerebral organoids are smaller with a reduced number of proliferating neuronal progenitors while mutant ugdh zebrafish do not phenocopy the human disease. Our study defines UGDH as a key player for the production of extracellular matrix components that are essential for human brain development. Based on the incidence of variants observed, UGDH mutations are likely to be a frequent cause of recessive epileptic encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14360-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992768PMC
January 2020

Phenome-based approach identifies RIC1-linked Mendelian syndrome through zebrafish models, biobank associations and clinical studies.

Nat Med 2020 01 13;26(1):98-109. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.

Discovery of genotype-phenotype relationships remains a major challenge in clinical medicine. Here, we combined three sources of phenotypic data to uncover a new mechanism for rare and common diseases resulting from collagen secretion deficits. Using a zebrafish genetic screen, we identified the ric1 gene as being essential for skeletal biology. Using a gene-based phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) in the EHR-linked BioVU biobank, we show that reduced genetically determined expression of RIC1 is associated with musculoskeletal and dental conditions. Whole-exome sequencing identified individuals homozygous-by-descent for a rare variant in RIC1 and, through a guided clinical re-evaluation, it was discovered that they share signs with the BioVU-associated phenome. We named this new Mendelian syndrome CATIFA (cleft lip, cataract, tooth abnormality, intellectual disability, facial dysmorphism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and revealed further disease mechanisms. This gene-based, PheWAS-guided approach can accelerate the discovery of clinically relevant disease phenome and associated biological mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0705-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147997PMC
January 2020

An intellectual disability-associated missense variant in TRMT1 impairs tRNA modification and reconstitution of enzymatic activity.

Hum Mutat 2020 03 16;41(3):600-607. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Department of Biology, Center for RNA Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.

The human TRMT1 gene encodes an RNA methyltransferase enzyme responsible for catalyzing dimethylguanosine (m2,2G) formation in transfer RNAs (tRNAs). Frameshift mutations in TRMT1 have been shown to cause autosomal-recessive intellectual disability (ID) in the human population but additional TRMT1 variants remain to be characterized. Here, we describe a homozygous TRMT1 missense variant in a patient displaying developmental delay, ID, and epilepsy. The missense variant changes an arginine residue to a cysteine (R323C) within the methyltransferase domain and is expected to perturb protein folding. Patient cells expressing TRMT1-R323C exhibit a deficiency in m2,2G modifications within tRNAs, indicating that the mutation causes loss of function. Notably, the TRMT1 R323C mutant retains tRNA binding but is unable to rescue m2,2G formation in TRMT1-deficient human cells. Our results identify a pathogenic point mutation in TRMT1 that perturbs tRNA modification activity and demonstrate that m2,2G modifications are disrupted in the cells of patients with TRMT1-associated ID disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23976DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7981843PMC
March 2020

MDH1 deficiency is a metabolic disorder of the malate-aspartate shuttle associated with early onset severe encephalopathy.

Hum Genet 2019 Dec 19;138(11-12):1247-1257. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, 12713, Saudi Arabia.

The reversible oxidation of L-malate to oxaloacetate is catalyzed by NAD(H)-dependent malate dehydrogenase (MDH). MDH plays essential roles in the malate-aspartate shuttle and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. These metabolic processes are important in mitochondrial NADH supply for oxidative phosphorylation. Recently, bi-allelic mutations in mitochondrial MDH2 were identified in patients with global developmental delay, epilepsy and lactic acidosis. We now report two patients from an extended consanguineous family with a deleterious variant in the cytosolic isoenzyme of MDH (MDH1). The homozygous missense variant in the NAD-binding domain of MDH1 led to severely diminished MDH protein expression. The patients presented with global developmental delay, epilepsy and progressive microcephaly. Both patients had normal concentrations of plasma amino acids, acylcarnitines, lactate, and urine organic acids. To identify the metabolic consequences of MDH1 deficiency, untargeted metabolomics was performed on dried blood spots (DBS) from the patients and in MDH1 knockout HEK293 cells that were generated by Crispr/Cas9. Increased levels of glutamate and glycerol-3-phosphate were found in DBS of both patients. In MDH1 KO HEK293 cells, increased levels of glycerol-3-phosphate were also observed, as well as increased levels of aspartate and decreased levels of fumarate. The consistent finding of increased concentrations of glycerol-3-phosphate may represent a compensatory mechanism to enhance cytosolic oxidation of NADH by the glycerol-P-shuttle. In conclusion, MDH1 deficiency is a new metabolic defect in the malate-aspartate shuttle characterized by a severe neurodevelopmental phenotype with elevated concentrations of glycerol-3-phosphate as a potential biomarker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00439-019-02063-zDOI Listing
December 2019

Biallelic variants in CTU2 cause DREAM-PL syndrome and impair thiolation of tRNA wobble U34.

Hum Mutat 2019 11 29;40(11):2108-2120. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia.

The wobble position in the anticodon loop of transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) is subject to numerous posttranscriptional modifications. In particular, thiolation of the wobble uridine has been shown to play an important role in codon-anticodon interactions. This modification is catalyzed by a highly conserved CTU1/CTU2 complex, disruption of which has been shown to cause abnormal phenotypes in yeast, worms, and plants. We have previously suggested that a single founder splicing variant in human CTU2 causes a novel multiple congenital anomalies syndrome consisting of dysmorphic facies, renal agenesis, ambiguous genitalia, microcephaly, polydactyly, and lissencephaly (DREAM-PL). In this study, we describe five new patients with DREAM-PL phenotype and whose molecular analysis expands the allelic heterogeneity of the syndrome to five different alleles; four of which predict protein truncation. Functional characterization using patient-derived cells for each of these alleles, as well as the original founder allele; revealed a specific impairment of wobble uridine thiolation in all known thiol-containing tRNAs. Our data establish a recognizable CTU2-linked autosomal recessive syndrome in humans characterized by defective thiolation of the wobble uridine. The potential deleterious consequences for the translational efficiency and fidelity during development as a mechanism for pathogenicity represent an attractive target of future investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23870DOI Listing
November 2019

Mutations in PIGB Cause an Inherited GPI Biosynthesis Defect with an Axonal Neuropathy and Metabolic Abnormality in Severe Cases.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 08 27;105(2):384-394. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Department of Paediatric Neurology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK.

Proteins anchored to the cell surface via glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) play various key roles in the human body, particularly in development and neurogenesis. As such, many developmental disorders are caused by mutations in genes involved in the GPI biosynthesis and remodeling pathway. We describe ten unrelated families with bi-allelic mutations in PIGB, a gene that encodes phosphatidylinositol glycan class B, which transfers the third mannose to the GPI. Ten different PIGB variants were found in these individuals. Flow cytometric analysis of blood cells and fibroblasts from the affected individuals showed decreased cell surface presence of GPI-anchored proteins. Most of the affected individuals have global developmental and/or intellectual delay, all had seizures, two had polymicrogyria, and four had a peripheral neuropathy. Eight children passed away before four years old. Two of them had a clinical diagnosis of DOORS syndrome (deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, mental retardation, and seizures), a condition that includes sensorineural deafness, shortened terminal phalanges with small finger and toenails, intellectual disability, and seizures; this condition overlaps with the severe phenotypes associated with inherited GPI deficiency. Most individuals tested showed elevated alkaline phosphatase, which is a characteristic of the inherited GPI deficiency but not DOORS syndrome. It is notable that two severely affected individuals showed 2-oxoglutaric aciduria, which can be seen in DOORS syndrome, suggesting that severe cases of inherited GPI deficiency and DOORS syndrome might share some molecular pathway disruptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.05.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698938PMC
August 2019

Perinatal distress in 1p36 deletion syndrome can mimic hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Am J Med Genet A 2019 08 17;179(8):1543-1546. Epub 2019 Jun 17.

Stanford University, Stanford, California.

1p36 deletion syndrome is a well-described condition with a recognizable phenotype, including cognitive impairment, seizures, and structural brain anomalies such as periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). In a large series of these individuals by Battaglia et al., "birth history was notable in 50% of the cases for varying degrees of perinatal distress." Given the potential for perinatal distress, seizures and PVL, we questioned if this disorder has clinical overlap with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). We reviewed the medical records of 69 individuals with 1p36 deletion to clarify the perinatal phenotype of this disorder and determine if there is evidence of perinatal distress and/or hypoxic injury. Our data provides evidence that these babies have signs of perinatal distress. The majority (59% term; 75% preterm) needed resuscitation and approximately 18% had cardiac arrest. Most had abnormal brain imaging (84% term; 73% preterm) with abnormal white matter findings in over half of patients. PVL or suggestion of "hypoxic insult" was present in 18% of term and 45% of preterm patients. In conclusion, individuals with 1p36 deletion have evidence of perinatal distress, white matter changes, and seizures, which can mimic HIE but are likely related to their underlying chromosome disorder.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7254578PMC
August 2019

Bi-allelic Mutations in FAM149B1 Cause Abnormal Primary Cilium and a Range of Ciliopathy Phenotypes in Humans.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 04 21;104(4):731-737. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

Department of Genetics, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, PO Box 3354, Riyadh 11211, Saudi Arabia; Saudi Human Genome Program, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh 12371, Saudi Arabia; Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh 11533, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Ciliopathies are clinical disorders of the primary cilium with widely recognized phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. In two Arab consanguineous families, we mapped a ciliopathy phenotype that most closely matches Joubert syndrome (hypotonia, developmental delay, typical facies, oculomotor apraxia, polydactyly, and subtle posterior fossa abnormalities) to a single locus in which a founder homozygous truncating variant in FAM149B1 was identified by exome sequencing. We subsequently identified a third Arab consanguineous multiplex family in which the phenotype of Joubert syndrome/oral-facial-digital syndrome (OFD VI) was found to co-segregate with the same founder variant in FAM149B1. Independently, autozygosity mapping and exome sequencing in a consanguineous Turkish family with Joubert syndrome highlighted a different homozygous truncating variant in the same gene. FAM149B1 encodes a protein of unknown function. Mutant fibroblasts were found to have normal ciliogenesis potential. However, distinct cilia-related abnormalities were observed in these cells: abnormal accumulation IFT complex at the distal tips of the cilia, which assumed bulbous appearance, increased length of the primary cilium, and dysregulated SHH signaling. We conclude that FAM149B1 is required for normal ciliary biology and that its deficiency results in a range of ciliopathy phenotypes in humans along the spectrum of Joubert syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2019.02.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451727PMC
April 2019
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