Eur J Med Genet 2019 Oct 15;62(10):103726. Epub 2019 Jul 15.
Department of Genetics, Groupement Hospitalier Est, Hospices Civils de Lyon, France; INSERM U1028, CNRS UMR5292, GENDEV Team, Neurosciences Research Center of Lyon, France. Electronic address:
GRM1 gene, that is located on 6q24.3, encodes the metabotropic glutamate receptor type 1 (mGluR1), a transmembrane protein highly expressed in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Pathogenic variants in GRM1 have been reported only three times in humans, causing autosomal-recessive cerebellar ataxia with early-onset and intellectual disability or dominant forms of cerebellar ataxia with less severe phenotype in adults. We report a six-year-old boy, born to inbred parents, with an early-onset cerebellar syndrome due to a homozygous autosomal-recessive GRM1 pathogenic variant. In addition to cerebellar ataxia, axial hypotonia and oculomotor signs, he showed a severe and global developmental delay with lack of walking and speech and slight facial dysmorphic features. Brain MRI, performed at 1 year and at 5 years, showed a slowly progressive cerebellar atrophy. A novel homozygous truncating variant in the second exon of GRM1 gene (c.889C>T, p.(Arg297*)), inherited from the heterozygous healthy parents, was found by exome sequencing. Our observation not only emphasizes the central role of mGluR1-mediated signaling in cerebellar function and neurodevelopment but also provides valuable insights into the early clinical signs of recessive ataxia due to GRM1 pathogenic variants that were not reported previously. The difficulties of clinical differential diagnosis between this disease and other forms of congenital ataxia and the unspecific cerebellar atrophy on MRI highlight the importance of large-scale genetic investigations.