Bi-allelic genetic variants in the translational GTPases GTPBP1 and GTPBP2 cause a distinct identical neurodevelopmental syndrome

SYNaPS Study Group, Farooq Shaikh

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The homologous genes GTPBP1 and GTPBP2 encode GTP-binding proteins 1 and 2, which are involved in ribosomal homeostasis. Pathogenic variants in GTPBP2 were recently shown to be an ultra-rare cause of neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Until now, no human phenotype has been linked to GTPBP1. Here, we describe individuals carrying bi-allelic GTPBP1 variants that display an identical phenotype with GTPBP2 and characterize the overall spectrum of GTP-binding protein (1/2)-related disorders. In this study, 20 individuals from 16 families with distinct NDDs and syndromic facial features were investigated by whole-exome (WES) or whole-genome (WGS) sequencing. To assess the functional impact of the identified genetic variants, semi-quantitative PCR, western blot, and ribosome profiling assays were performed in fibroblasts from affected individuals. We also investigated the effect of reducing expression of CG2017, an ortholog of human GTPBP1/2, in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Individuals with bi-allelic GTPBP1 or GTPBP2 variants presented with microcephaly, profound neurodevelopmental impairment, pathognomonic craniofacial features, and ectodermal defects. Abnormal vision and/or hearing, progressive spasticity, choreoathetoid movements, refractory epilepsy, and brain atrophy were part of the core phenotype of this syndrome. Cell line studies identified a loss-of-function (LoF) impact of the disease-associated variants but no significant abnormalities on ribosome profiling. Reduced expression of CG2017 isoforms was associated with locomotor impairment in Drosophila. In conclusion, bi-allelic GTPBP1 and GTPBP2 LoF variants cause an identical, distinct neurodevelopmental syndrome. Mutant CG2017 knockout flies display motor impairment, highlighting the conserved role for GTP-binding proteins in CNS development across species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jan 2024


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