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1.  POMK mutations disrupt muscle development leading to a spectrum of neuromuscular presentations 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(21):5781-5792.
Dystroglycan is a transmembrane glycoprotein whose interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) are necessary for normal muscle and brain development, and disruptions of its function lead to dystroglycanopathies, a group of congenital muscular dystrophies showing extreme genetic and clinical heterogeneity. Specific glycans bound to the extracellular portion of dystroglycan, α-dystroglycan, mediate ECM interactions and most known dystroglycanopathy genes encode glycosyltransferases involved in glycan synthesis. POMK, which was found mutated in two dystroglycanopathy cases, is instead involved in a glycan phosphorylation reaction critical for ECM binding, but little is known about the clinical presentation of POMK mutations or of the function of this protein in the muscle. Here, we describe two families carrying different truncating alleles, both removing the kinase domain in POMK, with different clinical manifestations ranging from Walker–Warburg syndrome, the most severe form of dystroglycanopathy, to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy with cognitive defects. We explored POMK expression in fetal and adult human muscle and identified widespread expression primarily during fetal development in myocytes and interstitial cells suggesting a role for this protein during early muscle differentiation. Analysis of loss of function in the zebrafish embryo and larva showed that pomk function is necessary for normal muscle development, leading to locomotor dysfuction in the embryo and signs of muscular dystrophy in the larva. In summary, we defined diverse clinical presentations following POMK mutations and showed that this gene is necessary for early muscle development.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu296
PMCID: PMC4189906  PMID: 24925318
2.  Glutaric aciduria type 1 as a cause of dystonic cerebral palsy 
Saudi Medical Journal  2015;36(11):1354-1357.
Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA1) is an inherited inborn error of metabolism caused by a deficiency of the enzyme glutaryl Co-A dehydrogenase (GCDH). Here, we report a 14-month-old Saudi boy with GA1 who presented with severe dystonia and was mis-diagnosed as cerebral palsy (CP). He presented to our institute with encephalopathy following an episode of gastroenteritis. His physical examination showed dystonia and spastic quadriplegia. His investigations revealed elevated both urinary 3-hydroxy glutaric acid, and serum glutarylcarnitine. The DNA analysis confirmed homozygosity for a mutation in the GCDH-coding gene (c.482G>A;p.R161Q). This case alerts pediatricians to consider GA1 as a differential diagnosis of children presenting with dystonic CP.
doi:10.15537/smj.2015.11.12132
PMCID: PMC4673376  PMID: 26593172
3.  Mutation in GM2A Leads to a Progressive Chorea-dementia Syndrome 
Background
The etiology of many cases of childhood-onset chorea remains undetermined, although advances in genomics are revealing both new disease-associated genes and variant phenotypes associated with known genes.
Methods
We report a Saudi family with a neurodegenerative course dominated by progressive chorea and dementia in whom we performed homozygosity mapping and whole exome sequencing.
Results
We identified a homozygous missense mutation in GM2A within a prominent block of homozygosity. This mutation is predicted to impair protein function.
Discussion
Although discovered more than two decades ago, to date, only five patients with this rare form of GM2 gangliosidosis have been reported. The phenotype of previously described GM2A patients has been typified by onset in infancy, profound hypotonia and impaired volitional movement, intractable seizures, hyperacusis, and a macular cherry red spot. Our findings expand the phenotypic spectrum of GM2A mutation-positive gangliosidosis to include generalized chorea without macular findings or hyperacusis and highlight how mutations in neurodegenerative disease genes may present in unexpected ways.
doi:10.7916/D8D21WQ0
PMCID: PMC4502426  PMID: 26203402
Chorea; dementia; neurodegeneration; GM2 gangliosidosis
4.  C19orf12 mutation leads to Karak pallido-pyramidal syndrome 
Gene  2013;537(2):352-356.
Pallido-pyramidal syndromes combine dystonia with or without parkinsonism and spasticity as part of a mixed neurodegenerative disorder. Several causative genes have been shown to lead to pallido-pyramidal syndromes, including FBXO7, ATP13A2, PLA2G6, PRKN and SPG11. In particular, mutations in PLA2G6 have been identified in patients with Karak syndrome, a neurodegenerative disorder that features ataxia, dystonia-parkinsonism, dementia and spasticity with neuroradiologic evidence of cerebellar atrophy and/or brain iron deposition. Some patients with phenotypic Karak syndrome do not have demonstrable mutations in PLA2G6. Using homozygosity mapping and direct sequencing in a multiplex consanguineous Saudi Arabian family with Karak syndrome, we identified a homozygous p.G53R mutation in C19orf12. Our findings expand the phenotypic spectrum associated with C19orf12 mutations.
doi:10.1016/j.gene.2013.11.039
PMCID: PMC4422067  PMID: 24361204
5.  CC2D1A Regulates Human Intellectual and Social Function as well as NF-κB Signaling Homeostasis 
Cell reports  2014;8(3):647-655.
SUMMARY
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) are often comorbid, but the extent to which they share common genetic causes remains controversial. Here, we present two autosomal-recessive “founder” mutations in the CC2D1A gene causing fully penetrant cognitive phenotypes, including mild-to-severe ID, ASD, as well as seizures, suggesting shared developmental mechanisms. CC2D1A regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways, and we found its strongest effect to be on the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). Cc2d1a gain and loss of function both increase activation of NF-κB, revealing a critical role of Cc2d1a in homeostatic control of intra-cellular signaling. Cc2d1a knockdown in neurons reduces dendritic complexity and increases NF-κB activity, and the effects of Cc2d1a depletion can be rescued by inhibiting NF-κB activity. Homeostatic regulation of neuronal signaling pathways provides a mechanism whereby common founder mutations could manifest diverse symptoms in different patients.
doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.06.039
PMCID: PMC4334362  PMID: 25066123
6.  SLC25A22 is a Novel Gene for Migrating Partial Seizures in Infancy 
Annals of neurology  2013;74(6):873-882.
Objective
To identify a genetic cause for migrating partial seizures in infancy (MPSI).
Methods
We characterized a consanguineous pedigree with MPSI and obtained DNA from affected and unaffected family members. We analyzed single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 500K data to identify regions with evidence for linkage. We performed whole exome sequencing and analyzed homozygous variants in regions of linkage to identify a candidate gene and performed functional studies of the candidate gene SLC25A22.
Results
In a consanguineous pedigree with two individuals with MPSI, we identified two regions of linkage, chromosome 4p16.1-p16.3 and chromosome 11p15.4-pter. Using whole exome sequencing, we identified 8 novel homozygous variants in genes in these regions. Only one variant, SLC25A22 c.G328C, results in a change of a highly conserved amino acid (p.G110R) and was not present in control samples. SLC25A22 encodes a glutamate transporter with strong expression in the developing brain. We show that the specific G110R mutation, located in a transmembraine domain of the protein, disrupts mitochondrial glutamate transport.
Interpretation
We have shown that MPSI can be inherited and have identified a novel homozygous mutation in SLC25A22 in the affected individuals. Our data strongly suggest that SLC25A22 is responsible for MPSI, a severe condition with few known etiologies. We have demonstrated that a combination of linkage analysis and whole exome sequencing can be used for disease gene discovery. Finally, as SLC25A22 had been implicated in the distinct syndrome neonatal epilepsy with suppression bursts on EEG, we have expanded the phenotypic spectrum associated with SLC25A22.
PMCID: PMC4031329  PMID: 24596948
7.  Congenital toxoplasmosis presenting as central diabetes insipidus in an infant: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:184.
Background
Congenital toxoplasmosis has a wide range of presentation at birth varying from severe neurological features such as hydrocephalus and chorioretinitis to a well appearing baby, who may develop complications late in infancy. While neuroendocrine abnormalities associated with congenital toxoplasmosis are uncommon, isolated central diabetes insipidus is extremely rare.
Case presentation
Here, we report on a female infant who presented with fever, convulsions, and polyuria. Examination revealed weight and length below the 3rd centile along with signs of severe dehydration. Fundal examination showed bilateral chorioretinitis. This infant developed hypernatremia together with increased serum osmolality and decreased both urine osmolality and specific gravity consistent with central diabetes insipidus. Serology for toxoplasma specific immunoglobulin M was high for both the mother and the baby and polymerase chain reaction for toxoplasma deoxyribonucleic acid was positive in the infant confirming congenital toxoplasmosis. Brain computerized tomography scans demonstrated ventriculomegaly associated with cerebral and cortical calcifications. Fluid and electrolyte abnormalities responded to nasal vasopressin therapy.
Conclusion
This report highlights central diabetes inspidus as a rare presentation of congenital toxoplasmosis.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-184
PMCID: PMC3986852  PMID: 24674575
Congenital toxoplasmosis; Central diabetes insipidus; Infant
8.  Neural tube defects 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S3-S4.
PMCID: PMC4362093  PMID: 25551109
9.  Sirenomelia and severe caudal regression syndrome 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S36-S43.
Objective:
To describe cases of sirenomelia and severe caudal regression syndrome (CRS), to report the prevalence of sirenomelia, and compare our findings with the literature.
Methods:
Retrospective data was retrieved from the medical records of infants with the diagnosis of sirenomelia and CRS and their mothers from 1989 to 2010 (22 years) at the Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A perinatologist, neonatologist, pediatric neurologist, and radiologist ascertained the diagnoses. The cases were identified as part of a study of neural tube defects during that period. A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE.
Results:
During the 22-year study period, the total number of deliveries was 124,933 out of whom, 4 patients with sirenomelia, and 2 patients with severe forms of CRS were identified. All the patients with sirenomelia had single umbilical artery, and none were the infant of a diabetic mother. One patient was a twin, and another was one of triplets. The 2 patients with CRS were sisters, their mother suffered from type II diabetes mellitus and morbid obesity on insulin, and neither of them had a single umbilical artery. Other associated anomalies with sirenomelia included an absent radius, thumb, and index finger in one patient, Potter’s syndrome, abnormal ribs, microphthalmia, congenital heart disease, hypoplastic lungs, and diaphragmatic hernia.
Conclusion:
The prevalence of sirenomelia (3.2 per 100,000) is high compared with the international prevalence of one per 100,000. Both cases of CRS were infants of type II diabetic mother with poor control, supporting the strong correlation of CRS and maternal diabetes.
PMCID: PMC4362094  PMID: 25551110
10.  Agenesis of the corpus callosum associated with spinal open neural tube defect 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S57-S63.
Objective:
To ascertain the incidence and clinical implications of agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) in spinal open neural tube defects (SONTD).
Methods:
All cases of SONTD registered at the Spina Bifida Clinic in King Khalid University Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between 1995 and 2010 were retrospectively reviewed, and mid-sagittal MRI of the corpus callosum (CC) area was analyzed in each case. Neurodevelopmental outcome was classified as poor in children with seizures, severe neurodevelopmental impairment, or death.
Results:
Thirty-eight patients (45.8%) with ACC were identified among 83 cases with SONTD. Patients’ age ranged between one and 16 years. Total ACC was found in 10 patients, partial ACC in 25, and in 3 patients, the CC was hypoplastic. Active hydrocephalus was an associated finding in 9 out of 10 patients with total ACC, 22 out of 25 with partial ACC, and in all patients with hypoplasia of the CC. Thirteen patients (34.2%) had normal intellectual function, whereas 24 patients presented with learning disability, epilepsy, or poor intellectual function; and one patient died of respiratory failure.
Conclusion:
Agenesis of the corpus callosum is found in a significant portion of patients with SONTD. When associated with hydrocephalus, its presence affects neuro-developmental outcome.
PMCID: PMC4362096  PMID: 25551114
11.  Message from the Guest Editor 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S2.
PMCID: PMC4362097  PMID: 25551107
12.  Classification, clinical features, and genetics of neural tube defects 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S5-S14.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) constitute a major health burden (0.5-2/1000 pregnancies worldwide), and remain a preventable cause of still birth, neonatal, and infant death, or significant lifelong handicaps. The malformations result from failure of the neural folds to fuse in the midline, and form the neural tube between the third and the fourth week of embryonic development. This review article discusses their classification, clinical features, and genetics. Most NTDs are sporadic and both genetic, and non-genetic environmental factors are involved in its etiology. Consanguinity was suggested to contribute to the high incidence of NTDs in several countries, including Saudi Arabia. Syndromes, often associated with chromosomal anomalies, account for <10% of all NTDs; but a higher proportion (20%) has been documented in Saudi Arabia. Genetic predisposition constitutes the major underlying risk factor, with a strong implication of genes that regulate folate one-carbon metabolism and planar cell polarity.
PMCID: PMC4362100  PMID: 25551113
13.  Genetic, chromosomal, and syndromic causes of neural tube defects 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S49-S56.
Objective:
To ascertain the incidence, and describe the various forms of neural tube defects (NTDs) due to genetic, chromosomal, and syndromic causes.
Methods:
We carried out a retrospective analysis of data retrieved from the medical records of newborn infants admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with NTDs and their mothers spanning 14 years (1996-2009) at the Security Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The cases were ascertained by a perinatologist, neonatologist, geneticist, radiologist, and neurologist. The literature was reviewed via a MEDLINE search. Only liveborn babies were included. Permission from the Educational Committee at the Security Forces Hospital was obtained prior to the collection of data.
Results:
Out of 103 infants with NTDs admitted during this period, 20 (19.4%) were found to have an underlying genetic syndromic, chromosomal and/or other anomalies. There were 5 cases of Meckel-Gruber syndrome, 2 Joubert syndrome, one Waardenburg syndrome, one Walker-Warburg syndrome, 2 chromosomal disorders, 2 caudal regression, one amniotic band disruption sequence, one associated with omphalocele, one with diaphragmatic hernia, and 4 with multiple congenital anomalies.
Conclusions:
There is a high rate of underlying genetic syndromic and/or chromosomal causes of NTDs in the Saudi Arabian population due to the high consanguinity rate. Identification of such association can lead to more accurate provisions of genetic counseling to the family including preimplantation genetic diagnosis or early termination of pregnancies associated with lethal conditions.
PMCID: PMC4362101  PMID: 25551112
14.  Epidemiology of neural tube defects 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S29-S35.
Objectives:
To find the prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs), and compare the findings with local and international data, and highlight the important role of folic acid supplementation and flour fortification with folic acid in preventing NTDs.
Methods:
This is a retrospective study of data retrieved from the medical records of live newborn infants admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Security Forces Hospital (SFH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with NTDs spanning 14 years (1996-2009). All pregnant women on their first antenatal visit to the primary care clinic were prescribed folic acid 0.5 mg daily, or 5 mg if there is a family history of NTD. The pre-fortification prevalence is compared to post-fortification, before and after excluding syndromic, genetic, and chromosomal causes. The results were compared with reports from other parts of Saudi Arabia and internationally, through a literature search using MEDLINE.
Results:
The prevalence of NTDs during the period was 1.2 per 1000 live births. The pre-fortification of flour with folic acid prevalence was 1.46 per 1000 live births. The post-fortification prevalence was 1.05 (p=0.103). After excluding syndromic, genetic, and chromosomal causes from calculation of the prevalence, there was a significant reduction in the prevalence, from 1.46 to 0.81 per 1000 live births (p=0.0088). Syndromic, genetic, and chromosomal causes were identified in 20 cases (19.4%). Only 2% of mothers received preconception folic acid, and only 10% of them received it during the first 4 weeks of gestation.
Conclusion:
Despite the implementation of fortification of flour with folic acid since 2001, the prevalence of NTDs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still high. This is due to the impact of genetic, syndromic, and chromosomal causes of NTD not preventable by folic acid. Other factors like unplanned pregnancy and lack of awareness of the role of folic acid in preventing nonsyndromic causes, play a significant role.
PMCID: PMC4362102  PMID: 25551108
15.  Epidemiology, prenatal management, and prevention of neural tube defects 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S15-S28.
This review article discusses the epidemiology, risk factors, prenatal screening, diagnosis, prevention potentials, and epidemiologic impact of neural tube defects (NTDs). The average incidence of NTDs is 1/1000 births, with a marked geographic variation. In the developed countries, the incidence of NTDs has fallen over recent decades. However, it still remains high in the less-developed countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Far East (>1 to 11/1000 births). Recognized NTDs risks include maternal diabetes, obesity, lower socioeconomic status, hyperthermia, and exposure to certain teratogens during the periconceptional period. Periconceptional folic acid supplementation decreased the prevalence of NTDs by 50-70%, and an obligatory folic acid fortification of food was adopted in several countries to reach women with unplanned pregnancies and those facing social deprivation. Prevention of NTDs can be accelerated if more, especially low income countries, adopted fortification of the staple food in their communities.
PMCID: PMC4362104  PMID: 25551106
16.  Split cord malformation associated with spinal open neural tube defect 
Saudi Medical Journal  2014;35(Suppl 1):S44-S48.
Objective:
To illustrate the clinical and radiological findings of split cord malformation (SCM) in patients with spinal open neural tube defect (SONTD), and report the outcome of their treatment.
Methods:
A retrospective study of the clinical and radiological findings of 11 patients diagnosed with SCM, identified among 83 patients with SONTD at King Khalid University Hospital, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between 1995 and 2010.
Results:
There were 6 girls and 5 boys; their age ranged from less than a year to 9 years (mean 4.2 years). Six patients had type I SCM, and 5 patients type II SCM. The CT and MRI imaging showed characteristic bony, cartilaginous, or fibrous septum, and other SONTD-associated anomalies. Seven patients were graded A & B according to the Frankel grading score, and none of them required surgery, while worsening neurology led to surgical intervention in 3 patients, with clinical improvement after surgery, and one patient that underwent cord untethering remained stable.
Conclusion:
Split cord malformation is not uncommon among patients with SONTD. It tends to involve mainly the lumbar spine, and female predominance is more remarkable in type I. Neurological manifestations of SCM may be superimposed with SONTD. Surgery is effective for symptomatic patients, and not indicated in the severely disabled.
PMCID: PMC4362105  PMID: 25551111
17.  Homozygous PLCB1 Deletion Associated with Malignant Migrating Partial Seizures in Infancy 
Epilepsia  2012;53(8):10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03538.x.
Summary
Malignant migrating partial seizures in infancy (MMPEI) is an early onset epileptic encephalopathy with few known etiologies. We sought to identify a novel cause of MMPEI in a child with MMPEI whose healthy parents were consanguineous. We used array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to identify copy number variants (CNVs) genome-wide and long-range PCR to further delineate the breakpoints of a deletion found by CGH. The proband had an inherited homozygous deletion of chromosome 20p13, disrupting the promoter region and first three coding exons of the gene PLCB1. Additional MMPEI cases were screened for similar deletions or mutations in PLCB1 but did not harbor mutations. Our results suggest that loss of PLCβ1 function is one cause of MMPEI, consistent with prior studies in a Plcb1 knockout mouse model that develops early onset epilepsy. We provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying MMPEI and further implicate PLCB1 as a candidate gene for severe childhood epilepsies. This work highlights the importance of pursuing genetic etiologies for severe early onset epilepsy syndromes.
doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03538.x
PMCID: PMC3851296  PMID: 22690784
Focal epilepsy; migrating partial seizures in infancy; genetics; phospholipase C beta 1 (PLCB1)
19.  New Findings in a Global Approach to Dissect the Whole Phenotype of PLA2G6 Gene Mutations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76831.
Mutations in PLA2G6 gene have variable phenotypic outcome including infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, atypical neuroaxonal dystrophy, idiopathic neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation and Karak syndrome. The cause of this phenotypic variation is so far unknown which impairs both genetic diagnosis and appropriate family counseling. We report detailed clinical, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, histologic, biochemical and genetic characterization of 11 patients, from 6 consanguineous families, who were followed for a period of up to 17 years. Cerebellar atrophy was constant and the earliest feature of the disease preceding brain iron accumulation, leading to the provisional diagnosis of a recessive progressive ataxia in these patients. Ultrastructural characterization of patients’ muscle biopsies revealed focal accumulation of granular and membranous material possibly resulting from defective membrane homeostasis caused by disrupted PLA2G6 function. Enzyme studies in one of these muscle biopsies provided evidence for a relatively low mitochondrial content, which is compatible with the structural mitochondrial alterations seen by electron microscopy. Genetic characterization of 11 patients led to the identification of six underlying PLA2G6 gene mutations, five of which are novel. Importantly, by combining clinical and genetic data we have observed that while the phenotype of neurodegeneration associated with PLA2G6 mutations is variable in this cohort of patients belonging to the same ethnic background, it is partially influenced by the genotype, considering the age at onset and the functional disability criteria. Molecular testing for PLA2G6 mutations is, therefore, indicated in childhood-onset ataxia syndromes, if neuroimaging shows cerebellar atrophy with or without evidence of iron accumulation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076831
PMCID: PMC3792983  PMID: 24130795
20.  Congenital myasthenic syndromes due to mutations in ALG2 and ALG14 
Brain  2013;136(3):944-956.
Congenital myasthenic syndromes are a heterogeneous group of inherited disorders that arise from impaired signal transmission at the neuromuscular synapse. They are characterized by fatigable muscle weakness. We performed linkage analysis, whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing to determine the underlying defect in patients with an inherited limb-girdle pattern of myasthenic weakness. We identify ALG14 and ALG2 as novel genes in which mutations cause a congenital myasthenic syndrome. Through analogy with yeast, ALG14 is thought to form a multiglycosyltransferase complex with ALG13 and DPAGT1 that catalyses the first two committed steps of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation. We show that ALG14 is concentrated at the muscle motor endplates and small interfering RNA silencing of ALG14 results in reduced cell-surface expression of muscle acetylcholine receptor expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. ALG2 is an alpha-1,3-mannosyltransferase that also catalyses early steps in the asparagine-linked glycosylation pathway. Mutations were identified in two kinships, with mutation ALG2p.Val68Gly found to severely reduce ALG2 expression both in patient muscle, and in cell cultures. Identification of DPAGT1, ALG14 and ALG2 mutations as a cause of congenital myasthenic syndrome underscores the importance of asparagine-linked protein glycosylation for proper functioning of the neuromuscular junction. These syndromes form part of the wider spectrum of congenital disorders of glycosylation caused by impaired asparagine-linked glycosylation. It is likely that further genes encoding components of this pathway will be associated with congenital myasthenic syndromes or impaired neuromuscular transmission as part of a more severe multisystem disorder. Our findings suggest that treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors may improve muscle function in many of the congenital disorders of glycosylation.
doi:10.1093/brain/awt010
PMCID: PMC3580273  PMID: 23404334
congenital myasthenic syndrome; ALG2; ALG14; mutation; N-linked glycosylation
21.  The Clinical Spectrum of Homozygous HOXA1 Mutations 
We report nine new individuals from six families who have homozygous mutations of HOXA1 with either the Bosley-Salih-Alorainy Syndrome (BSAS) or the Athabascan Brainstem Dysgenesis Syndrome (ABDS). Congenital heart disease was present in four BSAS patients, two of whom had neither deafness nor horizontal gaze restriction. Two ABDS probands had relatively mild mental retardation. These individuals blur the clinical distinctions between the BSAS and ABDS HOXA1 variants and broaden the phenotype and genotype of the homozygous HOXA1 mutation clinical spectrum.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.32262
PMCID: PMC3517166  PMID: 18412118
22.  A novel syndrome of lethal familial hyperekplexia associated with brain malformation 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:125.
Background
Hyperekplexia (HPX) is a rare non-epileptic disorder manifesting immediately after birth with exaggerated persistent startle reaction to unexpected auditory, somatosensory and visual stimuli, and non-habituating generalized flexor spasm in response to tapping of the nasal bridge (glabellar tap) which forms its clinical hallmark. The course of the disease is usually benign with spontaneous amelioration with age. The disorder results from aberrant glycinergic neurotransmission, and several mutations were reported in the genes encoding glycine receptor (GlyR) α1 and β subunits, glycine transporter GlyT2 as well as two other proteins involved in glycinergic neurotransmission gephyrin and collybistin.
Methods
The phenotype of six newborns, belonging to Saudi Arabian kindred with close consanguineous marriages, who presented with hyperekplexia associated with severe brain malformation, is described. DNA samples were available from two patients, and homozygosity scan to determine overlap with known hyperkplexia genes was performed.
Results
The kindred consisted of two brothers married to their cousin sisters, each with three affected children who presented antenatally with excessive fetal movements. Postnatally, they were found to have microcephaly, severe hyperekplexia and gross brain malformation characterized by severe simplified gyral pattern and cerebellar underdevelopment. The EEG was normal and they responded to clonazepam. All of the six patients died within six weeks. Laboratory investigations, including metabolic screen, were unremarkable. None of the known hyperkplexia genes were present within the overlapping regions of homozygosity between the two patients for whom DNA samples were available.
Conclusions
We present these cases as a novel syndrome of lethal familial autosomal recessive hyperekplexia associated with microcephaly and severe brain malformation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-125
PMCID: PMC3488335  PMID: 23101555
Hyperekplexia; Microcephaly; Simplified gyral pattern; Cerebellar underdevelopment; Autosomal recessive
23.  Variable disease severity in Saudi Arabian and Sudanese families with c.3924 + 2 T > C mutation of LAMA2 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:534.
Background
Congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A is caused by mutations in the LAMA2 gene that encodes the laminin α2 chain, a component of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix protein laminin-211. The clinical spectrum of the disease is more heterogeneous than previously thought, particularly in terms of motor achievement and disease progression. We investigated clinical findings and performed molecular genetic analysis in 3 families from Saudi Arabia and 1 from Sudan in whom congenital muscular dystrophy 1A was suspected based on homozygosity mapping and laminin α2 chain deficiency.
Methods
We investigated 9 affected individuals from 1 Sudanese and 3 Saudi families in whom MDC1A was suggested by clinical, neuroimaging and/or pathological findings and by homozygosity mapping at the LAMA2 locus. Morphological and immunohistochemical analysis were performed in 3 patients from the 3 Saudi families. SSCP analysis, DNA sequencing and microsatellite analysis were carried out in the 4 index cases.
Results
A previously described mutation in the LAMA2 gene, a homozygous T > C substitution at position +2 of the consensus donor splice site of exon 26, was found in the 4 index patients. Clinical evaluation of 9 patients from the 4 families revealed variable disease severity particularly as regards motor achievement and disease progression. Microsatellite analysis showed an identical mutation-associated haplotype in the 4 index cases indicating a founder effect of the mutation in all 4 families.
Conclusions
Our data provide further evidence that the clinical spectrum of MDC1A due to a single mutation is heterogeneous, particularly in terms of motor achievement and disease progression, making it difficult to give a reliable prognosis even in patients with identical LAMA2-associated haplotype. The c.3924 + 2 T > C mutation to date has been found only in patients originating from the Middle East or Sudan; therefore laminin 2 chain deficiency in patients from those regions should initially prompt a search for this mutation.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-534
PMCID: PMC3278494  PMID: 22166137
MDC1A; LAMA2; gene; Laminin α2 chain; Merosin
24.  Molecular and neurological characterizations of three Saudi families with lipoid proteinosis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:31.
Background
Lipoid proteinosis is a rare autosomal recessive disease characterized by cutaneous and mucosal lesions and hoarseness appearing in early childhood. It is caused by homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations in the ECM1 gene. The disease is largely uncharacterized in Arab population and the mutation(s) spectrum in the Arab population is largely unknown. We report the neurologic and neuroradiologic characteristics and ECM1 gene mutations of seven individuals with lipoid proteinosis (LP) from three unrelated consanguineous families.
Methods
Clinical, neurologic, and neuro-ophthalmologic examinations; skin histopathology; brain CT and MRI; and sequencing of the fullECM1 gene.
Results
All seven affected individuals had skin scarring and hoarseness from early childhood. The two children in Family 1 had worse skin involvement and worse hoarseness than affected children of Families 2 and 3. Both children in Family 1 were modestly mentally retarded, and one had typical calcifications of the amygdalae on CT scan. Affected individuals in Families 2 and 3 had no grossneurologic, neurodevelopmental, or neuroimaging abnormalities. Skin histopathology was compatible with LP in all three families. Sequencing the full coding region of ECM1 gene revealed two novel mutationsin Family 1 (c.1300-1301delAA) and Family 2 (p.Cys269Tyr) and in Family 3 a previously described 1163 bp deletion starting 34 bp into intron 8.
Conclusions
These individuals illustrate the neurologic spectrum of LP, including variable mental retardation, personality changes, and mesial temporal calcificationand imply that significant neurologic involvement may be somewhat less common than previously thought. The cause of neurologic abnormalities was not clear from either neuroimaging or from what is known about ECM1 function. The severity of dermatologic abnormalities and hoarseness generally correlated with neurologic abnormalities, with Family 1 being somewhat more affected in all spheres than the other two families. Nevertheless, phenotype-genotype correlation was not obvious, possibly because of difficulty quantifying the neurologic phenotype and because of genetic complexity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-31
PMCID: PMC3050790  PMID: 21349189
25.  A de novo marker chromosome derived from 9p in a patient with 9p partial duplication syndrome and autism features: genotype-phenotype correlation 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:135.
Background
Previous studies focusing on candidate genes and chromosomal regions identified several copy number variations (CNVs) associated with increased risk of autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Case Presentation
We describe a 17-year-old girl with autism, severe mental retardation, epilepsy, and partial 9p duplication syndrome features in whom GTG-banded chromosome analysis revealed a female karyotype with a marker chromosome in 69% of analyzed metaphases. Array CGH analysis showed that the marker chromosome originated from 9p24.3 to 9p13.1 with a gain of 38.9 Mb. This mosaic 9p duplication was detected only in the proband and not in the parents, her four unaffected siblings, or 258 ethnic controls. Apart from the marker chromosome, no other copy number variations (CNVs) were detected in the patient or her family. Detailed analysis of the duplicated region revealed: i) an area extending from 9p22.3 to 9p22.2 that was previously identified as a critical region for the 9p duplication syndrome; ii) a region extending from 9p22.1 to 9p13.1 that was previously reported to be duplicated in a normal individual; and iii) a potential ASD locus extending from 9p24.3 to 9p23. The ASD candidate locus contained 34 genes that may contribute to the autistic features in this patient.
Conclusion
We identified a potential ASD locus (9p24.3 to 9p23) that may encompass gene(s) contributing to autism or ASD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-135
PMCID: PMC2946294  PMID: 20858261

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