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Whole Exome Sequencing Reveals DYSF, FKTN, and ISPD Mutations in Congenital Muscular Dystrophy Without Brain or Eye Involvement


Background: Congenital muscular dystrophies (CMDs) are a genetically and clinically heterogeneous group of neuromuscular disorders. Several genes encoding extracellular matrix, nuclear envelope, sarcolemmal proteins and glycosylation enzymes have been implicated in CMDs. The large overlap of clinical presentations due to mutations in different genes poses a challenge for clinicians in determining disease etiology for each patient. Objective: We investigated the use of whole exome sequencing (WES) in identifying the genetic cause of disease in 5 CMD patients from 3 families who presented with highly similar clinical features, including early-onset rapidly progressive weakness without brain or eye abnormalities. Methods: Whole exome sequencing was performed on DNA from affected individuals. Potential functional impacts of mutations were investigated by immunostaining on available muscle biopsies. Results: Pathogenic mutations in 3 different genes, DYSF, FKTN, and ISPD were identified in each family. Mutation in DYSF led to absence of dysferlin protein in patient muscle. Mutations in ISPD led to impaired ISDP function, as demonstrated by deficiency of α-dystroglycan glycosylation in patient muscle. Conclusions: This study highlights the benefit of unbiased genomic approaches in molecular diagnosis of neuromuscular disorders with high clinical heterogeneity, such as the phenotypes observed in our patients. Our results suggest that dysferlin deficiency should be in the differential diagnosis of congenital and rapidly progressive muscular dystrophy, and therefore dysferlin antibody should be in the standard immunohistochemistry panel for muscle biopsies in cases with suspected CMD.