Genetic epilepsy syndromesGene: FDFT1
Biallelic pathogenic FDFT1 variants cause Squalene synthase deficiency (MIM 618156). 3 individuals from 2 families (and 3 variants) have been reported. DD, ID and seizures are part of the phenotype (3/3). The metabolic profile observed is specific and highly suggestive of disruption of the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway (at the specific level) while the clinical presentation is similar to other disorders of the pathway (SLO). The effect of 2 variants has been studied in detail (in one case mis-splicing demonstrated and in the other regulatory effect). Overall, this gene could be considered for inclusion in the ID/epilepsy panel with amber rating. As the gene is currently present only in the DDG2P panel, please consider adding it to relevant ones (eg. IEMs, undiagnosed metabolic disorders, etc). [Details provided below].
Coman et al. (2018 - PMID: 29909962) reported on 3 relevant individuals from 2 unrelated families.
The phenotype consisted of seizures (3/3 - neonatal onset - generalized), profound DD (ID can be inferred from the description in the supplement), variable brain MRI abnormalities (white matter loss, hypoplastic CC), cortical visual impairment, dry skin with photosensitivity as well facial dysmorphic features. Male subjects presented genital anomalies (cryptorchidism/hypospadias).
FDFT1 encodes squalene synthase, the enzyme which catalyzes conversion of farnesyl-pyrophosphate to squalene - the first specific step in cholesterol biosynthesis.
A specific pattern of metabolites was observed in all, similar to a pattern previously observed in animal models/humans treated with squalene synthase inhibitor or upon loading with farnesol (in animals). Overall the pattern was suggestive of a cholesterol biosynthesis defect at the level of squalene synthase as suggested by increased total farnesol levels (farnesyl-pyrophosphate + free farnesol), reduced/normal squalene, low plasma cholesterol as well as other metabolites.
Clinical features also resembled those observed in Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (another disorder of cholesterol biosynthesis).
WES was carried out in affected individuals and their parents and revealed for sibs of the first family, compound heterozygosity for a maternally inherited 120-kb deletion spanning exons 6-10 of FDFT1 and CTSB and a paternally inherited FDFT1 variant in intron 8 (TC deletion/AG insertion). Variant studies for the latter included:
- Minigene splice assay demonstrating retention of 22 bp in intron 8.
- Partial splicing defect with both nl and mis-spliced cDNA (patient fibroblasts)
- Reduced protein levels in lymphoblasts/fibroblasts from both sibs upon Western blot.
Contribution of the CTSB deletion was considered unlikely (carrier mother was unaffected).
As for the 2nd family, WES data allowed identification of a homozygous deep-intronic (although this is transcript-specific) 16-bp deletion in the proband. Parents were carriers. For the specific variant :
- cDNA studies failed to detect 3 (of 10) isoforms which are normally present in control fibroblasts. Eventual NMD (which would be predicted if the deletion resulted in splicing defect) was eliminated given the absent effect of cyclohexamide addition, thus suggesting a regulatory effect.
- Given a predicted promoter/enhancer effect of the deleted region, a luciferase assay performed, suggested that the sequence had promoter capacity, with the construct containing the 16-bp deletion showing reduced promoter activity.
Fdft1 knockout mice demonstrate embryonic lethality around mid-gestation while they exhibit severe growth retardation and defective neural tube closure.
In G2P FDFT1 is associated with 'Defect in Cholesterol Biosynthesis' (confidence:possible/biallelic/LoF). The gene belongs to the Current primary ID gene group of SysID. It is not commonly included in gene panels for ID offered by diagnostic laboratories.
Created: 11 Nov 2019, 3:51 p.m.
Mode of inheritance
BIALLELIC, autosomal or pseudoautosomal
Profound global developmental delay; Intellectual disability; Seizures; Abnormality of nervous system morphology; Cortical visual impairment; Abnormality of the skin; Abnormality of the face
gene: FDFT1 was added gene: FDFT1 was added to Genetic epilepsy syndromes. Sources: Literature Mode of inheritance for gene: FDFT1 was set to BIALLELIC, autosomal or pseudoautosomal Publications for gene: FDFT1 were set to 29909962 Phenotypes for gene: FDFT1 were set to Profound global developmental delay; Intellectual disability; Seizures; Abnormality of nervous system morphology; Cortical visual impairment; Abnormality of the skin; Abnormality of the face Penetrance for gene: FDFT1 were set to Complete Review for gene: FDFT1 was set to AMBER