An X-linked myopathy with postural muscle atrophy and generalized hypertrophy, termed XMPMA, is caused by mutations in FHL1

Am J Hum Genet. 2008 Jan;82(1):88-99. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2007.09.004.


We have identified a large multigenerational Austrian family displaying a novel form of X-linked recessive myopathy. Affected individuals develop an adult-onset scapulo-axio-peroneal myopathy with bent-spine syndrome characterized by specific atrophy of postural muscles along with pseudoathleticism or hypertrophy and cardiac involvement. Known X-linked myopathies were excluded by simple-tandem-repeat polymorphism (STRP) and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, direct gene sequencing, and immunohistochemical analysis. STRP analysis revealed significant linkage at Xq25-q27.1. Haplotype analysis based on SNP microarray data from selected family members confirmed this linkage region on the distal arm of the X chromosome, thereby narrowing down the critical interval to 12 Mb. Sequencing of functional candidate genes led to the identification of a missense mutation within the four and a half LIM domain 1 gene (FHL1), which putatively disrupts the fourth LIM domain of the protein. Mutation screening of FHL1 in a myopathy family from the UK exhibiting an almost identical phenotype revealed a 3 bp insertion mutation within the second LIM domain. FHL1 on Xq26.3 is highly expressed in skeletal and cardiac muscles. Western-blot analysis of muscle biopsies showed a marked decrease in protein expression of FHL1 in patients, in concordance with the genetic data. In summary, we have to our knowledge characterized a new disorder, X-linked myopathy with postural muscle atrophy (XMPMA), and identified FHL1 as the causative gene. This is the first FHL protein to be identified in conjunction with a human genetic disorder and further supports the role of FHL proteins in the development and maintenance of muscle tissue. Mutation screening of FHL1 should be considered for patients with uncharacterized myopathies and cardiomyopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genes, X-Linked*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics*
  • LIM Domain Proteins
  • Male
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscular Atrophy / genetics*
  • Muscular Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics*
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Pedigree
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • United Kingdom


  • FHL1 protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • LIM Domain Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins