Background: Mutations in genes encoding subunits of the tRNA-splicing endonuclease (TSEN) complex were identified in patients with pontocerebellar hypoplasia 2 (PCH2) and pontocerebellar hypoplasia 4 (PCH4).
Objective: We report molecular genetic findings in 12 Italian patients with clinical and MRI findings compatible with PCH2 and PCH4.
Methods: We retrospectively selected a cohort of 12 children from 9 Italian families with MRI of hypoplastic pontocerebellar structures and clinical manifestations suggesting either PCH2 or PCH4 and submitted them to direct sequencing of the genes encoding the 4 subunits of the TSEN complex, namely TSEN54, TSEN34, TSEN15, and TSEN2.
Results: In a cohort of 12 children, we detected the common p.A307S mutation in TSEN54 in 9/12 available patients from nine unrelated families. We also detected a novel c.1170_1183del (p. V390fs39X) in compound heterozygosity with the common p.A307S in a child with a severe PCH4 phenotype. In another severely affected patient, the second mutant allele was not identified. Two sibs without mutations in the TSEN complex were unlinked to the PCH3 locus. In addition to typical clinical and neuroradiologic features of PCH2, both children were affected by a tubulopathy resembling Bartter syndrome.
Conclusions: We confirm that the common p.A307S mutation in TSEN54 is responsible for most of the patients with a PCH2 phenotype. The presence of a heterozygous in/del variant correlates with a more severe phenotype as PCH4. In addition, we describe a new clinical form of PCH in 2 sibs with clinical and MRI features of PCH2.