In 4 infants with a new lethal autonomic sensory neuropathy with clinical features similar to familial dysautonomia as well as contractures, we identified a deleterious mutation in the DST gene, using homozygosity mapping followed by exome sequencing. DST encodes dystonin, a cytoskeleton linker protein, and the mutation results in an unstable transcript. Interestingly, dystonin is significantly more abundant in cells of familial dysautonomia patients with IKBKAP (I-κ-B kinase complex-associated protein) mutation compared to fibroblasts of controls, suggesting that upregulation of dystonin is responsible for the milder course in familial dysautonomia. Homozygosity mapping followed by exome sequencing is a successful approach to identify mutated genes in rare monogenic disorders.
Copyright © 2012 American Neurological Association.