If not Angelman, what is it? A review of Angelman-like syndromes

Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Apr;164A(4):975-92. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.36416.


Angelman syndrome (AS) is caused by a lack of expression of the maternally inherited UBE3A gene in the brain. However, about 10% of individuals with a clinical diagnosis of AS do not have an identifiable molecular defect. It is likely that most of those individuals have an AS-like syndrome that is clinically and molecularly distinct from AS. These AS-like syndromes can be broadly classified into chromosomal microdeletion and microduplication syndromes, and single-gene disorders. The microdeletion/microduplication syndromes are now easily identified by chromosomal microarray analysis and include Phelan–McDermid syndrome (chromosome 22q13.3 deletion), MBD5 haploinsufficiency syndrome (chromosome 2q23.1 deletion), and KANSL1 haploinsufficiency syndrome (chromosome 17q21.31 deletion). The single-gene disorders include Pitt–Hopkins syndrome (TCF4), Christianson syndrome (SLC9A6), Mowat–Wilson syndrome (ZEB2), Kleefstra syndrome (EHMT1), and Rett (MECP2) syndrome. They also include disorders due to mutations in HERC2, adenylosuccinase lyase (ADSL), CDKL5, FOXG1, MECP2 (duplications), MEF2C, and ATRX. Although many of these single-gene disorders can be caused by chromosomal microdeletions resulting in haploinsufficiency of the critical gene, the individual disorders are often caused by intragenic mutations that cannot be detected by chromosomal microarray analysis. We provide an overview of the clinical features of these syndromes, comparing and contrasting them with AS, in the hope that it will help guide clinicians in the diagnostic work-up of individuals with AS-like syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angelman Syndrome / genetics*
  • Ataxia / genetics*
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Epilepsy / genetics*
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Microcephaly / genetics*
  • Ocular Motility Disorders / genetics*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics


  • UBE3A protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases

Supplementary concepts

  • Mental Retardation, X-Linked, Syndromic, Christianson Type