Background: Grebe dysplasia, Hunter-Thompson dysplasia, and du Pan dysplasia constitute a spectrum of skeletal dysplasias inherited as an autosomal recessive trait characterized by short stature, severe acromesomelic shortening of the limbs, and normal axial skeleton. The majority of patients with these disorders have biallelic loss-of-function mutations of GDF5. In single instances, Grebe dysplasia and a Grebe dysplasia-like phenotype with genital anomalies have been shown to be caused by mutations in BMPR1B, encoding a GDF5 receptor.
Methods: We clinically and radiologically characterised an acromesomelic chondrodysplasia in an adult woman born to consanguineous parents. We sequenced GDF5 and BMPR1B on DNA of the proposita. We performed 3D structural analysis and luciferase reporter assays to functionally investigate the identified BMPR1B mutation.
Results: We extend the genotype-phenotype correlation in the acromesomelic chondrodysplasias by showing that the milder du Pan dysplasia can be caused by a hypomorphic BMPR1B mutation. We show that the homozygous c.91C>T, p.(Arg31Cys) mutation causing du Pan dysplasia leads to a significant loss of BMPR1B function, but to a lesser extent than the previously reported p.Cys53Arg mutation that results in the more severe Grebe dysplasia.
Conclusions: The phenotypic severity gradient of the clinically and radiologically related acromesomelic chondrodysplasia spectrum of skeletal disorders may be due to the extent of functional impairment of the ligand-receptor pair GDF5-BMPR1B.