A novel mutation in FBXL4 in a Norwegian child with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome 13

Eur J Med Genet. 2016 Jun;59(6-7):342-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2016.05.005. Epub 2016 May 13.


Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes (MTDPS) represent a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive disorders, caused by mutations in genes involved in maintenance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Biallelic mutations in FBXL4 were recently described to cause encephalomyopathic MTDPS13. The syndrome has infantile onset and presents with hypotonia, feeding difficulties, a pattern of mild facial dysmorphisms, global developmental delay and brain atrophy. Laboratory investigations reveal elevated blood lactate levels, unspecific mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) enzyme deficiencies and mtDNA depletion. We report a novel missense variant, c.1442T > C (p.Leu481Pro), in FBXL4 (NM_012160.4) in a Norwegian boy with clinical, biochemical and cerebral MRI characteristics consistent with MTDPS13. The FBXL4 c.1442T > C (p.Leu481Pro) variant was not present in public databases, 149 Norwegian controls nor an in-house database containing whole exome sequencing data from 440 individuals, and it was predicted in silico to be deleterious to the protein function. Activities of MRC enzymes were normal in muscle tissue (complexes I-IV) and cultured skin fibroblasts (complexes I-V) from the patient, but mtDNA depletion was confirmed in muscle, thus supporting the predicted pathogenicity of the FBXL4 c.1442T > C (p.Leu481Pro) variant. On clinical indication of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, sequencing of FBXL4 should be performed, even when the activity levels of the MRC enzymes are normal.

Keywords: FBXL4; MTDPS13; Mitochondrial disorder; c.1442T>C; mtDNA depletion; p.Leu481Pro.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Exome / genetics
  • F-Box Proteins / genetics*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathies / epidemiology
  • Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathies / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathies / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • FbxL4 protein, human