The genetic basis of classic nonketotic hyperglycinemia due to mutations in GLDC and AMT

Genet Med. 2017 Jan;19(1):104-111. doi: 10.1038/gim.2016.74. Epub 2016 Jun 30.


Purpose: The study's purpose was to delineate the genetic mutations that cause classic nonketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH).

Methods: Genetic results, parental phase, ethnic origin, and gender data were collected from subjects suspected to have classic NKH. Mutations were compared with those in the existing literature and to the population frequency from the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) database.

Results: In 578 families, genetic analyses identified 410 unique mutations, including 246 novel mutations. 80% of subjects had mutations in GLDC. Missense mutations were noted in 52% of all GLDC alleles, most private. Missense mutations were 1.5 times as likely to be pathogenic in the carboxy terminal of GLDC than in the amino-terminal part. Intragenic copy-number variations (CNVs) in GLDC were noted in 140 subjects, with biallelic CNVs present in 39 subjects. The position and frequency of the breakpoint for CNVs correlated with intron size and presence of Alu elements. Missense mutations, most often recurring, were the most common type of disease-causing mutation in AMT. Sequencing and CNV analysis identified biallelic pathogenic mutations in 98% of subjects. Based on genotype, 15% of subjects had an attenuated phenotype. The frequency of NKH is estimated at 1:76,000.

Conclusion: The 484 unique mutations now known in classic NKH provide a valuable overview for the development of genotype-based therapies.Genet Med 19 1, 104-111.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Aminomethyltransferase / genetics*
  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genotype
  • Glycine / genetics
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Glycine Decarboxylase Complex / genetics*
  • Glycine Dehydrogenase (Decarboxylating) / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycinemia, Nonketotic / diagnosis
  • Hyperglycinemia, Nonketotic / genetics*
  • Hyperglycinemia, Nonketotic / pathology
  • Introns
  • Male
  • Mutation, Missense


  • Glycine Decarboxylase Complex
  • Glycine Dehydrogenase (Decarboxylating)
  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase
  • Aminomethyltransferase
  • Glycine