MKS1 mutations cause Joubert syndrome with agenesis of the corpus callosum

Eur J Med Genet. 2016 Aug;59(8):386-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2016.06.007. Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Joubert syndrome (JS) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous ciliopathy characterized by episodic hyperpnea and apnea, hypotonia, ataxia, cognitive impairment and ocular motor apraxia. The "molar tooth sign" is pathognomonic of this condition. Mutations in the MKS1 gene are a major cause of Meckel-Gruber syndrome (MKS), the most common form of syndromic neural tube defects, frequently resulting in perinatal lethality. We present the phenotype and genotype of a child with severe JS and agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC). In our patient, a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach revealed the following two variants of the MKS1 gene: first, a novel missense variant [ c.240G > T (p.Trp80Cys)], which affects a residue that is evolutionarily highly conserved in mammals and ciliates; second, a 29 bp deletion in intron 15 [c.1408-35_1408-7del29], a founder mutation, which in a homozygous state constitutes the major cause of MKS in Finland. We review the MKS1-variants in all of the eleven JS patients reported to date and compare these patients to our case. To our knowledge, this is the first patient with Joubert syndrome and agenesis of the corpus callosum where a potentially causal genotype is provided.

Keywords: Bioinformatics; Ciliopathy; Corpus-Callosum agenesis; Dysmorphology; Evolutionary conservation; Founder mutation; Genotype-phenotype correlation; Joubert syndrome; MKS1; Meckel-Gruber syndrome; Missense-mutation; Multiple sequence alignment; Syndromology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Agenesis of Corpus Callosum / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cerebellum / abnormalities*
  • Eye Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Eye Abnormalities / genetics*
  • Gene Order
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Retina / abnormalities*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • MKS1 protein, human
  • Proteins

Supplementary concepts

  • Agenesis of Cerebellar Vermis