TBCD may be a causal gene in progressive neurodegenerative encephalopathy with atypical infantile spinal muscular atrophy

J Hum Genet. 2017 Apr;62(4):473-480. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2016.149. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused by survival motor neuron gene mutations. Variant forms of SMA accompanied by additional clinical presentations have been classified as atypical SMA and are thought to be caused by variants in as yet unidentified causative genes. Here, we presented the clinical findings of two siblings with an SMA variant followed by progressive cerebral atrophy, and the results of whole-exome sequencing analyses of the family quartet that was performed to identify potential causative variants. We identified two candidate homozygous missense variants, R942Q in the tubulin-folding cofactor D (TBCD) gene and H250Q in the bromo-adjacent homology domain and coiled-coil containing 1 (BAHCC1) gene, located on chromosome 17q25.3 with an interval of 1.4 Mbp. The in silico analysis of both variants suggested that TBCD rather than BAHCC1 was likely the pathogenic gene (TBCD sensitivity, 0.68; specificity, 0.97; BAHCC1 sensitivity, 1.00; specificity, 0.00). Thus, our results show that TBCD is a likely novel candidate gene for atypical SMA with progressive cerebral atrophy. TBCD is predicted to have important functions on tubulin integrity in motor neurons as well as in the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / genetics*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Motor Neurons / pathology
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Pedigree
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood / genetics*
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood / physiopathology


  • BAHCC1 protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Proteins
  • TBCD protein, human