A decade after the designation of MED13L as a gene and its link to intellectual disability (ID) and dextro-looped transposition of great arteries in 2003, we previously described a recognizable syndrome due to MED13L haploinsufficiency. Subsequent reports of 22 further patients diagnosed by genome-wide testing further delineated the syndrome with expansion of the phenotypic spectrum and showed reduced penetrance for congenital heart defects. We now report two novel patients identified by whole exome sequencing, one with a de novo MED13L truncating mutation and the other with a de novo missense mutation. The first patient indicates some facial resemblance to Kleefstra syndrome as a novel differential diagnosis, and the second patient shows, for the first time, recurrence of a MED13L missense mutation (p.(Asp860Gly)). Notably, our in silico modelling predicted this missense mutation to decrease the stability of an alpha-helix and thereby affecting the MED13L secondary structure, while the majority of published missense mutations remain variants of uncertain significance. Review of the reported patients with MED13L haploinsufficiency indicates moderate to severe ID and facial anomalies in all patients, as well as severe speech delay and muscular hypotonia in the majority. Further common signs include abnormal MRI findings of myelination defects and abnormal corpus callosum, ataxia and coordination problems, autistic features, seizures/abnormal EEG, or congenital heart defects, present in about 20-50% of the patients. With reference to facial anomalies, the majority of patients were reported to show broad/prominent forehead, low set ears, bitemporal narrowing, upslanting palpebral fissures, depressed/flat nasal bridge, bulbous nose, and abnormal chin, but macroglossia and horizontal eyebrows were also observed in ∼30%. The latter are especially important in the differential diagnosis of 1p36 deletion and Kleefstra syndromes, while the more common facial gestalt shows some resemblance to 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Despite the fact that MED13L was found to be one of the most common ID genes in the Deciphering Developmental Disorders Study, further detailed patient descriptions are needed to explore the full clinical spectrum, potential genotype-phenotype correlations, as well as the role of missense mutations and potential mutational hotspots along the gene.
Keywords: Haploinsufficiency; Intellectual disability; MED13L.
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