The phenotypic spectrum of germline YARS2 variants: from isolated sideroblastic anemia to mitochondrial myopathy, lactic acidosis and sideroblastic anemia 2

Haematologica. 2018 Dec;103(12):2008-2015. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2017.182659. Epub 2018 Jul 19.


YARS2 variants have previously been described in patients with myopathy, lactic acidosis and sideroblastic anemia 2 (MLASA2). YARS2 encodes the mitochondrial tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase, which is responsible for conjugating tyrosine to its cognate mt-tRNA for mitochondrial protein synthesis. Here we describe 14 individuals from 11 families presenting with sideroblastic anemia and YARS2 variants that we identified using a sideroblastic anemia gene panel or exome sequencing. The phenotype of these patients ranged from MLASA to isolated congenital sideroblastic anemia. As in previous cases, inter- and intra-familial phenotypic variability was observed, however, this report includes the first cases with isolated sideroblastic anemia and patients with biallelic YARS2 variants that have no clinically ascertainable phenotype. We identified ten novel YARS2 variants and three previously reported variants. In vitro amino-acylation assays of five novel missense variants showed that three had less effect on the catalytic activity of YARS2 than the most commonly reported variant, p.(Phe52Leu), associated with MLASA2, which may explain the milder phenotypes in patients with these variants. However, the other two missense variants had a more severe effect on YARS2 catalytic efficiency. Several patients carried the common YARS2 c.572 G>T, p.(Gly191Val) variant (minor allele frequency =0.1259) in trans with a rare deleterious YARS2 variant. We have previously shown that the p.(Gly191Val) variant reduces YARS2 catalytic activity. Consequently, we suggest that biallelic YARS2 variants, including severe loss-of-function alleles in trans of the common p.(Gly191Val) variant, should be considered as a cause of isolated congenital sideroblastic anemia, as well as the MLASA syndromic phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Lactic / enzymology
  • Acidosis, Lactic / genetics*
  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Sideroblastic / enzymology
  • Anemia, Sideroblastic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / enzymology
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • MELAS Syndrome / enzymology
  • MELAS Syndrome / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Tyrosine-tRNA Ligase / genetics*
  • Young Adult


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Tyrosine-tRNA Ligase

Supplementary concepts

  • Myopathy with lactic acidosis and sideroblastic anemia
  • X-linked sideroblastic anemia