Recommendations for interpreting the loss of function PVS1 ACMG/AMP variant criterion

Hum Mutat. 2018 Nov;39(11):1517-1524. doi: 10.1002/humu.23626. Epub 2018 Sep 7.


The 2015 ACMG/AMP sequence variant interpretation guideline provided a framework for classifying variants based on several benign and pathogenic evidence criteria, including a pathogenic criterion (PVS1) for predicted loss of function variants. However, the guideline did not elaborate on specific considerations for the different types of loss of function variants, nor did it provide decision-making pathways assimilating information about variant type, its location, or any additional evidence for the likelihood of a true null effect. Furthermore, this guideline did not take into account the relative strengths for each evidence type and the final outcome of their combinations with respect to PVS1 strength. Finally, criteria specifying the genes for which PVS1 can be applied are still missing. Here, as part of the ClinGen Sequence Variant Interpretation (SVI) Workgroup's goal of refining ACMG/AMP criteria, we provide recommendations for applying the PVS1 criterion using detailed guidance addressing the above-mentioned gaps. Evaluation of the refined criterion by seven disease-specific groups using heterogeneous types of loss of function variants (n = 56) showed 89% agreement with the new recommendation, while discrepancies in six variants (11%) were appropriately due to disease-specific refinements. Our recommendations will facilitate consistent and accurate interpretation of predicted loss of function variants.

Keywords: ACMG/AMP; ClinGen; PVS1; loss of function; variant interpretation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Exons / genetics
  • Genetic Testing / methods
  • Genetic Testing / standards
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / standards
  • Humans
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / standards
  • Societies, Medical / standards*
  • United States