Mosaicism and incomplete penetrance of PCDH19 mutations

J Med Genet. 2019 Feb;56(2):81-88. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2017-105235. Epub 2018 Oct 4.


Background: Mutations in the PCDH19 gene have mainly been reported in female patients with epilepsy. To date, PCDH19 mutations have been reported in hundreds of females and only in 10 mosaic male epileptic patients with mosaicism.

Objective: We aimed to investigate the occurrence of mosaic PCDH19 mutations in 42 families comprising at least one patient with PCDH19-related epilepsy.

Methods: Two male patients with mosaic PCDH19 variants were identified using targeted next-generation sequencing. Forty female patients with PCDH19 variants were identified by Sanger sequencing and Multiple Ligation Probe Amplification (MLPA). Microdroplet digital PCR was used to quantify the mutant allelic fractions (MAFs) in 20 families with PCDH19 variants.

Results: Five mosaic individuals, four males and one female, were identified in total. Mosaic variant was confirmed in multiple somatic tissues from one male patient and in blood from the other male patient. Among 22 female patients harbouring a newly occurred PCDH19 variant identified by Sanger sequencing and MLPA, Sanger sequencing revealed two mosaic fathers (9%, 2/22), one with two affected daughters and the other with an affected child. Two asymptomatic mosaic fathers were confirmed as gonosomal mosaicism, with MAFs ranging from 4.16% to 37.38% and from 1.27% to 19.13%, respectively. In 11 families with apparent de novo variants, 1 female patient was identified as a mosaic with a blood MAF of 26.72%.

Conclusion: Our study provides new insights into phenotype-genotype correlations in PCDH19 related epilepsy and the finding of high-frequency mosaicism has important implications for genetic counselling.

Keywords: epilepsy; mddpcr; mosaicism; pcdh19; sequencing.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mosaicism*
  • Pedigree
  • Penetrance*


  • Cadherins
  • PCDH19 protein, human