Mutations in the MYH7 gene are the source of an allelic series of diseases, including various cardiomyopathies and skeletal myopathies that usually manifest in adulthood. We observed a 1.5 y.o. male patient with congenital weaknesses of the axial muscles, "dropped head" syndrome, and dilated cardiomyopathy. The clinical evaluation included medical history, an echocardiogram, electromyography, and a histopathological study. The genetic evaluation included whole exome sequencing. Muscle biopsy samples from the proband were used for mRNA extraction. We revealed a novel genetic variant c.5655 + 5G > C in the MYH7 gene. The analysis of the cDNA showed an in-frame skipping of exon 38 (p.1854_1885del). This variant and two previously published mutations (c.5655G > A and c.5655 + 1G > A), also presumably leading to exon 38 skipping, were studied by expression analysis in the HEK293T cell line transfected with 4 plasmids containing the MYH7 minigene (wt, c.5655G > C, c.5655 + 1G > A and c.5655 + 5G > A). A quantitative difference in expression was shown for cell lines with each of the three mutant plasmids. All mutation carriers had a similar phenotype and included congenital axial myopathy and variable cardiac involvement. Prominent dropped head syndrome was mentioned in all patients. Early-onset axial myopathy with a dropped head syndrome is a distinct clinical entity within MYH7-related disorders. We suggest that mutations in the MYH7 gene affecting the C-terminal domain of beta-myosin heavy chain should also be considered as a possible cause in cases of early-onset myopathy with "dropped head" syndrome.
Keywords: Congenital myopathy; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Dropped head syndrome; Exon-skipping; Floppy head syndrome; MYH7; MYH7-related myopathy; Splicing.
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