A Balanced Translocation in Kallmann Syndrome Implicates a Long Noncoding RNA, RMST, as a GnRH Neuronal Regulator

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar 1;105(3):e231-e244. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz011.


Context: Kallmann syndrome (KS) is a rare, genetically heterogeneous Mendelian disorder. Structural defects in KS patients have helped define the genetic architecture of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuronal development in this condition.

Objective: Examine the functional role a novel structural defect affecting a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), RMST, found in a KS patient.

Design: Whole genome sequencing, induced pluripotent stem cells and derived neural crest cells (NCC) from the KS patient were contrasted with controls.

Setting: The Harvard Reproductive Sciences Center, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomic Medicine, and Singapore Genome Institute.

Patient: A KS patient with a unique translocation, t(7;12)(q22;q24).

Interventions/main outcome measure/results: A novel translocation was detected affecting the lncRNA, RMST, on chromosome 12 in the absence of any other KS mutations. Compared with controls, the patient's induced pluripotent stem cells and NCC provided functional information regarding RMST. Whereas RMST expression increased during NCC differentiation in controls, it was substantially reduced in the KS patient's NCC coincident with abrogated NCC morphological development and abnormal expression of several "downstream" genes essential for GnRH ontogeny (SOX2, PAX3, CHD7, TUBB3, and MKRN3). Additionally, an intronic single nucleotide polymorphism in RMST was significantly implicated in a genome-wide association study associated with age of menarche.

Conclusions: A novel deletion in RMST implicates the loss of function of a lncRNA as a unique cause of KS and suggests it plays a critical role in the ontogeny of GnRH neurons and puberty.

Keywords: human; long non-coding RNA; mutations; reproduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 12 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 7 / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Kallmann Syndrome / genetics*
  • Kallmann Syndrome / pathology*
  • Male
  • Neural Crest / metabolism
  • Neural Crest / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics*
  • Translocation, Genetic*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone