Pseudodiastrophic dysplasia expands the known phenotypic spectrum of defects in proteoglycan biosynthesis

J Med Genet. 2020 Jul;57(7):454-460. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2019-106700. Epub 2020 Jan 27.


Background: Pseudodiastrophic dysplasia (PDD) is a severe skeletal dysplasia associated with prenatal manifestation and early lethality. Clinically, PDD is classified as a 'dysplasia with multiple joint dislocations'; however, the molecular aetiology of the disorder is currently unknown.

Methods: Whole exome sequencing (WES) was performed on three patients from two unrelated families, clinically diagnosed with PDD, in order to identify the underlying genetic cause. The functional effects of the identified variants were characterised using primary cells and human cell-based overexpression assays.

Results: WES resulted in the identification of biallelic variants in the established skeletal dysplasia genes, B3GAT3 (family 1) and CANT1 (family 2). Mutations in these genes have previously been reported to cause 'multiple joint dislocations, short stature, and craniofacial dysmorphism with or without congenital heart defects' ('JDSCD'; B3GAT3) and Desbuquois dysplasia 1 (CANT1), disorders in the same nosological group as PDD. Follow-up of the B3GAT3 variants demonstrated significantly reduced B3GAT3/GlcAT-I expression. Downstream in vitro functional analysis revealed abolished biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycan side chains on proteoglycans. Functional evaluation of the CANT1 variant showed impaired nucleotidase activity, which results in inhibition of glycosaminoglycan synthesis through accumulation of uridine diphosphate.

Conclusion: For the families described in this study, the PDD phenotype was caused by mutations in the known skeletal dysplasia genes B3GAT3 and CANT1, demonstrating the advantage of genomic analyses in delineating the molecular diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias. This finding expands the phenotypic spectrum of B3GAT3-related and CANT1-related skeletal dysplasias to include PDD and highlights the significant phenotypic overlap of conditions within the proteoglycan biosynthesis pathway.

Keywords: clinical genetics; molecular genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dwarfism / genetics*
  • Dwarfism / pathology
  • Exome Sequencing
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology
  • Hernia, Umbilical / genetics*
  • Hernia, Umbilical / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics
  • Nucleotidases / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteoglycans


  • Proteoglycans
  • B3GAT3 protein, human
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • CANT1 protein, human
  • Nucleotidases

Supplementary concepts

  • Pseudodiastrophic dysplasia