Biallelic loss of function variants in SYT2 cause a treatable congenital onset presynaptic myasthenic syndrome

Am J Med Genet A. 2020 Oct;182(10):2272-2283. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.61765. Epub 2020 Aug 10.


Synaptotagmins are integral synaptic vesicle membrane proteins that function as calcium sensors and regulate neurotransmitter release at the presynaptic nerve terminal. Synaptotagmin-2 (SYT2), is the major isoform expressed at the neuromuscular junction. Recently, dominant missense variants in SYT2 have been reported as a rare cause of distal motor neuropathy and myasthenic syndrome, manifesting with stable or slowly progressive distal weakness of variable severity along with presynaptic NMJ impairment. These variants are thought to have a dominant-negative effect on synaptic vesicle exocytosis, although the precise pathomechanism remains to be elucidated. Here we report seven patients of five families, with biallelic loss of function variants in SYT2, clinically manifesting with a remarkably consistent phenotype of severe congenital onset hypotonia and weakness, with variable degrees of respiratory involvement. Electrodiagnostic findings were consistent with a presynaptic congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS) in some. Treatment with an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor pursued in three patients showed clinical improvement with increased strength and function. This series further establishes SYT2 as a CMS-disease gene and expands its clinical and genetic spectrum to include recessive loss-of-function variants, manifesting as a severe congenital onset presynaptic CMS with potential treatment implications.

Keywords: SYT2; congenital myasthenic syndrome; neuromuscular junction; presynaptic CMS; synaptotagmins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Hypotonia / complications
  • Muscle Hypotonia / genetics*
  • Muscle Hypotonia / pathology
  • Muscle Weakness / genetics
  • Muscle Weakness / pathology
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics
  • Myasthenic Syndromes, Congenital / complications
  • Myasthenic Syndromes, Congenital / genetics*
  • Myasthenic Syndromes, Congenital / pathology
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Synaptic Transmission / genetics
  • Synaptotagmin II / genetics*


  • SYT2 protein, human
  • Synaptotagmin II