De Novo Variants in LMNB1 Cause Pronounced Syndromic Microcephaly and Disruption of Nuclear Envelope Integrity

Am J Hum Genet. 2020 Oct 1;107(4):753-762. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.08.015. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Lamin B1 plays an important role in the nuclear envelope stability, the regulation of gene expression, and neural development. Duplication of LMNB1, or missense mutations increasing LMNB1 expression, are associated with autosomal-dominant leukodystrophy. On the basis of its role in neurogenesis, it has been postulated that LMNB1 variants could cause microcephaly. Here, we confirm this hypothesis with the identification of de novo mutations in LMNB1 in seven individuals with pronounced primary microcephaly (ranging from -3.6 to -12 SD) associated with relative short stature and variable degree of intellectual disability and neurological features as the core symptoms. Simplified gyral pattern of the cortex and abnormal corpus callosum were noted on MRI of three individuals, and these individuals also presented with a more severe phenotype. Functional analysis of the three missense mutations showed impaired formation of the LMNB1 nuclear lamina. The two variants located within the head group of LMNB1 result in a decrease in the nuclear localization of the protein and an increase in misshapen nuclei. We further demonstrate that another mutation, located in the coil region, leads to increased frequency of condensed nuclei and lower steady-state levels of lamin B1 in proband lymphoblasts. Our findings collectively indicate that de novo mutations in LMNB1 result in a dominant and damaging effect on nuclear envelope formation that correlates with microcephaly in humans. This adds LMNB1 to the growing list of genes implicated in severe autosomal-dominant microcephaly and broadens the phenotypic spectrum of the laminopathies.

Keywords: LMNB1; intellectual disability; lamin A/C; lamin B1; microcephaly; mitotic spindle; nuclear envelope; nuclear lamina.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Corpus Callosum / diagnostic imaging
  • Corpus Callosum / metabolism
  • Corpus Callosum / pathology
  • Dwarfism / diagnostic imaging
  • Dwarfism / genetics*
  • Dwarfism / metabolism
  • Dwarfism / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnostic imaging
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Intellectual Disability / metabolism
  • Intellectual Disability / pathology
  • Lamin Type B / genetics*
  • Lamin Type B / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microcephaly / diagnostic imaging
  • Microcephaly / genetics*
  • Microcephaly / metabolism
  • Microcephaly / pathology
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Lamina / genetics*
  • Nuclear Lamina / metabolism
  • Nuclear Lamina / pathology


  • Lamin Type B
  • lamin B1

Supplementary concepts

  • Microcephaly autosomal dominant