Haploinsufficiency as a disease mechanism in GNB1-associated neurodevelopmental disorder

Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2020 Nov;8(11):e1477. doi: 10.1002/mgg3.1477. Epub 2020 Sep 12.


Background: GNB1 encodes a subunit of a heterotrimeric G-protein complex that transduces intracellular signaling cascades. Disruptions to the gene have previously been shown to be embryonic lethal in knockout mice and to cause complex neurodevelopmental disorders in humans. To date, the majority of variants associated with disease in humans have been missense variants in exons 5-7.

Methods: Genetic sequencing was performed on two patients presenting with complex neurological phenotypes including intellectual disability, hypotonia, and in one patient seizures. Reported variants were assessed using RNA sequencing and functional BRET/BiFC assays.

Results: A splice variant reported in patient 1 was confirmed to cause usage of a cryptic splice site leading to a truncated protein product. Patient 2 was reported to have a truncating variant. BRET and BiFC assays of both patient variants confirmed both were deficient in inducing GPCR-induced G protein activation due to lack of dimer formation with the Gγ subunit.

Conclusion: Here, we report two patients with functionally confirmed loss of function variants in GNB1 and neurodevelopmental phenotypes including intellectual disability, hypotonia, and seizures in one patient. These results suggest haploinsufficiency of GNB1 is a mechanism for neurodevelopmental disorders in humans.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / genetics*
  • Developmental Disabilities / pathology
  • Female
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits / genetics*
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Haploinsufficiency*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Intellectual Disability / pathology
  • Loss of Function Mutation*
  • Male
  • Mutation, Missense
  • RNA Splicing
  • Seizures / genetics*
  • Seizures / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • GNB1 protein, human
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits