Biallelic mutations in the death domain of PIDD1 impair caspase-2 activation and are associated with intellectual disability

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Jan 5;11(1):1. doi: 10.1038/s41398-020-01158-w.


PIDD1 encodes p53-Induced Death Domain protein 1, which acts as a sensor surveilling centrosome numbers and p53 activity in mammalian cells. Early results also suggest a role in DNA damage response where PIDD1 may act as a cell-fate switch, through interaction with RIP1 and NEMO/IKKg, activating NF-κB signaling for survival, or as an apoptosis-inducing protein by activating caspase-2. Biallelic truncating mutations in CRADD-the protein bridging PIDD1 and caspase-2-have been reported in intellectual disability (ID), and in a form of lissencephaly. Here, we identified five families with ID from Iran, Pakistan, and India, with four different biallelic mutations in PIDD1, all disrupting the Death Domain (DD), through which PIDD1 interacts with CRADD or RIP1. Nonsense mutations Gln863* and Arg637* directly disrupt the DD, as does a missense mutation, Arg815Trp. A homozygous splice mutation in the fifth family is predicted to disrupt splicing upstream of the DD, as confirmed using an exon trap. In HEK293 cells, we show that both Gln863* and Arg815Trp mutants fail to co-localize with CRADD, leading to its aggregation and mis-localization, and fail to co-precipitate CRADD. Using genome-edited cell lines, we show that these three PIDD1 mutations all cause loss of PIDDosome function. Pidd1 null mice show decreased anxiety, but no motor abnormalities. Together this indicates that PIDD1 mutations in humans may cause ID (and possibly lissencephaly) either through gain of function or secondarily, due to altered scaffolding properties, while complete loss of PIDD1, as modeled in mice, may be well tolerated or is compensated for.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRADD Signaling Adaptor Protein* / genetics
  • CRADD Signaling Adaptor Protein* / metabolism
  • Caspase 2 / genetics
  • Caspase 2 / metabolism
  • Death Domain
  • Death Domain Receptor Signaling Adaptor Proteins / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • India
  • Intellectual Disability* / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mutation


  • CRADD Signaling Adaptor Protein
  • Death Domain Receptor Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • PIDD1 protein, human
  • Pidd1 protein, mouse
  • Caspase 2