Phenotypic variability of a TREX1 variant in Aicardi-Goutieres type 1 patients from the Indian subcontinent

Eur J Med Genet. 2021 Sep;64(9):104291. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2021.104291. Epub 2021 Jul 22.


Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS) is a heterogeneous genetic syndrome, manifesting early as encephalopathy and is associated with abnormal neurologic findings, hepatosplenomegaly, elevated liver enzymes, thrombocytopenia and intracranial calcification. The most severe neonatal type, AGS1, is caused by biallelic disease-causing variants in TREX1. In this study, we describe four patients with TREX1-related AGS1 whose phenotype overlaps with intra-uterine infections and neonatal lupus. Exome sequencing identified a previously reported TREX1 variant, c.223dup (NM_016381.5; p. Glu75GlyfsTer82) in all the four patients belonging to the Indian subcontinent. The functional consequence of the disease-causing variant was predicted by using a new combination of bioinformatics softwares. The recurrence of this pathogenic variant indicates a possible founder effect in TREX1 for AGS1 in this population. The phenotypic variability in those with this founder mutation can mimic intrauterine infections and neonatal lupus, thereby leading to misdiagnosis warranting a targeted genetic testing approach to be a part of the diagnostic workup to obtain a definite, early and cost-effective diagnosis in patients from Indian subcontinent with early onset encephalopathy.

Keywords: Indian subcontinent; Intra-uterine infections; Intracranial calcification; Neonatal lupus; TREX1 variant.

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / genetics*
  • Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System / pathology
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases / chemistry
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Founder Effect
  • Gene Frequency
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System Malformations / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Malformations / genetics*
  • Nervous System Malformations / pathology
  • Phenotype*
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Protein Domains


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • three prime repair exonuclease 1

Supplementary concepts

  • Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome