Clinical relevance of postzygotic mosaicism in Cornelia de Lange syndrome and purifying selection of NIPBL variants in blood

Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 29;11(1):15459. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-94958-z.


Postzygotic mosaicism (PZM) in NIPBL is a strong source of causality for Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) that can have major clinical implications. Here, we further delineate the role of somatic mosaicism in CdLS by describing a series of 11 unreported patients with mosaic disease-causing variants in NIPBL and performing a retrospective cohort study from a Spanish CdLS diagnostic center. By reviewing the literature and combining our findings with previously published data, we demonstrate a negative selection against somatic deleterious NIPBL variants in blood. Furthermore, the analysis of all reported cases indicates an unusual high prevalence of mosaicism in CdLS, occurring in 13.1% of patients with a positive molecular diagnosis. It is worth noting that most of the affected individuals with mosaicism have a clinical phenotype at least as severe as those with constitutive pathogenic variants. However, the type of genetic change does not vary between germline and somatic events and, even in the presence of mosaicism, missense substitutions are located preferentially within the HEAT repeat domain of NIPBL. In conclusion, the high prevalence of mosaicism in CdLS as well as the disparity in tissue distribution provide a novel orientation for the clinical management and genetic counselling of families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comparative Genomic Hybridization
  • De Lange Syndrome / blood*
  • De Lange Syndrome / epidemiology
  • De Lange Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mosaicism
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Phenotype
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • NIPBL protein, human