Clinical exome sequencing of 1000 families with complex immune phenotypes: Toward comprehensive genomic evaluations

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2022 Oct;150(4):947-954. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2022.06.009. Epub 2022 Jun 24.


Background: Prospective genetic evaluation of patients at this referral research hospital presents clinical research challenges.

Objectives: This study sought not only a single-gene explanation for participants' immune-related presentations, but viewed each participant holistically, with the potential to have multiple genetic contributions to their immune phenotype and other heritable comorbidities relevant to their presentation and health.

Methods: This study developed a program integrating exome sequencing, chromosomal microarray, phenotyping, results return with genetic counseling, and reanalysis in 1505 individuals from 1000 families with suspected or known inborn errors of immunity.

Results: Probands were 50.8% female, 71.5% were ≥18 years, and had diverse immune presentations. Overall, 327 of 1000 probands (32.7%) received 361 molecular diagnoses. These included 17 probands with diagnostic copy number variants, 32 probands with secondary findings, and 31 probands with multiple molecular diagnoses. Reanalysis added 22 molecular diagnoses, predominantly due to new disease-gene associations (9 of 22, 40.9%). One-quarter of the molecular diagnoses (92 of 361) did not involve immune-associated genes. Molecular diagnosis was correlated with younger age, male sex, and a higher number of organ systems involved. This program also facilitated the discovery of new gene-disease associations such as SASH3-related immunodeficiency. A review of treatment options and ClinGen actionability curations suggest that at least 251 of 361 of these molecular diagnoses (69.5%) could translate into ≥1 management option.

Conclusions: This program contributes to our understanding of the diagnostic and clinical utility whole exome analysis on a large scale.

Trial registration: NCT03206099.

Keywords: Genomics; Mendelian disorder; chromosomal microarray analysis; copy number variation; exome sequencing; genetics; immune system; immunology; inborn errors of immunity; secondary findings.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Exome* / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing* / methods
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Prospective Studies

Associated data