Novel biallelic variants expand the phenotype of NAA20-related syndrome

Clin Genet. 2023 Sep;104(3):371-376. doi: 10.1111/cge.14359. Epub 2023 May 16.


NAA20 is the catalytic subunit of the NatB complex, which is responsible for N-terminal acetylation of approximately 20% of the human proteome. Recently, pathogenic biallelic variants in NAA20 were associated with a novel neurodevelopmental disorder in five individuals with limited clinical information. We report two sisters harboring compound heterozygous variant (c.100C>T (p.Gln34Ter) and c.11T>C p.(Leu4Pro)) in the NAA20 gene, identified by exome sequencing. In vitro studies showed that the missense variant p.Leu4Pro resulted in a reduction of NAA20 catalytic activity due to weak coupling with the NatB auxiliary subunit. In addition, unpublished data of the previous families were reported, outlining the core phenotype of the NAA20-related disorder mostly characterized by cognitive impairment, microcephaly, ataxia, brain malformations, dysmorphism and variable occurrence of cardiac defect and epilepsy. Remarkably, our two patients featured epilepsy onset in adolescence suggesting this may be a part of syndrome evolution. Functional studies are needed to better understand the complexity of NAA20 variants pathogenesis as well as of other genes linked to N-terminal acetylation.

Keywords: N-terminal acetylation; NAA20; NatB; acetyltransferase; neurodevelopmental disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Humans
  • Microcephaly* / genetics
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase B / genetics
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase B / metabolism
  • Nervous System Malformations*
  • Phenotype
  • Syndrome


  • NAA20 protein, human
  • N-Terminal Acetyltransferase B