RAB1A haploinsufficiency phenocopies the 2p14-p15 microdeletion and is associated with impaired neuronal differentiation

Am J Hum Genet. 2023 Dec 7;110(12):2103-2111. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2023.10.009. Epub 2023 Nov 3.


Hereditary spastic parapareses (HSPs) are clinically heterogeneous motor neuron diseases with variable age of onset and severity. Although variants in dozens of genes are implicated in HSPs, much of the genetic basis for pediatric-onset HSP remains unexplained. Here, we re-analyzed clinical exome-sequencing data from siblings with HSP of unknown genetic etiology and identified an inherited nonsense mutation (c.523C>T [p.Arg175Ter]) in the highly conserved RAB1A. The mutation is predicted to produce a truncated protein with an intact RAB GTPase domain but without two C-terminal cysteine residues required for proper subcellular protein localization. Additional RAB1A mutations, including two frameshift mutations and a mosaic missense mutation (c.83T>C [p.Leu28Pro]), were identified in three individuals with similar neurodevelopmental presentations. In rescue experiments, production of the full-length, but not the truncated, RAB1a rescued Golgi structure and cell proliferation in Rab1-depleted cells. In contrast, the missense-variant RAB1a disrupted Golgi structure despite intact Rab1 expression, suggesting a dominant-negative function of the mosaic missense mutation. Knock-down of RAB1A in cultured human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons resulted in impaired neuronal arborization. Finally, RAB1A is located within the 2p14-p15 microdeletion syndrome locus. The similar clinical presentations of individuals with RAB1A loss-of-function mutations and the 2p14-p15 microdeletion syndrome implicate loss of RAB1A in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental manifestations of this microdeletion syndrome. Our study identifies a RAB1A-related neurocognitive disorder with speech and motor delay, demonstrates an essential role for RAB1a in neuronal differentiation, and implicates RAB1A in the etiology of the neurodevelopmental sequelae associated with the 2p14-p15 microdeletion syndrome.

Keywords: microdeletion; neuronal differentiation; spastic paraplegia.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Haploinsufficiency* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Mutation, Missense / genetics
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary* / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins