A large deletion in TSC2 causes tuberous sclerosis complex by dysregulating PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway

Gene. 2024 May 30:909:148312. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2024.148312. Epub 2024 Feb 25.


Background/aim: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a multi-system syndrome caused by loss-of-function mutation in TSC1 or TSC2. Most TSC patients present with cardiac rhabdomyoma or cortical tubers during fetal life, and the symptoms are not uniform as their age. The gene products of TSC1/2 are components of the TSC protein complex and are important role in the PI3K/AKT/mTOR (PAM) signaling pathway. Based on three members of a family with variable expressivity, the purpose of this study was to clarify the clinical features of TSC in different age groups and to analyze the genetic characteristics of TSC2 gene.

Methods: Clinical exome sequencing and co-segregation were used to identify a three-generation family with four affected individuals. HEK-293T cell model was constructed for subsequent experiments. Quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting, and subcellular localization were used to analyze the expression effect of TSC2 mutation. CCK-8 assay, wound healing assay, and cell cycle analysis were used to analyze the function effect of TSC2 mutation.

Result: We identified a TSC family with heterozygous deletion of exon 4 in TSC2 by clinical exon sequencing. Sanger sequencing indicated that the affected individuals have 2541-bp deletion that encompassed exon 4 and adjacent introns. Deletion of exon 4 decreased the TSC2 mRNA and protein levels in HEK-293T cells, and activated the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, thereby altering the cell cycle and promoting cell proliferation and migration.

Conclusion: We confirmed the pathogenicity of the large deletion in TSC2 in a three- generations family.. Deletion of exon 4 of TSC2 affected cell proliferation, migration, and cell cycle via abnormal activation of the PAM pathway. This study evaluated the pathogenic effect of deletion of exon 4 of TSC2 and investigated the underlying mechanism.

Keywords: Cardiac rhabdomyoma; Hypomelanotic macules; Large deletion; PAM signaling pathway; TSC2; Tuberous sclerosis complex.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 1 Protein / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis* / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis* / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins* / genetics


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 1 Protein
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • TSC2 protein, human