Case Report: Profound newborn leukopenia related to a novel RAC2 variant

Front Pediatr. 2024 Mar 7:12:1365187. doi: 10.3389/fped.2024.1365187. eCollection 2024.


We report the case of a 1-week-old male born full-term, who had two inconclusive severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) newborn screens and developed scalp cellulitis and Escherichia coli bacteremia. He did not pass early confirmatory hearing screens. Initial blood counts and lymphocyte flow cytometry revealed profound neutropenia and lymphopenia with a T-/B-/NK- phenotype. Red blood cell adenosine deaminase 1 activity was within normal limits. A presumptive diagnosis of reticular dysgenesis was considered. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was started, but there was no improvement in neutrophil counts. Subsequent lymphocyte flow cytometry at around 4 weeks of age demonstrated an increase in T-, B- and NK-cell numbers, eliminating suspicion for SCID and raising concern for congenital neutropenia and bone marrow failure syndromes. Genetic testing revealed a novel variant in RAC2 [c.181C>A (p.Gln61Lys)] (Q61K). RAC2, a Ras-related GTPase, is the dominant RAC protein expressed in hematopoietic cells and is involved with various downstream immune-mediated responses. Pathogenic RAC2 variants show significant phenotypic heterogeneity (spanning from neutrophil defects to combined immunodeficiency) across dominant, constitutively activating, dominant activating, dominant negative, and autosomal recessive subtypes. Given the identification of a novel variant, functional testing was pursued to evaluate aberrant pathways described in other RAC2 pathogenic variants. In comparison to wild-type RAC2, the Q61K variant supported elevated superoxide production under both basal and PMA-stimulated conditions, increased PAK1 binding, and enhanced plasma membrane ruffling, consistent with other dominant, constitutively active mutations. This case highlights the diagnostic challenge associated with genetic variants identified via next-generation sequencing panels and the importance of functional assays to confirm variant pathogenicity.

Keywords: RAC2; inborn error of immunity; novel variant; reticular dysgenesis; severe combined immunodeficiency.

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  • Case Reports

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