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Homozygous GLUL deletion is embryonically viable and leads to glutamine synthetase deficiency


Abstract

Glutamine synthetase (GS) is the enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of glutamine, providing the only source of endogenous glutamine necessary for several critical metabolic and developmental pathways. GS deficiency, caused by pathogenic variants in the glutamate-ammonia ligase (GLUL) gene, is a rare autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism characterized by systemic glutamine deficiency, persistent moderate hyperammonemia, and clinically devastating seizures and multi-organ failure shortly after birth. The four cases reported thus far were caused by homozygous GLUL missense variants. We report a case of GS deficiency caused by homozygous GLUL gene deletion, diagnosed prenatally and likely representing the most severe end of the spectrum. We expand the known phenotype of this rare condition with novel dysmorphic, radiographic and neuropathologic features identified on post-mortem examination. The biallelic deletion identified in this case also included the RNASEL gene and was associated with immune dysfunction in the fetus. This case demonstrates that total absence of the GLUL gene in humans is viable beyond the embryonic period, despite the early embryonic lethality found in GLUL animal models.

Abstract

Glutamine synthetase (GS) is the enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of glutamine, providing the only source of endogenous glutamine necessary for several critical metabolic and developmental pathways. GS deficiency, caused by pathogenic variants in the glutamate-ammonia ligase (GLUL) gene, is a rare autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism characterized by systemic glutamine deficiency, persistent moderate hyperammonemia, and clinically devastating seizures and multi-organ failure shortly after birth. The four cases reported thus far were caused by homozygous GLUL missense variants. We report a case of GS deficiency caused by homozygous GLUL gene deletion, diagnosed prenatally and likely representing the most severe end of the spectrum. We expand the known phenotype of this rare condition with novel dysmorphic, radiographic and neuropathologic features identified on post-mortem examination. The biallelic deletion identified in this case also included the RNASEL gene and was associated with immune dysfunction in the fetus. This case demonstrates that total absence of the GLUL gene in humans is viable beyond the embryonic period, despite the early embryonic lethality found in GLUL animal models.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Genetics
Health Sciences > Genetics (clinical)
Language:English
Date:December 2020
Deposited On:22 Jan 2021 12:59
Last Modified:23 Jan 2021 21:01
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0009-9163
Additional Information:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Clinical Genetics, 2020, 98:6, 613-319, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/cge.13844. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. (http://www.wileyauthors.com/self-archiving)
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cge.13844
PubMed ID:32888207

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