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Brain. 2013 Jan;136(Pt 1):282-93. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws293.

Recessive MYL2 mutations cause infantile type I muscle fibre disease and cardiomyopathy.

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Department of Genome Analysis k2-213, Academic Medical Centre Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A cardioskeletal myopathy with onset and death in infancy, morphological features of muscle type I hypotrophy with myofibrillar disorganization and dilated cardiomyopathy was previously reported in three Dutch families. Here we report the genetic cause of this disorder. Multipoint parametric linkage analysis of six Dutch patients identified a homozygous region of 2.1 Mb on chromosome 12, which was shared between all Dutch patients, with a log of odds score of 10.82. Sequence analysis of the entire linkage region resulted in the identification of a homozygous mutation in the last acceptor splice site of the myosin regulatory light chain 2 gene (MYL2) as the genetic cause. MYL2 encodes a myosin regulatory light chain (MLC-2V). The myosin regulatory light chains bind, together with the essential light chains, to the flexible neck region of the myosin heavy chain in the hexameric myosin complex and have a structural and regulatory role in muscle contraction. The MYL2 mutation results in use of a cryptic splice site upstream of the last exon causing a frameshift and replacement of the last 32 codons by 20 different codons. Whole exome sequencing of an Italian patient with similar clinical features showed compound heterozygosity for two other mutations affecting the same exon of MYL2, also resulting in mutant proteins with altered C-terminal tails. As a consequence of these mutations, the second EF-hand domain is disrupted. EF-hands, assumed to function as calcium sensors, can undergo a conformational change upon binding of calcium that is critical for interactions with downstream targets. Immunohistochemical staining of skeletal muscle tissue of the Dutch patients showed a diffuse and weak expression of the mutant protein without clear fibre specificity, while normal protein was absent. Heterozygous missense mutations in MYL2 are known to cause dominant hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; however, none of the parents showed signs of cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, the mutations in the last exon of MYL2 are responsible for a novel autosomal recessive lethal myosinopathy due to defects changing the C-terminal tail of the ventricular form of the myosin regulatory light chain. We propose 'light chain myopathy' as a name for this MYL2-associated myopathy.

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