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Hum Mutat. 2014 Mar;35(3):350-5. doi: 10.1002/humu.22498. Epub 2014 Jan 13.

Early frameshift mutation in PIGA identified in a large XLID family without neonatal lethality.

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Human Genome Laboratory, VIB Center for the Biology of Disease, Leuven, Belgium; Human Genome Laboratory, Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


The phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIGA) protein is a member of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor pathway. Germline mutations in PIGA located at Xp22.2 are thought to be lethal in males. However, a nonsense mutation in the last coding exon was recently described in two brothers with multiple congenital anomalies-hypotonia-seizures syndrome 2 (MCAHS2) who survived through birth likely because of the hypomorphic nature of the truncated protein, but died in their first weeks of life. Here, we report on a frameshift mutation early in the PIGA cDNA (c.76dupT; p.Y26Lfs*3) that cosegregates with the disease in a large family diagnosed with a severe syndromic form of X-linked intellectual disability. Unexpectedly, CD59 surface expression suggested the production of a shorter PIGA protein with residual functionality. We provide evidence that the second methionine at position 37 may be used for the translation of a 36 amino acids shorter PIGA. Complementation assays confirmed that this shorter PIGA cDNA was able to partially rescue the surface expression of CD59 in a PIGA-null cell line. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that the early frameshift mutation in PIGA produces a truncated hypomorph, which is sufficient to rescue the lethality in males but not the MCAHS2-like phenotype.


GPI-anchor; PIGA; frameshift; intellectual disability; start codon

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