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J Inherit Metab Dis. 2014 Jul;37(4):609-17. doi: 10.1007/s10545-014-9720-9. Epub 2014 May 15.

Congenital disorders of glycosylation: new defects and still counting.

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Hayward Genetics Center, Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Ave, New Orleans, LA, 70112, USA.


Almost 50 inborn errors of metabolism have been described due to congenital defects in N-linked glycosylation. These phenotypically diverse disorders typically present as clinical syndromes, affecting multiple systems including the central nervous system, muscle function, transport, regulation, immunity, endocrine system, and coagulation. An increasing number of disorders have been discovered using novel techniques that combine glycobiology with next-generation sequencing or use tandem mass spectrometry in combination with molecular gene-hunting techniques. The number of "classic" congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) due to N-linked glycosylation defects is still rising. Eight novel CDGs affecting N-linked glycans were discovered in 2013 alone. Newly discovered genes teach us about the significance of glycosylation in cell-cell interaction, signaling, organ development, cell survival, and mosaicism, in addition to the consequences of abnormal glycosylation for muscle function. We have learned how important glycosylation is in posttranslational modification and how glycosylation defects can imitate recognizable, previously described phenotypes. In many CDG subtypes, patients unexpectedly presented with long-term survival, whereas some others presented with nonsyndromic intellectual disability. In this review, recently discovered N-linked CDGs are described, with a focus on clinical presentations and therapeutic ideas. A diagnostic approach in unsolved N-linked CDG cases with abnormal transferrin screening results is also suggested.

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