PIGA mutations cause early-onset epileptic encephalopathies and distinctive features

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the clinical spectrum caused by mutations in PIGA at Xp22.2, which is involved in the biosynthesis of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor, among patients with early-onset epileptic encephalopathies (EOEEs).

Methods:

Whole-exome sequencing was performed as a comprehensive genetic analysis for a cohort of 172 patients with EOEEs including early myoclonic encephalopathy, Ohtahara syndrome, and West syndrome, and PIGA mutations were carefully investigated.

Results:

We identified 4 PIGA mutations in probands showing early myoclonic encephalopathy, West syndrome, or unclassified EOEE. Flow cytometry of blood granulocytes from patients demonstrated reduced expression of GPI-anchored proteins. Expression of GPI-anchored proteins in PIGA-deficient JY5 cells was only partially or hardly restored by transient expression of PIGA mutants with a weak TATA box promoter, indicating a variable loss of PIGA activity. The phenotypic consequences of PIGA mutations can be classified into 2 types, severe and less severe, which correlate with the degree of PIGA activity reduction caused by the mutations. Severe forms involved myoclonus and asymmetrical suppression bursts on EEG, multiple anomalies with a dysmorphic face, and delayed myelination with restricted diffusion patterns in specific areas. The less severe form presented with intellectual disability and treatable seizures without facial dysmorphism.

Conclusions:

Our study confirmed that PIGA mutations are one genetic cause of EOEE, suggesting that GPI-anchor deficiencies may be an underlying cause of EOEE.

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