GM2 Gangliosidosis in Shiba Inu Dogs with an In-Frame Deletion in HEXB.
Consistent with a tentative diagnosis of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), autofluorescent cytoplasmic storage bodies were found in neurons from the brains of 2 related Shiba Inu dogs with a young-adult onset, progressive neurodegenerative disease. Unexpectedly, no potentially causal NCL-related variants were identified in a whole-genome sequence generated with DNA from 1 of the affected dogs. Instead, the whole-genome sequence contained a homozygous 3 base pair (bp) deletion in a coding region of HEXB. The other affected dog also was homozygous for this 3-bp deletion. Mutations in the human HEXB ortholog cause Sandhoff disease, a type of GM2 gangliosidosis. Thin-layer chromatography confirmed that GM2 ganglioside had accumulated in an affected Shiba Inu brain. Enzymatic analysis confirmed that the GM2 gangliosidosis resulted from a deficiency in the HEXB encoded protein and not from a deficiency in products from HEXA or GM2A, which are known alternative causes of GM2 gangliosidosis. We conclude that the homozygous 3-bp deletion in HEXB is the likely cause of the Shiba Inu neurodegenerative disease and that whole-genome sequencing can lead to the early identification of potentially disease-causing DNA variants thereby refocusing subsequent diagnostic analyses toward confirming or refuting candidate variant causality.