A synonymous splicing mutation in the SF3B4 gene segregates in a family with highly variable Nager syndrome.Eur J Hum Genet. 2017 02; 25(3):371-375.EJ
Nager syndrome is a rare preaxial acrofacial dysostosis that is caused by heterozygous loss-of-function variants in SF3B4. This gene encodes for a protein required for the assembly of spliceosomal complexes, being a master gene for splicing regulation. The main clinical features of Nager syndrome include facial-mandibular and preaxial limb malformations, with normal cognitive functioning. Most Nager patients are sporadic, but few familial cases with a highly variable phenotype have been reported. In this work, we report a novel synonymous variant within exon 3 of the SF3B4 gene in a family with three members affected by Nager syndrome. No pathogenic variants have been detected in other 24 genes associated with syndromes characterized by mandibulo-facial anomalies. The pathogenicity of the mutation was demonstrated through a hybrid minigene assay, which confirmed an aberrant splicing with the creation of a cryptic splice site, and showed that this allele is hypomorphic. Our findings emphasize the importance to perform functional analyses to assess the possible consequences of synonymous variants and confirmed that hybrid minigenes represent an effective tool to evaluate the effects of variants on splicing, particularly when RNA is not available.