Desmosterolosis-phenotypic and molecular characterization of a third case and review of the literature

Christian P. Schaaf, Janet Koster, Panagiotis Katsonis, Lisa Kratz, Oleg A. Shchelochkov, Fernando Scaglia, Richard I. Kelley, Olivier Lichtarge, Hans R. Waterham, Marwan Shinawi

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Desmosterolosis, a rare disorder of cholesterol biosynthesis, is caused by mutations in DHCR24, the gene encoding the enzyme 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24). To date, desmosterolosis has been described in only two patients. Here we report on a third patient with desmosterolosis who presented after delivery with relative macrocephaly, mild arthrogryposis, and dysmorphic facial features. Brain MRI revealed hydrocephalus, thickening of the tectum and massa intermedia, mildly effaced gyral pattern, underopercularization, and a thin corpus callosum. The diagnosis of desmosterolosis was established by detection of significant elevation of plasma desmosterol levels and reduced enzyme activity of DHCR24 upon expression of the patient's DHCR24 cDNA in yeast. The patient was found to be a compound heterozygote for c.281G>A (p.R94H) and c.1438G>A (p.E480K) mutations. Structural and evolutionary analyses showed that residue R94 resides at the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) binding site and is strictly conserved throughout evolution, while residue E480 is less conserved, but the charge shift substitution is accompanied by drastic changes in the local protein environment of that residue. We compare the phenotype of our patient with previously reported cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1597-1604
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Brain malformations
  • Cholesterol
  • Desmosterol
  • Desmosterolosis


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