Expanding allelic and phenotypic spectrum of ZC4H2-related disorder: A novel hypomorphic variant and high prevalence of tethered cord

Parith Wongkittichote, Tae Ik Choi, Oc Hee Kim, Kacie Riley, Dwight Koeberl, Vinodh Narayanan, Keri Ramsey, Chris Balak, Charles E. Schwartz, Anna Maria Cueto-Gonzalez, Francina Munell Casadesus, Cheol Hee Kim, Marwan S. Shinawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


ZC4H2 (MIM# 300897) is a nuclear factor involved in various cellular processes including proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells, ventral spinal patterning and osteogenic and myogenic processes. Pathogenic variants in ZC4H2 have been associated with Wieacker-Wolff syndrome (MIM# 314580), an X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by arthrogryposis, development delay, hypotonia, feeding difficulties, poor growth, skeletal abnormalities, and dysmorphic features. Zebrafish zc4h2 null mutants recapitulated the human phenotype, showed complete loss of vsx2 expression in brain, and exhibited abnormal swimming and balance problems. Here we report 7 new patients (four males and three females) with ZC4H2-related disorder from six unrelated families. Four of the 6 ZC4H2 variants are novel: three missense variants, designated as c.142T>A (p.Tyr48Asn), c.558G>A (p.Met186Ile) and c.602C>T (p.Pro201Leu), and a nonsense variant, c.618C>A (p.Cys206*). Two variants were previously reported : a nonsense variant c.199C>T (p.Arg67*) and a splice site variant (c.225+5G>A). Five patients were on the severe spectrum of clinical findings, two of whom had early death. The male patient harboring the p.Met186Ile variant and the female patient that carries the p.Pro201Leu variant have a relatively mild phenotype. Of note, 4/7 patients had a tethered cord that required a surgical repair. We also demonstrate and discuss previously under-recognized phenotypic features including sleep apnea, arrhythmia, hypoglycemia, and unexpected early death. To study the effect of the missense variants, we performed microinjection of human ZC4H2 wild-type or variant mRNAs into zc4h2 null mutant zebrafish embryos. The p.Met186Ile mRNA variant was able to partially rescue vsx2 expression while p.Tyr48Asn and p.Pro201Leu mRNA variants were not. However, swimming and balance problems could not be rescued by any of these variants. These results suggest that the p.Met186Ile is a hypomorphic allele. Our work expands the genotypes and phenotypes associated with ZC4H2-related disorder and demonstrates that the zebrafish system is a reliable method to determine the pathogenicity of ZC4H2 variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-178
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Wieacker-Wolff syndrome
  • X-linked disorder
  • ZC4H2
  • ZC4H2-related disorder
  • arthrogryposis
  • tethered cord
  • zebrafish model


Dive into the research topics of 'Expanding allelic and phenotypic spectrum of ZC4H2-related disorder: A novel hypomorphic variant and high prevalence of tethered cord'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this