We describe a proband evaluated through the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) who presented with microcephaly, developmental delay, and refractory epilepsy with a de novo p.Ala47Thr missense variant in the protein phosphatase gene, PPP5C. This gene has not previously been associated with a Mendelian disease, and based on the population database, gnomAD, the gene has a low tolerance for loss-of-function variants (pLI = 1, o/e = 0.07). We functionally evaluated the PPP5C variant in C. elegans by knocking the variant into the orthologous gene, pph-5, at the corresponding residue, Ala48Thr. We employed assays in three different biological processes where pph-5 was known to function through opposing the activity of genes, mec-15 and sep-1. We demonstrated that, in contrast to control animals, the pph-5 Ala48Thr variant suppresses the neurite growth phenotype and the GABA signaling defects of mec-15 mutants, and the embryonic lethality of sep-1 mutants. The Ala48Thr variant did not display dominance and behaved similarly to the reference pph-5 null, indicating that the variant is likely a strong hypomorph or complete loss-of-function. We conclude that pph-5 Ala48Thr is damaging in C. elegans. By extension in the proband, PPP5C p.Ala47Thr is likely damaging, the de novo dominant presentation is consistent with haplo-insufficiency, and the PPP5C variant is likely responsible for one or more of the proband's phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular genetics and metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2022


  • C. elegans
  • Developmental delay
  • Microcephaly
  • PPH-5
  • PPP5C


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