Background: Although most individuals effectively control herpesvirus infections, some suffer from severe and/or recurrent infections. A subset of these patients possess defects in natural killer (NK) cells, lymphocytes that recognize and lyse herpesvirus-infected cells; however, the genetic etiology is rarely diagnosed. PLCG2 encodes a signaling protein in NK-cell and B-cell signaling. Dominant-negative or gain-of-function variants in PLCG2 cause cold urticaria, antibody deficiency, and autoinflammation. However, loss-of-function variants and haploinsufficiency have not been reported to date. Objectives: The investigators aimed to identify the genetic cause of NK-cell immunodeficiency in 2 families and herein describe the functional consequences of 2 novel loss-of-function variants in PLCG2. Methods: The investigators employed whole-exome sequencing in conjunction with mass cytometry, microscopy, functional assays, and a mouse model of PLCG2 haploinsufficiency to investigate 2 families with NK-cell immunodeficiency. Results: The investigators identified novel heterozygous variants in PLCG2 in 2 families with severe and/or recurrent herpesvirus infections. In vitro studies demonstrated that these variants were loss of function due to haploinsufficiency with impaired NK-cell calcium flux and cytotoxicity. In contrast to previous PLCG2 variants, B-cell function remained intact. Plcg2+/− mice also displayed impaired NK-cell function with preserved B-cell function, phenocopying human disease. Conclusions: PLCG2 haploinsufficiency represents a distinct syndrome from previous variants characterized by NK-cell immunodeficiency with herpesvirus susceptibility, expanding the spectrum of PLCG2-related disease.
- NK cell