Pathogenic mutations in GLI2 cause a specific phenotype that is distinct from holoprosencephaly

Kelly A. Bear, Benjamin D. Solomon, Sonir Antonini, Ivo J.P. Arnhold, Marcela M. França, Erica H. Gerkes, Dorothy K. Grange, Donald W. Hadley, Jarmo Jääskeläinen, Sabrina S. Paulo, Patrick Rump, Constantine A. Stratakis, Elizabeth M. Thompson, Mary Willis, Thomas L. Winder, Alexander A.L. Jorge, Erich Roessler, Maximilian Muenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background Mutations in GLI2 have been associated with holoprosencephaly (HPE), a neuroanatomic anomaly resulting from incomplete cleavage of the developing forebrain, and an HPE-like phenotype involving pituitary anomalies and polydactyly. Objective To characterise the genotypic and phenotypic findings in individuals with GLI2 variants and clarify clinical findings in individuals with loss-of-function mutations. Methods Through the National Institutes of Health and collaborating centres, ̃400 individuals with HPE spectrum disorders, endocrine disorders or craniofacial anomalies were screened for GLI2 mutations. Results were combined with all published cases. We compared the clinical and molecular features of individuals with truncating mutations to individuals with variants of unknown significance (defined as not resulting in protein truncation, reported in normal controls and/or deemed unlikely to be pathogenic by functional prediction software). Results 112 individuals with variants in GLI2 were identified, with 43 having truncating mutations. Individuals with truncating mutations were more likely to have both pituitary anomalies and polydactyly versus those with variants of unknown significance (p<0.0001 by Fisher's exact test); only 1 of 43 had frank HPE. These individuals were more likely to have recognised penetrance (polydactyly or pituitary anomalies or both) than those without truncating mutations (p = 0.0036 by Fisher's exact test). A common facial phenotype was seen in individuals (with midface hypoplasia, cleft lip/palate and hypotelorism) with truncating mutations. Conclusions Individuals with truncating mutations in GLI2 typically present with pituitary anomalies, polydactyly and subtle facial features rather than HPE. This will be helpful in screening populations for GLI2 mutations and for counselling affected patients. Trial registration 98-HG-0249/04-HG-0093.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


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