Whole Exome Sequencing in Individuals with Idiopathic Clubfoot Reveals a Recurrent Filamin B (FLNB) Deletion

Ashley Quiggle, Wu Lin Charng, Lilian Antunes, Momchil Nikolov, Xavier Bledsoe, Jacqueline T. Hecht, Matthew B. Dobbs, Christina A. Gurnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Clubfoot, a congenital deformity that presents as a rigid, inward turning of the foot, affects approximately 1 in 1000 infants and occurs as an isolated birth defect in 80%of patients. Despite its high level of heritability, few causative genes have been identified, and mutations in known genes are only responsible for a small portion of clubfoot heritability. Questions/purposes (1) Are any rare gene variants enriched (that is, shared) in unrelated patients with isolated clubfoot? (2) Are there other rare variants in the identified gene (Filamin B) in these patients with clubfoot? Methods Whole-exome sequence data were generated from a discovery cohort of 183 unrelated probands with clubfoot and 2492 controls. Variants were filtered with minor allele frequency < 0.02 to identify rare variants as well as small insertions and deletions (indels) resulting in missense variants, nonsense or premature truncation, or in-frame deletions. A candidate deletion was then genotyped in another cohort of 974 unrelated patients with clubfoot (a replication cohort). Other rare variants in the candidate gene were also investigated. A segregation analysis was performed in multigenerational families of individuals with clubfoot to see if the genotypes segregate with phenotypes. Singlevariant association analysis was performed using the Fisher two-tailed exact test (exact p values are presented to give an indication of the magnitude of the association). Results There were no recurrent variants in the known genes causing clubfoot in this study. A three-base pair in-frame codon deletion of Filamin B (FLNB) (p.E1792del, rs1470699812) was identified in 1.6%(3 of 183) of probands with clubfoot in the discovery cohort compared with 0% of controls (0 of 2492) (odds ratio infinity (inf) [95%CI 5.64 to inf]; p = 3.18 x 10-5) and 0.0016% of gnomAD controls (2 of 125,709) (OR 1.01 x 103 [95% CI 117.42 to 1.64 x 104]; p = 3.13 x 10-8). By screening a replication cohort (n = 974 patients), we found two probands with the identical FLNB deletion. In total, the deletion was identified in 0.43% (5 of 1157) of probands with clubfoot compared with 0% of controls and 0.0016% of gnomAD controls (OR 268.5 [95% CI 43.68 to 2.88 x 103]; p = 1.43 x 10-9). The recurrent FLNB p.E1792del variant segregatedwith clubfoot,with incomplete penetrance in two families. Affected individuals were more likely to be male and have bilateral clubfoot. Although most patients had isolated clubfoot, features consistent with Larsen syndrome, including upper extremity abnormalities such as elbow and thumb hypermobility and wide, flat thumbs, were noted in affected members of one family. We identified 19 additional rare FLNB missense variants located throughout the gene in patients with clubfoot. One of these missense variants, FLNB p.G2397D, exhibited incomplete penetrance in one family. Conclusion A recurrent FLNB E1792 deletion was identified in 0.43% of 1157 isolated patients with clubfoot. Given the absence of any recurrent variants in our discovery phase (n = 183) for any of the known genes causing clubfoot, our findings support that novel and rare missense variants in FLNB in patients with clubfoot, although rare, may be among the most commonly known genetic causes of clubfoot. Patients with FLNB variants often have isolated clubfoot, but they and their family members may be at an increased risk of having additional clinical features consistent with Larsen syndrome. Clinical Relevance Identification of FLNB variants may be useful for determining clubfoot recurrence risk and comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-430
Number of pages10
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


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