Bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in PPFIBP1 cause a neurodevelopmental disorder with microcephaly, epilepsy and periventricular calcifications
PPFIBP1 encodes for the liprin-β1 protein which has been shown to play a role in neuronal outgrowth and synapse formation in Drosophila melanogaster . By exome sequencing, we detected nine ultra-rare homozygous loss-of-function variants in 14 individuals from 10 unrelated families. The individuals presented with moderate to profound developmental delay, often refractory early-onset epilepsy and progressive microcephaly. Further common clinical findings included muscular hypertonia, spasticity, failure to thrive and short stature, feeding difficulties, impaired hearing and vision, and congenital heart defects. Neuroimaging revealed abnormalities of brain morphology with leukoencephalopathy, cortical abnormalities, and intracranial periventricular calcifications as major features. In a fetus with intracranial calcifications, we identified a rare homozygous missense variant that by structural analysis was predicted to disturb the topology of the SAM-domain region that is essential for protein-protein interaction. For further insight in the effects of PPFIBP1 loss-of-function, we performed automated behavioural phenotyping of a Caenorhabditis elegans PPFIBP1/hlb-1 knockout model which revealed defects in spontaneous and light-induced behaviour and confirmed resistance to the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor aldicarb suggesting a defect in the neuronal presynaptic zone. In conclusion, we present bi-allelic loss-of-function variants in PPFIBP1 as a novel cause of an autosomal recessive neurodevelopmental disorder.