Expanding the clinical spectrum of biglycan-related Meester-Loeys syndrome

Josephina A N Meester, Anne Hebert, Maaike Bastiaansen, Laura Rabaut, Jarl Bastianen, Nele Boeckx, Kathryn Ashcroft, Paldeep S Atwal, Antoine Benichou, Clarisse Billon, Jan D Blankensteijn, Paul Brennan, Stephanie A Bucks, Ian M Campbell, Solène Conrad, Stephanie L Curtis, Majed Dasouki, Carolyn L Dent, James Eden, Himanshu GoelVerity Hartill, Arjan C Houweling, Bertrand Isidor, Nicola Jackson, Pieter Koopman, Anita Korpioja, Minna Kraatari-Tiri, Liina Kuulavainen, Kelvin Lee, Karen J Low, Alan C Lu, Morgan L McManus, Stephen P Oakley, James Oliver, Nicole M Organ, Eline Overwater, Nicole Revencu, Alison H Trainer, Bhavya Trivedi, Claire L S Turner, Rebecca Whittington, Andreas Zankl, Dominica Zentner, Lut Van Laer, Aline Verstraeten, Bart L Loeys

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Pathogenic loss-of-function variants in BGN, an X-linked gene encoding biglycan, are associated with Meester-Loeys syndrome (MRLS), a thoracic aortic aneurysm/dissection syndrome. Since the initial publication of five probands in 2017, we have considerably expanded our MRLS cohort to a total of 18 probands (16 males and 2 females). Segregation analyses identified 36 additional BGN variant-harboring family members (9 males and 27 females). The identified BGN variants were shown to lead to loss-of-function by cDNA and Western Blot analyses of skin fibroblasts or were strongly predicted to lead to loss-of-function based on the nature of the variant. No (likely) pathogenic missense variants without additional (predicted) splice effects were identified. Interestingly, a male proband with a deletion spanning the coding sequence of BGN and the 5' untranslated region of the downstream gene (ATP2B3) presented with a more severe skeletal phenotype. This may possibly be explained by expressional activation of the downstream ATPase ATP2B3 (normally repressed in skin fibroblasts) driven by the remnant BGN promotor. This study highlights that aneurysms and dissections in MRLS extend beyond the thoracic aorta, affecting the entire arterial tree, and cardiovascular symptoms may coincide with non-specific connective tissue features. Furthermore, the clinical presentation is more severe and penetrant in males compared to females. Extensive analysis at RNA, cDNA, and/or protein level is recommended to prove a loss-of-function effect before determining the pathogenicity of identified BGN missense and non-canonical splice variants. In conclusion, distinct mechanisms may underlie the wide phenotypic spectrum of MRLS patients carrying loss-of-function variants in BGN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

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