Complex phenotype of dyskeratosis congenita and mood dysregulation with novel homozygous RTEL1 and TPH1 variants

Rachel A. Ungar, Neelam Giri, Maryland Pao, Payal P. Khincha, Weiyin Zhou, Blanche P. Alter, Sharon A. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dyskeratosis congenita (DC) is an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome caused by germline mutations in telomere biology genes. Patients have extremely short telomeres for their age and a complex phenotype including oral leukoplakia, abnormal skin pigmentation, and dysplastic nails in addition to bone marrow failure, pulmonary fibrosis, stenosis of the esophagus, lacrimal ducts and urethra, developmental anomalies, and high risk of cancer. We evaluated a patient with features of DC, mood dysregulation, diabetes, and lack of pubertal development. Family history was not available but genome-wide genotyping was consistent with consanguinity. Whole exome sequencing identified 82 variants of interest in 80 genes based on the following criteria: homozygous, <0.1% minor allele frequency in public and in-house databases, nonsynonymous, and predicted deleterious by multiple in silico prediction programs. Six genes were identified likely contributory to the clinical presentation. The cause of DC is likely due to homozygous splice site variants in regulator of telomere elongation helicase 1, a known DC and telomere biology gene. A homozygous, missense variant in tryptophan hydroxylase 1 may be clinically important as this gene encodes the rate limiting step in serotonin biosynthesis, a biologic pathway connected with mood disorders. Four additional genes (SCN4A, LRP4, GDAP1L1, and SPTBN5) had rare, missense homozygous variants that we speculate may contribute to portions of the clinical phenotype. This case illustrates the value of conducting detailed clinical and genomic evaluations on rare patients in order to identify new areas of research into the functional consequences of rare variants and their contribution to human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1432-1437
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • GDAP1L1
  • LRP4
  • RTEL1
  • SCN4A
  • STPBN5
  • TPH1
  • dyskeratosis congenital
  • mood dysregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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