Thursday, June 6, 2024

EBF3 neurodevelopmental disorder

Inspired by a patient

Ignatius E, Puosi R, Palomäki M, Forsbom N, Pohjanpelto M, Alitalo T, Anttonen AK, Avela K, Haataja L, Carroll CJ, Lönnqvist T, Isohanni P. Duplication/triplication mosaicism of EBF3 and expansion of the EBF3 neurodevelopmental disorder phenotype. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2022 Mar;37:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2021.12.012. Epub 2021 Dec 26. PMID: 34999443.


Deleterious variants in the transcription factor early B-cell factor 3 (EBF3) are known to cause a neurodevelopmental disorder (EBF3-NDD). We report eleven individuals with EBF3 variants, including an individual with a duplication/triplication mosaicism of a region encompassing EBF3 and a phenotype consistent with EBF3-NDD, which may reflect the importance of EBF3 gene-dosage for neurodevelopment. The phenotype of individuals in this cohort was quite mild compared to the core phenotype of previously described individuals. Although ataxia tended to wane with age, we show that cognitive difficulties may increase, and we recommend that individuals with EBF3-NDD have systematic neuropsychological follow-up.

Deisseroth CA, Lerma VC, Magyar CL, Pfliger JM, Nayak A, Bliss ND, LeMaire AW, Narayanan V, Balak C, Zanni G, Valente EM, Bertini E, Benke PJ, Wangler MF, Chao HT. An Integrated Phenotypic and Genotypic Approach Reveals a High-Risk Subtype Association for EBF3 Missense Variants Affecting the Zinc Finger Domain. Ann Neurol. 2022 Jul;92(1):138-153. doi: 10.1002/ana.26359. Epub 2022 Apr 16. PMID: 35340043.


Objective: Collier/Olf/EBF (COE) transcription factors have distinct expression patterns in the developing and mature nervous system. To date, a neurological disease association has been conclusively established for only the Early B-cell Factor-3 (EBF3) COE family member through the identification of heterozygous loss-of-function variants in individuals with autism spectrum/neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). Here, we identify a symptom severity risk association with missense variants primarily disrupting the zinc finger domain (ZNF) in EBF3-related NDD.

Methods: A phenotypic assessment of 41 individuals was combined with a literature meta-analysis for a total of 83 individuals diagnosed with EBF3-related NDD. Quantitative diagnostic phenotypic and symptom severity scales were developed to compare EBF3 variant type and location to identify genotype-phenotype correlations. To stratify the effects of EBF3 variants disrupting either the DNA-binding domain (DBD) or the ZNF, we used in vivo fruit fly UAS-GAL4 expression and in vitro luciferase assays.

Results: We show that patient symptom severity correlates with EBF3 missense variants perturbing the ZNF, which is a key protein domain required for stabilizing the interaction between EBF3 and the target DNA sequence. We found that ZNF-associated variants failed to restore viability in the fruit fly and impaired transcriptional activation. However, the recurrent variant EBF3 p.Arg209Trp in the DBD is capable of partially rescuing viability in the fly and preserved transcriptional activation.

Interpretation: We describe a symptom severity risk association with ZNF perturbations and EBF3 loss-of-function in the largest reported cohort to date of EBF3-related NDD patients. This analysis should have potential predictive clinical value for newly identified patients with EBF3 gene variants. ANN NEUROL 2022;92:138-153.

Zhu J, Li W, Yu S, Lu W, Xu Q, Wang S, Qian Y, Guo Q, Xu S, Wang Y, Zhang P, Zhao X, Ni Q, Liu R, Li X, Wu B, Zhou S, Wang H. Further delineation of EBF3-related syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder in twelve Chinese patients. Front Pediatr. 2023 Mar 3;11:1091532. doi: 10.3389/fped.2023.1091532. PMID: 36937983; PMCID: PMC10020332.


Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) have heterogeneity in both clinical characteristics and genetic factors. EBF3 is a recently discovered gene associated with a syndromic form of NDDs characterized by hypotonia, ataxia and facial features. In this study, we report twelve unrelated individuals with EBF3 variants using next-generation sequencing. Five missense variants (four novel variants and one known variant) and seven copy number variations (CNVs) of EBF3 gene were identified. All of these patients exhibited developmental delay/intellectual disability. Ataxia was observed in 33% (6/9) of the patients, and abnormal muscle tone was observed in 55% (6/11) of the patients. Aberrant MRI reports were noted in 64% (7/11) of the patients. Four novel missense variants were all located in the DNA-binding domain. The pathogenicity of these variants was validated by in vitro experiments. We found that the subcellular protein localization of the R152C and F211L mutants was changed, and the distribution pattern of the R163G mutant was changed from even to granular. Luciferase assay results showed that the four EBF3 mutants' transcriptional activities were all significantly decreased (p < 0.01). Our study further expanded the gene mutation spectrum of EBF3-related NDD.

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