Biallelic UBE4A loss-of-function variants cause intellectual disability and global developmental delay

Uirá Souto Melo, Devon Bonner, Kevin C. Kent Lloyd, Ala Moshiri, Brandon Willis, Louise Lanoue, Lynette Bower, Brian C. Leonard, Davi Jardim Martins, Fernando Gomes, Felipe de Souza Leite, Danyllo Oliveira, João Paulo Kitajima, Fabiola P. Monteiro, Mayana Zatz, Carlos Frederico Martins Menck, Matthew T. Wheeler, Jonathan A. Bernstein, Kevin Dumas, Elizabeth SpiteriNataliya Di Donato, Arne Jahn, Mais Hashem, Hessa S. Alsaif, Aziza Chedrawi, Fowzan S. Alkuraya, Fernando Kok, Heather M. Byers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify novel genes associated with intellectual disability (ID) in four unrelated families. Methods: Here, through exome sequencing and international collaboration, we report eight individuals from four unrelated families of diverse geographic origin with biallelic loss-of-function variants in UBE4A. Results: Eight evaluated individuals presented with syndromic intellectual disability and global developmental delay. Other clinical features included hypotonia, short stature, seizures, and behavior disorder. Characteristic features were appreciated in some individuals but not all; in some cases, features became more apparent with age. We demonstrated that UBE4A loss-of-function variants reduced RNA expression and protein levels in clinical samples. Mice generated to mimic patient-specific Ube4a loss-of-function variant exhibited muscular and neurological/behavioral abnormalities, some of which are suggestive of the clinical abnormalities seen in the affected individuals. Conclusion: These data indicate that biallelic loss-of-function variants in UBE4A cause a novel intellectual disability syndrome, suggesting that UBE4A enzyme activity is required for normal development and neurological function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-668
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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