BACKGROUND: De novo pathogenic variants in the DDX3X gene are reported to account for 1-3% of unexplained intellectual disability (ID) in females, leading to the rare disease known as DDX3X syndrome (MRXSSB, OMIM #300958). Besides ID, these patients manifest a variable clinical presentation, which includes neurological and behavioral defects, and abnormal brain MRIs.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report a 10-year-old girl affected by delayed psychomotor development, delayed myelination, and polymicrogyria (PMG). We identified a novel de novo missense mutation in the DDX3X gene (c.625C > G) by whole exome sequencing (WES). The DDX3X gene encodes a DEAD-box ATP-dependent RNA-helicase broadly implicated in gene expression through regulation of mRNA metabolism. The identified mutation is located just upstream the helicase domain and is suggested to impair the protein activity, thus resulting in the altered translation of DDX3X-dependent mRNAs. The proband, presenting with the typical PMG phenotype related to the syndrome, does not show other clinical signs frequently reported in presence of missense DDX3X mutations that are associated with a most severe clinical presentation. In addition, she has brachycephaly, never described in female DDX3X patients, and macroglossia, that has never been associated with the syndrome.
CONCLUSIONS: This case expands the knowledge of DDX3X pathogenic variants and the associated DDX3X syndrome phenotypic spectrum.