Infantile-onset skeletal myopathy Barth syndrome (OMIM #302060) is caused by mutations in the X-linked TAZ gene and hence usually manifests itself only in hemizygous males. Confirmatory testing is provided by mutational analysis of the TAZ gene and/or by biochemical dosage of the monolysocardiolipin/tetralinoleoyl cardiolipin ratio. Heterozygous females do not usually display a clinical phenotype but may undergo molecular genetic prenatal diagnosis during pregnancy. We characterized two novel and non-identical TAZ gene rearrangements in the offspring of a single female carrier of Barth syndrome. The hg19chrX:g.153634427-153644361delinsKP-123427.1 TAZ gene rearrangement was identified in her affected son, whereas the NM-000116.3(TAZ)c.-72-109+51del TAZ gene deletion was identified in a male foetus during a subsequent pregnancy. The unaffected mother was surprisingly found to harbour both variants in addition to a wild-type TAZ allele. A combination of breakpoint junction sequencing, linkage analysis and assessment of allelic dosage revealed that the two variants had originated independently from an apparently unstable/mutable TAZ maternal allele albeit via different mutational mechanisms. We conclude that molecular prenatal diagnosis in Barth syndrome families with probands carrying TAZ gene rearrangements should include investigation of the entire coding region of the TAZ gene. The identification of the breakpoint junctions of such gross gene rearrangements is important to ensure accurate ascertainment of carriership with a view to providing appropriate genetic counselling.
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