The genotypic and phenotypic spectrum of PIGA deficiency

Maja Tarailo-Graovac, Graham Sinclair, Sylvia Stockler-Ipsiroglu, Margot Van Allen, Jacob Rozmus, Casper Shyr, Roberta Biancheri, Tracey Oh, Bryan Sayson, Mirafe Lafek, Colin J. Ross, Wendy P. Robinson, Wyeth W. Wasserman, Andrea Rossi, Clara D M Van Karnebeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Phosphatidylinositol glycan biosynthesis class A protein (PIGA) is one of the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor proteins, which function as enzymes, adhesion molecules, complement regulators and co-receptors in signal transduction pathways. Until recently, only somatic PIGA mutations had been reported in patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), while germline mutations had not been observed, and were suspected to result in lethality. However, in just two years, whole exome sequencing (WES) analyses have identified germline PIGA mutations in male patients with XLIDD (X-linked intellectual developmental disorder) with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations. Methods and results: Here, we report on a new missense PIGA germline mutation [g.15342986C>T (p.S330N)] identified via WES followed by Sanger sequencing, in a Chinese male infant presenting with developmental arrest, infantile spasms, a pattern of lesion distribution on brain MRI resembling that typical of maple syrup urine disease, contractures, dysmorphism, elevated alkaline phosphatase, mixed hearing loss (a combination of conductive and sensorineural), liver dysfunction, mitochondrial complex I and V deficiency, and therapy-responsive dyslipidemia with confirmed lipoprotein lipase deficiency. X-inactivation studies showed skewing in the clinically unaffected carrier mother, and CD109 surface expression in patient fibroblasts was 57% of that measured in controls; together these data support pathogenicity of this mutation. Furthermore, we review all reported germline PIGA mutations (1 nonsense, 1 frameshift, 1 in-frame deletion, five missense) in 8 unrelated families. Conclusions: Our case further delineates the heterogeneous phenotype of this condition for which we propose the term 'PIGA deficiency'. While the phenotypic spectrum is wide, it could be classified into two types (severe and less severe) with shared hallmarks of infantile spasms with hypsarrhythmia on EEG and profound XLIDD. In severe PIGA deficiency, as described in our patient, patients also present with dysmorphic facial features, multiple CNS abnormalities, such as thin corpus callosum and delayed myelination, as well as hypotonia and elevated alkaline phosphatase along with liver, renal, and cardiac involvement; its course is often fatal. The less severe form of PIGA deficiency does not involve facial dysmorphism and multiple CNS abnormalities; instead, patients present with milder IDD, treatable seizures and generally a longer lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Dysmorphism
  • Epileptic encephalopathy
  • Genomics
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositol
  • Hypotonia
  • Intellectual disability
  • Intramyelin edema
  • Iron
  • Lipoprotein lipase
  • Multi-organ involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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