PURPOSE: The study aimed to identify novel genes for idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (IHH). METHODS: A cohort of 1387 probands with IHH underwent exome sequencing and de novo, familial, and cohort-wide investigations. Functional studies were performed on 2 p190 Rho GTPase-activating proteins (p190 RhoGAP), ARHGAP35 and ARHGAP5, which involved in vivo modeling in larval zebrafish and an in vitro p190A-GAP activity assay. RESULTS: Rare protein-truncating variants (PTVs; n = 5) and missense variants in the RhoGAP domain (n = 7) in ARHGAP35 were identified in IHH cases (rare variant enrichment: PTV [unadjusted P = 3.1E-06] and missense [adjusted P = 4.9E-03] vs controls). Zebrafish modeling using gnrh3:egfp phenotype assessment showed that mutant larvae with deficient arhgap35a, the predominant ARHGAP35 paralog in the zebrafish brain, display decreased GnRH3-GFP+ neuronal area, a readout for IHH. In vitro GAP activity studies showed that 1 rare missense variant [ARHGAP35 p.(Arg1284Trp)] had decreased GAP activity. Rare PTVs (n = 2) also were discovered in ARHGAP5, a paralog of ARHGAP35; however, arhgap5 zebrafish mutants did not display significant GnRH3-GFP+ abnormalities. CONCLUSION: This study identified ARHGAP35 as a new autosomal dominant genetic driver for IHH and ARHGAP5 as a candidate gene for IHH. These observations suggest a novel role for the p190 RhoGAP proteins in GnRH neuronal development and integrity.
Developmental disorder, Idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, Intellectual disability, Puberty, Rho GTPase–activating protein