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Mandibulofacial dysostosis with microcephaly (MFDM) is a rare sporadic syndrome comprising craniofacial malformations, microcephaly, developmental delay, and a recognizable dysmorphic appearance. Major sequelae, including choanal atresia, sensorineural hearing loss, and cleft palate, each occur in a significant proportion of affected individuals. We present detailed clinical findings in 12 unrelated individuals with MFDM; these 12 individuals compose the largest reported cohort to date. To define the etiology of MFDM, we employed whole-exome sequencing of four unrelated affected individuals and identified heterozygous mutations or deletions of EFTUD2 in all four. Validation studies of eight additional individuals with MFDM demonstrated causative EFTUD2 mutations in all affected individuals tested. A range of EFTUD2-mutation types, including null alleles and frameshifts, is seen in MFDM, consistent with haploinsufficiency; segregation is de novo in all cases assessed to date. U5-116kD, the protein encoded by EFTUD2, is a highly conserved spliceosomal GTPase with a central regulatory role in catalytic splicing and post-splicing-complex disassembly. MFDM is the first multiple-malformation syndrome attributed to a defect of the major spliceosome. Our findings significantly extend the range of reported spliceosomal phenotypes in humans and pave the way for further investigation in related conditions such as Treacher Collins syndrome.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Hum Genet

Publication Date





369 - 377


Abnormalities, Multiple, Alleles, Amino Acid Sequence, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Exome, Female, GTP Phosphohydrolases, Haploinsufficiency, Humans, Infant, Male, Mandibulofacial Dysostosis, Microcephaly, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Protein Structure, Tertiary, RNA Splicing, Ribonucleoprotein, U5 Small Nuclear, Spliceosomes