medRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Feb 7:2024.01.31.24301497. doi: 10.1101/2024.01.31.24301497.

ABSTRACT

Genes encoding long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) comprise a large fraction of the human genome, yet haploinsufficiency of a lncRNA has not been shown to cause a Mendelian disease. CHASERR is a highly conserved human lncRNA adjacent to CHD2- a coding gene in which de novo loss-of-function variants cause developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. Here we report three unrelated individuals each harboring an ultra-rare heterozygous de novo deletion in the CHASERR locus. We report similarities in severe developmental delay, facial dysmorphisms, and cerebral dysmyelination in these individuals, distinguishing them from the phenotypic spectrum of CHD2 haploinsufficiency. We demonstrate reduced CHASERR mRNA expression and corresponding increased CHD2 mRNA and protein in whole blood and patient-derived cell lines-specifically increased expression of the CHD2 allele in cis with the CHASERR deletion, as predicted from a prior mouse model of Chaserr haploinsufficiency. We show for the first time that de novo structural variants facilitated by Alu-mediated non-allelic homologous recombination led to deletion of a non-coding element (the lncRNA CHASERR ) to cause a rare syndromic neurodevelopmental disorder. We also demonstrate that CHD2 has bidirectional dosage sensitivity in human disease. This work highlights the need to carefully evaluate other lncRNAs, particularly those upstream of genes associated with Mendelian disorders.

PMID:38496558 | PMC:PMC10942497 | DOI:10.1101/2024.01.31.24301497