Foetal akinesia deformation sequence syndrome (FADS) is a heterogenous disorder characterised by foetal akinesia and developmental defects including, in some case, pterygia. Multiple pterygium syndromes (MPS) are traditionally divided into prenatally lethal and non-lethal (Escobar) types. Previously, we and others reported that homozygous mutations in the foetal acetylcholine receptor gamma subunit (CHRNG) can cause both lethal and non-lethal MPS, demonstrating that pterygia resulted from foetal akinesia, and that mutations in the acetylcholine receptor subunits CHRNA1, CHRND, and Rapsyn (RAPSN) can also result in a MPS/FADS phenotype. We hypothesised that mutations in other acetylcholine receptor-related genes may interfere with neurotransmission at the neuromuscular junction and so we analysed 14 cases of lethal MPS/FADS without CHRNG, CHRNA1, CHRNB1, CHRND, or RAPSN mutations for mutations in DOK7. A homozygous DOK7 splice site mutation, c.331+1G>T, was identified in a family with three children affected with lethal FADS. Previously DOK7 mutations have been reported to underlie a congenital myasthenic syndrome with a characteristic ‘limb girdle’ pattern of muscle weakness. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that whereas incomplete loss of DOK7 function may cause congenital myasthenia, more severe loss of function can result in a lethal foetal akinesia phenotype.
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