Biallelic Deletion of PEX26 Exon 4 in a Boy with Phenotypic Features of both Zellweger Syndrome and Infantile Refsum Disease

Yalçınkaya B., Sağlam K. A., Terali K., Tekin E., Taslak H., Türkyılmaz A.

Molecular Syndromology, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1159/000538676
  • Journal Name: Molecular Syndromology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Copy number analysis, Copy number variations, Peroxisome biogenesis disorders, PEX26, Whole-exome sequencing
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: Peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs) encompass a group of diseases marked by clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Phenotypes linked to PBDs include Zellweger syndrome, neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy, infantile Refsum disease (IRD), rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata type 1, and Heimler syndrome. PBD phenotypes manifest through hypotonia, developmental delay, facial dysmorphism, seizures, liver dysfunction, sensorineural hearing loss, and retinal dystrophy. Methods: The proband underwent comprehensive clinical evaluation, followed by whole-exome sequencing (WES) coupled with copy number analysis (CNV), aimed at identifying potential disease-causing variants aligning with the observed phenotype. Results: Our findings detail an individual exhibiting developmental delay, hearing loss, visual impairment, hepatomegaly, and splenomegaly, attributed to a biallelic deletion of exon 4 in the PEX26 gene. The WES analysis of the index case did not uncover any pathogenic/likely pathogenic single-nucleotide variations that could account for the observed clinical findings. However, the CNV data derived from WES revealed a homozygous deletion in exon 4 of the PEX26 gene (NM_001127649.3), providing a plausible explanation for the patient's clinical features. The exon 4 region of PEX26 encodes the transmembrane domain of the protein. The transmembrane domain plays a crucial role in anchoring the protein within lipid bilayers, and its absence can disrupt proper localization and functioning. As a result, this structural alteration may impact the protein's ability to facilitate essential cellular processes related to peroxisome biogenesis and function. Conclusion: The index patient, which presented with hearing loss, retinal involvement and hepatic dysfunction in adolescence age, has atypical clinical course that can be considered unusual for Zellweger syndrome (ZS) and IRD phenotypes, and its rare genotypic data (in-frame single exon deletion) expands the PBD disease spectrum. This study revealed for the first time that PEX26 protein transmembrane domain loss exhibits an unusual course with clinical findings of IRD and ZS phenotypes. WES studies, incorporating CNV analyses, empower the identification of novel genetic alterations in genes seldom associated with gross deletion/duplication variations, such as those in the PEX26 gene. This not only enhances diagnostic rates in rare diseases but also contributes to broadening the spectrum of causal mutations.