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XRCC4 deficiency in human subjects causes a marked neurological phenotype but no overt immunodeficiency

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew GenneryORCiD


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Background: Nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) is the major DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair mechanism in human cells. The final rejoining step requires DNA ligase IV (LIG4) together with the partner proteins X-ray repair cross-complementing protein 4 (XRCC4) and XRCC4-like factor. Patients with mutations in genes encoding LIG4, XRCC4-like factor, or the other NHEJ proteins DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit and Artemis are DSB repair defective and immunodeficient because of the requirement for NHEJ during V(D)J recombination.Objective: We found a patient displaying microcephaly and progressive ataxia but a normal immune response. We sought to determine pathogenic mutations and to describe the molecular pathogenesis of the patient.Methods: We performed next-generation exome sequencing. We evaluated the DSB repair activities and V(D) J recombination capacity of the patient's cells, as well as performing a standard blood immunologic characterization.Results: We identified causal mutations in the XRCC4 gene. The patient's cells are radiosensitive and display the most severe DSB repair defect we have encountered using patient-derived cell lines. In marked contrast, a V(D) J recombination plasmid assay revealed that the patient's cells did not display the junction abnormalities that are characteristic of other NHEJ-defective cell lines. The mutant protein can interact efficiently with LIG4 and functions normally in in vitro assays and when transiently expressed in vivo. However, the mutation makes the protein unstable, and it undergoes proteasome-mediated degradation.Conclusion: Our findings reveal a novel separation of impact phenotype: there is a pronounced DSB repair defect and marked clinical neurological manifestation but no clinical immunodeficiency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Guo CW, Nakazawa Y, Woodbine L, Bjorkman A, Shimada M, Fawcett H, Jia N, Ohyama K, Li TS, Nagayama Y, Mitsutake N, Pan-Hammarstrom Q, Gennery AR, Lehmann AR, Jeggo PA, Ogi T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Year: 2015

Volume: 136

Issue: 4

Pages: 1007-1017

Print publication date: 01/10/2015

Online publication date: 05/08/2015

Acceptance date: 08/06/2015

ISSN (print): 0091-6749

ISSN (electronic): 1097-6825

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2015.06.007


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Funder referenceFunder name
G1000050Medical Research Council