A novel frameshift variant in BHLHA9 underlies mesoaxial synostotic syndactyly associated with postaxial polydactyly.


Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Electronic address: [Email]


Mesoaxial synostotic syndactyly (MSSD) with phalangeal reduction is an uncommon congenital limb abnormality characterized by central osseous synostosis at a metacarpal level, mesoaxial reduction of the fingers, and preaxial cutaneous syndactyly in toes. In rare cases, the disease is also associated with fifth finger clinodactyly and postaxial polydactyly. It has autosomal recessive inheritance pattern caused by homozygous variants in the gene BHLHA9 mapped at chromosome 17p13.3. In the present study, a consanguineous family of Pakistani origin segregating MSSD in autosomal recessive form was characterized at clinical and genetic levels. Clinically, the diseased individuals have MSSD associated with clinodactyly and polydactyly. Homozygosity mapping followed by Sanger sequencing of BHLHA9 revealed a novel frameshift variant NM_001164405.1: c.409-409delC; p.(His137Thrfs*61) segregating with the disease phenotypes in the family. This is the second report providing evidence of association of polydactyly with MSSD caused by frameshift variant in the gene BHLHA9. The present molecular investigation will support genetic counselling of the local population carrying diseased variants.