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

Guo, Chaowan, Nakazawa, Yuka, Woodbine, Lisa, Björkman, Andrea, Shimada, Mayuko, Fawcett, Heather, Jia, Nan, Ohyama, Kaname, Li, Tao-Sheng, Nagayama, Yuji, Mitsutake, Norisato, Pan-Hammarström, Qiang, Gennery, Andrew R, Lehmann, Alan R, Jeggo, Penny A and Ogi, Tomoo (2015) XRCC4 deficiency in human subjects causes a marked neurological phenotype but no overt immunodeficiency. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136 (4). pp. 1007-1017. ISSN 0091-6749

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Sussex Centre for Genome Damage and Stability
Depositing User: Penny Jeggo
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2016 11:46
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 00:52
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59269

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