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Keywords:

  • genotype–phenotype correlation;
  • Kabuki syndrome;
  • MLL2;
  • Niikawa–Kuroki syndrome

Recently, pathogenic variants in the MLL2 gene were identified as the most common cause of Kabuki (Niikawa–Kuroki) syndrome (MIM#147920). To further elucidate the genotype–phenotype correlation, we studied a large cohort of 86 clinically defined patients with Kabuki syndrome (KS) for mutations in MLL2. All patients were assessed using a standardized phenotype list and all were scored using a newly developed clinical score list for KS (MLL2-Kabuki score 0–10). Sequencing of the full coding region and intron–exon boundaries of MLL2 identified a total of 45 likely pathogenic mutations (52%): 31 nonsense, 10 missense and four splice-site mutations, 34 of which were novel. In five additional patients, novel, i.e. non-dbSNP132 variants of clinically unknown relevance, were identified. Patients with likely pathogenic nonsense or missense MLL2 mutations were usually more severely affected (median ‘MLL2-Kabuki score’ of 6) as compared to the patients without MLL2 mutations (median ‘MLL2-Kabuki score’ of 5), a significant difference (p < 0.0014). Several typical facial features such as large dysplastic ears, arched eyebrows with sparse lateral third, blue sclerae, a flat nasal tip with a broad nasal root, and a thin upper and a full lower lip were observed more often in mutation positive patients.