HOXD13-associated synpolydactyly: Extending and validating the genotypic and phenotypic spectrum with 38 new and 49 published families

Annika Gottschalk, Henrike L. Sczakiel, Wiebke Hülsemann, Sarina Schwartzmann, Angela T. Abad-Perez, Johannes Grünhagen, Claus Eric Ott, Malte Spielmann, Denise Horn, Stefan Mundlos, Aleksander Jamsheer, Martin A. Mensah*

*Corresponding author for this work


Purpose: HOXD13 is an important regulator of limb development. Pathogenic variants in HOXD13 cause synpolydactyly type 1 (SPD1). How different types and positions of HOXD13 variants contribute to genotype-phenotype correlations, penetrance, and expressivity of SPD1 remains elusive. Here, we present a novel cohort and a literature review to elucidate HOXD13 phenotype-genotype correlations. Methods: Patients with limb anomalies suggestive of SPD1 were selected for analysis of HOXD13 by Sanger sequencing, repeat length analysis, and next-generation sequencing. Literature was reviewed for HOXD13 heterozygotes. Variants were annotated for phenotypic data. Severity was calculated, and cluster and decision-tree analyses were performed. Results: We identified 98 affected members of 38 families featuring 11 different (likely) causative variants and 4 variants of uncertain significance. The most frequent (25/38) were alanine repeat expansions. Phenotypes ranged from unaffected heterozygotes to severe osseous synpolydactyly, with intra- and inter-familial heterogeneity and asymmetry. A literature review provided 160 evaluable affected members of 49 families with SPD1. Computer-aided analysis only corroborated a positive correlation between alanine repeat length and phenotype severity. Conclusion: Our findings support that HOXD13-protein condensation in addition to haploinsufficiency is the molecular pathomechanism of SPD1. Our data may, also, facilitate the interpretation of synpolydactyly radiographs by future automated tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100928
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)100928
Publication statusPublished - 11.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Medical Genetics

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-03 Human Genetics


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