Diverse genetic causes of polymicrogyria with epilepsy

Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project, Epi4K Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to identify novel genes and to establish the contribution of known genes in a large cohort of patients with nonsyndromic sporadic polymicrogyria and epilepsy. Methods: We enrolled participants with polymicrogyria and their parents through the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project. We performed phenotyping and whole exome sequencing (WES), trio analysis, and gene-level collapsing analysis to identify de novo or inherited variants, including germline or mosaic (postzygotic) single nucleotide variants, small insertion-deletion (indel) variants, and copy number variants present in leukocyte-derived DNA. Results: Across the cohort of 86 individuals with polymicrogyria and epilepsy, we identified seven with pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in PIK3R2, including four germline and three mosaic variants. PIK3R2 was the only gene harboring more than expected de novo variants across the entire cohort, and likewise the only gene that passed the genome-wide threshold of significance in the gene-level rare variant collapsing analysis. Consistent with previous reports, the PIK3R2 phenotype consisted of bilateral polymicrogyria concentrated in the perisylvian region with macrocephaly. Beyond PIK3R2, we also identified one case each with likely causal de novo variants in CCND2 and DYNC1H1 and biallelic variants in WDR62, all genes previously associated with polymicrogyria. Candidate genetic explanations in this cohort included single nucleotide de novo variants in other epilepsy-associated and neurodevelopmental disease-associated genes (SCN2A in two individuals, GRIA3, CACNA1C) and a 597-kb deletion at 15q25, a neurodevelopmental disease susceptibility locus. Significance: This study confirms germline and postzygotically acquired de novo variants in PIK3R2 as an important cause of bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, notably with macrocephaly. In total, trio-based WES identified a genetic diagnosis in 12% and a candidate diagnosis in 6% of our polymicrogyria cohort. Our results suggest possible roles for SCN2A, GRIA3, CACNA1C, and 15q25 deletion in polymicrogyria, each already associated with epilepsy or other neurodevelopmental conditions without brain malformations. The role of these genes in polymicrogyria will be further understood as more patients with polymicrogyria undergo genetic evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-983
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • de novo variant
  • epilepsy
  • exome sequencing
  • polymicrogyria
  • trio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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