Homozygous mutations in MFN2 cause multiple symmetric lipomatosis associated with neuropathy

Sarah L. Sawyer*, Andy Cheuk Him Ng, A. Micheil Innes, Justin D. Wagner, David A. Dyment, Martine Tetreault, Jacek Majewski, Kym M. Boycott, Robert A. Screaton, Garth Nicholson, Alex MacKenzie, Michael Brudno, Dennis Bulman, Care 4Rare Canada Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple symmetric lipomatosis (MSL) is a mitochondrial disorder with impaired brown fat metabolism that has been associated with MERRF mutations in some, but not all, patients. We studied a sibling pair and an unrelated indiviadual who presented with MSL and neuropathy to determine the genetic etiology of this disorder in patients who did not carry the MSL-associated MERRF mutation. Whole-exome sequencing was performed on the siblings, and a rare, shared homozygous mutation in MFN2 (c.2119C>T: p. R707W) was identified. The mutation was not present in their healthy siblings. In silico programs predict it to be pathogenic, and heterozygous carriers of the MFN2 p. R707W substitution are known to have Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. A third, unrelated patient with multiple symmetrical lipomatosis and neuropathy also harbored the same homozygous mutation and had been previously diagnosed with CMT. Functional studies in patient fibroblasts demonstrate that the p. R707W substitution impairs homotypic (MFN2-MFN2) protein interactions required for normal activity and renders mitochondria prone to perinuclear aggregation. These findings show that homozygous mutations at p. R707W in MFN2 are a novel cause of multiple symmetrical lipomatosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddv229
Pages (from-to)5109-5114
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

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