Genet Med. 2019 Dec;21(12):2755-2764. doi: 10.1038/s41436-019-0576-0. Epub 2019 Jul 2.
PURPOSE: Haploinsufficiency of DYRK1A causes a recognizable clinical syndrome. The goal of this paper is to investigate congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) and genital defects (GD) in patients with DYRK1A variants.
METHODS: A large database of clinical exome sequencing (ES) was queried for de novo DYRK1A variants and CAKUT/GD phenotypes were characterized. Xenopus laevis (frog) was chosen as a model organism to assess Dyrk1a’s role in renal development.
RESULTS: Phenotypic details and variants of 19 patients were compiled after an initial observation that one patient with a de novo pathogenic variant in DYRK1A had GD. CAKUT/GD data were available from 15 patients, 11 of whom presented with CAKUT/GD. Studies in Xenopus embryos demonstrated that knockdown of Dyrk1a, which is expressed in forming nephrons, disrupts the development of segments of embryonic nephrons, which ultimately give rise to the entire genitourinary (GU) tract. These defects could be rescued by coinjecting wild-type human DYRK1A RNA, but not with DYRK1AR205* or DYRK1AL245R RNA.
CONCLUSION: Evidence supports routine GU screening of all individuals with de novo DYRK1A pathogenic variants to ensure optimized clinical management. Collectively, the reported clinical data and loss-of-function studies in Xenopus substantiate a novel role for DYRK1A in GU development.