Am J Hum Genet. 2021 May 21:S0002-9297(21)00187-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.05.003. Online ahead of print.
Human C2orf69 is an evolutionarily conserved gene whose function is unknown. Here, we report eight unrelated families from which 20 children presented with a fatal syndrome consisting of severe autoinflammation and progredient leukoencephalopathy with recurrent seizures; 12 of these subjects, whose DNA was available, segregated homozygous loss-of-function C2orf69 variants. C2ORF69 bears homology to esterase enzymes, and orthologs can be found in most eukaryotic genomes, including that of unicellular phytoplankton. We found that endogenous C2ORF69 (1) is loosely bound to mitochondria, (2) affects mitochondrial membrane potential and oxidative respiration in cultured neurons, and (3) controls the levels of the glycogen branching enzyme 1 (GBE1) consistent with a glycogen storage-associated mitochondriopathy. We show that CRISPR-Cas9-mediated inactivation of zebrafish C2orf69 results in lethality by 8 months of age due to spontaneous epileptic seizures, which is preceded by persistent brain inflammation. Collectively, our results delineate an autoinflammatory Mendelian disorder of C2orf69 deficiency that disrupts the development/homeostasis of the immune and central nervous systems.