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Spectrins are common components of cytoskeletons, binding to cytoskeletal elements and the plasma membrane, allowing proper localization of essential membrane proteins, signal transduction, and cellular scaffolding. Spectrins are assembled from α and β subunits, encoded by SPTA1 and SPTAN1 (α) and SPTB, SPTBN1, SPTBN2, SPTBN4, and SPTBN5 (β). Pathogenic variants in various spectrin genes are associated with erythroid cell disorders (SPTA1, SPTB) and neurologic disorders (SPTAN1, SPTBN2, and SPTBN4), but no phenotypes have been definitively associated with variants in SPTBN1 or SPTBN5. Through exome sequencing and case matching, we identified seven unrelated individuals with heterozygous SPTBN1 variants: two with de novo missense variants and five with predicted loss-of-function variants (found to be de novo in two, while one was inherited from a mother with a history of learning disabilities). Common features include global developmental delays, intellectual disability, and behavioral disturbances. Autistic features (4/6) and epilepsy (2/7) or abnormal electroencephalogram without overt seizures (1/7) were present in a subset. Identification of loss-of-function variants suggests a haploinsufficiency mechanism, but additional functional studies are required to fully elucidate disease pathogenesis. Our findings support the essential roles of SPTBN1 in human neurodevelopment and expand the knowledge of human spectrinopathy disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Med Genet A

Publication Date





2037 - 2045


SPTBN1, neurodevelopmental disorder, spectrin, spectrinopathy, Adolescent, Adult, Autistic Disorder, Carrier Proteins, Child, Child, Preschool, Electroencephalography, Epilepsy, Female, Haploinsufficiency, Heterozygote, Humans, Intellectual Disability, Loss of Function Mutation, Male, Microfilament Proteins, Phenotype, Problem Behavior, Seizures, Spectrin, Exome Sequencing, Young Adult