Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by dysfunction of motile cilia causing ineffective mucus clearance and organ laterality defects. In this study, two unrelated Portuguese children with strong PCD suspicion underwent extensive clinical and genetic assessments by whole-exome sequencing (WES), as well as ultrastructural analysis of cilia by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to identify their genetic etiology. These analyses confirmed the diagnostic of Kartagener syndrome (KS) (PCD with situs inversus
). Patient-1 showed a predominance of the absence of the inner dynein arms with two disease-causing variants in the CCDC40
gene. Patient-2 showed the absence of both dynein arms and WES disclosed two novel high impact variants in the DNAH5
gene and two missense variants in the DNAH7
gene, all possibly deleterious. Moreover, in Patient-2, functional data revealed a reduction of gene expression and protein mislocalization in both genes’ products. Our work calls the researcher’s attention to the complexity of the PCD and to the possibility of gene interactions modelling the PCD phenotype. Further, it is demonstrated that even for well-known PCD genes, novel pathogenic variants could have importance for a PCD/KS diagnosis, reinforcing the difficulty of providing genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis to families.
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