Abstract: The VARS2 gene encodes a mitochondrial valyl-transfer RNA synthetase which is used in mitochondrial translation. To date, several patients with VARS2 pathogenic variants have been described in the literature. These patients have features of lactic acidosis with encephalomyopathy. We present a case of an infant with lactic acidosis, failure to thrive, and severe primary pulmonary hypertension who was found to be a compound heterozygote for two novel VARS2 variants (c.1940C>T, p.(Thr647Met) and c.2318G>A, p.(Arg773Gln)). The patient was treated with vitamin supplements and a carbohydrate-restricted diet. The lactic acidosis and failure to thrive resolved, and he showed good growth and development. Functional studies and molecular analysis employed a yeast model system and the VAS1 gene (yeast homolog of VARS2). VAS1 genes harboring either one of two mutations corresponding to the two novel variants in the VARS2 gene, exhibited partially reduced function in haploid yeast strains. A combination of both VAS1 variant alleles in a diploid yeast cell exhibited a more significant decrease in oxidative metabolism-dependent growth and in the oxygen consumption rate (reminiscent of the patient who carries two mutant VARS2 alleles). Our results demonstrate the pathogenicity of the biallellic novel VARS2 variants. Key messages: • A case of an infant who is a compound heterozygote for two novel VARS2 variants. • This infant displayed lactic acidosis, failure to thrive, and pulmonary hypertension. • Treatment of the patient with a carbohydrate-restricted diet resulted in good growth and development. • Studies with the homologous yeast VAS1 gene showed reduced function of corresponding single mutant in haploid yeast strains. • A combination of both VAS1 variant alleles in diploid yeast exhibited a more significant decrease in function, thereby confirming the pathogenicity of the biallellic novel VARS2 variants.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported, in part, by a MMID-2 SHARE grant, CREATE, National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore to OP, HLC, and CKH; Telethon GGP15041 to CD and EB and DIP; ISF, Pakula family grants to OP.
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
- Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase
- Failure to thrive
- Mitochondrial disorder
- OXPHOS defect
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Yeast model system