Mutation in GM2A Leads to a Progressive Chorea-Dementia Syndrome

  • Mustafa A. Salih
  • Mohammed Z. Seidahmed
  • Heba Y. El Khashab
  • Muddathir H. A. Hamad
  • Thomas M. Bosley
  • Sabrina Burn
  • Angela Myers
  • Megan L. Landsverk
  • Patricia L. Crotwell
  • Kaya Bilguvar
  • Shrikant Mane
  • Michael C. Kruer


Background: The etiology of many cases of childhood-onset chorea remains undetermined, although advances in genomics are revealing both new disease-associated genes and variant phenotypes associated with known genes.

Methods: We report a Saudi family with a neurodegenerative course dominated by progressive chorea and dementia in whom we performed homozygosity mapping and whole exome sequencing.

Results: We identified a homozygous missense mutation in GM2A within a prominent block of homozygosity. This mutation is predicted to impair protein function.

Discussion: Although discovered more than two decades ago, to date, only five patients with this rare form of GM2 gangliosidosis have been reported. The phenotype of previously described GM2A patients has been typified by onset in infancy, profound hypotonia and impaired volitional movement, intractable seizures, hyperacusis, and a macular cherry red spot. Our findings expand the phenotypic spectrum of GM2A mutation-positive gangliosidosis to include generalized chorea without macular findings or hyperacusis and highlight how mutations in neurodegenerative disease genes may present in unexpected ways.