New Insights into the Genetics of Fetal Megacystis: ACTG2 Mutations, Encoding γ-2 Smooth Muscle Actin in Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (Berdon Syndrome)

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy








?-2 smooth muscle actin; ACTG2; Berdon syndrome; Fetal megacystis; Gonadal mosaicism; Megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome; Prenatal diagnosis


© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel. Objective: To identify the molecular basis for prenatally suspected cases of megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome (MMIHS) (MIM 249210) in 3 independent families with clinical and radiographic evidence of MMIHS. Methods: Whole-exome sequencing (WES) and Sanger sequencing of the ACTG2 gene. Results: We identified a novel heterozygous de novo missense variant in ACTG2 c.770G>A (p.Arg257His) encoding γ-2 smooth muscle actin (ACTG2) in 2 siblings with MMIHS, suggesting gonadal mosaicism of one of the parents. Two additional de novo missense variants (p.Arg257Cys and p.Arg178His) in ACTG2 were identified in 2 additional MMHIS patients. All of our patients had evidence of fetal megacystis and a normal or slightly increased amniotic fluid volume. Additional findings included bilateral renal hydronephrosis, an enlarged fetal stomach, and transient dilated bowel loops. ACTG2 immunostaining of the intestinal tissue showed an altered muscularis propria, a markedly thinned longitudinal muscle layer, and a reduced amount and abnormal distribution of ACTG2. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that de novo mutations in ACTG2 are a cause of fetal megacystis in MMIHS and that gonadal mosaicism may be present in a subset of cases. These findings have implications for the counseling of families with a diagnosis of fetal megacystis with a preserved amniotic fluid volume and associated gastrointestinal findings.

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