Heterozygous variants in CLPB, clustered around the ATP-binding pocket, are a newly described and common cause of SCN
ATP-binding pocket CLPB mutants act in a dominant-negative fashion to impair mitochondrial function and disrupt granulocytic differentiation
Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is an inborn disorder of granulopoiesis. Approximately one-third of cases do not have a known genetic cause. Exome sequencing of 104 persons with congenital neutropenia identified heterozygous missense variants of CLPB (caseinolytic peptidase B) in 5 SCN cases, with 5 more cases identified through additional sequencing efforts or clinical sequencing. CLPB encodes an adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) implicated in protein folding and mitochondrial function. Prior studies showed that biallelic mutations of CLPB are associated with a syndrome of 3-methylglutaconic aciduria, cataracts, neurologic disease, and variable neutropenia. However, 3-methylglutaconic aciduria was not observed and, other than neutropenia, these clinical features were uncommon in our series. Moreover, the CLPB variants are distinct, consisting of heterozygous variants that cluster near the ATP-binding pocket. Both genetic loss of CLPB and expression of CLPB variants results in impaired granulocytic differentiation of human hematopoietic progenitors and increased apoptosis. These CLPB variants associate with wildtype CLPB and inhibit its ATPase and disaggregase activity in a dominant-negative fashion. Finally, expression of CLPB variants is associated with impaired mitochondrial function but does not render cells more sensitive to endoplasmic reticulum stress. Together, these data show that heterozygous CLPB variants are a new and relatively common cause of congenital neutropenia and should be considered in the evaluation of patients with congenital neutropenia.