Key Points

  • A somatic uniparental disomy in the bone marrow generated a EFL1 allele combination that confers selective advantages

  • Nevertheless, the resulting homozygous EFL1 allele in the hematopoietic system is hypomorphic and still responsible for SDS features

Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS; OMIM: #260400) is caused by variants in SBDS (Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome gene), which encodes a protein that plays an important role in ribosome assembly. Recent reports suggest that recessive variants in EFL1 are also responsible for SDS. However, the precise genetic mechanism that leads to EFL1-induced SDS remains incompletely understood. Here we present three unrelated Korean SDS patients that carry biallelic pathogenic variants in EFL1 with biased allele frequencies, resulting from a bone marrow-specific somatic uniparental disomy (UPD) in chromosome 15. The recombination events generated cells that were homozygous for the relatively milder variant, allowing for the evasion of catastrophic physiological consequences. Still, the milder EFL1 variant was solely able to impair 80S ribosome assembly and induce SDS features in cell line and animal models. The loss of EFL1 resulted in a pronounced inhibition of terminal oligo-pyrimidine element-containing ribosomal protein transcript 80S assembly. Therefore, we propose a more accurate pathogenesis mechanism of EFL1 dysfunction that eventually leads to aberrant translational control and ribosomopathy.

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