GM2 Activator Deficiency Caused by a Homozygous Exon 2 Deletion in GM2A

  • Patricia L. HallEmail author
  • Regina Laine
  • John J. Alexander
  • Arunkanth Ankala
  • Lisa A. Teot
  • Hart G. W. Lidov
  • Irina Anselm
Research Report
Part of the JIMD Reports book series (JIMD, volume 38)


GM2 activator (GM2A) deficiency (OMIM 613109) is a rare lysosomal storage disorder, with onset typically in infancy or early childhood. Clinically, it is almost indistinguishable from Tay-Sachs disease (OMIM 272800) or Sandhoff disease (OMIM 268800); however, traditionally available biochemical screening tests will most likely reveal normal results. We report a 2-year-old male with initially normal development until the age of 9 months, when he presented with developmental delay and regression. Workup at that time was unrevealing; at 15 months, he had abnormal brain MRI findings and a cherry red spot on ophthalmological examination. Family history and all laboratory studies were uninformative. The combination of a cherry red spot and developmental regression was strongly suggestive of a lysosomal storage disorder. Sequence analysis of GM2A did not reveal any pathogenic variants; however, exon 2 of GM2A could not be amplified by PCR, raising suspicion for a large, homozygous deletion. Subsequent copy number analysis confirmed a homozygous deletion of exon 2 in GM2A. This is the first reported case of GM2A deficiency being caused by a whole exon deletion. We describe previously unreported electron microscopy findings in this disease, thus expanding the clinical and variant spectrum for GM2 activator deficiency. These findings demonstrate the increased degree of suspicion required for diagnosis of this rare disorder.

Brief Summary: This case of GM2 activator deficiency was caused by a homozygous deletion in GM2A, demonstrating the need to include exon level copy number analysis in any workup to fully exclude this disorder.


Cherry red spot Copy number analysis Electron microscopy GM2 activator deficiency GM2A Lysosomal storage disorder 


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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia L. Hall
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Regina Laine
    • 3
  • John J. Alexander
    • 1
    • 2
  • Arunkanth Ankala
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lisa A. Teot
    • 4
  • Hart G. W. Lidov
    • 5
    • 6
  • Irina Anselm
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Human GeneticsEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.EGL GeneticsTuckerUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, Mitochondrial Program, Neuromuscular ProgramBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PathologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pathology, NeuropathologyBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  6. 6.PathologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  7. 7.Department of Neurology, Mitochondrial ProgramBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  8. 8.NeurologyHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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