NPJ Genom Med.: auth.: group Reymond and co-auth.: group Vastenhouw

NPJ Genom Med. 2022 Jun 17;7(1):38. doi: 10.1038/s41525-022-00308-x.

Possible association of 16p11.2 copy number variation with altered lymphocyte and neutrophil counts

Giuliana Giannuzzi 1 2Nicolas Chatron 3 4 5Katrin Mannik 3 6Chiara Auwerx 3 7 8 9Sylvain Pradervand 3Gilles Willemin 3Kendra Hoekzema 10Xander Nuttle 11 12 13Jacqueline Chrast 3Marie C Sadler 7 8 9Eleonora Porcu 3 8 916p11.2 ConsortiumYann Herault 14Bertrand Isidor 15Brigitte Gilbert-Dussardier 16Evan E Eichler 10 17Zoltan Kutalik 7 8 9Alexandre Reymond 3


Recurrent copy-number variations (CNVs) at chromosome 16p11.2 are associated with neurodevelopmental diseases, skeletal system abnormalities, anemia, and genitourinary defects. Among the 40 protein-coding genes encompassed within the rearrangement, some have roles in leukocyte biology and immunodeficiency, like SPN and CORO1A. We therefore investigated leukocyte differential counts and disease in 16p11.2 CNV carriers. In our clinically-recruited cohort, we identified three deletion carriers from two families (out of 32 families assessed) with neutropenia and lymphopenia. They had no deleterious single-nucleotide or indel variant in known cytopenia genes, suggesting a possible causative role of the deletion. Noticeably, all three individuals had the lowest copy number of the human-specific BOLA2 duplicon (copy-number range: 3-8). Consistent with the lymphopenia and in contrast with the neutropenia associations, adult deletion carriers from UK biobank (n = 74) showed lower lymphocyte (Padj = 0.04) and increased neutrophil (Padj = 8.31e-05) counts. Mendelian randomization studies pinpointed to reduced CORO1A, KIF22, and BOLA2-SMG1P6 expressions being causative for the lower lymphocyte counts. In conclusion, our data suggest that 16p11.2 deletion, and possibly also the lowest dosage of the BOLA2 duplicon, are associated with low lymphocyte counts. There is a trend between 16p11.2 deletion with lower copy-number of the BOLA2 duplicon and higher susceptibility to moderate neutropenia. Higher numbers of cases are warranted to confirm the association with neutropenia and to resolve the involvement of the deletion coupled with deleterious variants in other genes and/or with the structure and copy number of segments in the CNV breakpoint regions.