The aim of this study was to analyze variants of the gene glial cells missing-2 (GCM2), encoding a parathyroid cell-specific transcription factor, in familial hypoparathyroidism and in familial isolated hyperparathyroidism (FIHP) without and with parathyroid carcinoma.
We characterized 2 families with hypoparathyroidism and 19 with FIHP in which we examined the mechanism of action of GCM2 variants.
Leukocyte DNA of hypoparathyroid individuals was Sanger sequenced for CASR, PTH, GNA11 and GCM2 mutations. DNA of hyperparathyroid individuals underwent MEN1, CDKN1B, CDC73, CASR, RET and GCM2 sequencing. The actions of identified GCM2 variants were evaluated by in vitro functional analyses.
A novel homozygous p.R67C GCM2 mutation which failed to stimulate transcriptional activity in a luciferase assay was identified in affected members of two hypoparathyroid families. Oligonucleotide pull-down assay and in silico structural modeling indicated that this mutant had lost the ability to bind the consensus GCM recognition sequence of DNA. Two novel (p.I383M and p.T386S) and one previously reported (p.Y394S) heterozygous GCM2 variants that lie within a C-terminal conserved inhibitory domain were identified in three affected individuals of the hyperparathyroid families. One family member, heterozygous for p.I138M, had parathyroid carcinoma (PC), and a heterozygous p.V382M variant was found in another patient affected by sporadic PC. These variants exerted significantly enhanced in vitrotranscriptional activity, including increased stimulation of the PTH promoter.
We provide evidence that two novel GCM2 R67C inactivating mutations with an inability to bind DNA are causative of hypoparathyroidism. Additionally, we provide evidence that two novel GCM2 variants increased transactivation of the PTH promoter in vitro and are associated with FIHP. Furthermore, our studies suggest that activating GCM2 variants may contribute to facilitating more aggressive parathyroid disease.