RRP7A links primary microcephaly to dysfunction of ribosome biogenesis, resorption of primary cilia, and neurogenesis

Muhammad Farooq, Louise Lindbæk, Nicolai Krogh, Canan Doganli, Cecilie Keller, Maren Mönnich, André Brás Gonçalves, Srinivasan Sakthivel, Yuan Mang, Ambrin Fatima, Vivi Søgaard Andersen, Muhammad S. Hussain, Hans Eiberg, Lars Hansen, Klaus Wilbrandt Kjaer, Jay Gopalakrishnan, Lotte Bang Pedersen, Kjeld Møllgård, Henrik Nielsen, Shahid M. BaigNiels Tommerup, Søren Tvorup Christensen, Lars Allan Larsen

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Primary microcephaly (MCPH) is characterized by reduced brain size and intellectual disability. The exact pathophysiological mechanism underlying MCPH remains to be elucidated, but dysfunction of neuronal progenitors in the developing neocortex plays a major role. We identified a homozygous missense mutation (p.W155C) in Ribosomal RNA Processing 7 Homolog A, RRP7A, segregating with MCPH in a consanguineous family with 10 affected individuals. RRP7A is highly expressed in neural stem cells in developing human forebrain, and targeted mutation of Rrp7a leads to defects in neurogenesis and proliferation in a mouse stem cell model. RRP7A localizes to centrosomes, cilia and nucleoli, and patient-derived fibroblasts display defects in ribosomal RNA processing, primary cilia resorption, and cell cycle progression. Analysis of zebrafish embryos supported that the patient mutation in RRP7A causes reduced brain size, impaired neurogenesis and cell proliferation, and defective ribosomal RNA processing. These findings provide novel insight into human brain development and MCPH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5816
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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