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Genitopatellar syndrome

Genitopatellar syndrome

Reviewed February 2013

What is genitopatellar syndrome?

Genitopatellar syndrome is a rare condition characterized by genital abnormalities, missing or underdeveloped kneecaps (patellae), intellectual disability, and abnormalities affecting other parts of the body.

The genital abnormalities in affected males typically include undescended testes (cryptorchidism) and underdevelopment of the scrotum. Affected females can have an enlarged clitoris (clitoromegaly) and small labia.

Missing or underdeveloped patellae is the most common skeletal abnormality associated with genitopatellar syndrome. Affected individuals may have additional skeletal problems, including joint deformities (contractures) involving the hips and knees or an inward- and upward-turning foot called a clubfoot. Bone abnormalities of the spine, ribs, collarbone (clavicle), and pelvis have also been reported.

Genitopatellar syndrome is also associated with delayed development and intellectual disability, which are often severe. Affected individuals may have an usually small head (microcephaly) and structural brain abnormalities, including underdeveloped or absent tissue connecting the left and right halves of the brain (agenesis of the corpus callosum).

People with genitopatellar syndrome may have distinctive facial features such as prominent cheeks and eyes, a nose with a rounded tip or a broad bridge, an unusually small chin (micrognathia) or a chin that protrudes (prognathism), and a narrowing of the head at the temples. Many affected infants have weak muscle tone (hypotonia) that leads to breathing and feeding difficulties. The condition can also be associated with abnormalities of the heart, kidneys, and teeth.

How common is genitopatellar syndrome?

Genitopatellar syndrome is estimated to occur in fewer than 1 per million people. At least 18 cases have been reported in the medical literature.

What genes are related to genitopatellar syndrome?

Genitopatellar syndrome is caused by mutations in the KAT6B gene. This gene provides instructions for making a type of enzyme called a histone acetyltransferase. These enzymes modify histones, which are structural proteins that attach (bind) to DNA and give chromosomes their shape. By adding a small molecule called an acetyl group to histones, histone acetyltransferases control the activity of certain genes. Little is known about the function of the histone acetyltransferase produced from the KAT6B gene. It appears to regulate genes that are important for early development, including development of the skeleton and nervous system.

The mutations that cause genitopatellar syndrome occur near the end of the KAT6B gene and lead to the production of a shortened histone acetyltransferase enzyme. Researchers suspect that the shortened enzyme may function differently than the full-length version, altering the regulation of various genes during early development. However, it is unclear how these changes lead to the specific features of genitopatellar syndrome.

Read more about the KAT6B gene.

How do people inherit genitopatellar syndrome?

This condition has an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. All reported cases have resulted from new mutations in the gene and have occurred in people with no history of the disorder in their family.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of genitopatellar syndrome?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of genitopatellar syndrome and may include treatment providers.

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of genitopatellar syndrome in Educational resources and Patient support.

General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about genitopatellar syndrome?

You may find the following resources about genitopatellar syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for genitopatellar syndrome?

  • absent patellae, scrotal hypoplasia, renal anomalies, facial dysmorphism, and mental retardation
  • GPS

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines and How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about genitopatellar syndrome?

Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?

What glossary definitions help with understanding genitopatellar syndrome?

References (6 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: February 2013
Published: February 8, 2016