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Genet Med. 2008 Nov;10(11):797-804. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e318187e106.

Audioprofile-directed screening identifies novel mutations in KCNQ4 causing hearing loss at the DFNA2 locus.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.



Gene identification in small families segregating autosomal dominant sensorineural hearing loss presents a significant challenge. To address this challenge, we have developed a machine learning-based software tool, AudioGene v2.0, to prioritize candidate genes for mutation screening based on audioprofiling.


We analyzed audiometric data from a cohort of American families with high-frequency autosomal dominant sensorineural hearing loss. Those families predicted to have a DFNA2 audioprofile by AudioGene v2.0 were screened for mutations in the KCNQ4 gene.


Two novel missense mutations and a stop mutation were detected in three American families predicted to have DFNA2-related deafness for a positive predictive value of 6.3%. The false negative rate was 0%. The missense mutations were located in the channel pore region and the stop mutation was in transmembrane domain S5. The latter is the first DFNA2-causing stop mutation reported in KCNQ4.


Our data suggest that the N-terminal end of the P-loop is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the KCNQ4 channel pore and AudioGene audioprofile analysis can effectively prioritize genes for mutation screening in small families segregating high-frequency autosomal dominant sensorineural hearing loss. AudioGene software will be made freely available to clinicians and researchers once it has been fully validated.

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