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Hum Mol Genet. 1999 Feb;8(2):361-6.

A Pro51Ser mutation in the COCH gene is associated with late onset autosomal dominant progressive sensorineural hearing loss with vestibular defects.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics and Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


We analysed a Dutch family with autosomal dominant non-syndromic progressive sensorineural hearing loss and mapped the underlying gene defect by genetic linkage analysis to a 11.0 cM region overlapping the DFNA9 interval on chromosome 14q12-q13. Clinically, the Dutch family differs from the original DFNA9 family by a later age at onset and a more clearly established vestibular impairment. A gene that is highly and specifically expressed in the human fetal cochlea and vestibule, COCH (previously described as Coch5B2 ), was mapped to the DFNA9 critical region. Sequence analysis revealed a 208C-->T mutation in the COCH gene, resulting in a Pro51Ser substitution in the predicted protein in all affected individuals of the family but not in unaffected family members and 200 control individuals. The same mutation was also identified in three apparently unrelated families with a similar phenotype, suggesting the presence of a Dutch founder mutation. The function of COCH is unknown but several characteristics of the protein point to a structural role in the extracellular matrix. The mutant serine at position 51 is situated between cysteines and possibly interferes with proper COCH protein folding or its interaction with extracellular matrix proteins.

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