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Clin Genet. 2004 Dec;66(6):525-9.

Mutation screening of USH3 gene (clarin-1) in Spanish patients with Usher syndrome: low prevalence and phenotypic variability.

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Unidad de Genética y Diagnóstico Prenatal, Hospital Universitario La Fe, Spain.


Usher syndrome type III is an autosomal recessive disorder clinically characterized by the association of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), variable presence of vestibular dysfunction and progressive hearing loss, being the progression of the hearing impairment the critical parameter classically used to distinguish this form from Usher syndrome type I and Usher syndrome type II. Usher syndrome type III clinical subtype is the rarest form of Usher syndrome in Spain, accounting only for 6% of all Usher syndrome Spanish cases. The gene responsible for Usher syndrome type III is named clarin-1 and it is thought to be involved in hair cell and photoreceptor cell synapses. Here, we report a screening for mutations in clarin-1 gene among our series of Usher syndrome Spanish patients. Clarin-1 has been found to be responsible for the disease in only two families: the first one is a previously reported family homozygous for Y63X mutation and the second one, described here, is homozygous for C40G. This accounts for 1.7% of Usher syndrome Spanish families. It is noticeable that, whereas C40G family is clinically compatible with Usher syndrome type III due to the progression of the hearing loss, Y63X family could be diagnosed as Usher syndrome type I because the hearing impairment is profound and stable. Thus, we consider that the progression of hearing loss is not the definitive key parameter to distinguish Usher syndrome type III from Usher syndrome type I and Usher syndrome type II.

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