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Nat Genet. 2008 Jul;40(7):892-6. doi: 10.1038/ng.170. Epub 2008 May 30.

Age-related macular degeneration is associated with an unstable ARMS2 (LOC387715) mRNA.

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Institute of Human Genetics, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a prevalent multifactorial disorder of the central retina. Genetic variants at two chromosomal loci, 1q31 and 10q26, confer major disease risks, together accounting for more than 50% of AMD pathology. Signals at 10q26 center over two nearby genes, ARMS2 (age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2, also known as LOC387715) and HTRA1 (high-temperature requirement factor A1), suggesting two equally probable candidates. Here we show that a deletion-insertion polymorphism in ARMS2 (NM_001099667.1:c.(*)372_815del443ins54) is strongly associated with AMD, directly affecting the transcript by removing the polyadenylation signal and inserting a 54-bp element known to mediate rapid mRNA turnover. As a consequence, expression of ARMS2 in homozygous carriers of the indel variant is not detectable. Confirming previous findings, we demonstrate a mitochondrial association of the normal protein and further define its retinal localization to the ellipsoid region of the photoreceptors. Our data suggest that ARMS2 has a key role in AMD, possibly through mitochondria-related pathways.

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