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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Nov;50(11):5375-83. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-3839. Epub 2009 May 27.

Null retinoschisin-protein expression from an RS1 c354del1-ins18 mutation causing progressive and severe XLRS in a cross-sectional family study.

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Section for Translational Research in Retinal and Macular Degeneration, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



To explore the retinoschisin (RS1) protein biochemical phenotype from an RS1 exon-5 deletion/insertion frame-shift mutation in a family with X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS) and describe the clinical and electrophysiological features.


Six XLRS males underwent ophthalmic examination and electroretinogram (ERG) recording. The RS1 gene was sequenced. Mutant RS1-RNA and protein expression were assessed by transfecting COS-7 cells with minigene constructs.


All six males carried the RS1 c354del1-ins18 mutation in which an 18-bp insertion replaced nucleotide 354, duplicating the adjacent upstream intron 4-to-exon 5 junction and creating a premature termination codon downstream. Analysis indicated normal pre-mRNA splicing producing mRNA transcripts. Truncated RS1 protein was expressed transiently but was degraded rapidly by a proteasomal pathway rather than by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Two boys, 1.5 and 5 years of age, had foveal cysts and minimal peripheral schisis, and retained near-normal scotopic b-wave amplitude and normal ERG waveforms. The 5-year-old's ERG was diminished when repeated 3 years later. Four older XLRS relatives 32 to 45 years old had substantial b-wave loss and strongly electronegative ERGs; three had overt macular atrophy. Cross-sectional family analysis showed the b-/a-wave amplitude ratio as inversely related to age in the six males.


The c354del1-ins18 mutation caused an RS1-null biochemical phenotype and a progressive clinical phenotype in a 5-year-old boy, whereas the older XLRS relatives had macular atrophy and marked ERG changes. The phenotypic heterogeneity with age by cross-sectional study of this family mutation argues that XLRS disease is not stationary and raises questions regarding factors involved in progression.

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