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Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Jan 13;90(1):102-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.11.015. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Mutations in C8orf37, encoding a ciliary protein, are associated with autosomal-recessive retinal dystrophies with early macular involvement.

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Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands.


Cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are clinically and genetically overlapping heterogeneous retinal dystrophies. By using homozygosity mapping in an individual with autosomal-recessive (ar) RP from a consanguineous family, we identified three sizeable homozygous regions, together encompassing 46 Mb. Next-generation sequencing of all exons, flanking intron sequences, microRNAs, and other highly conserved genomic elements in these three regions revealed a homozygous nonsense mutation (c.497T>A [p.Leu166(∗)]) in C8orf37, located on chromosome 8q22.1. This mutation was not present in 150 ethnically matched control individuals, single-nucleotide polymorphism databases, or the 1000 Genomes database. Immunohistochemical studies revealed C8orf37 localization at the base of the primary cilium of human retinal pigment epithelium cells and at the base of connecting cilia of mouse photoreceptors. C8orf37 sequence analysis of individuals who had retinal dystrophy and carried conspicuously large homozygous regions encompassing C8orf37 revealed a homozygous splice-site mutation (c.156-2A>G) in two siblings of a consanguineous family and homozygous missense mutations (c.529C>T [p.Arg177Trp]; c.545A>G [p.Gln182Arg]) in siblings of two other consanguineous families. The missense mutations affect highly conserved amino acids, and in silico analyses predicted that both variants are probably pathogenic. Clinical assessment revealed CRD in four individuals and RP with early macular involvement in two individuals. The two CRD siblings with the c.156-2A>G mutation also showed unilateral postaxial polydactyly. These results underline the importance of disrupted ciliary processes in the pathogenesis of retinal dystrophies.

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