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Joubert syndrome: a model for untangling recessive disorders with extreme genetic heterogeneity


Abstract

BACKGROUND Joubert syndrome (JS) is a recessive neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by hypotonia, ataxia, cognitive impairment, abnormal eye movements, respiratory control disturbances and a distinctive mid-hindbrain malformation. JS demonstrates substantial phenotypic variability and genetic heterogeneity. This study provides a comprehensive view of the current genetic basis, phenotypic range and gene-phenotype associations in JS. METHODS We sequenced 27 JS-associated genes in 440 affected individuals (375 families) from a cohort of 532 individuals (440 families) with JS, using molecular inversion probe-based targeted capture and next-generation sequencing. Variant pathogenicity was defined using the Combined Annotation Dependent Depletion algorithm with an optimised score cut-off. RESULTS We identified presumed causal variants in 62% of pedigrees, including the first B9D2 mutations associated with JS. 253 different mutations in 23 genes highlight the extreme genetic heterogeneity of JS. Phenotypic analysis revealed that only 34% of individuals have a 'pure JS' phenotype. Retinal disease is present in 30% of individuals, renal disease in 25%, coloboma in 17%, polydactyly in 15%, liver fibrosis in 14% and encephalocele in 8%. Loss of CEP290 function is associated with retinal dystrophy, while loss of TMEM67 function is associated with liver fibrosis and coloboma, but we observe no clear-cut distinction between JS subtypes. CONCLUSIONS This work illustrates how combining advanced sequencing techniques with phenotypic data addresses extreme genetic heterogeneity to provide diagnostic and carrier testing, guide medical monitoring for progressive complications, facilitate interpretation of genome-wide sequencing results in individuals with a variety of phenotypes and enable gene-specific treatments in the future.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Joubert syndrome (JS) is a recessive neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by hypotonia, ataxia, cognitive impairment, abnormal eye movements, respiratory control disturbances and a distinctive mid-hindbrain malformation. JS demonstrates substantial phenotypic variability and genetic heterogeneity. This study provides a comprehensive view of the current genetic basis, phenotypic range and gene-phenotype associations in JS. METHODS We sequenced 27 JS-associated genes in 440 affected individuals (375 families) from a cohort of 532 individuals (440 families) with JS, using molecular inversion probe-based targeted capture and next-generation sequencing. Variant pathogenicity was defined using the Combined Annotation Dependent Depletion algorithm with an optimised score cut-off. RESULTS We identified presumed causal variants in 62% of pedigrees, including the first B9D2 mutations associated with JS. 253 different mutations in 23 genes highlight the extreme genetic heterogeneity of JS. Phenotypic analysis revealed that only 34% of individuals have a 'pure JS' phenotype. Retinal disease is present in 30% of individuals, renal disease in 25%, coloboma in 17%, polydactyly in 15%, liver fibrosis in 14% and encephalocele in 8%. Loss of CEP290 function is associated with retinal dystrophy, while loss of TMEM67 function is associated with liver fibrosis and coloboma, but we observe no clear-cut distinction between JS subtypes. CONCLUSIONS This work illustrates how combining advanced sequencing techniques with phenotypic data addresses extreme genetic heterogeneity to provide diagnostic and carrier testing, guide medical monitoring for progressive complications, facilitate interpretation of genome-wide sequencing results in individuals with a variety of phenotypes and enable gene-specific treatments in the future.

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25 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Genetics
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:August 2015
Deposited On:18 Dec 2015 12:53
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 15:41
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0022-2593
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/jmedgenet-2015-103087
PubMed ID:26092869

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