• Identification and computational analysis of rare variants of known hearing loss genes present in five deaf members of a pakistani kindred

      Saleem, Irum Badshah; Masoud, Muhammad Shareef; Qasim, Muhammad; Ali, Muhammad; Ahmed, Zubair M. (MDPI AG, 2021-11-30)
      Hearing loss (HL) is the most common neurosensory defect in humans that affects the normal communication. Disease is clinically and genetically heterogeneous, rendering challenges for the molecular diagnosis of affected subjects. This study highlights the phenotypic and genetic complexity of inherited HL in a large consanguineous Pakistan kindred. Audiological evaluation of all affected individuals revealed varying degree of mild to profound sensorineural HL. Whole exome (WES) of four family members followed by Sanger sequencing revealed candidate disease-associated variants in five known deafness genes: GJB2 (c.231G>A; p.(Trp77 *)), SLC26A4 (c.1337A>G; p.(Gln446Arg)), CDH23 (c.2789C>T; p.(Pro930Leu)), KCNQ4 (c.1672G>A; p.(Val558Met)) and MPDZ (c.4124T>C; p.(Val1375Ala)). All identified variants replaced evolutionary conserved residues, were either absent or had low frequencies in the control databases. Our in silico and 3-Dimensional (3D) protein topology analyses support the damaging impact of identified variants on the encoded proteins. However, except for the previously established “pathogenic” and “likely pathogenic” categories for the c.231G>A (p.(Trp77 *)) allele of GJB2 and c.1377A>G (p.(Gln446Arg)) of SLC26A4, respectively, all the remaining identified variants were classified as “uncertain significance” based on the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) variant pathogenicity guidelines. Our study highlights the complexity of genetic traits in consanguineous families, and the need of combining the functional studies even with the comprehensive profiling of multiple family members to improve the genetic diagnosis in complex inbred families. © 2021 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).
    • Pathogenic variants of AIPL1, MERTK, GUCY2D, and FOXE3 in Pakistani families with clinically heterogeneous eye diseases

      Rashid, Muhammad; Qasim, Muhammad; Ishaq, Rafaqat; Bukhari, Shazia Anwer; Sajid, Zureesha; Ashfaq, Usman Ali; Haque, Asma; Ahmed, Zubair M. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-09-25)
      Significant number out of 2.2 billion vision impairments in the world can be attributed to genetics. The current study is aimed to decipher the genetic basis of Leber congenital Amaurosis (LCA), Anterior Segment dysgenesis (ASD), and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), segregating in four large consanguineous Pakistani families. The exome sequencing followed by segregation analysis via Sanger sequencing revealed the LCA phenotypes segregating in families GCUF01 and GCUF04 can be attributed to c.465G>T (p.(Gln155His)) missense and novel c.139_140delinsA p.(Pro47Trhfster38) frameshift variant of AIPL1 and GUCY2D, respectively. The c.1843A>T (p.(Lys615*) truncating allele of MERTK is homozygous in all the affected individuals, presumably suffering with RP, of the GCUF02 family. Meanwhile, co-segregation of the ASD phenotype and the c.289A>G (p.(Ile97Val)) variant of FOXE3 was found in the GCUF06 family. All the identified variants were either absent or present in very low frequencies in the control databases. Our in-silico analyses and 3D molecular modeling support the deleterious impact of these variants on the encoded proteins. Variants identified in MERTK, GUCY2D, and FOXE3 were categorized as “pathogenic” or “likely pathogenic”, while the missense variant found in AIPL1 was deemed to have “uncertain significance” based upon the variant pathogenicity guidelines from the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG). This paper highlights the genetic diversity of vision disorders in the Pakistani population and reports the identification of four novel mutations in families who segregate clinically heterogeneous eye diseases. Our results give insight into the genotype-phenotype correlations of AIPL1, FOXE3, MERTK, and GUCY2D variants.