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Autosomal Recessive Posterior Microphthalmos/Nanophthalmos is Caused by Loss-of-function Mutations in LOC646960, a Novel Gene Encoding a Trypsin-like Serine Protease
Title of the conference
ARVO E-Abstract 1638
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Purpose: Posterior microphthalmos (MCOP)/nanophthalmos (NNO) is a developmental anomaly characterized by extreme hyperopia due to short axial length. The population of the Faroe Islands shows a high prevalence of an autosomal recessive form (arMCOP). The gene mutated in arMCOP is not yet known.Methods: Genetic mapping by linkage analysis using microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphisms, mutation analysis by PCR and sequencing, molecular modellingResults: Having refined the position of the disease locus (MCOP6) in an interval of 250 kb in chromosome 2q37.1 in Faroese families, we detected 3 mutations in a novel gene, LOC646960: Patients of 10 different Faroese families were either homozygous (n=22) for c.926G>C (p.Trp309Ser) or compound heterozygous (n=6) for c.926G>C and c.526C>G (p.Arg176Gly), whereas a homozygous 1 bp duplication (c.1066dupC) was identified in patients with arNNO from a Tunisian family. In two unrelated patients with MCOP, no LOC646960 mutation was found. LOC646960 is expressed in the human adult retina and RPE. The expression of the mouse homologue in the eye can be first detected at E17 and is highest in adults. The predicted protein is a 603 amino acid long secreted trypsin-like serine peptidase. c.1066dupC should result in a functional null allele. Molecular modelling of the p.Trp309Ser mutant suggests that both affinity and reactivity of the enzyme towards in vivo substrates are substantially reduced.Conclusions: Postnatal growth of the eye is important for proper development of the refractive components (emmetropization), and is mainly due to elongation of the posterior segment from 10-11 mm at birth to 15-16 mm at the age of 13 years. Optical defocus leads to changes in axial length by moving the retina towards the image plane. arMCOP may theoretically be explained, in line with the expression pattern of LOC646960, by a postnatal growth retardation of the posterior segment.
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