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1.  Forty-six genes causing nonsyndromic hearing impairment: which ones should be analyzed in DNA diagnostics? 
Mutation research  2008;681(2-3):189-196.
Hearing impairment is the most common sensory disorder, present in 1 of every 500 newborns. With 46 genes implicated in nonsyndromic hearing loss, it is also an extremely heterogeneous trait. Here, we categorize for the first time all mutations reported in nonsyndromic deafness genes, both worldwide and more specifically in Caucasians. The most frequent genes implicated in autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss are GJB2, which is responsible for more than half of cases, followed by SLC26A4, MYO15A, OTOF, CDH23 and TMC1. None of the genes associated with autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss accounts for a preponderance of cases. Mutations are somewhat more frequently reported in WFS1, KCNQ4, COCH and GJB2. Only a minority of these genes is currently included in genetic diagnostics, the selection criteria typically reflecting: 1) high frequency as a cause of deafness (i.e. GJB2); 2) association with another recognizable feature (i.e. SLC26A4 and enlarged vestibular aqueduct); or 3) a recognizable audioprofile (i.e. WFS1). New and powerful DNA sequencing technologies have been developed over the past few years, but have not yet found their way into DNA diagnostics. Implementing these technologies is likely to happen within the next 5 years, and will cause a breakthrough in terms of power and cost efficiency. It will become possible to analyze most - if not all - deafness genes, as opposed to one or a few genes currently. This ability will greatly improve DNA diagnostics, provide epidemiological data on gene-based mutation frequencies, and reveal novel genotype-phenotype correlations.
PMCID: PMC2847850  PMID: 18804553
Hereditary hearing loss; ARNSHL; ADNSHL; GJB2; gene frequencies; genetic counselling
2.  Genetic Spectrum of Autosomal Recessive Non-Syndromic Hearing Loss in Pakistani Families 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100146.
The frequency of inherited bilateral autosomal recessive non-syndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL) in Pakistan is 1.6/1000 individuals. More than 50% of the families carry mutations in GJB2 while mutations in MYO15A account for about 5% of recessive deafness. In the present study a cohort of 30 ARNSHL families was initially screened for mutations in GJB2 and MYO15A. Homozygosity mapping was performed by employing whole genome single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping in the families that did not carry mutations in GJB2 or MYO15A. Mutation analysis was performed for the known ARNSHL genes present in the homozygous regions to determine the causative mutations. This allowed the identification of a causative mutation in all the 30 families including 9 novel mutations, which were identified in 9 different families (GJB2 (c.598G>A, p.Gly200Arg); MYO15A (c.9948G>A, p.Gln3316Gln; c.3866+1G>A; c.8767C>T, p.Arg2923* and c.8222T>C, p.Phe2741Ser), TMC1 (c.362+18A>G), BSND (c.97G>C, p.Val33Leu), TMPRSS3 (c.726C>G, p.Cys242Trp) and MSRB3 (c.20T>G, p.Leu7Arg)). Furthermore, 12 recurrent mutations were detected in 21 other families. The 21 identified mutations included 10 (48%) missense changes, 4 (19%) nonsense mutations, 3 (14%) intronic mutations, 2 (9%) splice site mutations and 2 (9%) frameshift mutations. GJB2 accounted for 53% of the families, while mutations in MYO15A were the second most frequent (13%) cause of ARNSHL in these 30 families. The identification of novel as well as recurrent mutations in the present study increases the spectrum of mutations in known deafness genes which could lead to the identification of novel founder mutations and population specific mutated deafness genes causative of ARNSHL. These results provide detailed genetic information that has potential diagnostic implication in the establishment of cost-efficient allele-specific analysis of frequently occurring variants in combination with other reported mutations in Pakistani populations.
PMCID: PMC4065008  PMID: 24949729
3.  Autosomal recessive nonsyndromic deafness genes: a review 
More than 50 percent of prelingual hearing loss is genetic in origin, and of these up to 93 percent are monogenic autosomal recessive traits. Some forms of genetic deafness can be recognized by their associated syndromic features, but in most cases, hearing loss is the only finding and is referred to as nonsyndromic deafness. To date, more than 700 different mutations have been identified in one of 42 genes in individuals with autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL). Reported mutations in GJB2, encoding connexin 26, makes this gene the most common cause of hearing loss in many populations. Other relatively common deafness genes include SLC26A4, MYO15A, OTOF, TMC1, CDH23, and TMPRSS3. In this report we summarize genes and mutations reported in families with ARNSHL. Founder effects were demonstrated for some recurrent mutations but the most significant findings are the extreme locus and allelic heterogeneity and different spectrum of genes and mutations in each population.
PMCID: PMC3683827  PMID: 22652773
Consanguinity; Deafness; Founder effects; Gene; Inner ear; Non syndromic hearing loss; Recurrent mutations; Allelic heterogeneity; Review
4.  Whole-Exome Sequencing Efficiently Detects Rare Mutations in Autosomal Recessive Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50628.
Identification of the pathogenic mutations underlying autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL) is difficult, since causative mutations in 39 different genes have so far been reported. After excluding mutations in the most common ARNSHL gene, GJB2, via Sanger sequencing, we performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) in 30 individuals from 20 unrelated multiplex consanguineous families with ARNSHL. Agilent SureSelect Human All Exon 50 Mb kits and an Illumina Hiseq2000 instrument were used. An average of 93%, 84% and 73% of bases were covered to 1X, 10X and 20X within the ARNSHL-related coding RefSeq exons, respectively. Uncovered regions with WES included those that are not targeted by the exome capture kit and regions with high GC content. Twelve homozygous mutations in known deafness genes, of which eight are novel, were identified in 12 families: MYO15A-p.Q1425X, -p.S1481P, -p.A1551D; LOXHD1-p.R1494X, -p.E955X; GIPC3-p.H170N; ILDR1-p.Q274X; MYO7A-p.G2163S; TECTA-p.Y1737C; TMC1-p.S530X; TMPRSS3-p.F13Lfs*10; TRIOBP-p.R785Sfs*50. Each mutation was within a homozygous run documented via WES. Sanger sequencing confirmed co-segregation of the mutation with deafness in each family. Four rare heterozygous variants, predicted to be pathogenic, in known deafness genes were detected in 12 families where homozygous causative variants were already identified. Six heterozygous variants that had similar characteristics to those abovementioned variants were present in 15 ethnically-matched individuals with normal hearing. Our results show that rare causative mutations in known ARNSHL genes can be reliably identified via WES. The excess of heterozygous variants should be considered during search for causative mutations in ARNSHL genes, especially in small-sized families.
PMCID: PMC3511533  PMID: 23226338
5.  OTOF mutation screening in Japanese severe to profound recessive hearing loss patients 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:95.
Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD) is a unique form of hearing loss that involves absence or severe abnormality of auditory brainstem response (ABR), but also the presence of otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). However, with age, the OAEs disappear, making it difficult to distinguish this condition from other nonsyndromic hearing loss. Therefore, the frequency of ANSD may be underestimated. The aim of this study was to determine what portion of nonsyndromic hearing loss is caused by mutations of OTOF, the major responsible gene for nonsyndromic ANSD.
We screened 160 unrelated Japanese with severe to profound recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL) without GJB2 or SLC26A4 mutations, and 192 controls with normal hearing.
We identified five pathogenic OTOF mutations (p.D398E, p.Y474X, p.N727S, p.R1856Q and p.R1939Q) and six novel, possibly pathogenic variants (p.D450E, p.W717X, p.S1368X, p.R1583H, p.V1778I, and p.E1803A).
The present study showed that OTOF mutations accounted for 3.2–7.3% of severe to profound ARNSHL patients in Japan. OTOF mutations are thus a frequent cause in the Japanese deafness population and mutation screening should be considered regardless of the presence/absence of OAEs.
PMCID: PMC3849620  PMID: 24053799
Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder; DFNB9; Nonsyndromic hearing loss
6.  Genetic mutations of GJB2 and mitochondrial 12S rRNA in nonsyndromic hearing loss in Jiangsu Province of China 
Hearing loss is caused by several environmental and genetic factors and the proportion attributed to inherited causes is assumed at 50 ~ 60% . Mutations in GJB2 and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) 12S rRNA are the most common molecular etiology for nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing loss (NSHL). The mutation spectra of these genes vary among different ethnic groups.
To add the molecular etiologic information of hearing loss in the Chinese population, a total of 658 unrelated patients with NSHL from Jiangsu Province of China were selected for mutational screening including GJB2 and mtDNA 12S rRNA genes using PCR and DNA sequencing technology. As for controls, 462 normal-hearing individuals were collected.
A total of 9 pathogenic mutations in the GJB2 and 7 pathogenic mutations in the 12S rRNA gene were identified. Of all patients, 70 had monoallelic GJB2 coding region mutation in the heterozygous state, 94 carried two confirmed pathogenic mutations including 79 homozygotes and 15 compound heterozygotes. The 235delC appears to be the most common deafness-causing GJB2 mutation (102/658, 15.50% ). No mutations or variants in the GJB2 exon1 and basal promoter region were found. In these patients, 4 subjects carried the m.1494C > T mutation (0.61% ) and 39 subjects harbored the m.1555A > G mutation (5.93% ) in mtDNA 12S rRNA gene. A novel sequence variant at m.1222A > G in the 12S rRNA gene was identified, which could alter the secondary structure of the 12S rRNA.
The mutation spectrum and prevalence of GJB2 and mtDNA 12S rRNA genes in Jiangsu population are similar to other areas of China. There are in total 31.46% of the patients with NSHL carry deafness-causing mutation in GJB2 or mtDNA 12S rRNA genes. Mutation in GJB2 gene is the most common factor, mtDNA 12S rRNA also plays an important part in the pathogenesis of hearing loss in Jiangsu Province areas. The m.1222A > G was found to be a new candidate mutation associated with hearing loss. Our results indicated the necessity of genetic screening for mutations of these genes in Jiangsu patients with NSHL.
PMCID: PMC3706284  PMID: 23826813
Nonsyndromic hearing loss; GJB2; Mitochondrial 12S rRNA; Gene mutation
7.  Novel compound heterozygous mutations in the MYO15A gene in autosomal recessive hearing loss identified by whole-exome sequencing 
Inherited genetic defects play an important role in congenital hearing loss, contributing to about 60% of deafness occurring in infants. Hereditary nonsyndromic hearing loss is highly heterogeneous, and most patients with a presumed genetic etiology lack a specific molecular diagnosis.
By whole exome sequencing, we identified responsible gene of family 4794 with autosomal recessively nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL). We also used DNA from 56 Chinese familial patients with ARNSHL (autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss) and 108 ethnicity-matched negative samples to perform extended variants analysis.
We identified MYO15A c.IVS25 + 3G > A and c.8375 T > C (p.V2792A) as the disease-causing mutations. Both mutations co-segregated with hearing loss in family 4794, but were absent in the 56 index patients and 108 ethnicity-matched controls.
Our results demonstrated that the hearing loss of family 4794 was caused by novel compound heterozygous mutations in MYO15A.
PMCID: PMC3828584  PMID: 24206587
Autosomal recessive sensorineural hearing loss; Whole-exome sequencing; MYO15A
8.  Diverse spectrum of rare deafness genes underlies early-childhood hearing loss in Japanese patients: a cross-sectional, multi-center next-generation sequencing study 
Genetic tests for hereditary hearing loss inform clinical management of patients and can provide the first step in the development of therapeutics. However, comprehensive genetic tests for deafness genes by Sanger sequencing is extremely expensive and time-consuming. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology is advantageous for genetic diagnosis of heterogeneous diseases that involve numerous causative genes.
Genomic DNA samples from 58 subjects with hearing loss from 15 unrelated Japanese families were subjected to NGS to identify the genetic causes of hearing loss. Subjects did not have pathogenic GJB2 mutations (the gene most often associated with inherited hearing loss), mitochondrial m.1555A>G or 3243A>G mutations, enlarged vestibular aqueduct, or auditory neuropathy. Clinical features of subjects were obtained from medical records. Genomic DNA was subjected to a custom-designed SureSelect Target Enrichment System to capture coding exons and proximal flanking intronic sequences of 84 genes responsible for nonsyndromic or syndromic hearing loss, and DNA was sequenced by Illumina GAIIx (paired-end read). The sequences were mapped and quality-checked using the programs BWA, Novoalign, Picard, and GATK, and analyzed by Avadis NGS.
Candidate genes were identified in 7 of the 15 families. These genes were ACTG1, DFNA5, POU4F3, SLC26A5, SIX1, MYO7A, CDH23, PCDH15, and USH2A, suggesting that a variety of genes underlie early-childhood hearing loss in Japanese patients. Mutations in Usher syndrome-related genes were detected in three families, including one double heterozygous mutation of CDH23 and PCDH15.
Targeted NGS analysis revealed a diverse spectrum of rare deafness genes in Japanese subjects and underscores implications for efficient genetic testing.
PMCID: PMC4231469  PMID: 24164807
Hereditary hearing loss; Target gene capture; Deafness gene; Heterogeneity
9.  A Rapid and Cost-Effective Protocol for Screening Known Genes for Autosomal Recessive Deafness 
Pakistan journal of zoology  2012;44(3):641-647.
Hearing loss is one of the most common sensorineural defects in humans. Autosomal-recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL) is the most frequent form among inherited forms of deafness and accounts for greater than 70% of the cases. Due to extreme genetic heterogeneity of ARNSHL, many known loci have to be screened to find linkage to deafness genes or before proceeding to a genome wide analysis to identify a new locus for the disorder. Microsatellite based homozygosity mapping is an excellent option but throughput is low as it yields genotype information at only one locus per reaction. This makes screening a large number of loci very laborious and expensive. Here we describe a protocol to reduce the time and costs of microsatellite based screening. It involves selecting microsatellite markers close to the known deafness genes thereby decreasing the number of markers required to screen for each locus and multiplexing the PCR reactions. Furthermore, primers for some known microsatellites were redesigned for multiplexing and finally a protocol of genotyping with fluorescently labeled universal M13 primers was incorporated in the strategy.
PMCID: PMC4201624  PMID: 25328248
Microsatellite genotyping; multiplex; hearing loss; M13 genotyping protocol
10.  Prevalence of the GJB2 IVS1+1G >A mutation in Chinese hearing loss patients with monoallelic pathogenic mutation in the coding region of GJB2 
Mutations in the GJB2 gene are the most common cause of nonsyndromic recessive hearing loss in China. In about 6% of Chinese patients with severe to profound sensorineural hearing impairment, only monoallelic GJB2 mutations known to be either recessive or of unclear pathogenicity have been identified. This paper reports the prevalence of the GJB2 IVS1+1G>A mutation in a population of Chinese hearing loss patients with monoallelic pathogenic mutation in the coding region of GJB2.
Two hundred and twelve patients, screened from 7133 cases of nonsyndromic hearing loss in China, with monoallelic mutation (mainly frameshift and nonsense mutation) in the coding region of GJB2 were examined for the GJB2 IVS1+1G>A mutation and mutations in the promoter region of this gene. Two hundred and sixty-two nonsyndromic hearing loss patients without GJB2 mutation and 105 controls with normal hearing were also tested for the GJB2 IVS1+1G>A mutation by sequencing.
Four patients with monoallelic mutation in the coding region of GJB2 were found carrying the GJB2 IVS1+1G>A mutation on the opposite allele. One patient with the GJB2 c.235delC mutation carried one variant, -3175 C>T, in exon 1 of GJB2. Neither GJB2 IVS1+1G>A mutation nor any variant in exon 1 of GJB2 was found in the 262 nonsyndromic hearing loss patients without GJB2 mutation or in the 105 normal hearing controls.
Testing for the GJB2 IVS 1+1 G to A mutation explained deafness in 1.89% of Chinese GJB2 monoallelic patients, and it should be included in routine testing of patients with GJB2 monoallelic pathogenic mutation.
PMCID: PMC3014891  PMID: 21122151
11.  Congenital Sensorineural Deafness in Australian Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dogs Is an Autosomal Recessive Trait That Maps to CFA10 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13364.
Congenital sensorineural deafness is an inherited condition found in many dog breeds, including Australian Stumpy-tail Cattle Dogs (ASCD). This deafness is evident in young pups and may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral). The genetic locus/loci involved is unknown for all dog breeds. The aims of this study were to determine incidence, inheritance mechanism, and possible association of congenital sensorineural deafness with coat colour in ASCD and to identify the genetic locus underpinning this disease.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 315 ASCD were tested for sensorineural deafness using the brain stem auditory evoked response (BAER) test. Disease penetrance was estimated directly, using the ratio of unilaterally to bilaterally deaf dogs, and segregation analysis was performed using Mendel. A complete genome screen was undertaken using 325 microsatellites spread throughout the genome, on a pedigree of 50 BAER tested ASCD in which deafness was segregating. Fifty-six dogs (17.8%) were deaf, with 17 bilaterally and 39 unilaterally deaf. Unilaterally deaf dogs showed no significant left/right bias (p = 0.19) and no significant difference was observed in frequencies between the sexes (p = 0.18). Penetrance of deafness was estimated as 0.72. Testing the association of red/blue coat colour and deafness without accounting for pedigree structure showed that red dogs were 1.8 times more likely to be deaf (p = 0.045). The within family association between red/blue coat colour and deafness was strongly significant (p = 0.00036), with red coat colour segregating more frequently with deafness (COR = 0.48). The relationship between deafness and coat speckling approached significance (p = 0.07), with the lack of statistical significance possibly due to only four families co-segregating for both deafness and speckling. The deafness phenotype was mapped to CFA10 (maximum linkage peak on CFA10 −log10 p-value = 3.64), as was both coat colour and speckling. Fine mapping was then performed on 45 of these 50 dogs and a further 48 dogs (n = 93). Sequencing candidate gene Sox10 in 6 hearing ASCD, 2 unilaterally deaf ASCD and 2 bilaterally deaf ASCD did not reveal any disease-associated mutations.
Deafness in ASCD is an incompletely penetrant autosomal recessive inherited disease that maps to CFA10.
PMCID: PMC2953516  PMID: 20967282
12.  Comprehensive molecular etiology analysis of nonsyndromic hearing impairment from typical areas in China 
Every year, 30,000 babies are born with congenital hearing impairment in China. The molecular etiology of hearing impairment in the Chinese population has not been investigated thoroughly. To provide appropriate genetic testing and counseling to families, we performed a comprehensive investigation of the molecular etiology of nonsyndromic deafness in two typical areas from northern and southern China.
A total of 284 unrelated school children with hearing loss who attended special education schools in China were enrolled in this study, 134 from Chifeng City in Inner Mongolia and the remaining 150 from Nangtong City in JiangSu Province. Screening was performed for GJB2, GJB3, GJB6, SLC26A4, 12S rRNA, and tRNAser(UCN) genes in this population. All patients with SLC26A4 mutations or variants were subjected to high-resolution temporal bone CT scan to verify the enlarged vestibular aqueduct.
Mutations in the GJB2 gene accounted for 18.31% of the patients with nonsyndromic hearing loss, 1555A>G mutation in mitochondrial DNA accounted for 1.76%, and SLC26A4 mutations accounted for 13.73%. Almost 50% of the patients with nonsyndromic hearing loss in these typical Chinese areas carried GJB2 or SLC26A4 mutations. No significant differences in mutation spectrum or prevalence of GJB2 and SLC26A4 were found between the two areas.
In this Chinese population, 54.93% of cases with hearing loss were related to genetic factors. The GJB2 gene accounted for the etiology in about 18.31% of the patients with hearing loss, SLC26A4 accounted for about 13.73%, and mtDNA 1555A>G mutation accounted for 1.76%. Mutations in GJB3, GJB6, and mtDNA tRNAser(UCN) were not common in this Chinese cohort. Conventionally, screening is performed for GJB2, SLC26A4, and mitochondrial 12S rRNA in the Chinese deaf population.
PMCID: PMC2754984  PMID: 19744334
13.  Targeted genomic capture and massively parallel sequencing to identify novel variants causing Chinese hereditary hearing loss 
Hereditary hearing loss is genetically heterogeneous, and hundreds of mutations in than 60 genes are involved in this disease. Therefore, it is difficult to identify the causative gene mutations involved. In this study, we combined targeted genomic capture and massively parallel sequencing (MPS) to address this issue.
Using targeted genomic capture and MPS, 104 genes and three microRNA regions were selected and simultaneously sequenced in 23 unrelated probands of Chinese families with nonsyndromic hearing loss. The results were validated by Sanger sequencing for all available members of the probands’ families. To analyze the possible pathogenic functional effects of the variants, three types of prediction programs (Mutation Taster, PROVEAN and SIFT) were used. A total of 195 healthy Chinese Han individuals were compared as controls to verify the novel causative mutations.
Of the 23 probands, six had mutations in DFNA genes [WFS1 (n = 2), COCH, ACTG1, TMC1, and POU4F3] known to cause autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss. These included one novel in-frame indel mutation, three novel missense mutations and two reported missense mutations. Furthermore, one proband from a family with recessive DFNB carried two monoallelic mutations in the GJB2 and USH2A genes. All of these mutations co-segregated with the hearing loss phenotype in 36 affected individuals from 7 families and were predicted to be pathogenic.
Mutations in uncommon deafness genes contribute to a portion of nonsyndromic deafness cases. In the future, critical gene mutations may be accurately and quickly identified in families with hereditary hearing loss by targeted genomic capture and MPS.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0311-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4234825  PMID: 25388789
Targeted genomic capture; Exome sequencing; Hearing loss; Gene mutation
14.  Genetic mutations in nonsyndromic deafness patients of Chinese minority and han ethnicities in Yunnan, China 
Each year in China, 30,000 babies are born with congenital hearing impairment. However, the molecular etiology of hearing impairment in the Yunnan Province population where more than 52 minorities live has not been thoroughly investigated. To provide appropriate genetic testing and counseling to these families, we investigated the molecular etiology of nonsyndromic deafness in this population.
Unrelated students with hearing loss (n = 235) who attended Kunming Huaxia secondary specialized school in Yunnan enrolled in this study. Three prominent deafness-related genes, GJB2, SLC26A4 and mtDNA 12S rRNA, were analyzed. High-resolution temporal bone computed tomography (CT) scan examinations were performed in 100 cases, including 16 cases with SLC26A4 gene variants, and 37 minorities and 47 Han cases without any SLC26A4 gene mutation.
The GJB2 mutation was detected in 16.67% (7/42) of minority patients and 17.62% (34/193) of Chinese Han patients (P > 0.05). 235delC was the hotspot mutation in nonsyndromic hearing loss (NSHL) patients, whereas 35delG was not found. The 431_450del19 mutation was detected for the first time in Han NSHL patients, which resulted in a premature stop codon and changed the protein. The SLC26A4 mutation was found in 9.52% (4/42) of minority patients and 9.84% (19/193) of Han Chinese patients (P > 0.05). The frequencies of mtDNA 12S rRNA mutation in minority and Han Chinese patients were 11.90% (5/42) and 7.77% (15/193; P > 0.05), respectively. Sixteen (16/23, 69.57%) patients with SLC26A4 mutations received temporal bone CT scan, and 14 patients were diagnosed with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVAs); the other 2 patients had normal inner ear development. The ratio of EVA in the minorities was 14.63% (6/41).
In this study, a total of 35.74% deaf patients showed evidence of genetic involvement, based on either genetic screening or family history; 17.45%, 9.79%, and 8.51% of the patients were determined to have inherited hearing impairment caused by GJB2, SLC26A4, and mtDNA 1555A > G mutations. There was no significant difference in deafness associated gene mutational spectrum and frequency between the Yunnan minority and Han patients.
PMCID: PMC3878508  PMID: 24341454
Genetic mutations; Nonsyndromic deafness; Minority; Han; Yunnan
15.  Common Molecular Etiologies Are Rare in Nonsyndromic Tibetan Chinese Patients with Hearing Impairment 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30720.
Thirty thousand infants are born every year with congenital hearing impairment in mainland China. Racial and regional factors are important in clinical diagnosis of genetic deafness. However, molecular etiology of hearing impairment in the Tibetan Chinese population living in the Tibetan Plateau has not been investigated. To provide appropriate genetic testing and counseling to Tibetan families, we investigated molecular etiology of nonsyndromic deafness in this population.
A total of 114 unrelated deaf Tibetan children from the Tibet Autonomous Region were enrolled. Five prominent deafness-related genes, GJB2, SLC26A4, GJB6, POU3F4, and mtDNA 12S rRNA, were analyzed. Inner ear development was evaluated by temporal CT. A total of 106 Tibetan hearing normal individuals were included as genetic controls. For radiological comparison, 120 patients, mainly of Han ethnicity, with sensorineural hearing loss were analyzed by temporal CT.
None of the Tibetan patients carried diallelic GJB2 or SLC26A4 mutations. Two patients with a history of aminoglycoside usage carried homogeneous mtDNA 12S rRNA A1555G mutation. Two controls were homozygous for 12S rRNA A1555G. There were no mutations in GJB6 or POU3F4. A diagnosis of inner ear malformation was made in 20.18% of the Tibetan patients and 21.67% of the Han deaf group. Enlarged vestibular aqueduct, the most common inner ear deformity, was not found in theTibetan patients, but was seen in 18.33% of the Han patients. Common molecular etiologies, GJB2 and SLC26A4 mutations, were rare in the Tibetan Chinese deaf population.
The mutation spectrum of hearing loss differs significantly between Chinese Tibetan patients and Han patients. The incidence of inner ear malformation in Tibetans is almost as high as that in Han deaf patients, but the types of malformation vary greatly. Hypoxia and special environment in plateau may be one cause of developmental inner ear deformity in this population.
PMCID: PMC3289614  PMID: 22389666
16.  Genetics of Non Syndromic Hearing Loss in the Republic of Macedonia 
Hearing impairment is the most common sensory deficit in humans affecting 1 in 1000 newborns. When present in an infant, deafness may have dramatic effects on language acquisition, seriously compromising the quality of their life. Deafness is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, with inherited causes as the most prominent etiological factor in deafness in developed countries. The genetic basis of hearing loss is complex with numerous loci and genes underlying hereditary sensoryneural non syndromic hearing loss (NSHL) in humans. Despite the wide functional heterogeneity of the genes, mutations in the GJB2 gene are found to be the most common cause of sporadic and recessive NSHL in many populations worldwide. Molecular characterization of deafness in the Republic of Macedonia was performed in 130 NSHL profoundly deaf children from different ethnic origins. Molecular studies included direct sequencing of the GJB2 gene and specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses for the del(GJB6-D13S1830) mutation. Five common mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations [A1555G, 961delT+ C(n), T1095C, C1494T and A827G] were also analyzed using the SNaPShot method. In preliminary studies, GJB2 gene mutations were found in 36.4% of analyzed patients, with predominance of 35delG in Macedonian and Albanian patients and W24X in Gypsy patients, respectively. No del(GJB6-D13S1830) mutation was found. None of the analyzed deafness-associated mutations in mtDNA were identified in the studied patients.
PMCID: PMC3776679  PMID: 24052745
DFNB1 locus; GJB2 gene mutations; Non syndromic hearing loss (NSHL)
17.  Identification of CDH23 mutations in Korean families with hearing loss by whole-exome sequencing 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15:46.
Patient genetic heterogeneity renders it difficult to discover disease-cause genes. Whole-exome sequencing is a powerful new strategy that can be used to this end. The purpose of the present study was to identify a hitherto unknown mutation causing autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss (ARNSHL) in Korean families.
We performed whole-exome sequencing in 16 individuals from 13 unrelated small families with ARNSHL. After filtering out population-specific polymorphisms, we focused on known deafness genes. Pathogenic effects of the detected mutations on protein structure or function were predicted via in silico analysis.
We identified compound heterozygous CDH23 mutations in hearing-loss genes of two families. These include two previously reported pathological mutations, p.Pro240Leu and p.Glu1595Lys, as well as one novel mutation, p.Asn342Ser. The p.Pro240Leu mutation was found in both families. We also identified 26 non-synonymous variants in CDH23 coding exons from 16 hearing-loss patients and 30 Korean exomes.
The present study is the first to show that CDH23 mutations cause hearing loss in Koreans. Although the precise contribution made by such mutations needs to be determined using a larger patient cohort, our data indicate that mutations in the CDH23 gene are one of the most important causes of non-syndromic hearing loss in East Asians. Further exome sequencing will identify common mutations or polymorphisms and contribute to the molecular diagnosis of, and development of new therapies for, hereditary hearing loss.
PMCID: PMC4036425  PMID: 24767429
Hearing loss; CDH23; Mutation; Whole-exome sequencing
18.  Simultaneous Screening of Multiple Mutations by Invader Assay Improves Molecular Diagnosis of Hereditary Hearing Loss: A Multicenter Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31276.
Although etiological studies have shown genetic disorders to be a common cause of congenital/early-onset sensorineural hearing loss, there have been no detailed multicenter studies based on genetic testing. In the present report, 264 Japanese patients with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss from 33 ENT departments nationwide participated. For these patients, we first applied the Invader assay for screening 47 known mutations of 13 known deafness genes, followed by direct sequencing as necessary. A total of 78 (29.5%) subjects had at least one deafness gene mutation. Mutations were more frequently found in the patients with congenital or early-onset hearing loss, i.e., in those with an awareness age of 0–6 years, mutations were significantly higher (41.8%) than in patients with an older age of awareness (16.0%). Among the 13 genes, mutations in GJB2 and SLC26A4 were mainly found in congenital or early-onset patients, in contrast with mitochondrial mutations (12S rRNA m.1555A>G, tRNA(Leu(UUR)) m.3243A>G), which were predominantly found in older-onset patients. The present method of simultaneous screening of multiple deafness mutations by Invader assay followed by direct sequencing will enable us to detect deafness mutations in an efficient and practical manner for clinical use.
PMCID: PMC3286470  PMID: 22384008
19.  Genetic etiology study of the non-syndromic deafness in Chinese Hans by targeted next-generation sequencing 
Although over 60 non-syndromic deafness genes have been identified to date, the etiologic contribution of most deafness genes remained elusive. In this study, we addressed this issue by targeted next-generation sequencing of a large cohort of non-syndromic deaf probands.
Probands with mutations in commonly screened deafness genes GJB2, SLC26A4 and MT-RNR1 were pre-excluded by Sanger sequencing. The remaining 125 deaf probands proceeded through targeted exon capturing of 79 known deafness genes and Illumina HiSeq2000 sequencing.
Bi-allelic mutations in 15 less commonly screened deafness genes were identified in 28 deaf probands, with mutations in MYO15A, GPR98, TMC1, USH2A and PCDH15 being relatively more frequent (≥3 probands each). Dominant mutations in MYO6, TECTA, POU4F3 and COCH were identified in 4 deaf families. A mitochondrial MTTS1 mutation was identified in one maternally inherited deaf family. No pathogenic mutations were identified in three dominant deaf families and two consanguineous families.
Mutations in the less commonly screened deafness genes were heterogeneous and contributed to a significant percentage (17.4%) of causes for non-syndromic deafness. Targeted next-generation sequencing provided a comprehensive and efficient diagnosis for known deafness genes. Complementary to linkage analysis or whole-exome sequencing of deaf families, pre-exclusion of known deafness genes by this strategy may facilitate the discovery of novel deafness genes.
PMCID: PMC3703291  PMID: 23767834
Deafness; Non-syndromic; Genetic etiology; Targeted next-generation sequencing
20.  Clinical Application of Screening for GJB2 Mutations before Cochlear Implantation in a Heterogeneous Population with High Rate of Autosomal Recessive Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss 
Clinical application of mutation screening and its effect on the outcome of cochlear implantation is widely debated. We investigated the effect of mutations in GJB2 gene on the outcome of cochlear implantation in a population with a high rate of consanguineous marriage and autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss. Two hundred and one children with profound prelingual sensorineural hearing loss were included. Forty-six patients had 35delG in GJB2. Speech awareness thresholds (SATs) and speech recognition thresholds (SRTs) improved following implantation, but there was no difference in performance between patients with GJB2-related deafness versus control (all P > 0.10). Both groups had produced their first comprehensible words within the same period of time following implantation (2.27 months in GJB2-related deaf versus 2.62 months in controls, P = 0.22). Although our findings demonstrate the need to uncover unidentified genetic causes of hereditary deafness, they do not support the current policy for genetic screening before cochlear implantation, nor prove a prognostic value.
PMCID: PMC3335524  PMID: 22567367
21.  Genetic Screening of GJB2 and SLC26A4 in Korean Cochlear Implantees: Experience of Soree Ear Clinic 
Genetic hearing loss is highly heterogeneous and more than 100 genes are predicted to cause this disorder in humans. In spite of this large genetic heterogeneity, mutations in SLC26A4 and GJB2 genes are primarily responsible for the major etiologies of genetic hearing loss among Koreans. The purpose of this study is to investigate the genetic cause of deafness in Korean cochlear implantees by performing a genetic screening of the SLC26A4 and GJB2 genes.
The study cohort included 421 unrelated Korean patients with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) and who had received cochlear implants (CI) at Soree Ear Clinic from July 2002 to December 2010. Among 421 CI patients, we studied 230 cases who had received the genetic screening for SLC26A4 or GJB2 genes. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants. All patients had severe to profound, bilateral hearing loss. For 56 patients who showed enlarged vestibular aqueduct on their computed tomography (CT) scan, we analyzed SLC26A4. For 174 CT negative patients, GJB2 gene was sequenced.
For the 56 SLC26A4 patients, 32 (57.1%) had two pathogenic recessive mutations in SLC26A4. A single recessive SLC26A4 mutation was identified in 14 patients (25%). H723R and IVS7-2A>G were the most commonly found mutations, accounting for 60.3% (47/78) and 30.8% (24/78) of the mutated alleles, respectively. For the 174 GJB2 patients, 20 patients (11.5%) had two pathogenic recessive mutations in GJB2. 235delC was the most common mutation, accounting for 43.0% (31/72) of mutant alleles.
The two major genes, SLC26A4 and GJB2, contribute major causes of deafness in CI patients. Continuous studies are needed to identify new genes that can cause hearing loss to Korean CI patients.
PMCID: PMC3369975  PMID: 22701767
Connexin 26; GJB2 protein; Pendred syndrome; SLC26A4 protein; Cochlear implants
22.  Performance of Cochlear Implant Recipients With GJB2-Related Deafness 
Congenital profound hearing loss affects 0.05–0.1% of children and has many causes, some of which are associated with cognitive delay. For prelingually-deafened cochlear implant recipients, the etiology of deafness is usually unknown. Mutations in GJB2 have been established as the most common cause of heritable deafness in the United States. In this report, we identify cochlear implant recipients with GJB2-related deafness and examine the performance of these individuals. Cochlear implant recipients received a battery of perceptive, cognitive, and reading tests. Neither subjects nor examiners knew the etiology of deafness in these individuals. The implant recipients were then examined for mutations in GJB2 using an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction assay, single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and direct sequencing. GJB2 mutations were the leading cause of congenital deafness among the cochlear implant recipients screened. Cochlear implant recipients with GJB2-related deafness read within one standard deviation of hearing controls better than other congenitally deaf cochlear implant recipients and non-cochlear implant recipients. Individuals with congenital deafness should be offered GJB2 screening. Positive results establish an etiologic diagnosis and provide prognostic, genetic, and therapeutic information. Effective rehabilitation for profoundly deaf individuals with GJB2-related deafness is possible through cochlear implantation.
PMCID: PMC3212411  PMID: 11977173
deafness; cochlear implantation; connexin 26; GJB2; reading performance
23.  Novel Compound Heterozygous TMC1 Mutations Associated with Autosomal Recessive Hearing Loss in a Chinese Family 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63026.
Hereditary nonsyndromic hearing loss is highly heterogeneous and most patients with a presumed genetic etiology lack a specific diagnosis. It has been estimated that several hundred genes may be associated with this sensory deficit in humans. Here, we identified compound heterozygous mutations in the TMC1 gene as the cause of recessively inherited sensorineural hearing loss by using whole-exome sequencing in a family with two deaf siblings. Sanger sequencing confirmed that both siblings inherited a missense mutation, c.589G>A p.G197R (maternal allele), and a nonsense mutation, c.1171C>T p.Q391X (paternal allele), in TMC1. We also used DNA from 50 Chinese familial patients with ARNSHL and 208 ethnicity-matched negative samples to perform extended variants analysis. Both variants co-segregated in family 1953, which had the hearing loss phenotype, but were absent in 50 patients and 208 ethnicity-matched controls. Therefore, we concluded that the hearing loss in this family was caused by novel compound heterozygous mutations in TMC1.
PMCID: PMC3653921  PMID: 23690975
24.  Targeted Exon Sequencing Successfully Discovers Rare Causative Genes and Clarifies the Molecular Epidemiology of Japanese Deafness Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71381.
Target exon resequencing using Massively Parallel DNA Sequencing (MPS) is a new powerful strategy to discover causative genes in rare Mendelian disorders such as deafness. We attempted to identify genomic variations responsible for deafness by massive sequencing of the exons of 112 target candidate genes. By the analysis of 216randomly selected Japanese deafness patients (120 early-onset and 96 late-detected), who had already been evaluated for common genes/mutations by Invader assay and of which 48 had already been diagnosed, we efficiently identified causative mutations and/or mutation candidates in 57 genes. Approximately 86.6% (187/216) of the patients had at least one mutation. Of the 187 patients, in 69 the etiology of the hearing loss was completely explained. To determine which genes have the greatest impact on deafness etiology, the number of mutations was counted, showing that those in GJB2 were exceptionally higher, followed by mutations in SLC26A4, USH2A, GPR98, MYO15A, COL4A5 and CDH23. The present data suggested that targeted exon sequencing of selected genes using the MPS technology followed by the appropriate filtering algorithm will be able to identify rare responsible genes including new candidate genes for individual patients with deafness, and improve molecular diagnosis. In addition, using a large number of patients, the present study clarified the molecular epidemiology of deafness in Japanese. GJB2 is the most prevalent causative gene, and the major (commonly found) gene mutations cause 30–40% of deafness while the remainder of hearing loss is the result of various rare genes/mutations that have been difficult to diagnose by the conventional one-by-one approach. In conclusion, target exon resequencing using MPS technology is a suitable method to discover common and rare causative genes for a highly heterogeneous monogenic disease like hearing loss.
PMCID: PMC3742761  PMID: 23967202
25.  Optimization of simultaneous screening of the main mutations involved in non-syndromic deafness using the TaqMan® OpenArray™ Genotyping Platform 
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:112.
Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit in humans, affecting approximately 10% of the global population. In developed countries, one in every 500 individuals suffers from severe to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. For those up to 5 years old, the proportion is higher, at 2.7 in 1000 individuals, and for adolescents the average is 3.5 in 1000. Among the causes of hearing loss, more than 50% are related to genetic factors. To date, nearly 150 loci and 64 genes have been associated with hearing loss. Mutations in the GJB2 gene, which encodes connexin 26, constitute the main genetic cause. So far, more than 300 variations have been described in this gene.
As a response to the clinical and genetic heterogeneity of hearing loss and the importance of correct molecular diagnosis of individuals with hereditary hearing loss, this study worked in the optimization for a diagnostic protocol employing a high-throughput genotyping technology.
For this work, was used the TaqMan® OpenArray™ Genotyping platform. This is a high performance, high-throughput technology based on real-time PCR, which enables the evaluation of up to 3072 SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), point mutations, small deletions, and insertions, using a single genotyping plate. For the study, were selected the layout allowing to analyze 32 alterations in 96 individuals simultaneously. In the end, the generated results were validated by conventional techniques, as direct sequencing, Multiplex PCR and RFLP-PCR.
A total of 376 individuals were analyzed, of which 94 were healthy controls, totaling 4 plates in duplicate. All 31 of the changes analyzed were present in the nuclear genes GJB2, GJB6, CRYL1, TMC1, SLC26A4, miR-96, and OTOF, and in the mitochondrial genes MT-RNR1 and MT-TS1. The reactions were subsequently validated by established techniques (direct sequencing, multiplex PCR, and RFLP-PCR) that had previously been used to perform molecular screening of hearing loss at the Human Genetics Laboratory of the Center for Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering (CBMEG), at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP). In total, 11,656 genotyping reactions were performed. Of these, only 351 reactions failed, representing approximately 3.01% of the total. The average accuracy of genotyping using the OpenArray™ plates was 96.99%.
The results demonstrated the accuracy, low cost, and good reproducibility of the technique, indicating that the TaqMan® OpenArray™ Genotyping Platform is a useful and reliable tool for application in molecular diagnostic testing of hearing loss.
PMCID: PMC4015212  PMID: 24156272
Genotyping; OpenArray™; High-throughput; Deafness; Genetics; Hearing loss

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