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1.  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)
2.  Genomic analysis of a heterogeneous Mendelian phenotype: multiple novel alleles for inherited hearing loss in the Palestinian population 
Human Genomics  2006;2(4):203-211.
Recessively inherited phenotypes are frequent in the Palestinian population, as the result of a historical tradition of marriages within extended kindreds, particularly in isolated villages. In order to characterise the genetics of inherited hearing loss in this population, we worked with West Bank schools for the deaf to identify children with prelingual, bilateral, severe to profound hearing loss not attributable to infection, trauma or other known environmental exposure. Of 156 families enrolled, hearing loss in 17 families (11 per cent) was due to mutations in GJB2 (connexin 26), a smaller fraction of GJB2-associated deafness than in other populations. In order to estimate how many different genes might be responsible for hearing loss in this population, we evaluated ten families for linkage to all 36 known human autosomal deafness-related genes, fully sequencing hearing-related genes at any linked sites in informative relatives. Four families harboured four novel alleles of TMPRSS3 (988ΔA = 352stop), otoancorin (1067A >T = D356V) and pendrin (716T > A = V239D and 1001G > T = 346stop). In each family, all affected individuals were homozygous for the critical mutation. Each allele was specific to one or a few families in the cohort; none were widespread. Since epidemiological tests of association of mutations with deafness were not feasible for such rare alleles, we used functional and bioinformatics approaches to evaluate their consequences. In six other families, hearing loss was not linked to any known gene, suggesting that these families harbour novel genes responsible for this phenotype. We conclude that inherited hearing loss is highly heterogeneous in this population, with most extended families acting as genetic isolates in this context. We also conclude that the same genes are responsible for hearing loss in this population as elsewhere, so that gene discovery in these families informs the genetics of hearing loss worldwide.
PMCID: PMC3525152  PMID: 16460646
genetics; genomics; inherited; deafness; hearing loss; mutation; Palestinian; TMPRSS3; pendrin; otoancorin
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Linkage Study and Exome Sequencing Identify a BDP1 Mutation Associated with Hereditary Hearing Loss 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80323.
Nonsyndromic Hereditary Hearing Loss is a common disorder accounting for at least 60% of prelingual deafness. GJB2 gene mutations, GJB6 deletion, and the A1555G mitochondrial mutation play a major role worldwide in causing deafness, but there is a high degree of genetic heterogeneity and many genes involved in deafness have not yet been identified. Therefore, there remains a need to search for new causative mutations. In this study, a combined strategy using both linkage analysis and sequencing identified a new mutation causing hearing loss. Linkage analysis identified a region of 40 Mb on chromosome 5q13 (LOD score 3.8) for which exome sequencing data revealed a mutation (c.7873 T>G leading to p.*2625Gluext*11) in the BDP1 gene (B double prime 1, subunit of RNA polymerase III transcription initiation factor IIIB) in patients from a consanguineous Qatari family of second degree, showing bilateral, post-lingual, sensorineural moderate to severe hearing impairment. The mutation disrupts the termination codon of the transcript resulting in an elongation of 11 residues of the BDP1 protein. This elongation does not contain any known motif and is not conserved across species. Immunohistochemistry studies carried out in the mouse inner ear showed Bdp1 expression within the endothelial cells in the stria vascularis, as well as in mesenchyme-derived cells surrounding the cochlear duct. The identification of the BDP1 mutation increases our knowledge of the molecular bases of Nonsyndromic Hereditary Hearing Loss and provides new opportunities for the diagnosis and treatment of this disease in the Qatari population.
PMCID: PMC3846559  PMID: 24312468
7.  GJB2 Gene Mutations in Syndromic Skin Diseases with Sensorineural Hearing Loss. 
Current Genomics  2011;12(7):475-785.
The GJB2 gene is located on chromosome 13q12 and it encodes the connexin 26, a transmembrane protein involved in cell-cell attachment of almost all tissues. GJB2 mutations cause autosomal recessive (DFNB1) and sometimes dominant (DFNA3) non-syndromic sensorineural hearing loss. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that connexins are involved in regulation of growth and differentiation of epidermis and, in fact, GJB2 mutations have also been identified in syndromic disorders with hearing loss associated with various skin disease phenotypes. GJB2 mutations associated with skin disease are, in general, transmitted with a dominant inheritance pattern. Nonsyndromic deafness is caused prevalently by a loss-of-function, while literature evidences suggest for syndromic deafness a mechanism based on gain-of-function. The spectrum of skin manifestations associated with some mutations seems to have a very high phenotypic variability. Why some mutations can lead to widely varying cutaneous manifestations is poorly understood and in particular, the reason why the skin disease-deafness phenotypes differ from each other thus remains unclear. This review provides an overview of recent findings concerning pathogenesis of syndromic deafness imputable to GJB2 mutations with an emphasis on relevant clinical genotype-phenotype correlations. After describing connexin 26 fundamental characteristics, the most relevant and recent information about its known mutations involved in the syndromic forms causing hearing loss and skin problems are summarized. The possible effects of the mutations on channel expression and function are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3219843  PMID: 22547955
GJB2; connexin 26; skin; hearing loss.
8.  Genetic testing for hearing loss in the United States should include deletion/duplication analysis for the deafness/infertility locus at 15q15.3 
Hearing loss is the most common birth defect and the most prevalent sensorineural disorder in developed countries. More than 50% of prelingual deafness is genetic, most often autosomal recessive and nonsyndromic, of which 50% can be attributed to the disorder DFNB1, caused by mutations in GJB2 and GJB6. Sensorineural hearing loss and male infertility (Deafness-Infertility Syndrome; DIS) is a contiguous gene deletion syndrome resulting from homozygous deletion of the CATSPER2 and STRC genes on chromosome 15q15.3. Females with DIS have only hearing loss and are fertile. Until recently this syndrome has only been described in three consanguineous families and 2 nonconsanguineous families.
We recently indentified a patient with hearing loss and macrocephaly who was found to be homozygous for this deletion. Her nonconsanguineous parents are both carriers. We examined our database of patients tested by array CGH and determined that just over 1% of our patients are heterozygous for this deletion. If this number is representative of the general population, this implies a 1% carrier frequency and prevalence of DIS of 1 in 40,000 individuals.
We propose that DIS is a greatly under-diagnosed cause of deafness and should be considered in children with hearing loss. Likewise, current molecular genetic testing panels for hearing loss in the United States should be expanded to include deletion/duplication analysis of this region.
PMCID: PMC3671142  PMID: 23648117
Deafness-Infertility Syndrome; CATSPER2; STRC; Array CGH
9.  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
10.  A Recessive Mendelian Model to Predict Carrier Probabilities of DFNB1 for Nonsyndromic Deafness 
Human mutation  2006;27(11):1135-1142.
Mutations in the DFNB1 locus, where two connexin genes are located (GJB2 and GJB6), account for half of congenital cases of nonsyndromic autosomal recessive deafness. Because of the high frequency of DFNB1 gene mutations and the availability of genetic diagnostic tests involving these genes, they are the best candidates to develop a risk prediction model of being hearing impaired. People undergoing genetic counseling are normally interested in knowing the probability of having a hearing impaired child given his/her family history. To address this, a Mendelian model that predicts the probability of being a carrier of DFNB1 mutations, using family history of deafness, has been developed. This probability will be useful as additional information to decide whether or not a genetic test should be performed. This model incorporates Mendelian mode of inheritance, the age of onset of the disease, and the current age of hearing family members. The carrier probabilities are obtained using Bayes’ theorem, in which mutation prevalence is used as the prior distribution. We have validated our model by using information from 305 families affected with congenital or progressive nonsyndromic deafness, in which genetic analysis of GJB2 and GJB6 had already been performed. This model works well, especially in homozygous carriers, showing a high discriminative power. This indicates that our proposed model can be useful in the context of clinical counseling of autosomal recessive disorders.
PMCID: PMC2268028  PMID: 16941638
hearing loss; recessive Mendelian model; predicting carrier probabilities; DFNB1; Bayes’ theorem; GJB2; GJB6
11.  Absence of mutations in GJB2 (Connexin-26) gene in an ethnic group of southwest Iran 
The common GJB2 gene mutation (35delG) has been previously reported from Iranian patients that were affected with nonsyndromic autosomal recessive deafness. We, therefore, for the first time, investigated the prevalence and frequency of the GJB2 gene mutation in the Iranian deaf population with Arabian origins.
We amplified and sequenced the entire coding sequence of the GJB2 gene from 61 deaf patients and 26 control subjects.
None of the analyzed samples revealed deafness-associated mutation.
This finding differs from several reports from Iran as we have focused on the GJB2 gene that possesses various mutations as the cause of congenital recessive deafness.
PMCID: PMC2846572  PMID: 20407643
Connexin 26; GJB2; Iranian Arabs; nonsyndromic autosomal recessive deafness
12.  Frequency of Usher Syndrome in Two Pediatric Populations: Implications for genetic screening of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children 
Usher syndrome is a major cause of genetic deafblindness. The hearing loss is usually congenital and the retinitis pigmentosa is progressive and first noticed in early childhood to the middle teenage years. Its frequency may be underestimated. Newly developed molecular technologies can detect the underlying gene mutation of this disorder early in life providing estimation of its prevalence in at risk pediatric populations and laying a foundation for its incorporation as an adjunct to newborn hearing screening programs.
A total of 133 children from two deaf and hard of hearing pediatric populations were genotyped first for GJB2/6 and, if negative, then for Usher syndrome. Children were scored as positive if the test revealed ≥1 pathogenic mutations in any Usher gene.
Fifteen children carried pathogenic mutations in one of the Usher genes; the number of deaf and hard of hearing children carrying Usher syndrome mutations was 15/133 (11.3%). The population prevalence was estimated to be 1/6000.
Usher syndrome is more prevalent than has been reported prior to the genome project era. Early diagnosis of Usher syndrome has important positive implications for childhood safety, educational planning, genetic counseling, and treatment. The results demonstrate that DNA testing for Usher syndrome is feasible and may be a useful addition to newborn hearing screening programs.
PMCID: PMC3131500  PMID: 20613545
Usher syndrome; DNA screening; prevalence; retinitis pigmentosa; hearing loss; pediatrics; newborn hearing screening
13.  Two Iranian Families with a Novel Mutation in GJB2 Causing Autosomal Dominant Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss 
Mutations in GJB2, encoding connexin 26 (Cx26), cause both autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss at the DFNA3 and DFNB1 loci, respectively. Most of the over 100 described GJB2 mutations cause autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss. Only a minority has been associated with autosomal dominant hearing loss. In this study, we present two families with autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss caused by a novel mutation in GJB2 (p.Asp46Asn). Both families were ascertained from the same village in northern Iran consistent with a founder effect. This finding implicates the D46N missense mutation in Cx26 as a common cause of deafness in this part of Iran mandating mutation screening of GJB2 for D46N in all persons with hearing loss who originate from this geographic region.
PMCID: PMC3080436  PMID: 21484990
connexin 26; D46N; autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss; DFNA3; Iran
14.  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
15.  Sensorineural deafness inherited as a tissue specific mitochondrial disorder. 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1992;29(2):86-90.
We present here a large Israeli-Arab kindred with hereditary deafness. In this family 55 deaf subjects (29M, 26F), who are otherwise healthy, have been identified and traced back five generations to one common female ancestor. The deafness is progressive in nature, usually presenting in infancy and childhood. Audiometry on six deaf and seven unaffected subjects was consistent with severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Based on formal family segregation analysis, the inheritance of deafness in this family closely fits the expectation of a two locus model owing to the simultaneous mutation of a mitochondrial gene and an autosomal recessive gene. Thus, this disorder appears to have the unusual features of being an inherited tissue specific mitochondrial disease and apparently requiring the homozygous presence of a nuclear gene for clinical expression. Most importantly, this disorder presents a unique opportunity to investigate the molecular basis of hereditary non-syndromic deafness and normal hearing.
PMCID: PMC1015845  PMID: 1613771
16.  Genotyping with a 198 Mutation Arrayed Primer Extension Array for Hereditary Hearing Loss: Assessment of Its Diagnostic Value for Medical Practice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11804.
Molecular diagnostic testing of individuals with congenital sensorineural hearing loss typically begins with DNA sequencing of the GJB2 gene. If the cause of the hearing loss is not identified in GJB2, additional testing can be ordered. However, the step-wise analysis of several genes often results in a protracted diagnostic process. The more comprehensive Hereditary Hearing Loss Arrayed Primer Extension microarray enables analysis of 198 mutations across eight genes (GJB2, GJB6, GJB3, GJA1, SLC26A4, SLC26A5, MTRNR1 and MTTS1) in a single test. To evaluate the added diagnostic value of this microarray for our ethnically diverse patient population, we tested 144 individuals with congenital sensorineural hearing loss who were negative for biallelic GJB2 or GJB6 mutations. The array successfully detected all GJB2 changes previously identified in the study group, confirming excellent assay performance. Additional mutations were identified in the SLC26A4, SLC26A5 and MTRNR1 genes of 12/144 individuals (8.3%), four of whom (2.8%) had genotypes consistent with pathogenicity. These results suggest that the current format of this microarray falls short of adding diagnostic value beyond the customary testing of GJB2, perhaps reflecting the array's limitations on the number of mutations included for each gene, but more likely resulting from unknown genetic contributors to this phenotype. We conclude that mutations in other hearing loss associated genes should be incorporated in the array as knowledge of the etiology of hearing loss evolves. Such future modification of the flexible configuration of the Hereditary Hearing Loss Arrayed Primer Extension microarray would improve its impact as a diagnostic tool.
PMCID: PMC2909915  PMID: 20668687
17.  Spectrum of Genetic Changes in Patients with Non-Syndromic Hearing Impairment and Extremely High Carrier Frequency of 35delG GJB2 Mutation in Belarus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36354.
The genetic nature of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) has so far been studied for many ethnic groups in various parts of the world. The single-nucleotide guanine deletion (35delG) of the GJB2 gene coding for connexin 26 was shown to be the main genetic cause of autosomal recessive deafness among Europeans. Here we present the results of the first study of GJB2 and three mitochondrial mutations among two groups of Belarusian inhabitants: native people with normal hearing (757 persons) and 391 young patients with non-syndromic SNHL. We have found an extremely high carrier frequency of 35delG GJB2 mutation in Belarus −5.7%. This point deletion has also been detected in 53% of the patients with SNHL. The 312del14 GJB2 was the second most common mutation in the Belarus patient cohort. Mitochondrial A1555G mt-RNR1 substitution was found in two SNHL patients (0.55%) but none were found in the population cohort. No individuals carried the A7445G mutation of mitochondrial mt-TS1. G7444A as well as T961G substitutions were detected in mitochondrial mt-RNR1 at a rate of about 1% both in the patient and population cohorts. A possible reason for Belarusians having the highest mutation carrier frequency in Europe 35delG is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3342211  PMID: 22567152
18.  A Novel Mutation in the TECTA Gene in a Chinese Family with Autosomal Dominant Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89240.
TECTA-related deafness can be inherited as autosomal-dominant nonsyndromic deafness (designated DFNA) or as the autosomal-recessive version. The α-tectorin protein, which is encoded by the TECTA gene, is one of the major components of the tectorial membrane in the inner ear. Using targeted DNA capture and massively parallel sequencing (MPS), we screened 42 genes known to be responsible for human deafness in a Chinese family (Family 3187) in which common deafness mutations had been ruled out as the cause, and identified a novel mutation, c.257–262CCTTTC>GCT (p. Ser86Cys; p. Pro88del) in exon 3 of the TECTA gene in the proband and his extended family. All affected individuals in this family had moderate down-sloping hearing loss across all frequencies. To our knowledge, this is the second TECTA mutation identified in Chinese population. This study demonstrates that targeted genomic capture, MPS, and barcode technology might broaden the availability of genetic testing for individuals with undiagnosed DFNA.
PMCID: PMC3931719  PMID: 24586623
19.  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
20.  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
21.  Gap-Junction Channels Dysfunction in Deafness and Hearing Loss 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2009;11(2):309-322.
Gap-junction channels connect the cytoplasm of adjacent cells, allowing the diffusion of ions and small metabolites. They are formed at the appositional plasma membranes by a family of related proteins named connexins. Mutations in connexins 26, 31, 30, 32, and 43 have been associated with nonsyndromic or syndromic deafness. The majority of these mutations are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, but a few of them have been associated with dominantly inherited hearing loss. Mutations in the connexin26 gene (GJB2) are the most common cause of genetic deafness. This review summarizes the most relevant and recent information about different mutations in connexin genes found in human patients, with emphasis on GJB2. The possible effects of the mutations on channel expression and function are discussed, in addition to their possible physiologic consequences for inner ear physiology. Finally, we propose that connexin channels (gap junctions and hemichannels) may be targets for age-related hearing loss induced by oxidative damage. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 309–322.
PMCID: PMC2673109  PMID: 18837651
22.  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
23.  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
24.  Genetic and molecular analysis of the CLDN14 gene in Moroccan family with non-syndromic hearing loss 
Indian Journal of Human Genetics  2013;19(3):331-336.
Hearing loss is the most prevalent human genetic sensorineural defect. Mutations in the CLDN14 gene, encoding the tight junction claudin 14 protein expressed in the inner ear, have been shown to cause non-syndromic recessive hearing loss DFNB29.
We describe a Moroccan SF7 family with non-syndromic hearing loss. We performed linkage analysis in this family and sequencing to identify the mutation causing deafness.
Genetic linkage analysis, suggested the involvement of CLDN14 and KCNE1 gene in deafness in this family. Mutation screening was performed using direct sequencing of the CLDN14 and KCNE1 coding exon gene.
Our results show the presence of c.11C>T mutation in the CLDN14 gene. Transmission analysis of this mutation in the family showed that the three affected individuals are homozygous, whereas parents and three healthy individuals are heterozygous. This mutation induces a substitution of threonine to methionine at position 4.
These data show that CLDN14 gene can be i mplicated in the development of hearing loss in SF7 family; however, the pathogenicity of c.11C>T mutation remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3841559  PMID: 24339547
CLDN14 gene; hearing loss; Moroccan family; mutation
25.  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

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