Purpose: The aim of this study is to identify the molecular basis of autosomal recessive congenital cataracts (arCC) in a large consanguineous pedigree. Methods: All participating individuals underwent a detailed ophthalmic examination. Each patient's medical history, particularly of cataracts and other ocular abnormalities, was compiled from available medical records and interviews with family elders. Blood samples were donated by all participating family members and used to extract genomic DNA. Genetic analysis was performed to rule out linkage to known arCC loci and genes. Whole-exome sequencing libraries were prepared and paired-end sequenced. A large deletion was found that segregated with arCC in the family, and chromosome walking was conducted to estimate the proximal and distal boundaries of the deletion mutation. Results: Exclusion and linkage analysis suggested linkage to a region of chromosome 6p24 harboring GCNT2 (glucosaminyl (N-acetyl) transferase 2) with a two-point logarithm of odds score of 5.78. PCR amplifications of the coding exons of GCNT2 failed in individuals with arCC, and whole-exome data analysis revealed a large deletion on chromosome 6p in the region harboring GCNT2. Chromosomal walking using multiple primer pairs delineated the extent of the deletion to approximately 190 kb. Interestingly, a failure to amplify a junctional fragment of the deletion break strongly suggests an insertion in addition to the large deletion. Conclusion: Here, we report a novel insertion/deletion mutation at the GCNT2 locus that is responsible for congenital cataracts in a large consanguineous family.
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