IMPORTANCE: Microphthalmias are rare disorders whose genetic bases are not fully understood. HMGB3 is a new candidate gene for X-linked forms of this disease.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the causative gene in a pedigree with an X-linked colobomatous microphthalmos phenotype.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Whole-genome sequencing and chromosome X-exome-targeted sequencing were performed at the High Throughput Sequencing Laboratory of the Genetic Resources Core Facility at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on the DNA of the male proband and informatically filtered to identify rare variants. Polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing were used to confirm the variant in the proband and the carrier status of his mother. Thirteen unrelated male patients with a similar phenotype were also screened.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Whole-genome and X-exome sequencing to identify a frameshift variant in HMGB3.
RESULTS: A 2-base pair frameshift insertion (c.477-478insTA, coding for p.Lys161Ilefs∗54) in the HGMB3 gene was found in the proband and his carrier mother but not in the unrelated patients. The mutation, confirmed by 3 orthogonal methods, alters an evolutionarily conserved region of the HMGB3 protein from a negatively charged polyglutamic acid tract to a positively charged arginine-rich motif that is likely to interfere with normal protein function.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this family, microphthalmia, microcephaly, intellectual disability, and short stature are associated with a mutation on the X chromosome in the HMGB3 gene. HMGB3 should be considered when performing genetic studies of patients with similar phenotypes.
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