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Identification of a Novel Mutation in BRD4 that Causes Autosomal Dominant Syndromic Congenital Cataracts Associated with Other Neuro-Skeletal Anomalies.

PLoS ONE | 11 Jan 2017
Congenital cataracts can occur as a non-syndromic isolated ocular disease or as a part of genetic syndromes accompanied by a multi-systemic disease. Approximately 50% of all congenital cataract cases have a heterogeneous genetic basis. Here, we describe three generations of a family with an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern and common complex phenotypes, including bilateral congenital cataracts, short stature, macrocephaly, and minor skeletal anomalies. We did not find any chromosomal aberrations or gene copy number abnormalities using conventional genetic tests; accordingly, we conducted whole-exome sequencing (WES) to identify disease-causing genetic alterations in this family. Based on family WES data, we identified a novel BRD4 missense mutation as a candidate causal variant and performed cell-based experiments by ablation of endogenous BRD4 expression in human lens epithelial cells. The protein expression levels of connexin 43, p62, LC3BII, and p53 differed significantly between control cells and cells in which endogenous BRD4 expression was inhibited. We inferred that a BRD4 missense mutation was the likely disease-causing mutation in this family. Our findings may improve the molecular diagnosis of congenital cataracts and support the use of WES to clarify the genetic basis of complex diseases.

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