ijms-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Genetics of Eye Disease"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Tomasz Żarnowski

Guest Editor
Department of Diagnostics and Microsurgery of Glaucoma, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Interests: management of glaucoma (wound healing, complications, new methods); neuroprotection in neuroscience (glaucoma, epilepsy); glaucoma genetics; clinico-genetical correlations; management of complicated cataracts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Genetics of eye diseases has been a field of interest for many researchers in the last few decades. Technological advancement of molecular techniques allowed the spread of new approaches in search of genetic factors underlying pathological processes in ocular disorders. For years, traditional linkage analysis has been utilized to link different diseases' phenotypes with particular loci and has been successful in finding variations responsible for known pathological processes, for instance in retinoblastoma. One limitation of this approach is its reliance on prior knowledge of pathological pathways. Most eye diseases are clinically heterogenous, with many pathways still unknown. Additionally, diseases’ phenotypical heterogeneity is usually reflected by their polygenic inheritance, therefore linkage analysis, though useful in finding genes of big impact, fails to recognize whole spectrum of casual variations involved in development of complex diseases, such as glaucoma, age-related maculopathy or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. In age-related maculopathy, which is considered the most well genetically defined complex disorder, two major loci explain only half of its heritability and MYOC, one of major glaucoma-causing genes is present only in 2–4% of primary open-angle glaucoma patients. More recently, genome-wide association studies have emerged. These huge studies are more powerful in finding variations in genes of subtle effects that summarily contribute to more complex disorders, thus they are hoped, among others, to help defining heritability of polygenic eye diseases. Importance of knowledge regarding genetics of eye diseases is hard to overestimate, especially up against novel achievements of molecular manipulation techniques. Advances in sequence analysis and gene delivery methods, by both viral and nonviral vectors have recently allowed the delivery of genetic payloads in preclinical models of retinal disorders, expanding the disease-modifying power of gene therapies. Further studies regarding targets for such therapies are however still needed. Despite the number of studies contributing to different eye diseases’ genetics there is still little understood and much to be revealed. This special issue is focused on molecular side of the topic, nevertheless clinical implications are also welcome, if connected with biomolecular experiments.

Prof. Tomasz Żarnowski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
EPHA2 Segregates with Microphthalmia and Congenital Cataracts in Two Unrelated Families
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 2190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22042190 - 22 Feb 2021
Abstract
EPHA2 is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor that, when disrupted, causes congenital and age-related cataracts. Cat-Map reports 22 pathogenic EPHA2 variants associated with congenital cataracts, variable microcornea, and lenticonus, but no previous association with microphthalmia (small, underdeveloped eye, ≥2 standard deviations below normal [...] Read more.
EPHA2 is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor that, when disrupted, causes congenital and age-related cataracts. Cat-Map reports 22 pathogenic EPHA2 variants associated with congenital cataracts, variable microcornea, and lenticonus, but no previous association with microphthalmia (small, underdeveloped eye, ≥2 standard deviations below normal axial length). Microphthalmia arises from ocular maldevelopment with >90 monogenic causes, and can include a complex ocular phenotype. In this paper, we report two pathogenic EPHA2 variants in unrelated families presenting with bilateral microphthalmia and congenital cataracts. Whole genome sequencing through the 100,000 Genomes Project and cataract-related targeted gene panel testing identified autosomal dominant heterozygous mutations segregating with the disease: (i) missense c.1751C>T, p.(Pro584Leu) and (ii) splice site c.2826-9G>A. To functionally validate pathogenicity, morpholino knockdown of epha2a/epha2b in zebrafish resulted in significantly reduced eye size ± cataract formation. Misexpression of N-cadherin and retained fibre cell nuclei were observed in the developing lens of the epha2b knockdown morphant fish by 3 days post-fertilisation, which indicated a putative mechanism for microphthalmia pathogenesis through disruption of cadherin-mediated adherens junctions, preventing lens maturation and the critical signals stimulating eye growth. This study demonstrates a novel association of EPHA2 with microphthalmia, suggesting further analysis of pathogenic variants in unsolved microphthalmia cohorts may increase molecular diagnostic rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Open AccessArticle
Stationary and Progressive Phenotypes Caused by the p.G90D Mutation in Rhodopsin Gene
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 2133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22042133 - 21 Feb 2021
Abstract
Mutations in rhodopsin gene (RHO) are a frequent cause of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and less often, congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). Mutation p.G90D has previously been associated with CSNB based on the examination of one family. This study screened 60 patients. [...] Read more.
Mutations in rhodopsin gene (RHO) are a frequent cause of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and less often, congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). Mutation p.G90D has previously been associated with CSNB based on the examination of one family. This study screened 60 patients. Out of these 60 patients, 32 were affected and a full characterization was conducted in 15 patients. We described the clinical characteristics of these 15 patients (12 male, median age 42 years, range 8–71) from three families including visual field (Campus Goldmann), fundus autofluorescence (FAF), optical coherence tomography (OCT) and electrophysiology. Phenotypes were classified into four categories: CSNB (N = 3, 20%) sector RP (N = 3, 20%), pericentral RP (N = 1, 6.7%) and classic RP (N = 8, 53.3% (8/15)). The phenotypes were not associated with family, sex or age (Kruskal–Wallis, p > 0.05), however, cystoid macular edema (CME) was observed only in one family. Among the subjects reporting nyctalopia, 69% (22/32) were male. The clinical characteristics of the largest p.G90D cohort so far showed a large frequency of progressive retinal degeneration with 53.3% developing RP, contrary to the previous report. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Long-Range PCR-Based NGS Applications to Diagnose Mendelian Retinal Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(4), 1508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22041508 - 03 Feb 2021
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to develop a flexible, cost-efficient, next-generation sequencing (NGS) protocol for genetic testing. Long-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons of up to 20 kb in size were designed to amplify entire genomic regions for a panel (n [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to develop a flexible, cost-efficient, next-generation sequencing (NGS) protocol for genetic testing. Long-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplicons of up to 20 kb in size were designed to amplify entire genomic regions for a panel (n = 35) of inherited retinal disease (IRD)-associated loci. Amplicons were pooled and sequenced by NGS. The analysis was applied to 227 probands diagnosed with IRD: (A) 108 previously molecularly diagnosed, (B) 94 without previous genetic testing, and (C) 25 undiagnosed after whole-exome sequencing (WES). The method was validated with 100% sensitivity on cohort A. Long-range PCR-based sequencing revealed likely causative variant(s) in 51% and 24% of proband from cohorts B and C, respectively. Breakpoints of 3 copy number variants (CNVs) could be characterized. Long-range PCR libraries spike-in extended coverage of WES. Read phasing confirmed compound heterozygosity in 5 probands. The proposed sequencing protocol provided deep coverage of the entire gene, including intronic and promoter regions. Our method can be used (i) as a first-tier assay to reduce genetic testing costs, (ii) to elucidate missing heritability cases, (iii) to characterize breakpoints of CNVs at nucleotide resolution, (iv) to extend WES data to non-coding regions by spiking-in long-range PCR libraries, and (v) to help with phasing of candidate variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Genotypic Homogeneity in Distinctive Transforming Growth Factor-Beta Induced (TGFBI) Protein Phenotypes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031230 - 27 Jan 2021
Abstract
Background: To evaluate the distribution of the transforming growth factor-beta induced (TGFBI) corneal dystrophies in a multi-ethnic population in Singapore, and to present the different phenotypes with the same genotype. Methods: This study included 32 patients. Slit lamp biomicroscopy was performed for each [...] Read more.
Background: To evaluate the distribution of the transforming growth factor-beta induced (TGFBI) corneal dystrophies in a multi-ethnic population in Singapore, and to present the different phenotypes with the same genotype. Methods: This study included 32 patients. Slit lamp biomicroscopy was performed for each patient to determine the disease phenotype. Genomic DNA was extracted from the blood samples and the 17 exons of the TGFBI gene were amplified by PCR and sequenced bi-directionally for genotype analysis. Results: Regarding phenotypes, the study patients comprised 11 (34.4%; 8 with R555W and 3 with R124H mutation) patients with granular corneal dystrophy type 1 (GCD1), 6 (18.8%; 5 with R124H and 1 with R124C mutation) patients with GCD2, 13 (40.6%; 7 with R124C, 2 with H626R, 2 with L550P, 1 with A620D and 1 with H572R) patients with lattice corneal dystrophy (LCD) and 2 (6.3%; 1 with R124L and 1 with R124C) patients with Reis–Bückler corneal dystrophy. Regarding genotype, R124H mutation was associated with GCD2 (5 cases; 62.5%) and GCD1 (3 cases; 37.5%). R124C mutation was associated with LCD (7 cases; 87.5%) and GCD2 (1 case; 12.5%). All the 8 cases (100%) of R555W mutation were associated with GCD1. Conclusions: Although the association between genotype and phenotype was good in most cases (65.7%; 21 of 32 patients), genotype/phenotype discrepancy was observed in a significant number. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Novel Biallelic Variants and Phenotypic Features in Patients with SLC38A8-Related Foveal Hypoplasia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031130 - 24 Jan 2021
Abstract
Biallelic pathogenic variants in solute carrier family 38 member 8, SLC38A8, cause a pan-ocular autosomal recessive condition known as foveal hypoplasia 2, FVH2, characterised by foveal hypoplasia, nystagmus and optic nerve chiasmal misrouting. Patients are often clinically diagnosed with ocular albinism, but [...] Read more.
Biallelic pathogenic variants in solute carrier family 38 member 8, SLC38A8, cause a pan-ocular autosomal recessive condition known as foveal hypoplasia 2, FVH2, characterised by foveal hypoplasia, nystagmus and optic nerve chiasmal misrouting. Patients are often clinically diagnosed with ocular albinism, but foveal hypoplasia can occur in several other ocular disorders. Here we describe nine patients from seven families who had molecularly confirmed biallelic recessive variants in SLC38A8 identified through whole genome sequencing or targeted gene panel testing. We identified four novel sequence variants (p.(Tyr88*), p.(Trp145*), p.(Glu233Gly) and c.632+1G>A). All patients presented with foveal hypoplasia, nystagmus and reduced visual acuity; however, one patient did not exhibit any signs of chiasmal misrouting, and three patients had features of anterior segment dysgenesis. We highlight these findings in the context of 30 other families reported to date. This study reinforces the importance of obtaining a molecular diagnosis in patients whose phenotype overlap with other inherited ocular conditions, in order to support genetic counselling, clinical prognosis and family planning. We expand the spectrum of SLC38A8 mutations which will be relevant for treatment through future genetic-based therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Clinical and Histopathological Features of Gelsolin Amyloidosis Associated with a Novel GSN Variant p.Glu580Lys
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(3), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031084 - 22 Jan 2021
Abstract
Gelsolin amyloidosis typically presents with corneal lattice dystrophy and is most frequently associated with pathogenic GSN variant p.Asp214Asn. Here we report clinical and histopathological features of gelsolin amyloidosis associated with a novel GSN variant p.Glu580Lys. We studied DNA samples of seven members of [...] Read more.
Gelsolin amyloidosis typically presents with corneal lattice dystrophy and is most frequently associated with pathogenic GSN variant p.Asp214Asn. Here we report clinical and histopathological features of gelsolin amyloidosis associated with a novel GSN variant p.Glu580Lys. We studied DNA samples of seven members of a two-generation family. Exome sequencing was performed in the proband, and targeted Sanger sequencing in the others. The heterozygous GSN variant p.Glu580Lys was identified in six patients. The patients exhibited corneal dystrophy (5/6), loose skin (5/6) and/or heart arrhythmia (3/6) and one presented with bilateral optic neuropathy. The impact of the mutation on the protein structure was evaluated in silico. The substitution is located in the fifth domain of gelsolin protein, homologous to the second domain harboring the most common pathogenic variant p.Asp214Asn. Structural investigation revealed that the mutation might affect protein folding. Histopathological analysis showed amyloid deposits in the skin. The p.Glu580Lys is associated with corneal dystrophy, strengthening the association of the fifth domain of gelsolin protein with the typical amyloidosis phenotype. Furthermore, optic neuropathy may be related to the disease and is essential to identify before discussing corneal transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Application of WES towards Molecular Investigation of Congenital Cataracts: Identification of Novel Alleles and Genes in a Hospital-Based Cohort of South India
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9569; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249569 - 16 Dec 2020
Abstract
Congenital cataracts are the prime cause for irreversible blindness in children. The global incidence of congenital cataract is 2.2–13.6 per 10,000 births, with the highest prevalence in Asia. Nearly half of the congenital cataracts are of familial nature, with a predominant autosomal dominant [...] Read more.
Congenital cataracts are the prime cause for irreversible blindness in children. The global incidence of congenital cataract is 2.2–13.6 per 10,000 births, with the highest prevalence in Asia. Nearly half of the congenital cataracts are of familial nature, with a predominant autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Over 38 of the 45 mapped loci for isolated congenital or infantile cataracts have been associated with a mutation in a specific gene. The clinical and genetic heterogeneity of congenital cataracts makes the molecular diagnosis a bit of a complicated task. Hence, whole exome sequencing (WES) was utilized to concurrently screen all known cataract genes and to examine novel candidate factors for a disease-causing mutation in probands from 11 pedigrees affected with familial congenital cataracts. Analysis of the WES data for known cataract genes identified causative mutations in six pedigrees (55%) in PAX6, FYCO1 (two variants), EPHA2, P3H2,TDRD7 and an additional likely causative mutation in a novel gene NCOA6, which represents the first dominant mutation in this gene. This study identifies a novel cataract gene not yet linked to human disease. NCOA6 is a transcriptional coactivator that interacts with nuclear hormone receptors to enhance their transcriptional activator function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Eye Disease)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop