A Subgroup of Age-Related Macular Degeneration is Associated With Mono-Allelic Sequence Variants in the ABCA4 Gene

Institute of Human Genetics and Department of Ophthalmology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science (Impact Factor: 3.4). 03/2012; 53(4):2112-8. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.11-8785
Source: PubMed


Purpose. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a heterogeneous condition of high prevalence and complex etiology involving genetic as well as environmental factors. By fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging, AMD can be classified into several distinct phenotypes, with one subgroup characterized by fine granular pattern with peripheral punctate spots (GPS[+]). Some features of GPS[+] overlap with Stargardt disease (STGD1), a recessive macular dystrophy caused by biallelic sequence variants in the ATP-binding cassette transporter 4 (ABCA4) gene. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of ABCA4 in GPS[+]. Methods. The ABCA4 gene was sequenced in 25 patients with the GPS[+] phenotype and 29 with geographic atrophy (GA)-AMD but no signs of GPS (GPS[-]). In addition, frequencies of risk-increasing alleles at three known AMD susceptibility loci, including complement factor H (CFH), age-related maculopathy susceptibility 2 (ARMS2), and complement component 3 (C3), were evaluated. Results. We demonstrate that GPS[+] is associated significantly with monoallelic ABCA4 sequence variants. Moreover, frequencies of AMD risk-increasing alleles at CFH, ARMS2, and C3 are similar in GPS[+] and STGD1 patients, with risk allele frequencies in both subcategories comparable to population-based control individuals estimated from 3,510 individuals from the NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project. Conclusions. Our data suggest that the GPS[+] phenotype is accounted for by monoallelic variants in ABCA4 and unlikely by the well-established AMD risk-increasing alleles at CFH, ARMS2, and C3. These findings provide support for a complex role of ABCA4 in the etiology of a minor proportion of patients with AMD.

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    • "Cuticular drusen can be visualized by fluorescein angiography, even in individuals as young as 18 yr old, before any visual complaints have occurred. Patients with variants in the ABCA4 gene can be distinguished by a fine granular pattern with peripheral punctate spots on fundus autofluorescence, also described as late-onset Stargardt disease (Fritsche et al. 2012; Westeneng-van Haaften et al. 2012). This implies that predictive tests may be improved by integrating results of clinical and genetic analyses, and that these tests can facilitate the recognition of clinical subtypes of AMD. "
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    ABSTRACT: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a complex disease caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genome-wide association studies have identified several common genetic variants associated with AMD, which together account for 15%-65% of the heritability of AMD. Multiple hypotheses to clarify the unexplained portion of genetic variance have been proposed, such as gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions, structural variations, epigenetics, and rare variants. Several studies support a role for rare variants with large effect sizes in the pathogenesis of AMD. In this work, we review the methods that can be used to detect rare variants in common diseases, as well as the recent progress that has been made in the identification of rare variants in AMD. In addition, the relevance of these rare variants for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of AMD is highlighted.
    Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 11/2014; 5(3). DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a017202 · 9.47 Impact Factor
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    • "ABCA4 related retinopathies include an interesting diversity of common and unusual retinal phenotypes [1]. Mutations in the ABCA4 gene have been linked to several conditions such as autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (arRP) [2], autosomal recessive Stargardt disease (arSTGD), autosomal recessive cone-rod dystrophy (arCRD) [3], bull’s eye maculopathy [4], and age-related macular degeneration [5,6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: A pediatric patient presented with rapidly progressive vision loss, nyctalopia and retinal dystrophy. This is the first report of homozygosity for the p.Arg602Trp mutation in the ABCA4 gene. The child became legally blind within a period of 2 years. An eight year-old Hispanic female presented with bilateral decreased vision following a febrile gastrointestinal illness with nausea and vomiting. Extensive workup involved pediatric infectious disease and rheumatology consultations.Initial visual acuity was 20/60 at distance and 20/30 at near in both eyes. Rapidly progressive vision loss occurred during a 2-year period resulting in visual acuities of 20/200 at distance in both eyes. Fundus exam disclosed attenuated vessels and multiple subretinal blister-like elevations. Optical coherence tomography showed far more lesions than were clinically evident with different levels of elevation. Autofluorescence imagery showed dramatic and widespread geographic areas of atrophy. The deposits that appeared drusen-like on clinical exam were hyperfluorescent, consistent with lipofuscin deposits containing A2e (N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine) indicative of RPE cell dysfunction. Electroretinography was consistent with cone dystrophy, with relative preservation of rod function. Blood analysis and rheumatology evaluation found no evidence of a diffuse post-infectious/inflammatory process. The unique and rapid progression of her subretinal blister-like lesions was documented by fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, autofluorescence imagery, and fundus photography. Family pedigree history disclosed consanguinity, her parents being first cousins. DNA analysis by whole exomic sequencing revealed homozygosity of p.Arg602Trp in the ABCA4 gene. The pediatric patient presented with a striking clinical appearance and dramatic rate of progression that was clinically more characteristic of an infectious or inflammatory process. This case expands the diverse range of phenotypes attributed to ABCA4 mutations and further supports the role of whole exome sequencing as a powerful new tool available to aid clinicians in establishing diagnosis for challenging cases.
    BMC Medical Genetics 01/2014; 15(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1471-2350-15-11 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "Sequencing of the 191 known IRD disease genes in patients with recessive IRDs can result in the identification of a single mutant allele, but fail to identify a second mutation [10,11]. Since these re-sequencing efforts are focused on annotated exons, it is possible that unidentified transcribed sequences harbor some of the missing mutations [12-14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The retina is a complex tissue comprised of multiple cell types that is affected by a diverse set of diseases that are important causes of vision loss. Characterizing the transcripts, both annotated and novel, that are expressed in a given tissue has become vital for understanding the mechanisms underlying the pathology of disease. We sequenced RNA prepared from three normal human retinas and characterized the retinal transcriptome at an unprecedented level due to the increased depth of sampling provided by the RNA-seq approach. We used a non-redundant reference transcriptome from all of the empirically-determined human reference tracks to identify annotated and novel sequences expressed in the retina. We detected 79,915 novel alternative splicing events, including 29,887 novel exons, 21,757 3[prime] and 5[prime] alternate splice sites, and 28,271 exon skipping events. We also identified 116 potential novel genes. These data represent a significant addition to the annotated human transcriptome. For example, the novel exons detected increase the number of identified exons by 3%. Using a high-throughput RNA capture approach to validate 14,696 of these novel transcriptome features we found that 99% of the putative novel events can be reproducibly detected. Further, 15-36% of the novel splicing events maintain an open reading frame, suggesting they produce novel protein products. To our knowledge, this is the first application of RNA capture to perform large-scale validation of novel transcriptome features. In total, these analyses provide extensive detail about a previously uncharacterized level of transcript diversity in the human retina.
    BMC Genomics 07/2013; 14(1):486. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-486 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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