Reiners, J., Nagel-Wolfrum, K., Jurgens, K., Marker, T. & Wolfrum, U. Molecular basis of human Usher syndrome: deciphering the meshes of the Usher protein network provides insights into the pathomechanisms of the Usher disease. Exp. Eye Res. 83, 97-119

Department of Cell and Matrix Biology, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Experimental Eye Research (Impact Factor: 2.71). 08/2006; 83(1):97-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.11.010
Source: PubMed


Usher syndrome (USH) is the most frequent cause of combined deaf-blindness in man. It is clinically and genetically heterogeneous and at least 12 chromosomal loci are assigned to three clinical USH types, namely USH1A-G, USH2A-C, USH3A (Davenport, S.L.H., Omenn, G.S., 1977. The heterogeneity of Usher syndrome. Vth Int. Conf. Birth Defects, Montreal; Petit, C., 2001. Usher syndrome: from genetics to pathogenesis. Annu. Rev. Genomics Hum. Genet. 2, 271-297). Mutations in USH type 1 genes cause the most severe form of USH. In USH1 patients, congenital deafness is combined with a pre-pubertal onset of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and severe vestibular dysfunctions. Those with USH2 have moderate to severe congenital hearing loss, non-vestibular dysfunction and a later onset of RP. USH3 is characterized by variable RP and vestibular dysfunction combined with progressive hearing loss. The gene products of eight identified USH genes belong to different protein classes and families. There are five known USH1 molecules: the molecular motor myosin VIIa (USH1B); the two cell-cell adhesion cadherin proteins, cadherin 23 (USH1D) and protocadherin 15, (USH1F) and the scaffold proteins, harmonin (USH1C) and SANS (USH1G). In addition, two USH2 genes and one USH3A gene have been identified. The two USH2 genes code for the transmembrane protein USH2A, also termed USH2A ("usherin") and the G-protein-coupled 7-transmembrane receptor VLGR1b (USH2C), respectively, whereas the USH3A gene encodes clarin-1, a member of the clarin family which exhibits 4-transmembrane domains. Molecular analysis of USH1 protein function revealed that all five USH1 proteins are integrated into a protein network via binding to PDZ domains in the USH1C protein harmonin. Furthermore, this scaffold function of harmonin is supported by the USH1G protein SANS. Recently, we have shown that the USH2 proteins USH2A and VLGR1b as well as the candidate for USH2B, the sodium bicarbonate co-transporter NBC3, are also integrated into this USH protein network. In the inner ear, these interactions are essential for the differentiation of hair cell stereocilia but may also participate in the mechano-electrical signal transduction and the synaptic function of maturated hair cells. In the retina, the co-expression of all USH1 and USH2 proteins at the synapse of photoreceptor cells indicates that they are organized in an USH protein network there. The identification of the USH protein network indicates a common pathophysiological pathway in USH. Dysfunction or absence of any of the molecules in the mutual "interactome" related to the USH disease may lead to disruption of the network causing senso-neuronal degeneration in the inner ear and the retina, the clinical symptoms of USH.

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    • "Mutations in their corresponding genes are associated with Usher syndrome type I and nonsyndromic hearing loss (Bolz et al., 2001; Ahmed et al., 2003, 2006; Schultz et al., 2011). Several interactions between these and other Usher proteins have been described (Reiners et al., 2006; Zallocchi et al., 2010, 2012a,b; Caberlotto et al., 2011). Because the absence of clarin-1 results in dysfunction of the mechanotransduction machinery, we addressed whether clarin-1, Pcdh15a, and/or Cdh23 were part of a protein complex in fish Figure 6. "
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    ABSTRACT: Clarin-1 is a four-transmembrane protein expressed by hair cells and photoreceptors. Mutations in its corresponding gene are associated with Usher syndrome type 3, characterized by late-onset and progressive hearing and vision loss in humans. Mice carrying mutations in the clarin-1 gene have hair bundle dysmorphology and a delay in synapse maturation. In this paper, we examined the expression and function of clarin-1 in zebrafish hair cells. We observed protein expression as early as 1 d postfertilization. Knockdown of clarin-1 resulted in inhibition of FM1-43 incorporation, shortening of the kinocilia, and mislocalization of ribeye b clusters. These phenotypes were fully prevented by co-injection with clarin-1 transcript, requiring its C-terminal tail. We also observed an in vivo interaction between clarin-1 and Pcdh15a. Altogether, our results suggest that clarin-1 is functionally important for mechanotransduction channel activity and for proper localization of synaptic components, establishing a critical role for clarin-1 at the apical and basal poles of hair cells.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2014 · The Journal of General Physiology
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    • "The USH1 retinopathy is classified as a rod-cone dystrophy, in which rod anomalies appear first and rapidly worsen, followed by a slow progressing cone dysfunction, and photoreceptor cell degeneration [9,13–17]. Night blindness may be detected during childhood , and this can be followed by a narrowing of the visual field (''tunnel vision''), which rapidly progresses to more severe blindness [2] [18]. Retinal degeneration over the course of the disorder can be followed by the progressive reduction in electroretinogram (ERG) wave amplitudes and by fundus examination. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Usher syndrome (USH) is the most prevalent cause of inherited deaf-blindness. Three clinical subtypes, USH1-3, have been defined, and ten USH genes identified. The hearing impairment due to USH gene defects has been shown to result from improper organisation of the hair bundle, the sound receptive structure of sensory hair cells. In contrast, the cellular basis of the visual defect is less well understood as this phenotype is absent in almost all the USH mouse models that faithfully mimic the human hearing impairment. Structural and molecular interspecies discrepancies regarding photoreceptor calyceal processes and the association with the distribution of USH1 proteins have recently been unravelled, and have led to the conclusion that a defect in the USH1 protein complex-mediated connection between the photoreceptor outer segment and the surrounding calyceal processes (in both rods and cones), and the inner segment (in rods only), probably causes the USH1 retinal dystrophy in humans.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Comptes rendus biologies
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    • "More than 60 genes have been implicated in nonsyndromic RP (RetNet). More than 30 forms of syndromic RP have also been described; the most common is Usher Syndrome (USH), with a worldwide prevalence of 3–10 per 100,000 (reviewed in [2]). USH is inherited in an AR mode, and is characterized by the combination of RP and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), with or without vestibular dysfunction. "
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    ABSTRACT: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the most genetically heterogeneous disorder in humans, actually represents a group of pigmentary retinopathies characterized by night blindness followed by visual-field loss. RP can appear as either syndromic or nonsyndromic. One of the most common forms of syndromic RP is Usher syndrome, characterized by the combination of RP, hearing loss, and vestibular dysfunction. The underlying cause of the appearance of syndromic and nonsyndromic RP in three siblings from a consanguineous Israeli Muslim Arab family was studied with whole-genome homozygosity mapping followed by whole exome sequencing. THE FAMILY WAS FOUND TO SEGREGATE NOVEL MUTATIONS OF TWO DIFFERENT GENES: myosin VIIA (MYO7A), which causes type 1 Usher syndrome, and phosphodiesterase 6B, cyclic guanosine monophosphate-specific, rod, beta (PDE6B), which causes nonsyndromic RP. One affected child was homozygous for both mutations. Since the retinal phenotype seen in this patient results from overlapping pathologies, one might expect to find severe retinal degeneration. Indeed, he was diagnosed with RP based on an abnormal electroretinogram (ERG) at a young age (9 months). However, this early diagnosis may be biased, as two of his older siblings had already been diagnosed, leading to increased awareness. At the age of 32 months, he had relatively good vision with normal visual fields. Further testing of visual function and structure at different ages in the three siblings is needed to determine whether the two RP-causing genes mutated in this youngest sibling confer increased disease severity. This report further supports the genetic heterogeneity of RP, and demonstrates how consanguinity could increase intrafamilial clustering of multiple hereditary diseases. Moreover, this report provides a unique opportunity to study the clinical implications of the coexistence of pathogenic mutations in two RP-causative genes in a human patient.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Molecular vision
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