Mutations in the vitelliform macular dystrophy 2 (VMD2) gene encoding besrtophin are responsible for Best macular dystrophy (BMD), a juvenile-onset autosomal dominant disorder of the central retina. Here, we report ten novel VMD2 mutations identified in clinically diagnosed BMD patients. The heterozygous alterations include nine missense mutations (c.32A>T, c.76G>C, c.85T>C, c.122T>C, c.122T>C, c.310G>C, c.722C>A, c.880C>G, c.893T>C) resulting in amino acid changes (respectively: Asn11Ile, Gly26Arg, Tyr29His, Leu41Pro, Trp102Arg, Asp104His, Thr241Asn, Leu294Val and Phe298Ser) located within four previously defined hotspot regions of the gene. In addition, a silent exonic mutation (c.624G>A) was identified in a two generation BMD pedigree. To determine a possible pathogenic effect of this variant, the consequences on splicing behaviour and potential exonic splice enhancer (ESE) motifs were analyzed. Finally, a 1-bp deletion (c.779delC) resulting in a frameshift mutation (Pro260fsX288) was found in exon 7, representing the first case of a potential frameshift mutation that affects the N-terminal half of the VMD2 protein. Besides a dominant negative effect which is likely attributable to the identified missense mutations, the deletion mutation suggests haploinsufficiency as an infrequent disease-causing mechanism in BMD.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.