Purpose: Familial exudative vitreoretinopathy (FEVR) is a genetically heterogeneous inherited blinding disorder of the retinal vascular system. To date three loci have been mapped: EVR1 on chromosome 11q, EVR2 on chromosome Xp, and EVR3 on chromosome 11p. The gene underlying EVR3 remains unidentified whilst the EVR2 gene, which encodes the Norrie disease protein (NDP), was identified over a decade ago. More recently, FZD4, the gene that encodes the Wnt receptor Frizzled-4, was identified as the mutated gene at the EVR1 locus. The purpose of this study was to screen FZD4 in a large family previously proven to be linked to the EVR1 locus.
Methods: PCR products were generated using genomic DNA from affected family members with primers designed to amplify the coding sequence of FZD4. The PCR products were screened for mutations by direct sequencing. Genotyping was performed in all available family members using fluorescently labeled microsatellite markers from chromosome 11q.
Results: Sequencing of the EVR1 gene, FZD4, in this family identified no mutation. To investigate this family further we performed high-resolution genotyping with markers spanning chromosome 11q. Haplotype analysis excluded FZD4 as the mutated gene in this family and identified a candidate region approximately 10 cM centromeric to EVR1. This new FEVR locus is flanked by markers D11S1368 (centromeric) and D11S937 (telomeric) and spans approximately 15 cM.
Conclusions: High-resolution genotyping and haplotype analysis excluded FZD4 as the defective gene in a family previously linked to the EVR1 locus. The results indicate that the gene mutated in this family lies centromeric to the EVR1 gene, FZD4, and is also genetically distinct from the EVR3 locus. This new locus has been designated EVR4 and is the fourth FEVR locus to be described.