Usher syndrome type I is the most severe form of Usher syndrome. It is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by profound congenital sensorineural deafness, retinitis pigmentosa, and vestibular abnormalities. Mutations in the myosin VIIA gene (MYO7A) are responsible for Usher syndrome type 1B (USH1B). This gene is thought to bear greatest responsibility for USH1 and, depending on the study, has been reported to account for between 24% and 59% of USH1 cases. In this report a mutation screening of the MYO7A gene was carried out in a series of 48 unrelated USH1 families using single strand conformation polymorphism analysis (SSCP) and direct sequencing of those fragments showed an abnormal electrophoretic pattern. Twenty-five mutations were identified in 23 out of the 48 families studied (47.9%). Twelve of these mutations were novel, including five missense mutations, three premature stop codons, three frameshift, and one putative splice-site mutation. Based on our results we can conclude there is an absence of hot spot mutations in the MYO7A gene and that this gene plays a major role in Usher syndrome.
2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.