An update on the genetics of usher syndrome

J Ophthalmol. 2011;2011:417217. doi: 10.1155/2011/417217. Epub 2010 Dec 23.


Usher syndrome (USH) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by hearing loss, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and, in some cases, vestibular dysfunction. It is clinically and genetically heterogeneous and is the most common cause underlying deafness and blindness of genetic origin. Clinically, USH is divided into three types. Usher type I (USH1) is the most severe form and is characterized by severe to profound congenital deafness, vestibular areflexia, and prepubertal onset of progressive RP. Type II (USH2) displays moderate to severe hearing loss, absence of vestibular dysfunction, and later onset of retinal degeneration. Type III (USH3) shows progressive postlingual hearing loss, variable onset of RP, and variable vestibular response. To date, five USH1 genes have been identified: MYO7A (USH1B), CDH23 (USH1D), PCDH15 (USH1F), USH1C(USH1C), and USH1G(USH1G). Three genes are involved in USH2, namely, USH2A (USH2A), GPR98 (USH2C), and DFNB31 (USH2D). USH3 is rare except in certain populations, and the gene responsible for this type is USH3A.