The familial dementia gene revisited: a missense mutation revealed by whole-exome sequencing identifies ITM2B as a candidate gene underlying a novel autosomal dominant retinal dystrophy in a large family

Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Jan 15;23(2):491-501. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddt439. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


Inherited retinal diseases are a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders for which a significant number of cases remain genetically unresolved. Increasing knowledge on underlying pathogenic mechanisms with precise phenotype-genotype correlation is, however, critical for establishing novel therapeutic interventions for these yet incurable neurodegenerative conditions. We report phenotypic and genetic characterization of a large family presenting an unusual autosomal dominant retinal dystrophy. Phenotypic characterization revealed a retinopathy dominated by inner retinal dysfunction and ganglion cell abnormalities. Whole-exome sequencing identified a missense variant (c.782A>C, p.Glu261Ala) in ITM2B coding for Integral Membrane Protein 2B, which co-segregates with the disease in this large family and lies within the 24.6 Mb interval identified by microsatellite haplotyping. The physiological role of ITM2B remains unclear and has never been investigated in the retina. RNA in situ hybridization reveals Itm2b mRNA in inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers within the retina, with immunostaining demonstrating the presence of the corresponding protein in the same layers. Furthermore, ITM2B in the retina co-localizes with its known interacting partner in cerebral tissue, the amyloid β precursor protein, critical in Alzheimer disease physiopathology. Interestingly, two distinct ITM2B mutations, both resulting in a longer protein product, had already been reported in two large autosomal dominant families with Alzheimer-like dementia but never in subjects with isolated retinal diseases. These findings should better define pathogenic mechanism(s) associated with ITM2B mutations underlying dementia or retinal disease and add a new candidate to the list of genes involved in inherited retinal dystrophies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Aged
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / metabolism*
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Exome
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Phenotype
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Dystrophies / genetics*
  • Retinal Dystrophies / metabolism
  • Retinal Dystrophies / pathology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • ITM2B protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins