Background: Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a recessive and genetically heterogeneous ciliopathy characterised by retinitis pigmentosa, obesity, kidney dysfunction, postaxial polydactyly, behavioural dysfunction and hypogonadism. 7 of the 17 BBS gene products identified to date assemble together with the protein BBIP1/BBIP10 into the BBSome, a protein complex that ferries signalling receptors to and from cilia.
Methods and results: Exome sequencing performed on a sporadic BBS case revealed for the first time a homozygous stop mutation (NM_001195306: c.173T>G, p.Leu58*) in the BBIP1 gene. This mutation is pathogenic since no BBIP1 protein could be detected in fibroblasts from the patient, and BBIP1[Leu58*] is unable to associate with the BBSome subunit BBS4.
Conclusions: These findings identify BBIP1 as the 18th BBS gene (BBS18) and suggest that BBSome assembly may represent a unifying pathomechanism for BBS.
Keywords: Clinical Genetics; Diagnostics Tests; Genetic Screening/Counselling; Molecular Genetics; Ophthalmology.