Purpose: Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is an inherited retinal disease that causes early-onset severe visual impairment. To evaluate the mutation spectrum in the Chinese population, we performed a mutation screen in 145 Chinese LCA families.
Methods: First, we performed direct Sanger sequencing of 7 LCA disease genes in 81 LCA families. Next, we developed a capture panel that enriches the entire coding exons and splicing sites of 163 known retinal disease genes and other candidate retinal disease genes. The capture panel allowed us to quickly identify disease-causing mutations in a large number of genes at a relatively low cost. Thus, this method was applied to the 53 LCA families that were unsolved by direct Sanger sequencing of 7 LCA disease genes and an additional 64 LCA families. Systematic next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis, Sanger sequencing validation, and segregation analysis were used to identify pathogenic mutations.
Results: Homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations were identified in 107 families, heterozygous autosomal dominant mutations were identified in 3 families and an X-linked mutation was found in 1 family, for a combined solving rate of 76.6%. In total, 136 novel pathogenic mutations were found in this study. In combination with two previous studies carried out in Chinese LCA patients, we concluded that the mutation spectrum in the Chinese population is distinct compared to that in the European population. After revisiting, we also refined the clinical diagnosis of 10 families based on their molecular diagnosis.
Conclusions: Our results highlight the importance of a molecular diagnosis as an integral part of the clinical diagnostic process.