Application of Whole Exome Sequencing in Six Families with an Initial Diagnosis of Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa: Lessons Learned

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 21;10(7):e0133624. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133624. eCollection 2015.


This study aimed to identify the genetics underlying dominant forms of inherited retinal dystrophies using whole exome sequencing (WES) in six families extensively screened for known mutations or genes. Thirty-eight individuals were subjected to WES. Causative variants were searched among single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and insertion/deletion variants (indels) and whenever no potential candidate emerged, copy number variant (CNV) analysis was performed. Variants or regions harboring a candidate variant were prioritized and segregation of the variant with the disease was further assessed using Sanger sequencing in case of SNVs and indels, and quantitative PCR (qPCR) for CNVs. SNV and indel analysis led to the identification of a previously reported mutation in PRPH2. Two additional mutations linked to different forms of retinal dystrophies were identified in two families: a known frameshift deletion in RPGR, a gene responsible for X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and p.Ser163Arg in C1QTNF5 associated with Late-Onset Retinal Degeneration. A novel heterozygous deletion spanning the entire region of PRPF31 was also identified in the affected members of a fourth family, which was confirmed with qPCR. This study allowed the identification of the genetic cause of the retinal dystrophy and the establishment of a correct diagnosis in four families, including a large heterozygous deletion in PRPF31, typically considered one of the pitfalls of this method. Since all findings in this study are restricted to known genes, we propose that targeted sequencing using gene-panel is an optimal first approach for the genetic screening and that once known genetic causes are ruled out, WES might be used to uncover new genes involved in inherited retinal dystrophies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Electroretinography
  • Exome*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • INDEL Mutation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Pedigree
  • Peripherins / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / diagnosis
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spain
  • Young Adult


  • Eye Proteins
  • PRPF31 protein, human
  • PRPH2 protein, human
  • Peripherins

Supplementary concepts

  • Late-Onset Retinal Degeneration