Background: Despite the prevalence of CDH23 mutations in East Asians, its large size hinders investigation. The pathologic mutation p.P240L in CDH23 is common in East Asians. However, whether this mutation represents a common founder or a mutational hot spot is unclear. The prevalence of CDH23 mutations with prelingual severe-to-profound sporadic or autosomal recessive sensorineural hearing loss (arSNHL) is unknown in Koreans.
Methods: From September 2010 to October 2014, children with severe-to-profound sporadic or arSNHL without phenotypic markers, and their families, were tested for mutations in connexins GJB2, GJB6 and GJB3. Sanger sequencing of CDH23 p.P240L was performed on connexin-negative samples without enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVA), followed by targeted resequencing of 129 deafness genes, including CDH23, unless p.P240L homozygotes were detected in the first screening. Four p.P240L-allele-linked STR markers were genotyped in 40 normal-hearing control subjects, and the p.P240L carriers in the hearing-impaired cohort, to identify the haplotypes.
Results: Four (3.1 %) of 128 children carried two CDH23 mutant alleles, and SLC26A4 and GJB2 accounted for 18.0 and 17.2 %, respectively. All four children showed profound nonsyndromic SNHL with minimal residual hearing. Interestingly, all had at least one p.P240L mutant allele. Analysis of p.P240L-linked STR markers in these children and other postlingual hearing-impaired adults carrying p.P240L revealed that p.P240L was mainly carried on a single haplotype.
Conclusions: p.P240L contributed significantly to Korean pediatric severe arSNHL with a strong founder effect, with implications for future phylogenetic studies. Screening for p.P240L as a first step in GJB2-negative arSNHL Koreans without EVA is recommended.