Purpose: To identify the genetic basis of posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) in families mapped to the PPCD1 locus and in affected individuals without ZEB1 coding region mutations.
Methods: The promoter, 5' UTR, and coding regions of OVOL2 was screened in the PPCD family in which linkage analysis established the PPCD1 locus and in 26 PPCD probands who did not harbor a ZEB1 mutation. Copy number variation (CNV) analysis in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 intervals was performed on DNA samples from eight probands using aCGH. Luciferase reporter assays were performed in human corneal endothelial cells to determine the impact of the identified potentially pathogenic variants on OVOL2 promoter activity.
Results: OVOL2 mutation analysis in the first PPCD1-linked family demonstrated segregation of the c.-307T>C variant with the affected phenotype. In the other 26 probands screened, one heterozygous coding region variant and five promoter region heterozygous variants were identified, though none are likely pathogenic based on allele frequency. Array CGH in the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci excluded the presence of CNV involving either OVOL2 or ZEB1, respectively. The c.-307T>C variant demonstrated increased promoter activity in corneal endothelial cells when compared to the wild-type sequence as has been demonstrated previously in another cell type.
Conclusions: Previously identified as the cause of PPCD1, the OVOL2 promoter variant c.-307T>C was herein identified in the original family that established the PPCD1 locus. However, the failure to identify presumed pathogenic coding or non-coding OVOL2 or ZEB1 variants, or CNV involving the PPCD1 and PPCD3 loci in 26 other PPCD probands suggests that other genetic loci may be involved in the pathogenesis of PPCD.