Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are vascular lesions of the central nervous system that can cause headaches, seizures and hemorrhagic stroke. Disease-associated mutations have been identified in three genes: CCM1/KRIT1, CCM2 and CCM3/PDCD10. The precise proportion of deep-intronic variants in these genes and their clinical relevance is yet unknown. Here, a long-range PCR (LR-PCR) approach for target enrichment of the entire genomic regions of the three genes was combined with next generation sequencing (NGS) to screen for coding and non-coding variants. NGS detected all six CCM1/KRIT1, two CCM2 and four CCM3/PDCD10 mutations that had previously been identified by Sanger sequencing. Two of the pathogenic variants presented here are novel. Additionally, 20 stringently selected CCM index cases that had remained mutation-negative after conventional sequencing and exclusion of copy number variations were screened for deep-intronic mutations. The combination of bioinformatics filtering and transcript analyses did not reveal any deep-intronic splice mutations in these cases. Our results demonstrate that target enrichment by LR-PCR combined with NGS can be used for a comprehensive analysis of the entire genomic regions of the CCM genes in a research context. However, its clinical utility is limited as deep-intronic splice mutations in CCM1/KRIT1, CCM2 and CCM3/PDCD10 seem to be rather rare.
Keywords: CCM1; CCM2; CCM3; Cerebral cavernous malformation; Deep-intronic variants; NGS.
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