Achromatopsia is a rare autosomal recessive cone disorder characterized by color vision defects, photophobia, nystagmus, and severely reduced visual acuity. The disease is caused by mutations in genes encoding crucial components of the cone phototransduction cascade (CNGA3, CNGB3, GNAT2, PDE6C, and PDE6H) or in ATF6, involved in the unfolded protein response. CNGB3 encoding the beta subunit of the cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel in cone photoreceptors is the major achromatopsia gene. Here, we present a comprehensive spectrum of CNGB3 mutations and their prevalence in a cohort of 1074 independent families clinically diagnosed with achromatopsia. Of these, 485 (45.2%) carried mutations in CNGB3. We identified a total of 98 different potentially disease-causing CNGB3 variants, 58 of which are novel. About 10% of patients with CNGB3 mutations only harbored a single heterozygous variant. Therefore, we performed quantitative real-time PCR in 43 of such single heterozygotes in search of the missing allele, followed by microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization and breakpoint mapping. We discovered nine different heterozygous copy number variations encompassing one to 10 consecutive exons in 16 unrelated patients. Moreover, one additional patient with a homozygous CNGB3 deletion encompassing exons 4-18 was identified, highlighting the importance of CNV analysis for this gene.
Keywords: CNGB3; achromatopsia; copy number variations; mutation spectrum and prevalence.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.