The genetic dissection of Myo7a gene expression in the retinas of BXD mice

Mol Vis. 2018 Feb 2;24:115-126. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: Usher syndrome (US) is characterized by a loss of vision due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and deafness. US has three clinical subtypes, but even within each subtype, the severity varies. Myosin VIIA, coded by Myo7a, has been identified as one of the causal genes of US. This study aims to identify pathways and other genes through which Myo7a interacts to affect the presentation of US symptoms.

Methods: In this study, we used the retinal tissue of BXD recombinant inbred (RI) mice to examine the expression of Myo7a and perform genetic mapping. Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL), single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), and gene correlation analysis were performed using GeneNetwork. Gene set enrichment analysis was performed using WebGestalt, and gene network construction was performed using the Gene Cohesion Analysis Tool.

Results: We found Myo7a to be cis-regulated, with varied levels of expression across BXD strains. Here, we propose a genetic network with 40 genes whose expression is highly correlated with Myo7a. Among these genes, six have been linked to retinal diseases, three to deafness, and five share a transcription factor with Myo7a. Gene ontology and pathway analysis revealed a strong connection among ion channel activity, Myo7a, and US.

Conclusions: Although Myo7a is a causal gene of US type I, this gene works with many other genes and pathways to affect the severity of US. Many of the genes found in the genetic network, pathways, and gene ontology categories of Myo7a are related to either deafness or blindness. Further investigation is needed to examine the specific relationships between these genes, which may assist in the treatment of US.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Ontology
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Myosin VIIa
  • Myosins / genetics*
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Usher Syndromes / genetics*
  • Usher Syndromes / metabolism
  • Usher Syndromes / pathology


  • MYO7A protein, human
  • Myo7a protein, mouse
  • Myosin VIIa
  • Transcription Factors
  • Myosins