Identification of novel pathogenic variants and novel gene-phenotype correlations in Mexican subjects with microphthalmia and/or anophthalmia by next-generation sequencing

J Hum Genet. 2018 Nov;63(11):1169-1180. doi: 10.1038/s10038-018-0504-1. Epub 2018 Sep 4.


Severe congenital eye malformations, particularly microphthalmia and anophthalmia, are one of the main causes of visual handicap worldwide. They can arise from multifactorial, chromosomal, or monogenic factors and can be associated with extensive clinical variability. Genetic analysis of individuals with these defects has allowed the recognition of dozens of genes whose mutations lead to disruption of normal ocular embryonic development. Recent application of next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques for genetic screening of patients with congenital eye defects has greatly improved the recognition of monogenic cases. In this study, we applied clinical exome NGS to a group of 14 Mexican patients (including 7 familial and 7 sporadic cases) with microphthalmia and/or anophthalmia. Causal or likely causal pathogenic variants were demonstrated in ~60% (8 out of 14 patients) individuals. Seven out of 8 different identified mutations occurred in well-known microphthalmia/anophthalmia genes (OTX2, VSX2, MFRP, VSX1) or in genes associated with syndromes that include ocular defects (CHD7, COL4A1) (including two instances of CHD7 pathogenic variants). A single pathogenic variant was identified in PIEZO2, a gene that was not previously associated with isolated ocular defects. NGS efficiently identified the genetic etiology of microphthalmia/anophthalmia in ~60% of cases included in this cohort, the first from Mexican origin analyzed to date. The molecular defects identified through clinical exome sequencing in this study expands the phenotypic spectra of CHD7-associated disorders and implicate PIEZO2 as a candidate gene for major eye developmental defects.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anophthalmos* / genetics
  • Anophthalmos* / pathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ion Channels / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Microphthalmos* / genetics
  • Microphthalmos* / pathology
  • Phenotype*


  • Ion Channels
  • PIEZO2 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Microphthalmia, syndromic 1