A synonymous variant in MYO15A enriched in the Ashkenazi Jewish population causes autosomal recessive hearing loss due to abnormal splicing

Eur J Hum Genet. 2021 Jun;29(6):988-997. doi: 10.1038/s41431-020-00790-w. Epub 2021 Jan 4.


Nonsyndromic hearing loss is genetically heterogeneous. Despite comprehensive genetic testing, many cases remain unsolved because the clinical significance of identified variants is uncertain or because biallelic pathogenic variants are not identified for presumed autosomal recessive cases. Common synonymous variants are often disregarded. Determining the pathogenicity of synonymous variants may improve genetic diagnosis. We report a synonymous variant c.9861 C > T/p.(Gly3287=) in MYO15A in homozygosity or compound heterozygosity with another pathogenic or likely pathogenic MYO15A variant in 10 unrelated families with nonsyndromic sensorineural hearing loss. Biallelic variants in MYO15A were identified in 21 affected and were absent in 22 unaffected siblings. A mini-gene assay confirms that the synonymous variant leads to abnormal splicing. The variant is enriched in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Individuals carrying biallelic variants involving c.9861 C > T often exhibit progressive post-lingual hearing loss distinct from the congenital profound deafness typically associated with biallelic loss-of-function MYO15A variants. This study establishes the pathogenicity of the c.9861 C > T variant in MYO15A and expands the phenotypic spectrum of MYO15A-related hearing loss. Our work also highlights the importance of multicenter collaboration and data sharing to establish the pathogenicity of a relatively common synonymous variant for improved diagnosis and management of hearing loss.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency*
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Hearing Loss / ethnology
  • Hearing Loss / genetics*
  • Hearing Loss / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Jews / genetics
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Myosins / genetics*
  • Pedigree
  • RNA Splicing


  • MYO15A protein, human
  • Myosins