Phenocopy of a heterozygous carrier of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa due to mosaicism for a RHO variant

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 8;11(1):117. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80400-3.


We describe both phenotype and pathogenesis in two male siblings with typical retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and the potentially X-linked RP (XLRP) carrier phenotype in their mother. Two affected sons, two unaffected daughters, and their mother underwent detailed ophthalmological assessments including Goldmann perimetry, color vision testing, multimodal imaging and ISCEV-standard electroretinography. Genetic testing consisted of targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) of known XLRP genes and whole exome sequencing (WES) of known inherited retinal disease genes (RetNet-WES). Variant validation and segregation analysis were performed by Sanger sequencing. The mutational load of the RHO variant in the mother was assessed in DNA from leucocytes, buccal cells and hair follicles using targeted NGS. Both affected sons showed signs of classical RP, while the mother displayed patches of hyperautofluorescence on blue light autofluorescence imaging and regional, intraretinal, spicular pigmentation, reminiscent of a carrier phenotype of XLRP. XLRP testing was negative. RetNet-WES testing revealed RHO variant c.404G > C p.(Arg135Pro) in a mosaic state (21% of the reads) in the mother and in a heterozygous state in both sons. Targeted NGQSS of the RHO variant in different maternal tissues showed a mutation load between 25.06% and 41.72%. We report for the first time that somatic mosaicism of RHO variant c.404G > C p.(Arg135Pro) mimics the phenotype of a female carrier of XLRP, in combination with heterozygosity for the variant in the two affected sons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mosaicism*
  • Phenotype
  • Point Mutation
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / congenital
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / genetics*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / metabolism
  • Rhodopsin / genetics*
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Rhodopsin