Elucidation of repeat motifs R1- and R2-related TRIOBP variants in autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss DFNB28 among indigenous South African individuals

Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2022 Oct;10(10):e2015. doi: 10.1002/mgg3.2015. Epub 2022 Aug 27.


Background: DFNB28, a recessively inherited nonsyndromic form of deafness in humans, is caused by mutations in the TRIOBP gene (MIM #609761) on chromosome 22q13. Its protein TRIOBP helps to tightly bundle F-actin filaments, forming a rootlet that penetrates through the cuticular plate into the cochlear hair cell body. Repeat motifs R1 and R2, located in exon 7 of the TRIOBP-5 isoform, are the actin-binding domains. Deletion of both repeat motifs R1 and R2 results in complete disruption of both actin-binding and bundling activities, whereas deletion of the R2 motif alone retains F-actin bundling ability in stereocilia rootlets.

Methods: Target sequencing, using a custom capture panel of 180 known and candidate genes associated with sensorineural hearing loss, bioinformatics processing, and data analysis were performed. Genesis 2.0 was used for variant filtering based on quality/score read depth and minor allele frequency (MAF) thresholds of 0.005 for recessive NSHL, as reported in population-based sequencing databases. All variants were reclassified based on the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) and Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) guidelines together with other variant interpretation guidelines for genetic hearing loss . Candidate variants were confirmed via Sanger sequencing according to standard protocols, using the ABIPRISM 3730 DNA Analyzer. DNA sequence analysis was performed with DNASTAR Lasergene software.

Results: Candidate TRIOBP variants identified among 94 indigenous sub-Saharan African individuals were characterized through segregation analysis. Family TS005 carrying variants c.572delC, p.Pro191Argfs*50, and c.3510_3513dupTGCA, p.Pro1172Cysfs*13, demonstrated perfect cosegregation with the deafness phenotype. On the other hand, variants c.505C > A p.Asp168Glu and c.3636 T > A p.Leu1212Gln in the same family did not segregate with deafness and we have classified these variants as benign. A control family, TS067, carrying variants c.2532G > T p.Leu844Arg, c.2590C > A p.Asn867Lys, c.3484C > T p.Pro1161Leu, and c.3621 T > C p.Phe1187Leu demonstrated no cosegregation allowing us to classify these variants as benign. Together with published TRIOBP variants, the results showed that genotypes combining two truncating TRIOBP variants affecting repeat motifs R1 and R2 or R2 alone lead to a deafness phenotype, while a truncating variant affecting repeat motifs R1 and R2 or R2 alone combined with a missense variant does not. Homozygous truncating variants affecting repeat motif R2 cosegregate with the deafness phenotype.

Conclusion: While a single intact R1 motif may be adequate for actin-binding and bundling in the stereocilia of cochlear hair cells, our findings indicate that a truncated R2 motif in cis seems to be incompatible with normal hearing, either by interfering with the function of an intact R1 motif or through another as yet unknown mechanism. Our study also suggests that most heterozygous missense variants involving exon 7 are likely to be tolerated.

Keywords: DFNB28; TRIOBP R1 and R2 repeat motifs; autosomal recessive nonsyndromic hearing loss; indigenous South Africans.

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

  • Actins
  • Deafness*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins* / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • South Africa


  • Actins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • TRIOBP protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Deafness, Autosomal Recessive 28
  • Nonsyndromic Deafness