The aim of this study was to identify the molecular genetic basis of cone-rod dystrophy in 18 unrelated families of Polish origin. Cone-rod dystrophy is one of the inherited retinal dystrophies, which constitute a highly heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by progressive dysfunction of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells.
The study group was composed of four groups of patients representing different Mendelian inheritance of the disease: autosomal dominant (AD), autosomal recessive (AR), X-linked recessive (XL), and autosomal recessive or X-linked recessive (AR/XL). The combined molecular strategy included Sanger sequencing of the RPGR-ORF15 gene (three families with XL and three families with the AR/XL mode of inheritance), mutation-specific microarray analysis of the ABCA4 gene (five families with the AR mode of inheritance and two families with the AR/XL mode of inheritance), targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) of inherited retinal disease-associated (IRD) genes (seven families with the AD mode of inheritance and five families with the AR mode of inheritance), and whole exome sequencing, performed in select families who had been mutation-negative in the analysis with the targeted NGS panel (one family with the AD mode of inheritance, one family with the AR mode of inheritance, and two families with the AR/XL mode of inheritance).
Based on this combined strategy, we managed to identify potentially causative variants in seven out of 18 families with CRD. Five of these variants are novel: c.3142_3143dupAA, p.(Glu1049Argfs*41) in the RPGR-ORF15 gene, two variants: c.1612delT, p.(Trp538Glyfs*15) and c.2389dupG, p.(Ile798Hisfs*20) in the PROM1 gene in one family, c.592A>C, p.(Ser198Arg) in the PRPH2 gene and the variant c.1691A>G, p.(Asp564Gly) in the ATF6 gene that we have already reported to be pathogenic. NGS on the IRD panel allowed the molecular basis of CRD to be identified in four out of 14 families with a total detection rate of 38%. WES allowed identification of the molecular genetic basis of CRD in one family.
This is the first report on the spectrum of disease genes and pathogenic variants causing CRD in the Polish population. The study presents five novel variants identified in four genes and therefore, broadens the spectrum of probable pathogenic variants associated with CRD.