Combined Presence in Heterozygosis of Two Variant Usher Syndrome Genes in Two Siblings Affected by Isolated Profound Age-Related Hearing Loss
Sensorineural age-related hearing loss affects a large proportion of the elderly population, and has both environmental and genetic causes. Notwithstanding increasing interest in this debilitating condition, the genetic risk factors remain largely unknown. Here, we report the case of two sisters affected by isolated profound sensorineural hearing loss after the age of seventy. Genomic DNA sequencing revealed that the siblings shared two monoallelic variants in two genes linked to Usher Syndrome ( USH genes), a recessive disorder of the ear and the retina: a rare pathogenic truncating variant in USH1G and a previously unreported missense variant in ADGRV1 . Structure predictions suggest a negative effect on protein stability of the latter variant, allowing its classification as likely pathogenic according to American College of Medical Genetics criteria. Thus, the presence in heterozygosis of two recessive alleles, which each cause syndromic deafness, may underlie digenic inheritance of the age-related non-syndromic hearing loss of the siblings, a hypothesis that is strengthened by the knowledge that the two genes are integrated in the same functional network, which underlies stereocilium development and organization. These results enlarge the spectrum and complexity of the phenotypic consequences of USH gene mutations beyond the simple Mendelian inheritance of classical Usher syndrome.