Usher syndrome type I is characterized by congenital hearing loss, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and variable vestibular areflexia. Usher syndrome type ID, one of seven Usher syndrome type I genetic localizations, have been mapped to a chromosomal interval that overlaps with a nonsyndromic-deafness localization, DFNB12. Mutations in CDH23, a gene that encodes a putative cell-adhesion protein with multiple cadherin-like domains, are responsible for both Usher syndrome and DFNB12 nonsyndromic deafness. Specific CDH23 mutational defects have been identified that differentiate these two phenotypes. Only missense mutations of CDH23 have been observed in families with nonsyndromic deafness, whereas nonsense, frameshift, splice-site, and missense mutations have been identified in families with Usher syndrome. In the present study, a panel of 69 probands with Usher syndrome and 38 probands with recessive nonsyndromic deafness were screened for the presence of mutations in the entire coding region of CDH23, by heteroduplex, single-strand conformation polymorphism, and direct sequence analyses. A total of 36 different CDH23 mutations were detected in 45 families; 33 of these mutations were novel, including 18 missense, 3 nonsense, 5 splicing defects, 5 microdeletions, and 2 insertions. A total of seven mutations were common to more than one family. Numerous exonic and intronic polymorphisms also were detected. Results of ophthalmologic examinations of the patients with nonsyndromic deafness have found asymptomatic RP-like manifestations, indicating that missense mutations may have a subtle effect in the retina. Furthermore, patients with mutations in CDH23 display a wide range of hearing loss and RP phenotypes, differing in severity, age at onset, type, and the presence or absence of vestibular areflexia.
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