Next-generation sequencing is currently the technology of choice for gene/mutation discovery in genetically-heterogeneous disorders, such as inherited sensorineural hearing loss (HL). Whole-exome sequencing of a single Italian proband affected by non-syndromic HL identified a novel missense variant within the PRPS1 gene (NM-002764.3:c.337G>T (p.A113S)) segregating with post-lingual, bilateral, progressive deafness in the proband's family. Defects in this gene, encoding the phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase 1 (PRS-I) enzyme, determine either X-linked syndromic conditions associated with hearing impairment (eg, Arts syndrome and Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type X-5) or non-syndromic HL (DFNX1). A subsequent screening of the entire PRPS1 gene in 16 unrelated probands from X-linked deaf families led to the discovery of two additional missense variants (c.343A>G (p.M115V) and c.925G>T (p.V309F)) segregating with hearing impairment, and associated with mildly-symptomatic peripheral neuropathy. All three variants result in a marked reduction (>60%) of the PRS-I activity in the patients' erythrocytes, with c.343A>G (p.M115V) and c.925G>T (p.V309F) affecting more severely the enzyme function. Our data significantly expand the current spectrum of pathogenic variants in PRPS1, confirming that they are associated with a continuum disease spectrum, thus stressing the importance of functional studies and detailed clinical investigations for genotype-phenotype correlation.
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