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Homozygosity mapping in a family presenting with schizophrenia, epilepsy and hearing impairment

Knight, Helen M. and Maclean, Alan and Irfan, Muhammad and Naeem, Farooq and Cass, Stephen and Pickard, B.S. and Muir, Walter J. and Blackwood, D.H.R. (2008) Homozygosity mapping in a family presenting with schizophrenia, epilepsy and hearing impairment. European Journal of Human Genetics, 16 (6). pp. 750-758. ISSN 1018-4813

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Homozygosity mapping within consanguineous families is a powerful method of localising genes for autosomal recessive disease. We investigated a family from Punjab, Pakistan, a region where consanguineous marriages are frequent. The parents have no detectable clinical disorders. However, five out of six children present with schizophrenia, epilepsy or hearing impairment either alone or in combination. This unusual phenotype in several offspring of first cousins is strongly suggestive of a rare, Mendelian recessive disorder. Two genome-wide scans initially using low-density microsatellites, and subsequently high-density SNP markers were used to map homozygous-by-descent regions in affected individuals. Candidate genes within these loci were subsequently screened for mutations. Homozygosity analysis and inbreeding coefficients were investigated to give an estimate of consanguinity. Two putative disease loci were mapped to 22q12.3-q13.3 and 2p24.3. The candidate locus on chromosome 2p24 overlaps with a deafness locus, DFNB47, linked to autosomal recessive hearing impairment, while positive findings reported for affective psychosis and schizophrenia cluster in a region of 4-5 cM on 22q13.1 within our second candidate locus. Sequence analysis of three candidate genes (KCNF1 (2p); ATF4, CACNG2 (22q)) did not reveal any exonic mutations. Inbreeding coefficients calculated for each family member support a very high degree of ancestral and recent inbreeding. The screening of other candidate genes located within these newly identified disease intervals on Chr2p24.3 and 22q12.3-q13.3 may lead to the discovery of causative variants, and consequent disrupted molecular pathways associated with this rare phenotype.