Variants in myelin regulatory factor (MYRF) cause autosomal dominant and syndromic nanophthalmos in humans and retinal degeneration in mice

Genomic Ascertainment Cohort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Nanophthalmos is a rare, potentially devastating eye condition characterized by small eyes with relatively normal anatomy, a high hyperopic refractive error, and frequent association with angle closure glaucoma and vision loss. The condition constitutes the extreme of hyperopia or farsightedness, a common refractive error that is associated with strabismus and amblyopia in children. NNO1 was the first mapped nanophthalmos locus. We used combined pooled exome sequencing and strong linkage data in the large family used to map this locus to identify a canonical splice site alteration upstream of the last exon of the gene encoding myelin regulatory factor (MYRF c.3376-1G>A), a membrane bound transcription factor that undergoes autoproteolytic cleavage for nuclear localization. This variant produced a stable RNA transcript, leading to a frameshift mutation p.Gly1126Valfs*31 in the C-terminus of the protein. In addition, we identified an early truncating MYRF frameshift mutation, c.769dupC (p.S264QfsX74), in a patient with extreme axial hyperopia and syndromic features. Myrf conditional knockout mice (CKO) developed depigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and retinal degeneration supporting a role of this gene in retinal and RPE development. Furthermore, we demonstrated the reduced expression of Tmem98, another known nanophthalmos gene, in Myrf CKO mice, and the physical interaction of MYRF with TMEM98. Our study establishes MYRF as a nanophthalmos gene and uncovers a new pathway for eye growth and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1008130
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research

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