Human molecular genetics

Identification of two novel mutations in FAM136A and DTNA genes in autosomal-dominant familial Meniere's disease.

PMID 25305078


Meniere's disease (MD) is a chronic disorder of the inner ear defined by sensorineural hearing loss, tinnitus and episodic vertigo, and familial MD is observed in 5-15% of sporadic cases. Although its pathophysiology is largely unknown, studies in human temporal bones have found an accumulation of endolymph in the scala media of the cochlea. By whole-exome sequencing, we have identified two novel heterozygous single-nucleotide variants in FAM136A and DTNA genes, both in a Spanish family with three affected cases in consecutive generations, highly suggestive of autosomal-dominant inheritance. The nonsense mutation in the FAM136A gene leads to a stop codon that disrupts the FAM136A protein product. Sequencing revealed two mRNA transcripts of FAM136A in lymphoblasts from patients, which were confirmed by immunoblotting. Carriers of the FAM136A mutation showed a significant decrease in the expression level of both transcripts in lymphoblastoid cell lines. The missense mutation in the DTNA gene produces a novel splice site which skips exon 21 and leads to a shorter alternative transcript. We also demonstrated that FAM136A and DTNA proteins are expressed in the neurosensorial epithelium of the crista ampullaris of the rat by immunohistochemistry. While FAM136A encodes a mitochondrial protein with unknown function, DTNA encodes a cytoskeleton-interacting membrane protein involved in the formation and stability of synapses with a crucial role in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Neither of these genes has been described in patients with hearing loss, FAM136A and DTNA being candidate gene for familiar MD.