Autosomal-dominant, nonsyndromic hearing impairment is clinically and genetically heterogeneous. We encountered a large Japanese pedigree in which nonsyndromic hearing loss was inherited in an autosomal-dominant fashion. A genome-wide linkage study indicated linkage to the DFNA2 locus on chromosome 1p34. Mutational analysis of KCNQ4 encoding a potassium channel revealed a novel one-base deletion in exon 1, c.211delC, which generated a profoundly truncated protein without transmembrane domains (p.Q71fsX138). Previously, six missense mutations and one 13-base deletion, c.211_223del, had been reported in KCNQ4. Patients with the KCNQ4 missense mutations had younger-onset and more profound hearing loss than patients with the 211_223del mutation. In our current study, 12 individuals with the c.211delC mutation manifested late-onset and pure high-frequency hearing loss. Our results support the genotype-phenotype correlation that the KCNQ4 deletions are associated with later-onset and milder hearing impairment than the missense mutations. The phenotypic difference may be caused by the difference in pathogenic mechanisms: haploinsufficiency in deletions and dominant-negative effect in missense mutations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas