Hum Genomics. 2022 Oct 22;16(1):48. doi: 10.1186/s40246-022-00421-z
Background: Abnormalities in cilia ultrastructure and function lead to a range of human phenotypes termed ciliopathies. Many tetratricopeptide repeat domain (TTC) family members have been reported to play critical roles in cilium organization and function. Results: Here, we describe five unrelated family trios with multisystem ciliopathy syndromes, including situs abnormality, complex congenital heart disease, nephronophthisis or neonatal cholestasis. Through whole-exome sequencing and Sanger sequencing confirmation, we identified compound heterozygous mutations of TTC12 and TTC21B in six affected individuals of Chinese origin. These nonsynonymous mutations affected highly conserved residues and were consistently predicted to be pathogenic. Furthermore, ex vivo cDNA amplification demonstrated that homozygous c.1464 + 2 T > C of TTC12 would cause a whole exon 16 skipping. Both mRNA and protein levels of TTC12 were significantly downregulated in the cells derived from the patient carrying TTC12 mutation c.1464 + 2 T > C by real-time qPCR and immunofluorescence assays when compared with two healthy controls. Transmission electron microscopy analysis further identified ultrastructural defects of the inner dynein arms in this patient. Finally, the effect of TTC12 deficiency on cardiac LR patterning was recapitulated by employing a morpholino-mediated knockdown of ttc12 in zebrafish. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the association between TTC12 variants and ciliopathies in a Chinese population. In addition to nephronophthisis and laterality defects, our findings demonstrated that TTC21B should also be considered a candidate gene for biliary ciliopathy, such as TTC26, which further expands the phenotypic spectrum of TTC21B deficiency in humans.
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