Homozygote loss-of-function variants in the human COCH gene underlie hearing loss

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
N. Danial-FaranStavit A Shalev


Since 1999, the COCH gene encoding cochlin, has been linked to the autosomal dominant non-syndromic hearing loss, DFNA9, with or without vestibular abnormalities. The hearing impairment associated with the variants affecting gene function has been attributed to a dominant-negative effect. Mutant cochlin was seen to accumulate intracellularly, with the formation of aggregates both inside and outside the cells, in contrast to the wild-type cochlin that is normally secreted. While an additional recessive variant in the COCH gene (DFNB110) has recently been reported, the mechanism of the loss-of-function (LOF) effect of the COCH gene product remains unknown. In this study, we used COS7 cell lines to investigate the consequences of a novel homozygous frameshift variant on RNA transcription, and on cochlin translation. Our results indicate a LOF effect of the variant and a major decrease in cochlin translation. This data has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of genetic counseling for both heterozygote and homozygote carriers of LOF variants in COCH.

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