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Peter H. Tang, Gabriel Velez, Stephen H. Tsang, Alexander G. Bassuk, Vinit B. Mahajan; VCAN Canonical Splice Site Mutation is Associated With Vitreoretinal Degeneration and Disrupts an MMP Proteolytic Site. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(1):282-293. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-25624.
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To gain insight into the pathophysiology of vitreoretinal degeneration, the clinical course of three family members with Versican Vitreoretinopathy (VVR) is described, and a canonical splice site mutation in the gene encoding for versican (VCAN) protein was biochemically analyzed.
A retrospective chart review, human eye histopathology, Sanger DNA sequencing, protein structural modeling, and in vitro proteolysis assays were performed.
The proband (II:1), mother (I:2), and younger sibling (II:2) suffered retinal degeneration with foveal sparing and retinal detachments with proliferative vitreoretinopathy, features that were confirmed on histopathologic analysis. All affected members carried a heterozygous adenine to guanine variant (c.4004-2A>G) predicted to result in exon 8 skipping or the deletion of 13 amino acids at the beginning of the GAGβ chain (VCAN p.1335-1347). This deleted region corresponded to a putative MMP cleavage site, validated using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based proteolysis assays. Proteomic network analysis identified 10 interacting partners in the human vitreous and retina linked to retinal detachment and degeneration.
VVR causes significant ocular disease, including retinal detachment and retinal dystrophy. The intronic VCAN mutation removes an MMP cleavage site, which alters versican structure and results in abnormal vitreous modeling. Disruption of a versican protein network may underlie clinicopathologic disease features and point to targeted therapies.
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