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RNA analysis of the GALNS transcript reveals novel pathogenic mechanisms associated with Morquio syndrome A


Morquio syndrome A (Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA, MPS IVA) is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder caused by deficiency of N-acetyl-galactosamine-6-sulfatase (GALNS) which catabolizes the glycosaminoglycans (GAG), keratan sulfate and chondroitin-6-sulfate. Homozygous or compound heterozygous pathogenic variants in the GALNS result in the deficiency of the enzyme and consequent GAG accumulations. DNA sequence and copy number analysis of the GALNS coding region fails to identify biallelic causative pathogenic variants in up to 15% of patients with Morquio syndrome A. RNA transcript analysis was performed to identify pathogenic alterations in two unrelated families with Morquio syndrome A in whom a single heterozygous or no pathogenic alteration was detected by standard analysis of the GALNS gene. RNA sequencing and quantitative expression analysis identified the overabundance of an aberrant GALNS transcript isoform and a reduction of the clinically relevant isoform (NM_000512.4) in the Morquio syndrome A patients from both families. The aberrant isoform (ENST00000568613.1) was produced by alternative splicing and contained intronic sequence that was likely a cryptic exon predicted to result in a reading frame shift and generation of a premature termination codon. These findings indicated that the aberrant splicing is likely the novel molecular defect in our patients. RNA transcript analysis could be useful to identify pathogenic alterations and increase the yield of molecular diagnosis in patients with Morquio syndrome A whose genetic variants are not found by standard sequencing or gene dosage analysis.

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