Joubert syndrome (JS) is a rare genetic disorder, which can be defined by brain stem malformation, cerebellar vermis hypoplasia, and consequent "molar tooth sign" (MTS). JS always shares variety of phenotypes in development defects. With the development of next-generation sequencing, dozens of causative genes have been identified to JS so far. Here, we investigated two male siblings with JS and uncovered a novel pathogenesis through combined methods.
The siblings shared similar features of nystagmus, disorders of intellectual development, typical MTS, and abnormal morphology in fourth ventricle. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) and chromosome comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) were then performed on the proband. Strikingly, a maternal inherited nonsense variant (NM_025114.3: c.5953G>T [p.E1985*]) in CEP290 gene and a paternal inherited deletion in 12q21.32 including exons 1 to 10 of CEP290 gene were identified in the two affected siblings. We further confirmed the two variants by in vitro experiments: quantitative PCR and PCR sequencing.
In this study, we first reported a novel causative mechanism of Joubert syndrome: a copy number variation (CNV) combined with a single-nucleotide variant in CEP290 gene, which can be helpful in the genetic diagnosis of this disease.