Novel nonsense mutation of the endothelin-B receptor gene in a family with Waardenburg-Hirschsprung disease



Waardenburg syndrome (WS) comprises sensorineural hearing loss, hypopigmentation of skin and hair, and pigmentary disturbances of the irides. Four types of WS have been classified to date; in WS type IV (WS4), patients additionally have colonic aganglionosis (Hirschsprung disease, HSCR). Mutations in the endothelin-3 (EDN3), endothelin-B receptor (EDNRB), and Sox10 genes have been identified as causative for WS type IV. We screened a family with a combined WS-HSCR phenotype for mutations in the EDNRB locus using standard DNA mutation analysis and sequencing techniques. We have identified a novel nonsense mutation at codon 253 (CGA→TGA, Arg→STOP). This mutation leads to a premature end of the translation of EDNRB at exon 3, and it is predicted to produce a truncated and nonfunctional endothelin-B receptor. All affected relatives were heterozygous for the Arg253→STOP mutation, whereas it was not observed in over 50 unrelated individuals used as controls. These data confirm the role of EDNRB in the cause of the Waardenburg-Hirschsprung syndrome and demonstrate that in WS-HSCR there is a lack of correlation between phenotype and genotype and a variable expression of disease even within the same family. Am. J. Med. Genet. 87:69–71, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.