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Keywords:

  • PHARC;
  • ABHD12;
  • GINS1;
  • short stature;
  • endocannabinoid;
  • hydrolase activity

ABSTRACT

PHARC (polyneuropathy, hearing loss, ataxia, retinitis pigmentosa, and cataracts) is a recently described autosomal-recessive neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the α−β−hydrolase domain-containing 12 gene (ABHD12). Only five homozygous ABHD12 mutations have been reported and the pathogenesis of PHARC remains unclear. We evaluated a woman who manifested short stature as well as the typical features of PHARC. Sequence analysis of ABHD12 revealed a novel heterozygous c.1129A>T (p.Lys377*) mutation. Targeted comparative genomic hybridization detected a 59-kb deletion that encompasses exon 1 of ABHD12 and exons 1–4 of an adjacent gene, GINS1, and includes the promoters of both genes. The heterozygous deletion was also carried by the patient's asymptomatic mother. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated ∼50% decreased expression of ABHD12 RNA in lymphoblastoid cell lines from both individuals. Activity-based protein profiling of serine hydrolases revealed absence of ABHD12 hydrolase activity in the patient and 50% reduction in her mother. This is the first report of compound heterozygosity in PHARC and the first study to describe how a mutation might affect ABHD12 expression and function. The possible involvement of haploinsufficiency for GINS1, a DNA replication complex protein, in the short stature of the patient and her mother requires further studies.