Background: Lens development is orchestrated by transcription factors. Disease-causing variants in transcription factors and their developmental target genes are associated with congenital cataracts and other eye anomalies.
Methods: Using whole exome sequencing, we identified disease-causing variants in two large British families and one isolated case with autosomal dominant congenital cataract. Bioinformatics analysis confirmed these disease-causing mutations as rare or novel variants, with a moderate to damaging pathogenicity score, with testing for segregation within the families using direct Sanger sequencing.
Results: Family A had a missense variant (c.184G>A; p.V62M) in PAX6 and affected individuals presented with nuclear cataract. Family B had a frameshift variant (c.470-477dup; p.A160R*) in PITX3 that was also associated with nuclear cataract. A recurrent missense variant in HSF4 (c.341T>C; p.L114P) was associated with congenital cataract in a single isolated case.
Conclusions: We have therefore identified novel variants in PAX6 and PITX3 that cause autosomal dominant congenital cataract.