A frequent variant in the Japanese population determines quasi-Mendelian inheritance of rare retinal ciliopathy

Konstantinos Nikopoulos, Katarina Cisarova, Mathieu Quinodoz, Hanna Koskiniemi-Kuendig, Noriko Miyake, Pietro Farinelli, Atta Ur Rehman, Muhammad Imran Khan, Andrea Prunotto, Masato Akiyama, Yoichiro Kamatani, Chikashi Terao, Fuyuki Miya, Yasuhiro Ikeda, Shinji Ueno, Nobuo Fuse, Akira Murakami, Yuko Wada, Hiroko Terasaki, Koh Hei SonodaTatsuro Ishibashi, Michiaki Kubo, Frans P.M. Cremers, Zoltán Kutalik, Naomichi Matsumoto, Koji M. Nishiguchi, Toru Nakazawa, Carlo Rivolta

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Hereditary retinal degenerations (HRDs) are Mendelian diseases characterized by progressive blindness and caused by ultra-rare mutations. In a genomic screen of 331 unrelated Japanese patients, we identify a disruptive Alu insertion and a nonsense variant (p.Arg1933*) in the ciliary gene RP1, neither of which are rare alleles in Japan. p.Arg1933* is almost polymorphic (frequency = 0.6%, amongst 12,000 individuals), does not cause disease in homozygosis or heterozygosis, and yet is significantly enriched in HRD patients (frequency = 2.1%, i.e., a 3.5-fold enrichment; p-value = 9.2 × 10−5). Familial co-segregation and association analyses show that p.Arg1933* can act as a Mendelian mutation in trans with the Alu insertion, but might also associate with disease in combination with two alleles in the EYS gene in a non-Mendelian pattern of heredity. Our results suggest that rare conditions such as HRDs can be paradoxically determined by relatively common variants, following a quasi-Mendelian model linking monogenic and complex inheritance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2884
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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