Zhongbo Chen, Emil K. Gustavsson, Hannah Macpherson, Claire Anderson, Chris Clarkson, Clarissa Rocca, Eleanor Self, Pilar Alvarez Jerez, Annarita Scardamaglia, David Pellerin, Kylie Montgomery, Jasmaine Lee, Delia Gagliardi, Huihui Luo, John Hardy, James Polke, Andrew B. Singleton, Cornelis Blauwendraat, Katherine D. Mathews, Arianna Tucci, Ying‐Hui Fu, Henry Houlden, Mina Ryten, Louis J. Ptáček,

Adaptive Long‐Read Sequencing Reveals GGC Repeat Expansion in ZFHX3 Associated with Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 4

  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Neurology

AbstractBackgroundSpinocerebellar ataxia type 4 (SCA4) is an autosomal dominant ataxia with invariable sensory neuropathy originally described in a family with Swedish ancestry residing in Utah more than 25 years ago. Despite tight linkage to the 16q22 region, the molecular diagnosis has since remained elusive.ObjectivesInspired by pathogenic structural variation implicated in other 16q‐ataxias with linkage to the same locus, we revisited the index SCA4 cases from the Utah family using novel technologies to investigate structural variation within the candidate region.MethodsWe adopted a targeted long‐read sequencing approach with adaptive sampling on the Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) platform that enables the detection of segregating structural variants within a genomic region without a priori assumptions about any variant features.ResultsUsing this approach, we found a heterozygous (GGC)n repeat expansion in the last coding exon of the zinc finger homeobox 3 (ZFHX3) gene that segregates with disease, ranging between 48 and 57 GGC repeats in affected probands. This finding was replicated in a separate family with SCA4. Furthermore, the estimation of this GGC repeat size in short‐read whole genome sequencing (WGS) data of 21,836 individuals recruited to the 100,000 Genomes Project in the UK and our in‐house dataset of 11,258 exomes did not reveal any pathogenic repeats, indicating that the variant is ultrarare.ConclusionsThese findings support the utility of adaptive long‐read sequencing as a powerful tool to decipher causative structural variation in unsolved cases of inherited neurological disease. © 2024 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

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