Fiona Blanco-Kelly 1 , 2 , María Palomares 2 , 3 , Elena Vallespín 2 , 3 , Cristina Villaverde 1 , 2 , Rubén Martín-Arenas 2 , 3 , Camilo Vélez-Monsalve 1 , 2 , Isabel Lorda-Sánchez 1 , 2 , Julián Nevado 2 , 3 , María José Trujillo-Tiebas 1 , 2 , Pablo Lapunzina 2 , 3 , Carmen Ayuso 1 , 2 , * , Marta Corton 1 , 2 , *
23 February 2017
Chromosomal deletions at 11p13 are a frequent cause of congenital Aniridia, a rare pan-ocular genetic disease, and of WAGR syndrome, accounting up to 30% of cases. First-tier genetic testing for newborn with aniridia, to detect 11p13 rearrangements, includes Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) and karyotyping. However, neither of these approaches allow obtaining a complete picture of the high complexity of chromosomal deletions and breakpoints in aniridia. Here, we report the development and validation of a customized targeted array-based comparative genomic hybridization, so called WAGR-array, for comprehensive high-resolution analysis of CNV in the WAGR locus. Our approach increased the detection rate in a Spanish cohort of 38 patients with aniridia, WAGR syndrome and other related ocular malformations, allowing to characterize four undiagnosed aniridia cases, and to confirm MLPA findings in four additional patients. For all patients, breakpoints were accurately established and a contiguous deletion syndrome, involving a large number of genes, was identified in three patients. Moreover, we identified novel microdeletions affecting 3' PAX6 regulatory regions in three families with isolated aniridia. This tool represents a good strategy for the genetic diagnosis of aniridia and associated syndromes, allowing for a more accurate CNVs detection, as well as a better delineation of breakpoints. Our results underline the clinical importance of performing exhaustive and accurate analysis of chromosomal rearrangements for patients with aniridia, especially newborns and those without defects in PAX6 after diagnostic screening.