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Inherited Retinal Degeneration Caused by Dehydrodolichyl Diphosphate Synthase Mutation-Effect of an ALG6 Modifier Variant

Modern advances in disease genetics have uncovered numerous modifier genes that play a role in the severity of disease expression. One such class of genetic conditions is known as inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs), a collection of retinal degenerative disorders caused by mutations in over 300 genes. A single missense mutation (K42E) in the gene encoding the enzyme dehydrodolichyl diphosphate synthase (DHDDS), which is required for protein N-glycosylation in all cells and tissues, causes DHDDS-IRD (retinitis pigmentosa type 59 (RP59; OMIM #613861)). Apart from a retinal phenotype, however, DHDDS-IRD is surprisingly non-syndromic (i.e., without any systemic manifestations). To explore disease pathology, we selected five glycosylation-related genes for analysis that are suggested to have disease modifier variants. These genes encode glycosyltransferases (ALG6ALG8), an ER resident protein (DDOST), a high-mannose oligosaccharyl transferase (MPDU1), and a protein N-glycosylation regulatory protein (TNKS).