Mutations in NSUN3, a Mitochondrial Methyl Transferase Gene, Cause Inherited Optic Neuropathy

Genes (Basel). 2024 Apr 24;15(5):530. doi: 10.3390/genes15050530.


Inherited optic neuropathies (IONs) are rare genetic diseases characterized by progressive visual loss due the atrophy of optic nerves. The standard diagnostic workup involving next-generation sequencing panels has a diagnostic yield of about forty percent. In the other 60% of the patients with a clinical diagnosis of ION, the underlying genetic variants remain unknown. In this case study, we describe a potentially new disease-associated gene, NSUN3, for IONs. The proband was a young woman with consanguineous parents. She presented with bilateral optic atrophy and nystagmus at the age of seven years. Genetic testing revealed the homozygous variant c.349_352dup p.(Ala118Glufs*45) in NSUN3, with a segregation in the family compatible with autosomal recessive inheritance. Additional functional analysis showed decreased NSUN3 mRNA levels, slightly diminished mitochondrial complex IV levels, and decreased cell respiration rates in patient fibroblasts compared to healthy controls. In conclusion, pathogenic variants in NSUN3 can cause optic neuropathy. Trio whole-exome sequencing should be considered as a diagnostic strategy in ION cases where standard diagnostic analysis does not reveal disease-causing variants.

PMID:38790159 | DOI:10.3390/genes15050530