Nephronophthisis-related ciliopathies (NPHP-RC) are autosomal-recessive cystic kidney diseases. More than 13 genes are implicated in its pathogenesis to date, accounting for only 40 % of all cases. High-throughput mutation screenings of large patient cohorts represent a powerful tool for diagnostics and identification of novel NPHP genes. We here performed a new high-throughput mutation analysis method to study 13 established NPHP genes (NPHP1-NPHP13) in a worldwide cohort of 1,056 patients diagnosed with NPHP-RC. We first applied multiplexed PCR-based amplification using Fluidigm Access-Array™ technology followed by barcoding and next-generation resequencing on an Illumina platform. As a result, we established the molecular diagnosis in 127/1,056 independent individuals (12.0 %) and identified a single heterozygous truncating mutation in an additional 31 individuals (2.9 %). Altogether, we detected 159 different mutations in 11 out of 13 different NPHP genes, 99 of which were novel. Phenotypically most remarkable were two patients with truncating mutations in INVS/NPHP2 who did not present as infants and did not exhibit extrarenal manifestations. In addition, we present the first case of Caroli disease due to mutations in WDR19/NPHP13 and the second case ever with a recessive mutation in GLIS2/NPHP7. This study represents the most comprehensive mutation analysis in NPHP-RC patients, identifying the largest number of novel mutations in a single study worldwide.
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