BACKGROUND: Among the approximately 8000 Mendelian disorders, >1000 have cutaneous manifestations. In many of these conditions, the underlying mutated genes have been identified by DNA-based techniques which, however, can overlook certain types of mutations, such as exonic-synonymous and deep-intronic sequence variants. Whole-transcriptome sequencing by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) can identify such mutations and provide information about their consequences. METHODS: We analyzed the whole transcriptome of 40 families with different types of Mendelian skin disorders with extensive genetic heterogeneity. The RNA-seq data were examined for variant detection and prioritization, pathogenicity confirmation, RNA expression profiling, and genome-wide homozygosity mapping in the case of consanguineous families. Among the families examined, RNA-seq was able to provide information complementary to DNA-based analyses for exonic and intronic sequence variants with aberrant splicing. In addition, we tested the possibility of using RNA-seq as the first-tier strategy for unbiased genome-wide mutation screening without information from DNA analysis. RESULTS: We found pathogenic mutations in 35 families (88%) with RNA-seq in combination with other next-generation sequencing methods, and we successfully prioritized variants and found the culprit genes. In addition, as a novel concept, we propose a pipeline that increases the yield of variant calling from RNA-seq by concurrent use of genome and transcriptome references in parallel. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that "clinical RNA-seq" could serve as a primary approach for mutation detection in inherited diseases, particularly in consanguineous families, provided that tissues and cells expressing the relevant genes are available for analysis.
Whole-Transcriptome Analysis by RNA Sequencing for Genetic Diagnosis of Mendelian Skin Disorders in the Context of Consanguinity / Youssefian, L.; Saeidian, A. H.; Palizban, F.; Bagherieh, A.; Abdollahimajd, F.; Sotoudeh, S.; Mozafari, N.; Farahani, R. A.; Mahmoudi, H.; Babashah, S.; Zabihi, M.; Zeinali, S.; Fortina, P.; Salas-Alanis, J. C.; South, A. P.; Vahidnezhad, H.; Uitto, J.. - In: CLINICAL CHEMISTRY. - ISSN 1530-8561. - 67:6(2021), pp. 876-888. [10.1093/clinchem/hvab042]