North Carolina macular dystrophy: phenotypic variability and computational analysis of disease-implicated non-coding variants

David J. Green, Eva Lenassi, Cerys S. Manning, David McGaughey, Vinod Sharma, Graeme C. Black, Jamie M. Ellingford, Panos I. Sergouniotis

Research output: Working paper


Purpose North Carolina macular dystrophy (NCMD) is an autosomal dominant, congenital disorder affecting the central retina. Here, we report clinical and genetic findings in three families segregating NCMD and use epigenomic datasets from human tissues to gain insights into the effect of NCMD-implicated variants.

Methods Clinical assessment and genetic testing were performed. Publicly-available transcriptomic and epigenomic datasets were analyzed and the ‘Activity-by-Contact’ (ABC) method for scoring enhancer elements and linking them to target genes was used.

Results A previously-described, heterozygous, non-coding variant upstream of the PRDM13 gene was detected in all six affected study participants (chr6:100,040,987G>C [GRCh37/hg19]). Inter- and intra-familial variability were observed; the visual acuity ranged from 0.0 to 1.6 LogMAR and fundoscopic findings ranged from visually insignificant, confluent, drusen-like macular deposits to coloboma-like macular lesions. Variable degrees of peripheral retinal spots (which were easily detected on widefield retinal imaging) were observed in all study subjects. Notably, a 6-year-old patient developed choroidal neovascularization and required treatment with intravitreal bevacizumab injections. Computational analysis of the five single nucleotide variants that have been implicated in NCMD revealed that these non-coding changes lie within two putative enhancer elements; these elements are predicted to interact with PRDM13 in the developing human retina. PRDM13 was found to be expressed in the fetal retina, with highest expression in the amacrine precursor cell population.

Conclusions We provide further evidence supporting the role of PRDM13 dysregulation in the pathogenesis of NCMD and highlight the utility of widefield retinal imaging in individuals suspected to have this condition.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021

Publication series

PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


  • NCMD


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