BACKGROUND: To establish the molecular diagnosis in two brothers presenting with the ocular features of Knobloch Syndrome using whole genome sequencing (WGS). METHODS: Clinical examination and ophthalmological phenotyping were completed under general anaesthesia. DNA samples were tested on a targeted retinal dystrophy next-generation sequencing panel. Subsequently, WGS was performed to identify additional variants. RESULTS: Clinical examination confirmed the diagnosis of Knobloch Syndrome. Targeted sequencing identified a novel heterozygous frameshift pathogenic variant in COL18A1, c.2864dupC; p.(Gly956ArgfsX20), inherited from their mother. A second paternally inherited heterozygous missense variant was identified in both brothers, c.5014 G > A; p.(Asp1672Asn), which was initially considered to have too high frequency to be pathogenic (MAF 8.8%). This led to an in-depth analysis of the COL18A1 locus using WGS data, which confirmed that Asp1672Asn is a likely pathogenic hypomorphic allele. CONCLUSION: To date, all confirmed genetic diagnoses of Knobloch syndrome are attributable to variants in COL18A1. The family described here has a heterozygous novel loss of function variant. Detailed analysis of WGS data combined with family segregation studies concluded that although Asp1672Asn has a high population frequency, it is the most likely second pathogenic variant in our family. This supports the hypothesis that this is a hypomorphic allele, which, in combination with a loss of function pathogenic variant, leads to Knobloch syndrome.To our knowledge, this is the first time that WGS has been used to confirm a molecular diagnosis of Knobloch syndrome in this way and has provided further insight into the molecular mechanisms in this rare disorder.
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COL18A1, Knobloch syndrome, paediatric retinal detachment, paediatric vitreous opacities