Molecular assay for an intronic variant in NUP93 that causes steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome

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Abstract

Advances in molecular genetics have revealed that approximately 30% of cases with steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) are caused by single-gene mutations. More than 50 genes are responsible for SRNS. One such gene is the nucleoporin, 93-KD (NUP93). Thus far, few studies have reported mutations of NUP93 in SRNS. Here, we describe an NUP93 biallelic mutation in a 9-year-old boy with focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS). Notably, one mutation comprised an intronic variant; we conducted in vivo and in vitro analysis to characterize this variant. We found two heterozygous mutations in NUP93: c.2137-18G>A in intron 19 and a novel nonsense mutation c.727A>T (p.Lys243*) in exon 8. We conducted RNA sequencing and in vitro splicing assays by using minigene construction, combined with protein expression analysis to determine the pathogenicity of the intronic variant. Both RNA sequencing and in vitro splicing assay showed exon 20-skipping by the intronic variant. In protein expression analysis, aberrant subcellular localization with small punctate vesicles in the cytoplasm was observed for the intronic variant. Taken together, we concluded that c.2137-18G>A was linked to pathogenicity due to aberrant splicing. NUP93 variants are quite rare; however, we have shown that even intronic variants in NUP93 can cause SRNS. This study provides a fundamental approach to validate the intronic variant, as well as new insights regarding the clinical spectrum of SRNS caused by rare gene variants.

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