Mendelian disorders with cutaneous manifestations comprise a genotypically heterogeneous group of over 1,000 diseases, and in most of them mutant genes have been identified. Mutation detection approaches in these diseases have largely focused on DNA analysis by next-generation sequencing techniques, including gene-targeted sequencing panels as well as whole-exome and whole-genome sequencing. Genome-wide homozygosity mapping (HM), based on DNA polymorphism, has also assisted in the identification of candidate genes in families with consanguinity. However, specific pathogenic variants have not been disclosed in many individual patients when analyzed by next-generation sequencing, and in particular, DNA-based analysis failed to identify many of the mutations impacting on splicing or gene expression. Whole-transcriptome sequencing by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), with appropriate bioinformatics, provides a robust tool to identify additional mutations to facilitate genetic diagnosis in genodermatoses. RNA-Seq can be used for variant calling and HM similar to DNA-based approaches, but it also allows for the identification of mutations that result in aberrant transcriptome expression, as displayed by heatmap analysis, and altered splicing patterns of RNA, as visualized by Sashimi plots. Thus, clinical RNA-Seq extends molecular diagnostics of rare genodermatoses, and it could provide a reliable first-tier diagnostic approach to extend mutation databases in patients with heritable skin diseases.
Whole-transcriptome sequencing by RNA-Seq for identification of mutations missed by DNA sequencing
A, Saeidian AH, Youssefian L, Vahidnezhad H, Uitto J. (2020) Research Techniques Made Simple: Whole-Transcriptome Sequencing by RNA-Seq for Diagnosis of Monogenic Disorders. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 140(6);1117-1126.e1. [abstract]