Clinical and functional heterogeneity associated with the disruption of retinoic acid receptor beta

The DDD Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Dominant variants in the retinoic acid receptor beta (RARB) gene underlie a syndromic form of microphthalmia, known as MCOPS12, which is associated with other birth anomalies and global developmental delay with spasticity and/or dystonia. Here, we report 25 affected individuals with 17 novel pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in RARB. This study aims to characterize the functional impact of these variants and describe the clinical spectrum of MCOPS12. Methods: We used in vitro transcriptional assays and in silico structural analysis to assess the functional relevance of RARB variants in affecting the normal response to retinoids. Results: We found that all RARB variants tested in our assays exhibited either a gain-of-function or a loss-of-function activity. Loss-of-function variants disrupted RARB function through a dominant-negative effect, possibly by disrupting ligand binding and/or coactivators’ recruitment. By reviewing clinical data from 52 affected individuals, we found that disruption of RARB is associated with a more variable phenotype than initially suspected, with the absence in some individuals of cardinal features of MCOPS12, such as developmental eye anomaly or motor impairment. Conclusion: Our study indicates that pathogenic variants in RARB are functionally heterogeneous and associated with extensive clinical heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100856
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 The Authors


  • Dystonia
  • Global developmental delay
  • Microphthalmia
  • Retinoic acid
  • Retinoic acid receptor beta


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