Bi-Allelic Novel Variants in CLIC5 Identified in a Cameroonian Multiplex Family with Non-Syndromic Hearing Impairment

DNA samples from five members of a multiplex non-consanguineous Cameroonian family, segregating prelingual and progressive autosomal recessive non-syndromic sensorineural hearing impairment, underwent whole exome sequencing. We identified novel bi-allelic compound heterozygous pathogenic variants in <i>CLIC5</i>. The variants identified, i.e., the missense [NM_016929.5:c.224T&gt;C; p.(L75P)] and the splicing (NM_016929.5:c.63+1G&gt;A), were validated using Sanger sequencing in all seven available family members and co-segregated with hearing impairment (HI) in the three hearing impaired family members. The three affected individuals were compound heterozygous for both variants, and all unaffected individuals were heterozygous for one of the two variants. Both variants were absent from the genome aggregation database (gnomAD), the Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Database (dbSNP), and the UK10K and Greater Middle East (GME) databases, as well as from 122 apparently healthy controls from Cameroon. We also did not identify these pathogenic variants in 118 unrelated sporadic cases of non-syndromic hearing impairment (NSHI) from Cameroon. In silico analysis showed that the missense variant <i>CLIC5</i>-p.(L75P) substitutes a highly conserved amino acid residue (leucine), and is expected to alter the stability, the structure, and the function of the CLIC5 protein, while the splicing variant <i>CLIC5</i>-(c.63+1G&gt;A) is predicted to disrupt a consensus donor splice site and alter the splicing of the pre-mRNA. This study is the second report, worldwide, to describe <i>CLIC5</i> involvement in human hearing impairment, and thus confirms <i>CLIC5</i> as a novel non-syndromic hearing impairment gene that should be included in targeted diagnostic gene panels.