Cytoplasmic mislocalization of POU3F4 due to novel mutations leads to deafness in humans and mice

Thomas Parzefall, Shaked Shivatzki, Danielle R. Lenz, Birgit Rathkolb, Kathy Ushakov, Daphne Karfunkel, Yisgav Shapira, Michael Wolf, Manuela Mohr, Eckhard Wolf, Sibylle Sabrautzki, Martin Hrabé de Angelis, Moshe Frydman, Zippora Brownstein, Karen B. Avraham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


POU3F4 is a POU domain transcription factor that is required for hearing. In the ear, POU3F4 is essential for mesenchymal remodeling of the bony labyrinth and is the causative gene for DFNX2 human nonsyndromic deafness. Ear abnormalities underlie this form of deafness, characterized previously in multiple spontaneous, radiation-induced and transgenic mouse mutants. Here, we report three novel mutations in the POU3F4 gene that result in profound hearing loss in both humans and mice. A p.Gln79* mutation was identified in a child from an Israeli family, revealed by massively parallel sequencing (MPS). This strategy demonstrates the strength of MPS for diagnosis with only one affected individual. A second mutation, p.Ile285Argfs*43, was identified by Sanger sequencing. A p.Cys300* mutation was found in an ENU-induced mutant mouse, schwindel (sdl), by positional cloning. The mutation leads to a predicted truncated protein, similar to the human mutations, providing a relevant mouse model. The p.Ile285Argfs*43 and p.Cys300* mutations lead to a shift of Pou3f4 nuclear localization to the cytoplasm, demonstrated in cellular localization studies and in the inner ears of the mutant mice. The discovery of these mutations facilitates a deeper comprehension of the molecular basis of inner ear defects due to mutations in the POU3F4 transcription factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1110
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Mutation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Cochlea
  • DFNX2
  • ENU
  • Hearing loss


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