Using clinical exome sequencing (ES), we identified an autosomal recessive missense variant, c.153C>A (p.F51L), in the peroxisome biogenesis factor 26 gene (PEX26) in a 19-yr-old female of Ashkenazi Jewish descent who was referred for moderate to severe hearing loss. The proband and three affected siblings are all homozygous for the c.153C>A variant. Skin fibroblasts from this patient show normal morphology in immu-nostaining of matrix proteins, although the level of catalase was elevated. Import rate of matrix proteins was significantly decreased in the patient-derived fibroblasts. Binding of Pex26-F51L to the AAA ATPase peroxins, Pex1 and Pex6, is severely impaired and affects peroxisome assembly. Moreover, Pex26 in the patient’s fibroblasts is reduced to ∼30% of the control, suggesting that Pex26-F51L is unstable in cells. In the patient’s fibroblasts, peroxisome-targeting signal 1 (PTS1) proteins, PTS2 protein 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, and catalase are present in a punctate staining pattern at 37°C and in a diffuse pattern at 42°C, suggesting that these matrix proteins are not imported to peroxisomes in a temperature-sensitive manner. Analysis of peroxisomal metabolism in the patient’s fibroblasts showed that the level of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (C22:6n-3) in ether phospholipids is decreased, whereas other lipid metabolism, including peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation, is normal. Collectively, the functional data support the mild phenotype of nonsyndromic hearing loss in patients harboring the F51L variant in PEX26.
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