Clinical and Molecular Genetic Analysis of 19 Wolfram Syndrome Kindreds Demonstrating a Wide Spectrum of Mutations in WFS1

Regional Genetics Services, Birmingham Women's Hospital, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The American Journal of Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 10.99). 12/1999; 65(5):1279-90. DOI: 10.1086/302609
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Wolfram syndrome is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by juvenile-onset diabetes mellitus and progressive optic atrophy. mtDNA deletions have been described, and a gene (WFS1) recently has been identified, on chromosome 4p16, encoding a predicted 890 amino acid transmembrane protein. Direct DNA sequencing was done to screen the entire coding region of the WFS1 gene in 30 patients from 19 British kindreds with Wolfram syndrome. DNA was also screened for structural rearrangements (deletions and duplications) and point mutations in mtDNA. No pathogenic mtDNA mutations were found in our cohort. We identified 24 mutations in the WFS1 gene: 8 nonsense mutations, 8 missense mutations, 3 in-frame deletions, 1 in-frame insertion, and 4 frameshift mutations. Of these, 23 were novel mutations, and most occurred in exon 8. The majority of patients were compound heterozygotes for two mutations, and there was no common founder mutation. The data were also analyzed for genotype-phenotype relationships. Although some interesting cases were noted, consideration of the small sample size and frequency of each mutation indicated no clear-cut correlations between any of the observed mutations and disease severity. There were no obvious mutation hot spots or clusters. Hence, molecular screening for Wolfram syndrome in affected families and for Wolfram syndrome-carrier status in subjects with psychiatric disorders or diabetes mellitus will require complete analysis of exon 8 and upstream exons.

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