WASP and the phenotypic range associated with deficiency.

Department of Pediatrics and Angelo Nocivelli Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Brescia, Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.
Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Impact Factor: 3.66). 01/2006; 5(6):485-90. DOI: 10.1097/01.all.0000191243.25757.ce
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This review reports on the range of clinical phenotypes that are caused by mutations in the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein (WASP) gene. The basis of genotype-phenotype correlation in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is discussed, with regard to expression of the WAS protein (WASp) and of the effects of WASP mutations on WASp function. Advances in preclinical models of gene therapy for WAS are presented.
Two recent studies have supported genotype-phenotype correlation in WAS and in related X-linked thrombocytopenia. Expression of the WASp was found to be the best predictor of clinical phenotype. Investigation of autoimmune manifestations associated with WAS has shown that autoimmune hemolytic anemia and elevated serum IgM associate with a more severe clinical course. Finally, while results of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for WAS continue to improve, several studies have shown the potential benefit of novel therapeutic approaches based on gene transfer. In particular, use of lentiviral vector-driven expression of the WASP gene under autologous promoter sequences has been found to result in increased targeting of hematopoietic stem cells, higher levels of WASp expression, and improved reconstitution of immune function.
Availability of tools that allow analysis of WASp expression has provided evidence for a genotype-phenotype correlation in patients with WASP gene defects. Protein expression is an important prognostic indicator. The molecular and cellular abnormalities of WAS-associated defects are being identified, and significant advances in vector-mediated gene transfer have opened possibilities for the treatment of WAS based on gene therapy.