Mutations affecting mRNA splicing are the most common molecular defects in patients with neurofibromatosis type 1

Elisabet Ars, Eduard Serra, Judit García, Helena Kruyer, Antonia Gaona, Conxi Lázaro, Xavier Estivill

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Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common inherited disorders in humans and is caused by mutations in the NF1 gene. To date, the majority of the reported NF1 mutations are predicted to result in protein truncation, but very few studies have correlated the causative NF1 mutation with its effect at the mRNA level. We have applied a whole NF1 cDNA screening methodology to the study of 80 unrelated NF1 patients and have identified 44 different mutations, 32 being novel, in 52 of these patients. Mutations were detected in 87% of the familial cases, but in 51% of the sporadic ones. At least 15 of the 80 NF1 patients (19%) had recurrent mutations. The study shows that in 50% of the patients in whom the mutations were identified, these resulted in splicing alterations. Most of the splicing mutations did not involve the conserved AG/GT dinucleotides of the splice sites. One frameshift, two nonsense and two missense mutations were also responsible for alterations in mRNA splicing. The location and type of mutation within the NF1 gene, and its putative effect at the protein level, do not indicate any relationship to any specific clinical feature of NF1. The high proportion of aberrant spliced transcripts defected in NF1 patients stresses the importance of studying mutations at both the genomic and RNA level. It is possible that part of the clinical variability in NF1 could be due to mutations affecting mRNA splicing, which is the most common molecular defect in NF1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-247
Number of pages11
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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