Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of familial mental retardation. It results from a (CGG)(n) trinucleotide expansion in the FMR1 gene leading to the typical Martin-Bell phenotype. Clinical features vary depending on age and sex. Expansion of a (CCG)(n) repeat in the FMR2 gene corresponds to the FRAXE fragile site which lies distal to FRAXA and is also associated with mental retardation, but it is less frequent and lacks a consistent phenotype. Analysis of repeat expansions in these two genes allows the molecular diagnosis of these different entities. We report here the screening of the FRAXA and FRAXE mutations in 222 unrelated mentally retarded individuals attending Spanish special schools. PCR and/or Southern blotting methods were used. We detected full mutations in the FMR1 gene in 11 boys (4.9%) and 1 boy (0.5%) with a CCG)(n) repeat expansion in the FMR2 gene. The latter shows mild mental retardation with psychotic behaviour and no remarkable physical traits. Molecular studies revealed a mosaicism for methylation in the FMR2 gene. This case supports the observation that expansions greater than 100 repeats can be partially methylated and cause the phenotype.
ASJC Scopus subject areas