To better characterize Niemann-Pick type C (NPC) in Spain and improve genetic counselling, molecular analyses were carried out in 40 unrelated Spanish patients. The search identified 70/80 alleles (88%) involving 38 different NPC1 mutations, 26 of which are described for the first time. No patient with NPC2 mutations was identified. The novel NPC1 mutations include 14 amino acid substitutions [R372W (c.1114C>T), P434L (c.1301C>T), C479Y (c.1436G>A), K576R (c.1727G>A), V727F (c.2179G>T), M754K (c.2261T>A), S865L (c.2594C>T), A926T (c.2776G>A), D948H (c.2842G>C), V959E (c.2876T>A), T1036K (c.3107C>A), T1066N (c.3197C>A), N1156I (c.3467A>T) and F1224L (c.3672C>G)], four stop codon [W260X (c.780G>A), S425X (c.1274C>A), C645X (c.1935T>A) and R1059X (c.3175C>T)], two donor splice-site mutations [IVS7+1G>A (g.31432G>A) and IVS21+2insG (g.51871insG)], one in-frame mutation [N961_F966delinsS (c.2882del16bpins1bp)] and five frameshift mutations [V299fsX8 (c.895insT), A558fsX11 (c.1673insG), C778fsX10 (c.2334insT), G993fsX3 (c.2973_78delG) and F1221fsX20 (c.3662delT)]. We also identified three novel changes [V562V (c.1686G>A), A580A (c.1740C>G) and A1187A (c.3561G>T)] in three independent NPC patients and five polymorphisms that have been described previously. The combination of these polymorphisms gave rise to the establishment of different haplotypes. Linkage disequilibrium was detected between mutations C177Y and G993fsX3 and specific haplotypes, suggesting a unique origin for these mutations. In contrast, I1061T mutation showed at least two different origins. The most prevalent mutations in Spanish patients were I1061T, Q775P, C177Y and P1007A (10, 7, 7 and 5% of alleles, respectively). Our data in homozygous patients indicate that the Q775P mutation correlates with a severe infantile neurological form and the C177Y mutation with a late infantile clinical phenotype.
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