Rare missense and synonymous variants in UBE1 are associated with X-linked infantile spinal muscular atrophy by Ramser Juliane, Ahearn Mary Ellen, Lenski Claus, Yariz Kemal O, Hellebrand Heide, von Rhein Michael, Clark Robin D, Schmutzler Rita K, Lichtner Peter, Hoffman Eric P, Meindl Alfons, Baumbach-Reardon Lisa in American journal of human genetics (2008). PubMed


X-linked infantile spinal muscular atrophy (XL-SMA) is an X-linked disorder presenting with the clinical features hypotonia, areflexia, and multiple congenital contractures (arthrogryposis) associated with loss of anterior horn cells and infantile death. To identify the XL-SMA disease gene, we performed large-scale mutation analysis in genes located between markers DXS8080 and DXS7132 (Xp11.3-Xq11.1). This resulted in detection of three rare novel variants in exon 15 of UBE1 that segregate with disease: two missense mutations (c.1617 G-->T, p.Met539Ile; c.1639 A-->G, p.Ser547Gly) present each in one XL-SMA family, and one synonymous C-->T substitution (c.1731 C-->T, p.Asn577Asn) identified in another three unrelated families. Absence of the missense mutations was demonstrated for 3550 and absence of the synonymous mutation was shown in 7914 control X chromosomes; therefore, these results yielded statistical significant evidence for the association of the synonymous substitution and the two missense mutations with XL-SMA (p = 2.416 x 10(-10), p = 0.001815). We also demonstrated that the synonymous C-->T substitution leads to significant reduction of UBE1 expression and alters the methylation pattern of exon 15, implying a plausible role of this DNA element in developmental UBE1 expression in humans. Our observations indicate first that XL-SMA is part of a growing list of neurodegenerative disorders associated with defects in the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and second that synonymous C-->T transitions might have the potential to affect gene expression.

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