Immunological diagnosis of Werner syndrome by down-regulated and truncated gene products

Hum Genet. 1999 Oct;105(4):301-7. doi: 10.1007/s004399900151.


Although immunological methods are widely used to diagnose various infectious diseases, they have rarely been employed to detect genetic diseases. In this study, we have established an immunoblot analysis system for the diagnosis of Werner syndrome (WS), a recessive genetic disorder causing premature aging and an enhanced risk of rare cancers. The method uses an immunoblot technique with specific monoclonal antibodies to WS gene product, and B-lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) transformed by Epstein-Barr virus; these cell lines express an increased level of normal WS gene product DNA helicase. The method clearly distinguishes normal from patient LCLs containing any of the mutation types found so far in Japan, primarily because of the drastically reduced levels of mutated gene products, and secondarily because of the truncated product sizes. A comparison of this immunological diagnosis with the symptom-based clinical diagnosis has narrowed down the criteria of symptoms essential for WS diagnosis. This procedure is compatible with, and has some advantage over, the genetic method, because WS patients can be diagnosed without determining the mutated gene sequences. The method exemplified in WS may also be applied to detect some other genetic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / immunology
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RecQ Helicases
  • Werner Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Werner Syndrome / genetics
  • Werner Syndrome / immunology
  • Werner Syndrome Helicase


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • DNA Helicases
  • RecQ Helicases
  • WRN protein, human
  • Werner Syndrome Helicase