Background: Fabry disease, an inborn error of glycosphingolipid catabolism, results from mutations in the X-chromosomal gene encoding the lysosomal exoglycosidase, alpha-galactosidase A (alpha-Gal A; EC 184.108.40.206). The nature of the molecular lesions in the alpha-Gal A gene in 36 unrelated families was determined in order to provide precise heterozygote detection, prenatal diagnosis, and to define genotype/phenotype correlations.
Methods: Genomic DNA was isolated from affected males and/or carrier females from 36 unrelated families with Fabry disease. The entire alpha-Gal A coding region and flanking intronic sequences were analyzed by PCR amplification and solid-phase or cycle sequencing. Markers closely linked to the alpha-Gal A gene were analyzed to determine if probands with the same mutations were related.
Results: Twenty-two novel mutations were identified including 10 missense (P40L, W95S, S148N, C172R, M187V, N224S, W226R, A230T, D266H, N320Y), three nonsense (Y134X, C142X, W204X in two families), three splice-site defects (IVS2(+1), IVS3(+1), IVS4(+1)) and six small deletions or insertions (26delA in two families, 672ins37, 774delAC, 833insA, 1139delC, 1188insT). Of the remaining 12 families (33.3%), each had a previously identified mutation, eight of which occurred at CpG dinucleotides including R112C (two families), R112H, R227Q, R227X (three families), and R301Q. Haplotype analysis of the mutant alleles that occurred in two or three presumably unrelated families revealed that the families with the rare novel alleles (W204X and 26delA) were probably related, whereas those with mutations involving CpG dinucleotides (R112C and R227X) were not, the latter being consistent with their origins as independent mutational events. Genotype/phenotype correlations revealed that certain mutations previously found in mild variant patients also were found in classic patients. In addition, the genotypes and spectrum of phenotypic severity were determined in five heterozygotes with no family history.
Conclusions: These results illustrate the molecular heterogeneity of the lesions causing Fabry disease and emphasize the fact that CpG dinucleotides constitute important hot spots for mutation in the alpha-Gal A gene. These studies also permit precise heterozygote detection and prenatal diagnosis in these families, and delineate phenotype-genotype correlations in this disease.