Genomic DNA of 17 unrelated Japanese males with Menkes disease and 2 Japanese males with occipital horn syndrome were studied for mutations in the ATP7A gene. Using SSCP analysis and direct sequencing of the exons and the 5'-upstream region of the gene amplified by PCR, we identified 16 mutations in 16 of 17 males with Menkes disease, including 4 deletions, 2 insertions, 6 nonsense mutations, 2 missense mutations, and 2 splice-site mutations. All these mutations were those that affect the function of the gene. Of the two males with occipital horn syndrome, one had a splice-site mutation in intron 6 that led to normal-size and smaller-size transcripts. The amount of the normal-size transcripts in his cultured skin fibroblasts was 19% of the normal level. His serum copper and ceruloplasmin levels were normal, whereas his cultured skin fibroblasts contained increased levels of copper. These findings indicate that his mild clinical manifestations were due to the presence of normal-size and presumably functional transcripts of the gene. DNA sequencing analysis of the exons and 5'-upstream region of the ATP7A gene in 20 normal individuals and the 19 affected males identified 25 polymorphisms.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss. Inc.