The ABCA4 gene has been involved in several forms of inherited macular dystrophy. In order to further characterize the complex genotype-phenotype relationships involving this gene, we have performed a mutation analysis of ABCA4 in 14 Spanish patients comprising eight STGD (Stargardt), four FFM (fundus flavimaculatus), and two CRD (Cone-rod dystrophy) patients. SSCP (single-strand conformation polymorphism) analysis and DNA sequencing of the coding and 5' upstream regions of this gene allowed the identification of 16 putatively pathogenic alterations, nine of which are novel. Most of these were missense changes, and no patient was found to carry two null alleles. Overall, the new data agree with a working model relating the different pathogenic phenotypes to the severity of the mutations. When considering the information presented here together with that of previous reports, a picture of the geographic distribution of three particular mutations emerges. The R212C change has been found in French, Italian, Dutch, German, and Spanish but not in British patients. In the Spanish collection, R212C was found in a CRD patient, indicating that it may be a rather severe change. In contrast, c.2588G>C, a very common mild allele in the Dutch population, is rarely found in Southern Europe. Interestingly, the c.2588G>C mutation has been found in a double mutant allele together with the missense R1055W. Finally, the newly described L1940P was found in two unrelated Spanish patients, and may be a moderate to severe allele.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.