Mutations in the human fibrillin 1 gene (FBN1) cause the Marfan syndrome (MFS), an autosomal dominant connective tissue disorder. Knowledge about FBN1 mutations is important for early diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling. However, mutation detection in FBN1 is a challenge because the gene is very large in size ( approximately 200 kb) and the approximately 350 mutations detected so far are scattered over 65 exons. Conventional methods for large-scale detection of mutations are expensive, technically demanding, or time consuming. Recently, a high-capacity low-cost mutation detection method was introduced based on denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC). To assess the sensitivity and specificity of this method, we blindly screened 64 DNA samples of known FBN1 genotype exon-by-exon using exon-specific DHPLC conditions. Analysis of 682 PCR amplicons correctly identified 62 out of 64 known sequence variants. In three MFS patients of unknown FBN1 genotype, we detected two mutations and eight polymorphisms. Overall, 20 mutations and two polymorphisms are described here for the first time. Our results demonstrate 1) that DHPLC is a highly sensitive (89-99%, P = 0.05) method for FBN1 mutation detection; but 2) that chromatograms with moderate and weak pattern abnormalities also show false positive signals (in all 45-59%, P = 0.05); 3) that the difference in the chromatograms of heterozygous and homozygous amplicons is mostly independent of the type of sequence change; and 4) that DHPLC column conditions, additional base changes, and the amounts of injected PCR products influence significantly the shape of chromatograms. A strategy for FBN1 mutation screening is discussed.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.