Autosomal recessive Alport syndrome is caused by mutations in the COL4A3 and COL4A4 genes which code for the alpha3 and alpha4 chains of type IV collagen. These mutations result in haematuria, progressive renal impairment and often hearing loss, lenticonus and retinopathy. We describe here the mutations demonstrated by screening the 47 coding exons of the COL4A4 gene in six families with autosomal recessive Alport syndrome using PCR-single stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. Six sequence variants were identified. These included three novel mutations (2846delG, 2952delG and S969X) in exons 30 - 32 that all resulted in premature stop codons. These mutations were demonstrated in the heterozygous form in 3 families, and the S969X mutation was also present in the homozygous form in one of the two consanguinous families. These three mutations accounted for 40% (4/10) of the total mutant alleles in the six families studied. Six of the seven (86%) individuals with autosomal recessive Alport syndrome who had these mutations in the compound heterozygous or homozygous forms developed renal failure in adulthood, as well as hearing loss and ocular abnormalities. Haematuria was present in 15 of the 17 (88%) heterozygous mutation carriers. The other non-pathogenic sequence variants noted in COL4A4 included a nonglycine missense variant (L1004P), an intronic variant (4731-8 T>C) and a neutral polymorphism (V1516V).
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.