The peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs) are a group of neuronal migration/neurodegenerative disorders that arise from defects in PEX genes. A major subgroup of the PBDs includes Zellweger syndrome (ZS), neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy (NALD), and infantile Refsum disease (IRD). These three disorders represent a clinical continuum with Zellweger syndrome the most severe. Mutations in the PEX1 gene, which encodes a protein of the AAA ATPase family involved in peroxisome matrix protein import, account for the genetic defect in more than half of the patients in this PBD subgroup. We report here on the results of PEX1 mutation detection in an Australasian cohort of PEX1-deficient PBD patients. This screen has identified five novel mutations, including nonsense mutations in exons 14 and 19 and single nucleotide deletions in exons 5 and 18. Significantly, the allele carrying the exon 18 frameshift mutation is present at moderately high frequency (approx. 10%) in this patient cohort. The fifth mutation is a missense mutation (R798G) that attenuates, but does not abolish PEX1 function. We have evaluated the cellular impact of these novel mutations, along with that of the two most common PEX1 mutations (c.2097-2098insT and G843D), in PBD patients by determining the levels of PEX1 mRNA, PEX1 protein, and peroxisome protein import. The findings are consistent with a close correlation between cellular phenotype, disease severity, and PEX1 genotype.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.