Mutations in the connexin 26 gene (GJB2) are responsible for the major part of nonsyndromic autosomal recessive or apparently sporadic prelingual deafness in Caucasians (DFNB1). We screened 228 German hearing-impaired persons for mutations in the GJB2 gene by sequence analysis. Homozygous or compound heterozygous GJB2 mutations were detected in 38/228 (16.7%) of hearing impaired persons. The most frequently occurring mutation was the c.35delG mutation, which was found in 71.1% of the mutated alleles. The next frequent mutation detected in the group of hearing impaired persons was the c.101T>C mutation (9/76 alleles; 11.8%). One new mutation, c.567delA, was observed. We further studied the presence of a 10bp deletion in the 5' UTR of the GJB2 gene (c.-493del10) which was assumed to occur together with the c.101T>C mutation. Ten out of thirteen patients (76.9%) were found to be carriers of both the c.101T>C mutation and the 10bp variant and in 7/14 alleles a linkage disequilibrium between c.101T>C and the 10bp deletion was proven. In 4/14 alleles the linkage was ruled out and for the remaining 3 cases the phase determination was not possible. Seventy one controls were screened for the prevalence of Cx26 mutations and for the c.-493del10 variant. Heterozygosity frequency in the control group was for c.35delG 4.2%, for c.101T>C 1.4% and for c.-493del10 it was 5.6%.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.