The high mutation rate at the NF1 locus results in a wide range of molecular abnormalities. The majority of these mutations are private and rare, generating elevated allelic diversity with a restricted number of recurrent mutations. In this study, we have assessed the efficacy of denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC), for detecting mutation in the NF1 gene. DHPLC is a fast and highly sensitive technique based on the detection of heteroduplexes in PCR products by ion pair reverse-phase HPLC under partially denaturing conditions. We established theoretical conditions for DHPLC analysis of all coding exons and splice junctions of the NF1 gene using the WAVEmaker software version 4.1.40 and screened for mutations a panel of 40 unrelated NF1 patients (25 sporadic and 15 familial), genetically uncharacterized. Disruptive mutations were identified in 29 individuals with an overall mutation detection rate of 72.5%. The mutations included eight deletions (exons 4b, 7, 10a, 14, 26, and 31), one insertion (exon 8), nine nonsense mutation (exons 10a, 13, 23.1, 27a, 29, 31, and 36), six missense mutations (exons 15, 16, 17, 24, and 31), four splice errors (exons 11, 14, 36, and 40) and a complex rearrangement within exon 16. Eighteen (62%) of the identified disruptive mutations are novel. Seven unclassified and three previously reported polymorphisms were also detected. None of the missense mutations identified in this study were found after screening of 150 controls. Our results suggest that DHPLC provides an accurate method for the rapid identification of NF1 mutations.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.