A new quantitative PCR multiplex assay for rapid analysis of chromosome 17p11.2-12 duplications and deletions leading to HMSN/HNPP

Eur J Hum Genet. 2003 Feb;11(2):170-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200920.


A 1.4-Mb tandem duplication, including the gene for peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) in chromosome 17p11.2-12 is responsible for 70% of the cases of the demyelinating type 1 of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy I (CMT1A/HMSN I). A reciprocal deletion of this CMT1A region causes the hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP). The CMT1A duplication increases the PMP22 gene dosage from two to three, the HNPP deletion reduces the gene dosage from two to one. Currently, routine diagnosis of HMSN/HNPP patients is mainly performed with polymorphic markers in-between the repetitive elements flanking the CMT1A region. These show quantitative and/or qualitative changes in case of a CMT1A duplication and a homozygous allele pattern in case of HNPP deletion. In HNPP patients the deletion is usually confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH). We now developed a reliable, single tube real-time quantitative PCR assay for rapid determination of PMP22 gene dosage directly. This method involves a multiplex reaction using FAM labelled Taqman-probe with TAMRA quencher derived from PMP22 exon 3 and a VIC labelled probe with non-fluorescent quencher from exon 12 of the albumin gene as internal reference. Copy number of the PMP22 gene was determined by the comparative threshold cycle method (deltadeltaCt). Each sample was run in quadruplicate and analysed at two different threshold levels. The level giving the smallest standard deviation was scored. We evaluated this method through the retrospective analysis of 252 HMSN patients with known genotype and could confirm the previous findings in 99% of cases. Two patients were wrongly diagnosed with microsatellite analysis while quantitative real-time PCR identified the correct genotype, as confirmed by FISH. Thus, this method shows superior sensitivity to microsatellite analysis and has the additional advantage of being a fast and uniform assay for quantitative analysis of both CMT1A and HNPP.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17*
  • Gene Dosage
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Humans
  • Paralysis / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Deletion*