Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts (MLC) is an autosomal recessive cerebral white matter disorder in children. This disease is histopathologically characterized by myelin splitting and intramyelinic vacuole formation. MLC is caused by mutations in the gene MLC1, which encodes a novel protein, MLC1. Since the first report, 50 mutations in this gene have been found. Mutations occur throughout the entire coding region and include all different types: 11 splice-site mutations; one nonsense mutation; 24 missense mutations; and 14 deletions and insertions. Until now, six polymorphisms within the coding sequence of MLC1 had been reported. In about 20% of the patients with a typical clinical and MRI picture, no mutations in the MLC1 gene are found. Several of the families, in which no mutations are found, also do not show linkage with the MLC1 locus, which suggests a second gene involved in MLC. The absence of mutations may also be the consequence of performing standard mutation analysis that can miss heterozygous deletions, mutations in the promoter, 3' and 5' untranslated regions (UTRs), and intron mutations, which may influence the amino acid composition of the end product. In this work we describe 13 novel mutations, including those found with extended mutation analysis on MLC patients. This study shows that extended mutation analysis is a valuable tool to identify at least some of the missing mutations. Therefore, we suggest extended mutation analysis for the MLC1 gene, if no mutations are found during standard analysis.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.