The autosomal recessive Zellweger syndrome spectrum (ZSS) disorders comprise a main subgroup of the peroxisome biogenesis disorders and can be caused by mutations in any of 12 different currently identified PEX genes resulting in severe multisystemic disorders. To get insight into the spectrum of PEX gene defects among ZSS disorders and to investigate if additional human PEX genes are required for functional peroxisome biogenesis, we assigned over 600 ZSS fibroblast cell lines to different genetic complementation groups. These fibroblast cell lines were subjected to a complementation assay involving fusion by means of polyethylene glycol or a PEX cDNA transfection assay specifically developed for this purpose. In a majority of the cell lines we subsequently determined the underlying mutations by sequence analysis of the implicated PEX genes. The PEX cDNA transfection assay allows for the rapid identification of PEX genes defective in ZSS patients. The assignment of over 600 fibroblast cell lines to different genetic complementation groups provides the most comprehensive and representative overview of the frequency distribution of the different PEX gene defects. We did not identify any novel genetic complementation group, suggesting that all PEX gene defects resulting in peroxisome deficiency are currently known.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.