Identification and in silico analysis of novel von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene variants from a large population

Ann Hum Genet. 2011 Jul;75(4):483-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2011.00647.x. Epub 2011 Apr 4.


Mutational inactivation of the VHL gene is the cause of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease, an autosomal dominant hereditary cancer syndrome predisposing to haemangioblastomas, pheochromocytomas and clear-cell renal carcinomas. The gene product (pVHL) functions as an adapter in cellular processes including cell growth and apoptosis. VHL mutation analysis was carried out in 426 unrelated subjects with phenotypes ranging from VHL syndrome, to isolated VHL-related tumours that could represent the first manifestation of the disease. A total of 111 individuals were found to carry alterations, with large deletions representing 40% of the variants. Eighteen of the 95 detected variants were novel, seemingly disease-causing mutations; their pathogenic role has been evaluated in silico for effects on protein folding and interactions. Putative regions of interaction between pVHL and proteins involved in common pathways have been identified, assessing possible implications for the presence of mutations in these regions. All new variants predicted to truncate or cause complete pVHL loss of structure were associated with phenotypes consistent with VHL type 1. Seven of the new amino acid substitutions are disease-causing mutations, one is a neutral variant, whereas the results for two remain ambiguous. Our combined molecular and in silico approach for the evaluation of putative disease-causing mutations contributes to the interpretation of the potential pathogenicity of these novel variants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Computers
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Population Surveillance
  • Protein Folding
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein / genetics*


  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein