Epidemiological and Molecular Characterization of a Mexican Population Isolate with High Prevalence of Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2A Due to a Novel Calpain-3 Mutation

PLoS One. 2017 Jan 19;12(1):e0170280. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170280. eCollection 2017.


Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2 (LGMD2) is a group of autosomally recessive inherited disorders defined by weakness and wasting of the shoulder and pelvic girdle muscles. In the past, several population isolates with high incidence of LGMD2 arising from founder mutation effects have been identified. The aim of this work is to describe the results of clinical, epidemiologic, and molecular studies performed in a Mexican village segregating numerous cases of LGMD2. A population census was conducted in the village to identify all LGMD affected patients. Molecular analysis included genome wide homozygosity mapping using a 250K SNP Affymetrix microarray followed by PCR amplification and direct nucleotide sequencing of the candidate gene. In addition, DNA from 401 randomly selected unaffected villagers was analyzed to establish the carrier frequency of the LGMD2 causal mutation. A total of 32 LGMD2 patients were identified in the village, rendering a disease prevalence of 4.3 (CI: 2.9-5.9) cases per 1,000 habitants (1 in 232). Genome wide homozygosity mapping revealed that affected individuals shared a 6.6 Mb region of homozygosity at chromosome 15q15. The identified homozygous interval contained CAPN3, the gene responsible for LGMD2 type A (LGMD2A). Direct sequencing of this gene revealed homozygosity for a novel c.348C>A mutation (p.Ala116Asp) in DNA from all 20 affected subjects available for genetic screening, except one which was heterozygous for the mutation. In such patient, a heterozygous c.2362AG>TCATCT deletion/insertion was recognized as the second CAPN3 mutation. Western blot and autocatalytic activity analyses in protein lysates from skeletal muscle biopsy obtained from a p.Ala116Asp homozygous patient suggested that this particular mutation increased the autocatalytic activity of CAPN3. Thirty eigth heterozygotes of the p.Ala116Asp mutation were identified among 401 genotyped unaffected villagers, yielding a population carrier frequency of 1 in 11. This study demonstrates that a cluster of patients with LGMD2A in a small Mexican village arises from a novel CAPN3 founder mutation. Evidence of allelic heterogeneity is demonstrated by the recognition of an additional CAPN3 mutation in a single affected. Our study provides an additional example of genetic isolation causing a high prevalence of LGMD and of successful molecular characterization of the disease by means of homozygosity mapping. The identification of a very high carrier frequency of the LGMD2-causing mutation has implications for more rational genetic counseling in this community.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Calpain / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Founder Effect
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • INDEL Mutation
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscular Dystrophies, Limb-Girdle / diagnosis
  • Muscular Dystrophies, Limb-Girdle / epidemiology*
  • Muscular Dystrophies, Limb-Girdle / genetics*
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult


  • Muscle Proteins
  • CAPN3 protein, human
  • Calpain

Supplementary concepts

  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A

Grant support

This work was funded by the Mexican Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), www.conacyt.mx Grant Number 183084 (JCZ). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.