Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common genetic disorder with a birth incidence of 1:2,000-3,000, is characterized by a highly variable clinical presentation. To date, only two clinically relevant intragenic genotype-phenotype correlations have been reported for NF1 missense mutations affecting p.Arg1809 and a single amino acid deletion p.Met922del. Both variants predispose to a distinct mild NF1 phenotype with neither externally visible cutaneous/plexiform neurofibromas nor other tumors. Here, we report 162 individuals (129 unrelated probands and 33 affected relatives) heterozygous for a constitutional missense mutation affecting one of five neighboring NF1 codons-Leu844, Cys845, Ala846, Leu847, and Gly848-located in the cysteine-serine-rich domain (CSRD). Collectively, these recurrent missense mutations affect ∼0.8% of unrelated NF1 mutation-positive probands in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) cohort. Major superficial plexiform neurofibromas and symptomatic spinal neurofibromas were more prevalent in these individuals compared with classic NF1-affected cohorts (both p < 0.0001). Nearly half of the individuals had symptomatic or asymptomatic optic pathway gliomas and/or skeletal abnormalities. Additionally, variants in this region seem to confer a high predisposition to develop malignancies compared with the general NF1-affected population (p = 0.0061). Our results demonstrate that these NF1 missense mutations, although located outside the GAP-related domain, may be an important risk factor for a severe presentation. A genotype-phenotype correlation at the NF1 region 844-848 exists and will be valuable in the management and genetic counseling of a significant number of individuals.
Keywords: CSRD; MPNST; NF1; codons 844–848; genotype-phenotype correlation; missense mutation; neurofibromatosis type 1; plexiform neurofibroma; spinal NF.
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