Mutational analysis of a patient with mucopolysaccharidosis type VII, and identification of pseudogenes

Am J Hum Genet. 1993 Mar;52(3):517-26.


PCR of cDNA produced from patient fibroblasts allowed us to determine the paternal mutation in the first patient reported with beta-glucuronidase-deficiency mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPS VII). The G-->T transversion 1,881 bp downstream of the ATG translation initiation codon destroys an MboII restriction site and converts Trp627 to Cys (W627C). Digestion of genomic DNA PCR fragments with MboII indicated that the patient and the father were heterozygous for this missense mutation in exon 12. Failure to find cDNAs from patient RNA which did not contain this mutation suggested that the maternal mutation leads to greatly reduced synthesis or reduced stability of mRNA from the mutant allele. In order to identify the maternal mutation, it was necessary to analyze genomic sequences. This approach was complicated by the finding of multiple unprocessed pseudogenes and/or closely related genes. Using PCR with a panel of human/rodent hybrid cell lines, we found that these pseudogenes were present over chromosomes 5-7, 20, and 22 and the Y chromosome. Conditions were defined which allowed us to amplify and characterize genomic sequences for the true beta-glucuronidase gene despite this background of related sequences. The patient proved to be heterozygous for a second mutation, in which a C-->T transition introduces a termination codon (R356STOP) in exon 7. The mother was also heterozygous for this mutation. Expression of a cDNA containing the maternal mutation produced no enzyme activity, as expected. Expression of the paternal mutation in COS-7 cells produced a surprisingly high (65% of control) level of activity. However, activity was 13% of control in transiently transfected murine MPS VII cells. The level of activity of this mutant allele appears to correlate with the level of overexpression, suggesting that high concentrations of mutant monomers can drive the folding and tetramerization of mutant enzyme to produce an active and stable enzyme.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Codon
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Glucuronidase / deficiency*
  • Glucuronidase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Hybrid Cells
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis VII / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Pseudogenes*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / isolation & purification


  • Codon
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • RNA
  • Glucuronidase