We observed a family in which two boys were diagnosed with Alport syndrome, elliptocytosis, and mental retardation and carried a large deletion of the Xq22.3-q23 region, encompassing the COL4A5 gene. This suggests the possibility of a new contiguous gene syndrome. In an attempt to characterize the genes contributing to this complex phenotype, we have isolated a gene encoding a new long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase (FACL4 or LACS4) from the region deleted in these patients. Among several ESTs identified by searching the human gene map database maintained at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, using the map position as a query, only one was deleted in the patients. RACE products containing the entire ORF were subsequently generated. Northern blot analysis showed a 5-kb mRNA expressed in several tissues except for liver and lung. Brain shows a longer transcript, possibly reflecting the use of a brain-specific upstream ATG start codon. FACL4 encodes a predicted protein product of 670 amino acids (711 in brain), with a remarkable level of conservation compared to the rat acyl-CoA synthetases ACS4 and brain-specific ACS3 protein sequences. We are investigating the possibility that the absence of this enzyme may play a role in the development of mental retardation or other signs associated with Alport syndrome in the family.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.