Further delineation of the molecular pathology of Wilson disease in the Mediterranean population

Hum Mutat. 1998;12(2):89-94. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-1004(1998)12:2<89::AID-HUMU3>3.0.CO;2-G.


This study presents the update results of an ongoing project on the delineation of the spectrum of mutations at the Wilson disease (WD) gene in WD patients of Mediterranean origin. In studying 59 patients, of whom were 26 Continental Italians, 22 Sardinians, 9 Turkish, and 2 Albanians, we have found 31 novel and three known mutations. Of the novel mutations, 3 are deletions, two nonsense, 2 splice or consensus splice site, and 24 missense. The large majority of the missense mutations lie in evolutionary conserved regions of the WD gene of documented functional importance. Most of our patients were compound heterozygotes, and only a few were homozygotes. In addition, three polymorphisms were detected. By adding the new data to those previously reported by our group, we have to date detected 85% of mutations in the WD chromosomes from Continental Italians, 30% from Sardinians, 81.7% from Turkish and 66.7% from Albanians. Most of the mutations characterized are rare, and only a limited number are common. Of the common mutations 5 were found in Continental Italians, two in Sardinians and a single one in Turkish. Because there are so many causative mutations of the disease, the preclinical and prenatal diagnosis of WD should be carried out by a combination of mutation and linkage analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics*
  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Cation Transport Proteins*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Copper-Transporting ATPases
  • DNA
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Frameshift Mutation / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genotype
  • Hepatolenticular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Copper
  • DNA
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Copper-Transporting ATPases

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