We have studied a family with homozygous lethal, blood coagulation factor VII (FVII) deficiency. To identify the mutation responsible for the deficiency, exons 2 to 8 and the intron-exon junctions of their FVII genes were amplified from peripheral white blood cell DNA by polymerase chain reaction and screened by single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis. The fragment showing aberrant mobility was cloned and sequenced. We detected a single point mutation, a homozygous G to A substitution at nucleotide position 6070, in the invariant GT dinucleotide at the 5' splice site of intron 4. Homozygosity was confirmed by loss of a site for the restriction endonuclease Mlu I. Analysis of the splicing pattern of ectopic transcripts in lymphocytes in the parents revealed that this mutation is associated with skipping of exon 4, which produces an mRNA encoding FVII with an in-frame deletion of the first epidermal growth factor-like domain (EGF 1). Transient transfection of COS-7 cells with an expression vector containing the triangle upEGF 1 FVII cDNA shows that this mutant protein is not expressed. The identification of the molecular basis of the FVII deficiency in this family allowed mutation-specific prenatal diagnosis to be performed in a subsequent pregnancy. In this family complete FVII deficiency is associated with a severe bleeding diathesis but no developmental abnormalities, lending weight to the hypothesis that fetal FVII is not required for the putative angiogenic functions of tissue factor in humans.
Copyright 1998 by The American Society of Hematology.