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Mol Diagn. 2005;9(3):157-62.

Skewed X inactivation of the normal allele in fully mutated female carriers determines the levels of FMRP in blood and the fragile X phenotype.

Author information

  • 1Departamento de Bioquímica Médica y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The variable phenotype in female carriers of a full mutation is explained in part by non-random X-chromosome inactivation. The molecular diagnosis of fragile X syndrome is based on the resolution of the number of CGG triplet repeats and the methylation status of a critical CpG in the fragile X mental retardation gene (FMR1) promoter. Neighboring CpGs in the FMR1 promoter are supposed to be equally methylated or unmethylated.

METHOD:

Southern blot analysis was performed with double digestion, either with EcoRI/EagI or with HindIII/SacII. The EagI restriction site was studied by sequencing. The fragile X encoded protein (FMRP) was detected in white blood cells by Western blot. The fragile X phenotype was evaluated by specific clinical examinations.

RESULTS:

Within one family we found three female carriers of a full mutation and a different degree of methylation of the normal allele that correlated with the levels of FMRP in blood and the fragile X phenotype. Complete methylation at the EagI CpG target (but partially methylated SacII CpG site) was associated with extremely skewed X inactivation (confirmed by analysis of the methylation status at the PGK locus), undetectable FMRP in blood, and a male-like phenotype.

CONCLUSIONS:

In fully mutated female carriers the methylation status at the EagI restriction site correlates with the levels of FMRP in blood and the fragile X phenotype. Neighboring CpG sequences in the FMR1 promoter can be differentially methylated, which should be taken into consideration for molecular diagnosis.

PMID:
16271017
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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