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Am J Hum Genet. 1990 Jul;47(1):79-86.

Complex alleles of the acid beta-glucosidase gene in Gaucher disease.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029.


Gaucher disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and is the most prevalent lysosomal storage disease. Gaucher disease has marked phenotypic variation and molecular heterogeneity, and seven point mutations in the acid beta-glucosidase (beta-Glc) gene have been identified. By means of sequence-specific oligonucleotides (SSO), mutation 6433C has been detected homozygously in neuronopathic type 2 (acute) and type 3 (subacute) patients, as well as in children with severe visceral involvement who are apparently free of neuronopathic disease. To investigate the molecular basis for this puzzling finding, amplified beta-Glc cDNAs from 6433C homozygous type 2 and type 3 Gaucher disease patients were cloned and sequenced. The Swedish type 3 Gaucher disease patient was truly homozygous for alleles only containing the 6433C mutation. In comparison, the type 2 patient contained a singly mutated 6433C allele and a "complex" allele with multiple discrete point mutations (6433C, 6468C, and 6482C). Each of the mutations in the complex allele also was present in the beta-Glc pseudogene. SSO hybridization of 6433C homozygotes revealed that both type 2 patients contained additional mutations in one allele, whereas the 6433C alone was detected in both type 3 and in young severe type 1 Gaucher disease patients. These results suggest that the presence of the complex allele influences the severity of neuronopathic disease in 6433C homozygotes and reveal the central role played by the pseudogene in the formation of mutant alleles of the beta-Glc gene. Analysis of additional cDNA clones also identified two new alleles in a type 3 patient, emphasizing the molecular heterogeneity of neuronopathic Gaucher disease.

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