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J Biol Chem. 1996 Jul 19;271(29):17576-81.

Mutation detection in the med and medJ alleles of the sodium channel Scn8a. Unusual splicing due to a minor class AT-AC intron.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0618, USA.


Analysis of a transgene-induced mutation at the mouse med locus led to the identification of the novel voltage-gated sodium channel gene Scn8a (Burgess, D. L., Kohrman, D. C., Galt, J., Plummer, N. W., Jones, J. M., Spear, B., and Meisler, M. H.(1995) Nat. Genet. 10, 461-465). We now report the identification of splicing defects in two spontaneous mutations of Scn8a. The original med mutation was caused by insertion of a truncated LINE element into exon 2 of Scn8a. The med transcript is spliced from exon 1 to a cryptic acceptor site in intron 2. A 4-base pair deletion within the 5' donor site of exon 3 in the medJ allele results in splicing from exon 1 to exon 4. Both mutant transcripts have altered reading frames with premature stop codons close to the N terminus of the protein. Loss of Scn8a expression results in progressive paralysis and early death. Intron 2 of Scn8a is flanked by minor class AT-AC splice sites. The observed splicing patterns of the med and medJ mutant transcripts provide the first evidence for preferential in vivo splicing between donor and acceptor sites of the same class. The apparent functional incompatibility may be a consequence of the different composition of spliceosomes bound to major and minor splice sites.

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