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Hum Mol Genet. 1996 Dec;5(12):1953-61.

Genomic screening for beta-sarcoglycan gene mutations: missense mutations may cause severe limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2E (LGMD 2E).

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA, USA.


Autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMDs) are genetically heterogeneous. A subgroup of these disorders is caused by mutations in the dystrophin-associated sarcoglycan complex. Truncating mutations in the 43 kDa beta-sarcoglycan gene (LGMD 2E) were originally identified in a sporadic case of Duchenne-like muscular dystrophy, and a common missense mutation (T151R) was identified independently in Indiana Amish pedigrees with a milder form of LGMD. To facilitate mutational analysis of larger numbers of patients directly from genomic DNA, as opposed to reverse transcribed RNA from muscle biopsies, we have determined the genomic structure of the beta-sarcoglycan gene. The open reading frame of the beta-sarcoglycan coding region extends over six exons. Primers were designed for PCR amplification of single exons from genomic DNA and subsequent single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. We screened 15 patients from the Brazilian LGMD patient population, 13 of whom followed a severe course. Most of the patients had been assessed previously for deficiency of alpha-sarcoglycan immunofluorescence on muscle biopsy sections as a marker for disease of the sarcoglycan complex. Novel mutations in two familial and two sporadic cases of severe childhood-onset LGMD were identified. Only one of these patients carried a truncating mutation (homozygous 2 bp deletion, FS164TER), while the other three carried missense mutations (homozygous R91P, homozygous M100K, heterozygous recessive L108R; only one allele could be identified in this family). All three missense mutations occurred in exon 3, coding for the immediate extracellular domain. Complete absence for all three of the known sarcoglycans was noted by immunohistochemistry on muscle biopsy sections of the patients.

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