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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Apr;66(4):1398-402. Epub 2000 Mar 17.

Classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome caused by a mutation in type I collagen.

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Center for Medical Genetics, University Hospital Gent, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.


Classical Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is characterized by skin hyperelasticity, joint hypermobility, increased tendency to bruise, and abnormal scarring. Mutations in type V collagen, a regulator of type I collagen fibrillogenesis, have been shown to underlie this type of EDS. However, to date, mutations have been found in only a limited number of patients, which suggests genetic heterogeneity. In this article, we report two unrelated patients with typical features of classical EDS, including excessive skin fragility, in whom we found an identical arginine-->cysteine substitution in type I collagen, localized at position 134 of the alpha1(I) collagen chain. The arginine residue is highly conserved and localized in the X position of the Gly-X-Y triplet. As a consequence, intermolecular disulfide bridges are formed, resulting in type I collagen aggregates, which are retained in the cells. Whereas substitutions of glycine residues in type I collagen invariably result in osteogenesis imperfecta, substitutions of nonglycine residues in type I collagen have not yet been associated with a human disease. In contrast, arginine-->cysteine substitutions in type II collagen have been identified in a variety of chondrodysplasias. Our findings show that mutations in other fibrillar collagens can be causally involved in classical EDS and point to genetic heterogeneity of this disorder.

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