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Hum Mutat. 2001;18(1):42-51.

Assessment of denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) in screening for mutations in connexin 26 (GJB2).

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Laboratory of Molecular Otology, Epstein Laboratories, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0526, USA.


Mutations in the gene GJB2 encoding connexin 26 (Cx26), a gap junction protein, have been shown to be responsible for a majority of recessive nonsyndromic hereditary hearing impairment in children. Over 60 different mutations in Cx26 have been reported. To obviate the need for direct sequencing of each specimen, a variety of screening techniques have been used to detect mutations in Cx26. However, each of these methods has significant shortcomings including expense, time consumption, and limited sensitivity. Denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) has been recently introduced as a rapid and highly sensitive method of detecting sequence alterations. We have assessed the efficacy of DHPLC as a screening assay for detecting mutation in Cx26 coding region in 154 patients with hereditary hearing impairment. The GJB2 coding exon was amplified in one or two fragments, analyzed by DHPLC, and sequenced. Sequence analysis identified sequence variations in 34 patients concordant with abnormal DHPLC results. Three novel Cx26 mutations were identified: a single base pair substitution 511G>A, a 4 bp insertion 504insAACG, and a 3 bp deletion 358delAGG in three unrelated patients. In 120 patients with normal Cx26 sequence, DHPLC was normal. These results yield sensitivity and specificity of 100% for DHPLC-based detection of Cx26 mutations, and demonstrate that DHPLC is a highly sensitive and specific method of screening for sequence variations in Cx26 that is time and labor efficient. Further, our experience suggests that DHPLC screening alone followed by DNA sequencing only when DHPLC is abnormal may be adequate for identification of all sequence alterations in Cx26.

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