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Am J Hum Genet. 1992 Oct;51(4):871-8.

Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease: detection of mutations Thr181----Pro and Leu223----Pro in the proteolipid protein gene, and prenatal diagnosis.

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  • 1Molecular Genetics Unit, Institute of Child Health, London, England.


A family with an apparent history of X-linked Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease presented for genetic counseling, requesting carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis. RFLP analysis using the proteolipid protein (PLP) gene probe was uninformative in this family. A prenatal diagnosis on a chorionic villus sample (CVS) was carried out using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of a variant in exon 4 of the PLP gene. The fetus was predicted to be unaffected. Sequencing of the exon from the CVS, the predicted-carrier mother, and the obligate-carrier grandmother revealed an A-to-C change at nucleotide 541 in the two women but not in the fetus. As this change results in a Thr-to-Pro change at amino acid 181 in a region of the gene predicted to be part of a transmembrane segment, it was concluded that this was the mutation causing the disease in this family. In addition, in a second family, an exon 5 variant band pattern on SSCP analysis was shown by sequencing to be due to a T-to-C change at nucleotide 668. This results in a Leu-to-Pro change in a carrier mother and in her two affected sons. These results provide further examples of mutations in PLP that cause Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease and illustrate the value of SSCP in genetic analysis.

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