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Mol Genet Metab. 2004 Jun;82(2):167-72.

A novel mutation in the SLC17A5 gene causing both severe and mild phenotypes of free sialic acid storage disease in one inbred Bedouin kindred.

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Department of Neonatology, Soroka Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


Four members of an extended consanguineous Bedouin family presented with different phenotypic variants of an autosomal recessive lysosomal free sialic acid storage disease. One affected individual had congenital ascites followed by rapid clinical deterioration and death, a presentation concordant with the clinical course of infantile free sialic acid storage disorder. His three first cousins had a more slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease, in line with the clinical phenotype of the milder form (Salla type) of this lysosomal disorder. Diagnosis of free sialic acid storage disease was based on clinical findings, histology, and biochemical assays of sialic acid. Molecular studies showed that all four affected individuals were homozygous for the same novel 983G > A mutation in exon 8 of the SLC17A5 gene, replacing glycine with glutamic acid at position 328 of the sialin protein. This family demonstrates the significant phenotypic variability of the disease in affected members of a single inbred kindred with precisely the same mutation, suggesting a role for modifier genes or environmental factors. It also highlights the need to consider this rare disorder in the differential diagnosis of congenital ascites and of unexplained psychomotor retardation, ataxia, and hypomyelination in infancy.

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