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Hum Mutat. 2006 Nov;27(11):1065-71.

Deletion hotspot in the argininosuccinate lyase gene: association with topoisomerase II and DNA polymerase alpha sites.

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Program in Genetics and Genomic Biology, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Molecular analysis of argininosuccinate lyase (ASAL) deficiency has led to the identification of a deletion hotspot in the ASL gene. Six individuals with ASAL deficiency had alleles that led to a complete absence of exon 13 from the ASL mRNA; each had a partial deletion of exon 13 in the genomic DNA. In all six patients, the deletions begin 18 bp upstream of the 3' end of exon 13. In four cases, the deletions were 13 bp in length, and ended within exon 13, whereas in two other patients the deletions were 25 bp and extended into intron 13. The sequence at which these deletions begin overlaps both a putative topoisomerase II recognition site and a DNA polymerase alpha mutation/frameshift site. Moreover, the topoisomerase II cut site is situated precisely at the beginning of the deletions, which are flanked by small (2- and 3-bp) direct repeats. We note that a similar concurrence of these two putative enzyme sites can be found in a number of other deletion sites in the human genome, most notably the DeltaF508 deletion in the CFTR gene. These findings suggest that the joint presence of these two enzyme sites represents a DNA sequence context that may favor the occurrence of small deletions.

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