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Clin Genet. 2008 Apr;73(4):320-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2008.00968.x. Epub 2008 Feb 26.

Characterization of five novel large deletions causing hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia.

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Institute of Human Genetics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR), molecular genetic analysis was carried out for endoglin (ENG) and activin A receptor type II-like kinase 1 (ACVRL1/ALK1) gene rearrangements in a group of 45 clinically confirmed hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) families with negative direct sequencing results. We detected five large novel deletions, four in the ALK1 gene and one in the ENG gene. In two families, the whole ALK1 gene was deleted. One of these two deletions spanned at least 216 kb and included five neighbouring genes (LOC728503, ANKRD33, ACVR1B, GRASP, and NR4A1). The lack of additional symptoms in the patient carrying this large deletion indicates that heterozygous loss of these five genes has no obvious phenotypical effect. To our knowledge, this is the first report on whole ALK1 gene deletions in HHT patients. We rescreened our 45 families for large rearrangements using the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) method. No discrepancies between the results of QRT-PCR and MLPA were found. Our present work proves QRT-PCR as a reliable and sensitive method. Thus, our study supports that screening for large rearrangements should be considered to improve the genetic analysis in HHT patients with no apparent mutations in ALK1 and ENG using direct sequencing.

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