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Neurology. 2008 Apr 1;70(14):1179-85. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000289760.85237.4e. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

New VAPB deletion variant and exclusion of VAPB mutations in familial ALS.

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Cecil B. Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research, Massachusetts General Hospital East, Charlestown, MA, USA.



Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder involving upper and lower motor neurons. The vesicle-associated membrane protein B (VAPB) gene has been genetically linked to ALS in several large Brazilian families in which the disorder is caused by a proline to serine mutation at codon 56 (P56S). No additional mutations have been identified.


To establish the prevalence of VAPB mutations, we screened 80 familial ALS samples by DNA sequencing.


Our study failed to identify any novel VAPB gene mutations but identified a single Brazilian family harboring the P56S mutation. In a second familial ALS case, we identified a three-base pair deletion within exon 5 of the VAPB gene that deleted the serine residue at position 160 (Delta S160). This variant is detected in a normal population at low frequency (0.45%). Analyses of homology alignment and secondary structure predict that this deletion significantly alters the structure of VAPB, although a GFP-Delta S160 VAPB fusion protein demonstrates a wild-type subcellular localization. This contrasts the aberrant localization observed in a GFP-P56S VAPB fusion protein. The allele frequency of Delta S160 in patients with sporadic ALS does not differ significantly from that in the normal population.


Mutations in the VAPB gene are rare and the Delta S160 variant does not contribute to the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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