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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Oct;94(10):4003-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-0686. Epub 2009 Jul 14.

Clinical and molecular characterization of a novel selenocysteine insertion sequence-binding protein 2 (SBP2) gene mutation (R128X).

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Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, U SA.



Although acquired abnormalities of thyroid hormone metabolism are common, inherited defects in humans involving the synthesis of selenoproteins, including iodothyronine deiodinases, have been described in only one recent publication.


We report the study of a novel selenocysteine insertion sequence-binding protein 2 (SBP2) gene mutation (R128X) and its clinical and molecular characterization.


A family of African origin was studied. The proband presented with growth retardation, low serum selenium level, and thyroid test abnormalities consisting of high serum total and free T(4) concentrations associated with low T(3), high rT(3), and normal TSH. The entire coding region of the SBP2 gene was sequenced and minigenes constructed to explain the nature of the defect.


The proband was homozygous for a nonsense gene mutation that produces an early stop codon (R128X). Both parents and a sister were heterozygous but showed no growth or thyroid test abnormalities. Despite the severity of the defect, the patient had a relatively mild phenotype, similar to that associated with partial SBP2 deficiency. In vitro analysis showed that the mutant minigene synthesized SBP2 from at least three downstream ATGs capable of generating molecules containing the essential functional domains. Treatment with l-T(3) accelerated the growth velocity and advanced the bone age.


We identified a novel SBP2 gene mutation producing an early arrest in the synthesis of a full-length molecule. The demonstration that SBP2 isoforms containing all functional domains could be synthesized from three downstream ATGs explains the relatively mild phenotype caused by this defect.

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