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PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e20121. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020121. Epub 2011 May 17.

A novel splice variant in the N-propeptide of COL5A1 causes an EDS phenotype with severe kyphoscoliosis and eye involvement.

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Center for Medical Genetics, University Hospital Ghent, Ghent, Belgium.



The Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a heritable connective tissue disorder characterized by hyperextensible skin, joint hypermobility and soft tissue fragility. The classic subtype of EDS is caused by mutations in one of the type V collagen genes (COL5A1 and COL5A2). Most mutations affect the type V collagen helical domain and lead to a diminished or structurally abnormal type V collagen protein. Remarkably, only two mutations were reported to affect the extended, highly conserved N-propeptide domain, which plays an important role in the regulation of the heterotypic collagen fibril diameter. We identified a novel COL5A1 N-propeptide mutation, resulting in an unusual but severe classic EDS phenotype and a remarkable splicing outcome.


We identified a novel COL5A1 N-propeptide acceptor-splice site mutation (IVS6-2A>G, NM_000093.3_c.925-2A>G) in a patient with cutaneous features of EDS, severe progressive scoliosis and eye involvement. Two mutant transcripts were identified, one with an exon 7 skip and one in which exon 7 and the upstream exon 6 are deleted. Both transcripts are expressed and secreted into the extracellular matrix, where they can participate in and perturb collagen fibrillogenesis, as illustrated by the presence of dermal collagen cauliflowers. Determination of the order of intron removal and computational analysis showed that simultaneous skipping of exons 6 and 7 is due to the combined effect of delayed splicing of intron 7, altered pre-mRNA secondary structure, low splice site strength and possibly disturbed binding of splicing factors.


We report a novel COL5A1 N-propeptide acceptor-splice site mutation in intron 6, which not only affects splicing of the adjacent exon 7, but also causes a splicing error of the upstream exon 6. Our findings add further insights into the COL5A1 splicing order and show for the first time that a single COL5A1 acceptor-splice site mutation can perturb splicing of the upstream exon.

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