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Genet Med. 2012 Sep;14(9):823-6. doi: 10.1038/gim.2012.50. Epub 2012 May 17.

Identification of a novel Cys146X mutation of SOD1 in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis by whole-exome sequencing.

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  • 1The Institute of Genomic Medicine, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China.



Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has been linked to mutations in 15 genes, and it is believed these genes account for less than 20-30% of Chinese patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Of the 163 different superoxide dismutase 1 gene mutations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 1, only 6.1% of them were from individuals of Chinese origin. Therefore, to quickly learn the causative gene for patients with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a Chinese pedigree, we opted to apply whole-exome sequencing as a diagnostic tool.


To avoid time-consuming screening of known familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis candidate genes by PCR-Sanger sequencing, we conducted whole-exome sequencing toward selected individuals of a four-generation familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis family.


Patients in the family showed autosomal dominant features, as well as a mean onset age of 35.3 years, and a mean duration of 2.1 years. By deep sequencing analysis, we identified a novel p.Cys146X SOD1 mutation in all examined patients. Genotype-phenotype and SOD1 structural model analysis revealed the effects of the Cys57-Cys146 disulfide bond formation and the C-terminal dimer contact region on the disease phenotypes.


The Cys146X mutation causes familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with severe phenotypes. Whole-exome sequencing becomes an attractive diagnostic tool for identifying causative genes, particularly for neurological disorders with unusual phenotypes, pleiotropic malformations, multiple known candidate genes, and complicated inheritance patterns.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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