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Am J Hum Genet. 1990 Jan;46(1):112-9.

Partial gene duplication involving exon-Alu interchange results in lipoprotein lipase deficiency.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Major structural rearrangements are uncommon causes of mutation in human genetic diseases. We have previously described that a significant proportion of unrelated patients of western European descent who are deficient in lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity have a major structural rearrangement in the LPL gene. Here we report the detailed characterization of this mutation. We show that this rearrangement is due to a duplication of approximately 2 kb which results from juxtaposition of intron 6 to a partially duplicated exon 6. We have sequenced both the junction fragment of this duplication and the corresponding wild-type regions and have found that the breakpoint in intron 6 is associated with the simple repeat found at the 3' end of an Alu element. The breakpoint within exon 6 shows no homology to this simple repeat. This result both suggests that this interchange arose as a nonhomologous recombination event and shows that such events resulting in duplication which occur in normal gene evolution may also lead to genetic disease. Cloning of the junction fragment has allowed synthesis of appropriate primers for rapid screening for this rearrangement in other families with LPL deficiency.

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