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Neurogenetics. 2012 Nov;13(4):341-5. doi: 10.1007/s10048-012-0342-9. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Somatic mosaicism of PCDH19 mutation in a family with low-penetrance EFMR.

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Unit of Molecular Medicine for Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative diseases, Department of Neurosciences, Bambino Gesu' Children's Hospital, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


The occurrence of epilepsy with mental retardation limited to females (EFMR; MIM 300088) has been recently associated to mutations in the PCDH19 gene, located on chromosome X and encoding for protocadherin 19. EFMR shows a rare X-linked inheritance wherein affected females may be segregating a mutation through unaffected transmitting males (Fabisiak and Erickson Clin Genet 38(5):353-358, 1990; Juberg and Hellman J Pediatr 79:726-732, 1971; Ryan et al. Nat Genet 17(1):92-95, 1997). The description of a pedigree segregating PCDH19 mutations from unaffected mothers to patients (Depienne et al. Hum Mutat 32:E1959-1975, 2011; Dibbens et al. Neurology 76:1514-1519, 2011) complicates disease inheritance and genetic counseling. In the present study, we describe a PCDH19 mutation segregating from an asymptomatic mother to an EFMR patient. In order to correlate the healthy phenotype with the genotype of the transmitting mother, we quantified in a few tissues the level of the mutant allele by real-time PCR, disclosing a somatic mosaicism. This finding has a great impact on genetic counseling.

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