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Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1994 Feb;70(2):171-5.

Homozygosity for a missense mutation (G20R) associated with neonatal onset adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).

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Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York 10016.


Mutations at the adenosine deaminase (ADA) locus can result in varying degrees of immunodeficiency, including rapidly fulminant severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) as well as a slowly progressive immunodeficiency not diagnosed until later in childhood. Genetic heterogeneity is a factor in the clinical heterogeneity. We have now identified, by direct sequencing of PCR-amplified genomic DNA, a G to A transition at a CpG dinucleotide predicting a glycine to arginine substitution at codon 20 (G20R). The mutation, in homozygosity, was associated with neonatal-onset rapidly fatal SCID. Consistent with homozygosity, the child was derived from a small isolated inbred community in Newfoundland. The mutation abolishes a site for the restriction enzyme BamHI and can be simply detected by agarose gel electrophoresis following amplification of exon 2 from genomic DNA and digestion with BamHI. The majority of ADA missense mutations can now be detected by similar amplification and enzyme digestion. We demonstrated that the G20R mutation is deleterious since introduction of the mutation into a normal ADA minigene abolished enzyme activity, as determined by transient expression in monkey kidney (Cos) cells. The amino acid substitution occurs in an area of the molecule conserved from Escherichia coli to man and that, as shown by crystallographic analysis, is involved in the binding of Zn2+ at the catalytic site. Although the mutation is in a CpG dinucleotide, known "hotspots" for G to A transitions, it was not found in a series of 43 additional ADA- chromosomes. Identification of mutations in additional ADA- patients with immunodeficiency of varying severity should further define the role that genotype plays in determining the extent of immunologic dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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