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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Feb;58(2):317-24.

Novel muscle chloride channel mutations and their effects on heterozygous carriers.

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Department of Applied Physiology, University of Ulm, Germany.


Mutations within CLCN1, the gene encoding the major skeletal muscle chloride channel, cause either dominant Thomsen disease or recessive Becker-type myotonia, which are sometimes difficult to discriminate, because of reduced penetrance or lower clinical expressivity in females. We screened DNA of six unrelated Becker patients and found four novel CLCN1 mutations (Gln-74-Stop, Tyr-150-Cys, Tyr-261-Cys, and Ala-415-Val) and a previously reported 14-bp deletion. Five patients were homozygous for the changes (Gln-74-Stop, Ala-415-Val, and 14-bp deletion), four of them due to parental consanguinity. The sixth patient revealed compound heterozygosity for Tyr-150-Cys and Tyr-261-Cys. Heterozygous carriers of the Becker mutations did not display any clinical symptoms of myotonia. However, all heterozygous males, but none of the heterozygous females, exhibited myotonic discharges in the electromyogram suggesting (i) a gene dosage effect of the mutations on the chloride conductance and (ii) male predominance of subclinical myotonia. Furthermore, we report a novel Gly-200-Arg mutation resulting in a dominant phenotype in a male and a partially dominant phenotype in his mother. We discuss potential causes of the gender preference and the molecular mechanisms that may determine the mode of inheritance.

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