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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Mar;58(3):477-83.

Discordant phenotype in siblings with X-linked agammaglobulinemia.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is a congenital humoral immunodeficiency caused by a defect in a B-cell-specific signaling molecule, Btk. There has been little concordance of phenotype with genotype in this disorder, and defects in Btk cause immunodeficiencies that range from mild impairment to complete inability to produce antibodies. The factors modifying the phenotype of XLA are not understood. The current study is the first description of two male siblings with identical T134 --> C mutations in the translation initiation ATG of Btk who have different clinical phenotypes. The proband lacks immunoglobulins and B cells and has recurrent infections, while the elder, affected brother has normal levels of IgG and IgM and very few infections. Both have undetectable levels of Btk kinase activity in circulating mononuclear cells. Complete sequencing of Btk gene transcripts in both brothers revealed no additional mutations to account for the discordant phenotypes. This description provides unequivocal evidence that the phenotype of XLA is influenced by factors additional to the Btk gene.

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