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Biochemistry. 1998 Mar 31;37(13):4420-8.

Silent nucleotide substitution in the sterol 27-hydroxylase gene (CYP 27) leads to alternative pre-mRNA splicing by activating a cryptic 5' splice site at the mutant codon in cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis patients.

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Department of Physiological Chemistry and Metabolism, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 1130033, Japan.


A functionally silent nucleotide substitution of the sterol 27-hydroxylase gene (CYP 27), identified in two families with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX), was confirmed to cause alternative pre-mRNA splicing of the gene. Full-length RT-PCR analysis of the CYP 27 gene in a patient from one of the CTX families revealed one major and an additional faint band. Sequence analysis of the cloned RT-PCR product showed three species of cDNA: 3' terminal 13 bp of exon 2 deleted cDNA, exon 2 skipped cDNA, and full-length cDNA with a functionally silent G to T mutation at codon 112 (GGG 112Gly to GGT 112Gly). Only a single base change was identified by genomic DNA sequence analysis of the CYP 27 gene in the patient: T replaced G at the third position of codon 112, 13 bp upstream from the 3' terminus of exon 2. Transfection of constructed minigenes, with or without the mutation, confirmed that this silent mutation resulted in alternative pre-mRNA splicing by activating a cryptic 5' splice site around the mutant codon. The mutation was also identified in two patients from another CTX family, with a compound heterozygous pattern of A for G substitution at codon 372, a mutation reported previously by our group. The results elucidate a novel molecular basis for the CTX and suggest the significance of a silent nucleotide substitution with regard to pre-RNA splicing.

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