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Gene. 2012 Sep 10;506(1):25-30. Epub 2012 Jul 10.

GM2 gangliosidoses in Spain: analysis of the HEXA and HEXB genes in 34 Tay-Sachs and 14 Sandhoff patients.

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Errors Congènits del Metabolisme-IBC, Serv. Bioquímica i Genètica Molecular, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain.


The GM2 gangliosidoses are autosomal recessive lysosomal storage diseases caused by a deficiency of the β-hexosaminidase A enzyme. This enzyme is composed of two polypeptide chains designated the α- and β- subunits and it interacts with the GM2 activator protein. The HEXA and HEXB genes encode the α-subunit and the β-subunit, respectively. Mutations in these genes are causative of Tay-Sachs disease (HEXA) and Sandhoff disease (HEXB). We analyzed the complete HEXA gene in 34 Spanish patients with Tay-Sachs disease and the HEXB gene in 14 Spanish patients with Sandhoff disease. We identified 27 different mutations, 14 of which were novel, in the HEXA gene and 14 different mutations, 8 of which unreported until now, in the HEXB gene, and we attempted to correlate these mutations with the clinical presentation of the patients. We found a high frequency of c.459+5G>A (IVS4+5G>A) mutation in HEXA affected patients, 22 of 68 alleles, which represent the 32.4%. This is the highest percentage found of this mutation in a population. All patients homozygous for mutation c.459+5G>A presented with the infantile form of the disease and, as previously reported, patients carrying mutation p.R178H in at least one of the alleles presented with a milder form. In HEXB affected patients, the novel deletion c.171delG accounts for 21.4% of the mutant alleles (6/28). All patients with this deletion showed the infantile form of the disease. The Spanish GM2 gangliosidoses affected patients show a great mutational heterogeneity as seen in other inherited lisosomal diseases in this country.

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