Haplotype analysis of the low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene was performed in Norwegian subjects heterozygous for familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA, using an exon 18 specific probe and the restriction enzyme NcoI, showed that two out of 57 unrelated FH subjects had an abnormal 3.6 kb band. Further analyses revealed that this abnormal band was due to a 9.6 kb deletion that included exons 16 and 17. The 5' deletion breakpoint was after 245 bp of intron 15, and the 3' deletion breakpoint was in exon 18 after nucleotide 3390 of cDNA. Thus, both the membrane-spanning and cytoplasmatic domains of the receptor had been deleted. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method was developed to identify this deletion among other Norwegian FH subjects. As a result of this screening one additional subject was found out of 124 subjects screened. Thus, three out of 181 (1.7%) unrelated Norwegian FH subject possessed this deletion. The deletion was found on the same haplotype in the three unrelated subjects, suggesting a common mutagenic event. The deletion is identical to a deletion (FH-Helsinki) that is very common among Finnish FH subjects. However, it is not yet known whether the mutations evolved separately in the two countries.
The objective was to test the hypothesis that a described association between homozygosity for a 50bp deletion in the SOD1 promoter 1684bp upstream of the SOD1 ATG and an increased age of onset in SALS can be replicated in additional SALS and control sample sets from other populations. Our second objective was to examine whether this deletion attenuates expression of the SOD1 gene. Genomic DNA from more than 1200 SALS cases from Ireland, Scotland, Quebec and the USA was genotyped for the 50bp SOD1 promoter deletion. Reporter gene expression analysis, electrophoretic mobility shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies were utilized to examine the functional effects of the deletion. The genetic association for homozygosity for the promoter deletion with an increased age of symptom onset was confirmed overall in this further study (p=0.032), although it was only statistically significant in the Irish subset, and remained highly significant in the combined set of all cohorts (p=0.001). Functional studies demonstrated that this polymorphism reduces the activity of the SOD1 promoter by approximately 50%. In addition we revealed that the transcription factor SP1 binds within the 50bp deletion region in vitro and in vivo. Our findings suggest the hypothesis that this deletion reduces expression of the SOD1 gene and that levels of the SOD1 protein may modify the phenotype of SALS within selected populations.
Type IV collagenase (gelatinase) is a 70,000 dalton neutral metalloproteinase that specifically cleaves type IV collagen in addition to degrading denatured collagen (gelatin). It is secreted in a latent proenzyme form that is converted proteolytically in the extracellular space to a 62,000 dalton active enzyme. The primary structure, enzymatic properties as well as gene structure, demonstrate that type IV collagenase is closely related with the other well characterized metalloproteinases, interstitial collagenase and stromelysin. However, the structure of type IV collagenase differs from the others in that it is larger and contains three internal repeats that resemble the type II domains of fibronectin. Also, initial characterization of the promoter region of the gene indicates that its regulation differs from the other proteinase genes. Type IV collagenase is presumably required for the normal turnover of basement membranes. Augmented activity is linked with the invasive potential of tumor cells and the enzyme is believed to play a major role in the penetration of basement membranes by metastatic cells. Measurements of enzyme activity and mRNA levels as well as immunostaining of a variety of tumor cells and tissues suggest that assays for the enzyme may have value in the follow-up of malignant growth.
Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS, OMIM 251260) is a rare hereditary disease, characterized by immune deficiency, microcephaly, and an extremely high incidence of lymphoid tissue malignancies. The gene mutated in NBS, NBS1, was recently cloned from its location on chromosome 8q21. The encoded protein, nibrin (p95), together with hMre11 and hRad50, is involved in the double-strand DNA break repair system. We screened two Russian cohorts for the 657del5 NBS1 mutation and found no carriers in 548 controls and two carriers in 68 patients with lymphoid malignancies: one with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and one with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Several relatives of the second patient, who were carriers of the same mutation, had cancer (ALL, breast cancer, GI cancers). These preliminary data suggest that NBS1 mutation carriers can be predisposed to malignant disorders.
Inherited retinal dystrophies represent the most important cause of vision impairment in adolescence, affecting approximately 1 out of 3000 individuals. Mutations of the photoreceptor-specific gene ABCA4 (ABCR) are a common cause of retinal dystrophy. A number of mutations have been repeatedly reported for this gene, notably the 2588G>C mutation which is frequent in both patients and controls. Here we ascertained the frequency of the 2588G>C mutation in a total of 2343 unrelated random control individuals from 11 European countries and 241 control individuals from the US, as well as in 614 patients with STGD both from Europe and the US. We found an overall carrier frequency of 1 out of 54 in Europe, compared with 1 out of 121 in the US, confirming that the 2588G>C ABCA4 mutation is one of the most frequent autosomal recessive mutations in the European population. Carrier frequencies show an increasing gradient in Europe from South-West to North-East. The lowest carrier frequency, 0 out of 199 (0%), was found in Portugal; the highest, 11 out of 197 (5.5%), was found in Sweden. Haplotype analysis in 16 families segregating the 2588G>C mutation showed four intragenic polymorphisms invariably present in all 16 disease chromosomes and sharing of the same allele for several markers flanking the ABCA4 locus in most of the disease chromosomes. These results indicate a single origin of the 2588G>C mutation which, to our best estimate, occurred between 2400 and 3000 years ago.
Thyroid carcinomas of an additional series of 34 children exposed to radioactive fall-out after the Chernobyl reactor accident were analysed for mutations in the H-, K- and N-RAS and the p53 gene. Allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization, single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and direct sequencing did not disclose mutations in codons 12, 13 and 61 of RAS genes nor mutations in exons 5, 7 and 8 of p53. Considering the recently reported high prevalence of RET rearrangements of the PTC3 type in childhood tumours after Chernobyl (Klugbauer et al, 1995, Oncogene 11: 2459-2467), it follows that RET rearrangements are the most relevant molecular aberration in these radiation-induced tumours. RAS or p53 mutations do not play a role in childhood thyroid carcinogenesis after Chernobyl.
The Asian-specific 9-bp deletion between the genes for mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase II and lysine transfer RNA has been used to trace aboriginal human movements out of Southeast Asia and into portions of the South Pacific. Although it has been used to estimate the number of independent lineages that occur in the New World, it has not been studied in native peoples of the Beringian region. Thus, we have used PCR to amplify and compare the lengths of DNA segments surrounding this deletion in native peoples of Beringia and the adjacent regions, as well as natives of the Altai Mountains of Southwestern Siberia. Of the 176 individuals analyzed here, the deletion was found in only 3 of 25 individuals from the Ust-Kan region of the Altai Mountains. We comment on the distribution of this marker and on potential relationships between Beringians and other Native American groups in which this marker has been surveyed. One Chukchi possessed three copies of the 9-bp sequence, which suggests (1) that the number of copies of this sequence in humans may be more variable than had been believed and (2) that a mechanism of replication based on tandem duplication may be a potential explanation for the origin of this length mutation in humans.
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Commercial inactivated parenteral influenza vaccines reduced febrile (> or = 38 degrees C) respiratory illness by 53% (95% CL: 41-63%) during a 3 week outbreak in 1998 when A/Sydney/5/97(H3N2)-like influenza viruses were shown to be the predominant etiological agents and an older antigenic variant, A/Nanchang/933/95, served as the vaccine virus. The calculatory efficacy for preventing virologically diagnosed influenza infections was 57% (95% CL: 40-68%). The study population consisted of 1374 young male military conscripts. Vaccination coverage on a voluntary basis was 67%. Vaccination was ineffective in preventing febrile illness during a second epidemic wave lasting 2 weeks when mainly adenoviruses were shown to have been circulating in the garrison. Out of the 36 nasopharyngeal aspirates positive for influenza A by antigen detection, 18 A/Sydney/5/97-like strains (10 from non-vaccinated and eight from vaccinated subjects) and two A/Nanchang/933/95-like strains (both from non-vaccinated subjects) were isolated in MDCK cell cultures. Intraepidemic variation was detected among the A/Sydney/5/97-like field strains in their HA1 sequences and reactivity in HI tests, but no evidence was obtained that this variation would have been of significance to the virus in breaking through the vaccination-induced immunity.
A point mutation (FV:R506Q) in the human coagulation factor V gene is associated with resistance to activated protein C and life-long increased risk of venous thrombosis. The mutation is common in populations of Caucasian origin but virtually absent among other populations. In this study of 140 healthy Swedish volunteers and 110 homozygotes for the FV:R506Q mutation, we determined the allele frequencies of the FV:R506Q mutation and four other dimorphisms, C/T at nucleotide positions 2298 and 2325, and A/G at nucleotide positions 2379 and 2391. Manifest linkage disequilibrium was found between the FV:R506Q mutation and the four different dimorphisms. The finding of a single FV:R506Q haplotype in all homozygotes constitutes strong evidence of a common ancestor of Swedish individuals with the FV:R506Q mutation.
Active microbial communities of deep crystalline bedrock fracture water were investigated from seven different boreholes in Olkiluoto (Western Finland) using bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA, dsrB, and mcrA gene transcript targeted 454 pyrosequencing. Over a depth range of 296-798?m below ground surface the microbial communities changed according to depth, salinity gradient, and sulphate and methane concentrations. The highest bacterial diversity was observed in the sulphate-methane mixing zone (SMMZ) at 250-350?m depth, whereas archaeal diversity was highest in the lowest boundaries of the SMMZ. Sulphide-oxidizing e-proteobacteria (Sulfurimonas sp.) dominated in the SMMZ and ?-proteobacteria (Pseudomonas spp.) below the SMMZ. The active archaeal communities consisted mostly of ANME-2D and Thermoplasmatales groups, although Methermicoccaceae, Methanobacteriaceae, and Thermoplasmatales (SAGMEG, TMG) were more common at 415-559?m depth. Typical indicator microorganisms for sulphate-methane transition zones in marine sediments, such as ANME-1 archaea, a-, ß- and d-proteobacteria, JS1, Actinomycetes, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, and MBGB Crenarchaeota were detected at specific depths. DsrB genes were most numerous and most actively transcribed in the SMMZ while the mcrA gene concentration was highest in the deep methane rich groundwater. Our results demonstrate that active and highly diverse but sparse and stratified microbial communities inhabit the Fennoscandian deep bedrock ecosystems.