Frameshift mutation in the survival motor neuron gene in a severe case of SMA type I

Francesco Danilo Tiziano, Cristina Beate Brahe, Giovanni Neri, O Clermont, S Zappata, J Melki

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Recently, a spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) determining gene, termed survival motor neuron (SMN) gene, has been isolated from the 5q13 region and found deleted in most patients. A highly homologous copy of this gene has also been isolated and located in a centromeric position. We have analyzed 158 patients (SMA types I-IV) and found deletions of SMN exon 7 in 96.8%. Mutations other than gross deletions seem to be extremely rare. In one of the undeleted SMA type I patients, a newborn who survived for only 42 days, we detected a maternally inherited 5 bp microdeletion in exon 3, resulting in a premature stop codon. By RT-PCR and long range PCR amplification we were able to show that the deletion belongs to the SMN gene, rather than to the centromeric copy, and that the proposita had no paternal SMN gene. Analysis of the neuronal apoptosis inhibitor protein (NAIP) gene, which maps close to SMN and has been proposed as a SMA modifying gene, suggests the presence of at least one full-length copy. Haplotype analysis of closely linked polymorphic markers suggests that the proposita also lacks the maternally derived copy of the centromeric homologue of SMN supporting the hypothesis that the severity of the phenotype might depend on the reduced number of centromeric genes in addition to the frameshift mutation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1971-1976
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • sma
  • smn


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