The locus for ocular albinism type 1 (OA1) has been assigned to the Xp22.3 region through both linkage and deletion mapping. The disorder was found to be genetically homogeneous, as all informative families showed convincing linkage data with markers on Xp22.3 and all identified deletions involved the same region. The OA1 gene was recently cloned and several intragenic deletions were identified in affected individuals. We have characterized the genomic structure of the OA1 gene, which spans approximately 40 kb of genomic DNA and contains nine exons. A highly polymorphic dinucleotide repeat was identified in intron 1, that provides a useful tool for molecular diagnosis. Knowledge of the intron/exon boundaries allowed us to search for point mutations in patients' genomic DNA. All nine exons of the OA1 gene, as well as the 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions, were scanned for point mutations in PCR-amplified DNA from 60 OA1 patients. The mutations identified include: two frameshifts and a splice site mutation leading to truncated OA1 proteins; a deletion of a threonine codon at position 290; and four missense mutations, two of which involve amino acids located within putative transmembrane domains. Two of the mutations each occur in three apparently unrelated families, consistent with previous observations of a founder effect in OA1. Surprisingly, mutations were detected in only one-third of the patients (21 of 60) ascertained. We postulate that mutations not yet identified in either regulatory elements of the OA1 gene, or in other gene(s) located within the same chromosomal region, may be a common cause of X-linked ocular albinism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
- Applied Mathematics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Molecular Biology