The identification of founder mutations in cancer predisposing genes is important to improve risk assessment in geographically defined populations, since it may provide specific targets resulting in cost-effective genetic testing. Here, we report the characterization of the BRCA1 c.190T>C (p.Cys64Arg) mutation, mapped to the RING-finger domain coding region, that we detected in 43 hereditary breast/ovarian cancer (HBOC) families, for the large part originating from the province of Bergamo (Northern Italy). Haplotype analysis was performed in 21 families, and led to the identification of a shared haplotype extending over three BRCA1-associated marker loci (0.4 cM). Using the DMLE+2.2 software program and regional population demographic data, we were able to estimate the age of the mutation to vary between 3,100 and 3,350 years old. Functional characterization of the mutation was carried out at both transcript and protein level. Reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis on lymphoblastoid cells revealed expression of full length mRNA from the mutant allele. A green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fragment reassembly assay showed that the p.Cys64Arg substitution prevents the binding of the BRCA1 protein to the interacting protein BARD1, in a similar way as proven deleterious mutations in the RING-domain. Overall, 55 of 83 (66%) female mutation carriers had a diagnosis of breast and/or ovarian cancer. Our observations indicate that the BRCA1 c.190T>C is a pathogenic founder mutation present in the Italian population. Further analyses will evaluate whether screening for this mutation can be suggested as an effective strategy for the rapid identification of at-risk individuals in the Bergamo area.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)