Diagnosis of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease: Detection of proteolipid protein gene copy number by real-time PCR

Stefano Regis, Serena Grossi, Susanna Lualdi, Roberta Biancheri, Mirella Filocamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Duplication of the proteolipid protein gene (PLP1) is the most frequent cause of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a severe X-linked myelination disorder. We developed an assay for the detection of the PLP1 gene dosage by real-time quantitative PCR using the ABI Prism 7700 Sequence Detection System and the TaqMan chemistry. Copy number of the PLP1 gene was determined by the standard curve method using GAPDH as the reference gene. The assay was tested both on 50 normal controls and on 20 subjects whose PLP1 gene copy number was previously determined by quantitative fluorescent multiplex PCR. The procedure confirmed the expected results both on the male and female normal controls as well as on the 20 subjects previously tested. Ratios corresponding to the presence of one, two or three PLP1 gene copies, distributed in three non-overlapping ranges, were obtained by real-time PCR analysis. Subsequently, 29 DNA samples of putative PMD patients and possible female carriers, with unknown PLP1 gene dosage, were analysed. Five affected males carrying the PLP1 gene duplication and four female heterozygotes carrying three PLP1 gene copies were identified among them. The method is suitable for the identification of affected male patients and female carriers. Specific ranges are widely spaced, ensuring a correct assignment of the PLP1 gene copy number.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Duplication
  • Gene dosage
  • PLP1 gene
  • PMD
  • Real-time PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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