Transcriptional and translational effects of intronic CAPN3 gene mutations

Anna Chiara Nascimbeni, Marina Fanin, Elisabetta Tasca, Corrado Angelini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Variants of unknown significance in the CAPN3 gene constitute a significant challenge for genetic counselling. Despite the frequency of intronic nucleotide changes in this gene (15-25% of all mutations), so far their pathogenicity has only been inferred by in-silico analysis, and occasionally, proven by RNA analysis. In this study, 5 different intronic variants (one novel) that bioinformatic tools predicted would affect RNA splicing, underwent comprehensive studies which were designed to prove they are disease-causing. Muscle mRNA from 15 calpainopathy patients was analyzed by RT-PCR and splicing-specific-PCR tests. We established the previously unrecognized pathogenicity of these mutations, which caused aberrant splicing, most frequently by the activation of cryptic splicing sites or, occasionally, by exon skipping. The absence or severe reduction of protein demonstrated their deleterious effect at translational level. We concluded that bioinformatic tools are valuable to suggest the potential effects of intronic variants; however, the experimental demonstration of the pathogenicity is not always easy to do even when using RNA analysis (low abundance, degradation mechanisms), and it might not be successful unless splicing-specific-PCR tests are used. A comprehensive approach is therefore recommended to identify and describe unclassified variants in order to offer essential data for basic and clinical geneticists.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Mutation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Calpainopathy
  • CAPN3
  • Intronic variants
  • LGMD2A
  • Pathogenetic mutations
  • Splicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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