Identification of ABCC6 pseudogenes on human chromosome 16p: implications for mutation detection in pseudoxanthoma elasticum
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Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), a heritable disorder affecting the skin, eyes, and the cardiovascular system, has recently been linked to mutations in the ABCC6 gene on chromosome 16p13.1. The original mutation detection strategy employed by us consisted of the amplification of each exon of the ABCC6 gene with primer pairs placed on the flanking introns, followed by heteroduplex scanning and direct nucleotide sequencing. However, this approach suggested the presence of multiple copies of the 5'-region of the gene when total genomic DNA was used as a template. In this study, we have identified two pseudogenes containing sequences highly homologous to the 5'-end of ABCC6. First, by the use of allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), two bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones containing a putative pseudogene of ABCC6, designated as ABCC6-ψ1, were isolated from the human BAC library. Sequence analysis of ABCC6-ψ1 revealed it to be a truncated copy of ABCC6, which contains the upstream region and exon 1 through intron 9 of the gene. Secondly, a homology search of a high-throughput sequence database revealed the presence of another truncated copy of ABCC6, which was designated as ABCC6-ψ2, and which was shown to harbor upstream sequences and a segment spanning exon 1 through intron 4 of ABCC6. In addition to several nucleotide differences in the flanking introns and the upstream region, both pseudogenes contain several nucleotide changes in the exonic sequences, including stop codon mutations, which complicate mutation analysis in patients with PXE. Nucleotide differences in flanking introns between these two pseudogenes and ABCC6 allowed us to design allele-specific primers that eliminated the amplification of both pseudogene sequences by PCR and provided reliable amplification of ABCC6-specific sequences only. The use of allele-specific PCR has revealed, thus far, two novel 5'-end PXE mutations, 179del9 and T364R in exons 2 and 9, respectively, and several polymorphisms within the upstream region and exons 1–9 of ABCC6. These strategies facilitate comprehensive analysis of ABCC6 for mutations in PXE.
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