Intron 4 Mutation in APC Gene Results in Splice Defect and Attenuated FAP Phenotype
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The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) protein is a tumor suppressor frequently involved in the development of inherited and sporadic colon cancers. Somatic mutations of the APC gene are found in 80% of all colon cancers. Inherited mutations result in familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) as well as an attenuated form of this syndrome. FAP is characterized by the early age onset of hundreds to thousands of colonic adenomatous polyps and a virtual certainty of colon cancer unless the colon is removed. The attenuated form of FAP (AFAP) is characterized by fewer adenomas, later onset of adenomas and cancer, and a decreased lifetime cancer risk. We report a 37-year-old man with a history of more than 50 colonic adenomatous polyps, located predominately in the right colon. An insertion of a single thymidine between the second and third base pairs of intron 4 of the APC gene was identified (c.531+2_531+3insT). Monoallelic hybrid cells harboring a single copy of human chromosome 5 were generated from patient lymphoblasts. Sequencing of the APC cDNA product from these cells revealed a single RNA transcript with aberrant splicing in the mutant mRNA whereby exon 4 is deleted. The translational reading frame is shifted after codon 140 and a translational stop is generated predicting a truncated protein of 147 amino acids, thus indicating that the intronic mutation is disease causing. The lack of a secondary transcript from the mutant allele suggests that incomplete exon skipping is not the molecular mechanism behind the attenuated phenotype.
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