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Research Article

Schindler disease: the molecular lesion in the alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase gene that causes an infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy.

A M Wang, D Schindler and R Desnick

Division of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York 10029.

Published November 1990

Schindler disease is a recently recognized infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy resulting from the deficient activity of the lysosomal hydrolase, alpha-N-acetylgalctosaminidase (alpha-GalNAc). The recent isolation and expression of the full-length cDNA encoding alpha-GalNAc facilitated the identification of the molecular lesions in the affected brothers from family D, the first cases described with this autosomal recessive disease. Southern and Northern hybridization analyses of DNA and RNA from the affected homozygotes revealed a grossly normal alpha-GalNAc gene structure and normal transcript sizes and amounts. Therefore, the alpha-GalNAc transcript from an affected homozygote was reverse-transcribed, amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and sequenced. A single G to A transition at nucleotide 973 was detected in multiple subclones containing the PCR products. This point mutation resulted in a glutamic acid to lysine substitution in residue 325 (E325K) of the alpha-GalNAc polypeptide. The base substitution was confirmed by dot blot hybridization analyses of PCR-amplified genomic DNA from family members with allele-specific oligonucleotides. Furthermore, transient expression of an alpha-GalNAc construct containing the E325K mutation resulted in the expression of an immunoreactive polypeptide which had no detectable alpha-GalNAc activity.

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