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Research Article

The molecular basis of hereditary 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 resistant rickets in seven related families.

P J Malloy, Z Hochberg, D Tiosano, J W Pike, M R Hughes and D Feldman

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.

Published December 1990

Hereditary 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] resistant rickets (HVDRR) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by target organ resistance to the action of 1,25(OH)2D3, the active form of the hormone. The defect in target cells is heterogenous and commonly appears to be a mutation in the gene encoding the vitamin D receptor (VDR). We have studied cultured skin fibroblasts and Epstein-Barr virus transformed lymphoblasts of seven family branches of an extended kindred having eight children affected with HVDRR. We have previously shown that cells from three affected children in this group contain an "ochre" nonsense mutation coding for a premature stop codon in exon 7 within the steroid-binding domain of the VDR gene. In the current studies, we found that cells from affected children failed to bind [3H]1,25(OH)2D3 and had undetectable levels of VDR as determined by immunoblots using an anti-VDR monoclonal antibody. Measurement of VDR mRNA by hybridization to a human VDR cDNA probe showed undetectable or decreased abundance of steady-state VDR mRNA. Parents, expected to be obligate heterozygotes, showed approximately half the normal levels of [3H]1,25(OH)2D3 binding, VDR protein, and mRNA. The mutation at nucleotide 970 (counting from the mRNA CAP site) results in the conversion of GTAC to GTAA, which eliminates an Rsa I restriction enzyme site and facilitates identification of the mutation. We found that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of exons 7 and 8 from family members and subsequent Rsa I digestion allows detection of the specific genotype of the individuals. When Rsa I digests of PCR-amplified DNA are subjected to polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, children with HVDRR exhibit a homozygous banding pattern with loss of an Rsa I site. Parents exhibit a heterozygotic DNA pattern with detection of both normal and mutant alleles. In summary, our data show that the genetic abnormality is a point mutation within the steroid-binding domain of the VDR in all seven related families with HVDRR. Analysis of restriction fragment length polymorphism at the 970 locus of PCR-amplified DNA fragments can be used to diagnose this mutation in both affected children and parents carrying the disease.

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