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Research Article

Characterization of seven novel mutations of the c-erbA beta gene in unrelated kindreds with generalized thyroid hormone resistance. Evidence for two "hot spot" regions of the ligand binding domain.

R Parrilla, A J Mixson, J A McPherson, J H McClaskey and B D Weintraub

Molecular, Cellular, and Nutritional Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.

Published December 1991

Genetic analysis in our laboratory of families with generalized thyroid hormone resistance (GTHR) has demonstrated tight linkage with a locus, c-erbA beta, encoding a nuclear T3 receptor. Three point mutations and two deletions in this locus have previously been reported in affected individuals in unrelated families as potential molecular bases for this disorder. In the present study, we have used direct sequencing of polymerase chain reaction-amplified exons of the c-erbA beta gene to rapidly identify novel point mutations from seven previously uncharacterized kindreds with GTHR. Six single base substitutions and one single base insertion were identified and found to be clustered in two regions of exons 9 and 10 in the ligand binding domain of the receptor: in the distal ligand-binding subdomain L2 and across the juncture of the taui and dimerization subdomains. Reduction of T3-binding affinity in each of four mutations tested as well as segregation of all mutations to clinically affected individuals strongly supports the hypothesis that these changes are the cause of GTHR in these kindreds. In view of the diversity of clinical phenotypes manifested, the distinct topographic clustering of the mutations provides an invaluable genetic tool for the molecular dissection of thyroid receptor function.

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