Type X collagen is a short-chain homotrimeric collagen expressed in the hypertrophic zone of calcifying cartilage. The clustering of mutations in the carboxyl-terminal NC1 domain in Schmid metaphyseal chondrodysplasia (SMCD) suggested a critical role for this type X collagen domain, but since no direct analysis of cartilage has been conducted in SMCD patients, the mechanisms of type X collagen dysfunction remain controversial. To resolve this problem, we obtained SMCD growth plate cartilage, determined the type X collagen mutation, and analyzed the expression of mutant and normal type X collagen mRNA and protein. The mutation was a single nucleotide substitution that changed the Tyr632 codon (TAC) to a stop codon (TAA). However, analysis of the expression of the normal and mutant allele transcripts in growth plate cartilage by reverse transcription PCR, restriction enzyme mapping, and a single nucleotide primer extension assay, demonstrated that only normal mRNA was present. The lack of mutant mRNA is most likely the result of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, a common fate for transcripts carrying premature termination mutations. Furthermore, no mutant protein was detected by immunoblotting cartilage extracts. Our data indicates that a functionally null allele leading to type X collagen haploinsufficiency is the molecular basis of SMCD in this patient.
D Chan, Y M Weng, H K Graham, D O Sillence, J F Bateman
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.