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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Carriership of a defective tenascin-X gene in steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency patients: TNXB -TNXA hybrids in apparent large-scale gene conversions.

Steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency is caused by a defect in the CYP21A2 gene. CYP21A2, the adjacent complement C4 gene and parts of the flanking genes RP1 and TNXB constitute a tandemly duplicated arrangement in the central (class III) region of the major histocompatibility complex. The typical number of repeats of the CYP21/C4 region is two, with one repeat carrying CYP21A2 and the other carrying the highly homologous pseudogene CYP21A1P. By comparison with this standard, three categories of CYP21A2 defects have traditionally been distinguished: CYP21A2 deletions, large-scale gene conversions of CYP21A2 into a structure similar to CYP21A1P, and smaller mutations in CYP21A2 (also derived from CYP21A1P, by means of small-scale gene conversions). The genetic mechanisms suggested by these designations have originally been inferred from the layout of the haplotypes involved and were later confirmed by observation of deletions and small mutations, but not large-scale conversions, as de novo events. Apparent large-scale conversions account for the defect in 9 out of 77 chromosomes in our patient group. We here demonstrate that 4 out of these 9 'conversions' extend into the flanking TNXB gene, which encodes tenascin-X. This implies that approximately 1 in every 10 steroid 21-hydroxylase deficiency patients is a carrier of tenascin-X deficiency, which is associated with a recessive form of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Currently available data on the structure of 'deletion' and 'large-scale conversion' chromosomes strongly suggests that both are the result of the same mechanism, namely unequal meiotic crossover. Since it is unlikely that the term 'large-scale gene conversion' describes a mechanism that actually occurs between the CYP21A2 and CYP21A1P genes, we propose the discontinuation of that terminology.[1]


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