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

Mutations in the VHL gene in sporadic apparently congenital polycythemia.

The congenital polycythemic disorders with elevated erythropoietin (Epo) have been until recently an enigma, and abnormality in the hypoxia-sensing pathway has been hypothesized as a possible mechanism. The tumor suppressor von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) participates in the hypoxia-sensing pathway, as it binds to the proline-hydroxylated form of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF-1alpha) and mediates its ubiquitination and proteosomal degradation. The loss of VHL function may result in the accumulation of HIF-1alpha and overproduction of HIF-1 downstream target genes including Epo. VHL syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder predisposing to the development of tumors, due to inherited mutations in the VHL gene. Some rare patients with VHL syndrome have polycythemia, which has been attributed to Epo production by a tumor. It was recently found that homozygosity for the VHL Arg200Trp mutation is the cause of Chuvash polycythemia, an autosomal recessive polycythemic disorder characterized by elevated serum Epo and hypersensitivity of erythroid cells to Epo. We evaluated the role of VHL in 8 children with a history of polycythemia and an elevated serum Epo level and found 3 different germline VHL mutations in 4 of them. One child was homozygous for the Arg200Trp VHL mutation, and another compound heterozygous for the Arg200Trp and the Val130Leu mutations. Two children (siblings) were heterozygous for an Asp126Tyr mutation, one of them fulfilling some criteria of VHL syndrome. We propose that mutations of the VHL gene represent an important cause of pediatric sporadic polycythemias with an inappropriately high serum Epo concentration.[1]


  1. Mutations in the VHL gene in sporadic apparently congenital polycythemia. Pastore, Y.D., Jelinek, J., Ang, S., Guan, Y., Liu, E., Jedlickova, K., Krishnamurti, L., Prchal, J.T. Blood (2003) [Pubmed]
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