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

Instability of the CGG repeat and expression of the FMR1 protein in a male fragile X patient with a lung tumor.

The molecular mechanism of the fragile X syndrome is based on the expansion of an CGG repeat in the 5' UTR of the FMR1 gene in the majority of fragile X patients. This repeat displays instability both between individuals and within an individual. We studied the instability of the CGG repeat and the expression of the FMR1 protein (FMRP) in several different tissues derived from a male fragile X patient. Using Southern blot analysis, only a full mutation is detected in 9 of the 11 tissues tested. The lung tumor contains a methylated premutation of 160 repeats, whereas in the testis, besides the full mutation, a premutation of 60 CGG repeats is detected. Immunohistochemistry of the testis revealed expression of FMR1 in the spermatogonia only, confirming the previous finding that, in the sperm cells of fragile X patients with a full mutation in their blood cells, only a premutation is present. Immunohistochemistry of brain and lung tissue revealed that 1% of the cells are expressing the FMRP. PCR analysis demonstrated the presence of a premutation of 160 repeats in these FMR1-expressing cells. This indicates that the tumor was derived from a lung cell containing a premutation. Remarkably, despite the methylation of the EagI and BssHII sites, FMRP expression is detected in the tumor. Methylation of both restriction sites has thus far resulted in a 100% correlation with the lack of FMR1 expression, but the results found in the tumor suggest that the CpGs in these restriction sites are not essential for regulation of FMR1 expression. This indicates a need for a more accurate study of the exact promoter of FMR1.[1]


  1. Instability of the CGG repeat and expression of the FMR1 protein in a male fragile X patient with a lung tumor. de Graaff, E., Willemsen, R., Zhong, N., de Die-Smulders, C.E., Brown, W.T., Freling, G., Oostra, B. Am. J. Hum. Genet. (1995) [Pubmed]
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