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

Markedly reduced activity of mutant calcium-sensing receptor with an inserted Alu element from a kindred with familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia and neonatal severe hyperparathyroidism.

Missense mutations have been identified in the coding region of the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) gene and cause human autosomal dominant hypo- and hypercalcemic disorders. The functional effects of several of these mutations have been characterized in either Xenopus laevis oocytes or in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells. All of the mutations that have been examined to date, however, cause single putative amino acid substitutions. In this report, we studied a mutant CASR with an Alu-repetitive element inserted at codon 876, which was identified in affected members of families with the hypercalcemic disorders, familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia (FHH) and neonatal severe hyperparathyroidism (NSHPT), to understand how this insertion affects CASR function. After cloning of the Alu-repetitive element into the wild-type CASR cDNA, we transiently expressed the mutant receptor in HEK293 cells. Expression of mutant and wild-type receptors was assessed by Western analysis, and the effects of the mutation on extracellular calcium (Ca2+(o)) and gadolinium (Gd3+(o)) elicited increases in the cytosolic calcium concentration (Ca2+(i)) were examined in fura-2-loaded cells using dual wavelength fluorimetry. The insertion resulted in truncated receptor species that had molecular masses some 30 kD less than that of the wild-type CASR and exhibited no Ca2+(i) responses to either Ca2+(o) or Gd3+(o). A similar result was observed with a mutated CASR truncated at residue 876. However, the Alu mutant receptor had no impact on the function of the coexpressed wild-type receptor. Interestingly, the Alu mutant receptor demonstrated decreased cell surface expression relative to the wild-type receptor, whereas the CASR (A877stop) mutant exhibited increased cell surface expression. Thus, like the missense mutations that have been characterized to date in families with FHH, the Alu insertion in this family is a loss-of-function mutation that produces hypercalcemia by reducing the number of normally functional CASRs on the surface of parathyroid and kidney cells. In vitro transcription of exon 7 of the CASR containing the Alu sequence yielded the full-length mutant product and an additional shorter product that was truncated due to stalling of the polymerase at the poly(T) tract. In vitro translation of the mutant transcript yielded three truncated protein products representing termination in all three reading frames at stop codons within the Alu insertion. Thus sequences within the Alu contribute to slippage or frameshift mutagenesis during transcription and/or translation.[1]


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