The presenilin 1 (PS1) gene, located on chromosome 14, is the major gene involved in the autosomal dominant forms of early onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). In order to estimate the frequency of de novo PS1 mutations, we have sequenced the PS1 open reading frame in 13 clinically diagnosed patients with no affected relatives, who had developed AD before the age of 50. In one case with onset at 37 years, we identified a missense mutation resulting in a methionine to lysine substitution at codon 139 of the PS1 gene. This substitution is the fourth identified at the same codon. This study, in agreement with previous reports, suggests that de novo PS1 mutations can occur but at a low frequency.
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