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An exon skipping mutation of a type V collagen gene (COL5A1) in Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
  1. A C Nicholls,
  2. J E Oliver,
  3. S McCarron,
  4. J B Harrison,
  5. D S Greenspan,
  6. F M Pope
  1. Dermatology Research Group, Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, UK.


    The Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a heterogeneous group of inherited connective tissue disorders characterised by skin hyperextensibility, joint hypermobility, easy bruising, and cutaneous fragility. Nine discrete clinical subtypes have been classified. We have investigated the molecular defect in a patient with clinical features of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes types I/II and VII. Electron microscopy of skin tissue indicated abnormal collagen fibrillogenesis with longitudinal sections showing a marked disruption of fibril packing giving very irregular outlines to transverse sections. Analysis of the collagens produced by cultured fibroblasts showed that the type V collagen had a population of alpha 1 (V) chains shorter than normal. Peptide mapping suggested a deletion within the triple helical domain. RTPCR amplification of mRNA covering the whole of this domain of COL5A1 showed a deletion of 54 bp. Although six Gly-X-Y triplets were lost, the essential triplet amino acid sequence and C-propeptide structure were maintained allowing mutant protein chains to be incorporated into triple helices. Genomic DNA analysis identified a de novo G+3-->T transversion in a 5' splice site of one COL5A1 allele. This mutation is analogous to mutations causing exon skipping in the major collagen genes, COL1A1, COL1A2, and COL3A1, identified in several cases of osteogenesis imperfecta and EDS type IV. These observations support the hypothesis that type V, although quantitatively a minor collagen, has a critical role in the formation of the fibrillar collagen matrix.

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