Background Nerve growth factor β (NGFβ) and tyrosine kinase receptor type A (TRKA) are a well studied neurotrophin/receptor duo involved in neuronal survival and differentiation. The only previously reported hereditary sensory neuropathy caused by an NGF mutation, c.661C>T (HSAN5), and the pathology caused by biallelic mutations in the TRKA gene (NTRK1) (HSAN4), share only some clinical features. A consanguineous Arab family, where five of the six children were completely unable to perceive pain, were mentally retarded, did not sweat, could not discriminate temperature, and had a chronic immunodeficiency, is reported here. The condition is linked to a new homozygous mutation in the NGF gene, c.[680C>A]+[681_682delGG].
Methods Genetic linkage and standard sequencing techniques were used to identify the causative gene. Using wild-type or mutant over-expression constructs transfected into PC12 and COS-7 cells, the cellular and molecular consequences of the mutations were investigated.
Results The mutant gene produced a precursor protein V232fs that was unable to differentiate PC12 cells. V232fs was not secreted from cells as mature NGFβ.
Conclusions Both the clinical and cellular data suggest that the c.[680C>A]+[681_682delGG] NGF mutation is a functional null. The HSAN5 phenotype is extended to encompass HSAN4-like characteristics. It is concluded that the HSAN4 and HSAN5 phenotypes are parts of a phenotypic spectrum caused by changes in the NGF/TRKA signalling pathway.
- Clinical genetics
- peripheral nerve disease
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OPC and GKT contributed equally to this work.
Funding Action Medical Research, UK; Wellcome Trust; Pfizer, Sandwich, UK.
Competing interests None
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the relevant authorities in the United Arab Emirates and the UK (Cambridge Research Ethics Committee 05/Q0108/402).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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