Application of multiplex ARMS and SSCP/HD analysis in molecular diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in Indian patients.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. The most severe, DeltaF508, mutation accounts for nearly 70% of CF cases worldwide. Besides DeltaF508, there are other point mutations, namely G542X, G551D, R553X, N1303K, and 621+1(G–>T), which are common among Caucasians. Additionally, a polyT polymorphism in intron 8 is also involved in the pathogenesis of CF. However, neither the prevalence nor the types of mutations causing CF in India are known. In this study, we aimed at estimating the frequency of the above common mutations and polymorphism in clinically suspected CF cases. We also carried out partial analysis of the CFTR gene, limited to exons 10 and 11, to identify other variations in these exons.

The multiplex amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) test was applied for rapid simultaneous analysis of six most common CF mutations, in 100 normal and 39 elevated sweat chloride cases. The scanning of exons 10 and 11 was carried out by single-stranded conformation polymorphism/heteroduplex (SSCP/HD) analysis, followed by DNA sequencing in 50 normal and 37 elevated sweat chloride cases. A single ARMS-polymerase chain reaction assay was used to distinguish the 5T, 7T, and 9T alleles in 100 normal and 33 elevated sweat chloride cases.

The multiplex ARMS analysis identified the DeltaF508 mutation at an allele frequency of 24% in Indian CF cases. However, the other predominant CF mutations were found to be absent. The 7T polyT variant was observed to be the most common allele, followed by the 9T, and 5T, which was the lowest. The DeltaF508 mutation was observed in all instances with the 9T variant. The SSCP/HD and DNA sequencing additionally revealed a known polymorphism (M470V, exon 10) and a known mutation [1525-1(G–>A), intron 9]. The 1525-1(G–>A) mutation, observed in a single 4-year-old male, is predicted to code for a class II defective CFTR protein.

The findings of this study suggest a difference in relative frequencies and spectrum of CFTR mutations in Indian CF cases. A larger screening study of the entire CFTR gene in clinically well defined CF cases is required to delineate common mutations in the CFTR gene and enable molecular diagnosis of CF in India.

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