The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive neurodegenerative diseases comprising Batten and other related diseases plus numerous variants. They are characterized by progressive neuronal cell death. The CLN6 gene was recently identified, mutations in which cause one of the variant late infantile forms of NCL (vLINCL). We describe four novel mutations in the CLN6 gene. This brings the total number of CLN6 mutations known to 11 in 38 families. This suggests that the CLN6 gene may be highly mutable. An American patient of Irish/French/ Native American origin was heterozygous for a 4-bp insertion (c.267_268insAACG) in exon 3. The other allele had a point mutation (c.898T > C) in exon 7 resulting in a W300R amino acid change. Two Trinidadian siblings of Indian origin were homozygous for a mutation at the 5′ donor splice site of exon 4 (IVS4+1G > T), affecting the first base of the invariant GTat the beginning of intron 4. The fourth novel mutation, a double deletion of 4 bp and 1 bp in exon 7 (c.829_832de1GTCG;c.837delG), was identified in a Portuguese patient heterozygous for the I154del Portuguese CLN6 mutation. Four of the 11 mutations identified are in exon 4. Three Portuguese patients with clinical profiles similar to CLN6 patients without defects in CLN6 or other known NCL genes are described. We conclude the following: 1) the CLN6 gene may be a highly mutable gene; 2) exon 4 must code for a segment of the protein crucial for function; 3) vLINCL disease in Portugal is genetically heterogeneous; 4) the I154del accounts for 81.25% of affected CLN6 Portuguese alleles; and 5) three vLINCL Portuguese patients may have defects in a new NCL gene.
- Batten disease
- Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
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