Detection of alterations in all three exons of the peripherin/RDS gene in Swedish patients with retinitis pigmentosa using an efficient DGGE system.
AIMS: To develop a sensitive mutation screening procedure suitable for routine analysis of the peripherin/RDS gene, and to estimate the nature and prevalence of peripherin/RDS gene mutations in Swedish patients with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. METHODS: To make the method as sensitive as possible, as many as eight segments, covering the three exons and the flanking intron sequences of the peripherin/RDS gene, were analysed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. A group of 38 Swedish patients with a clinical diagnosis of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa were screened for mutations in the peripherin/RDS gene. RESULTS: Three point mutations were found in four of the patients and five polymorphisms were defined. One mutation in exon 1, R172W, has been described previously in other ethnic groups as causing a macular degeneration. Another mutation, in exon 2 and causing the substitution F211L, was found in two unrelated patients. A third mutation, resulting in the likely non-pathogenic substitution S289L, as well as a polymorphism not reported previously, was found in exon 3. CONCLUSIONS: The screening procedure described allows detection of mutations in all of the exons, including the polymorphic 5' and 3' ends of the gene, and is therefore suitable for routine screening of peripherin/RDS gene defects in patients with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. The frequency of mutations found in the Swedish patient group indicates that defects in the peripherin/RDS gene might be a more common cause of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa than was thought previously.