A possible bichromatid mutation in a male gamete giving rise to a female mosaic for two different mutations in the X-linked gene WAS


Mary Ellen
Conley, MD, University of Tennessee
College of Medicine, St. Jude Children’s
Research Hospital, 332 North
Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.
Tel.: (901) 495-2576;
fax: (901) 495-3977;
e-mail: maryellen.conley@stjude.org


In genetic disorders caused by point mutations or small frameshift mutations, affected members of the same family are expected to have the same mutation in the causative gene. We have recently evaluated a family in which this was not the case. Maternal cousins with Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS; MIM 301000) had two different but contiguous single base pair deletions in WAS. The proband had an A deletion in codon 242 in exon 7 of WAS; his two cousins had a C deletion in codon 241. The mother of the proband was heterozygous for the A deletion allele, but her three sisters, including the mother of the affected cousins, were heterozygous for the C deletion. Both deletions occurred on the haplotype from the unaffected maternal great-grandfather. The maternal grandmother, who was a carrier of WAS, based on a non-random pattern of X chromosome inactivation in T cells, was mosaic for both deletions. These findings are most consistent with the mutations originating in a male gamete with different mutations on the two strands of DNA, a bichromatid mutation.