Variable number tandem repeat in exon/intron border of the cystathionine beta-synthase gene: A single nucleotide substitution in the second repeat prevents multiple alternate splicing

Feng Yang, Naomi Q. Hanson, Kerry Schwichtenberg, Michael Y. Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

We studied a large number of individuals with respect to the 31-bp variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) in the cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) gene. The number of repeats varies from 15-20, with 17 repeats the most common allele. Significantly, we found that the first repeat of the 31-bp VNTR originates 12 bp from the 5' end of exon 13 and extends 19 bp into intron 13. Since this VNTR spans across the exon-intron border, it can theoretically create multiple alternate splice sites. However, a substitution of g → a at the exon-intron border is uniquely present in the second repeat, preventing alternate splicing at that site. While the g → a substitution is absent from all subsequent 31-bp repeats, alternate splicing probably does not occur at those distal sites due to the lack of exon 13 sequences not contained in the repeats but needed for the binding of spliceosomes. Investigation of five individuals with normal plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and five individuals with mild hyperhomocysteinemia shows that all have the g → a substitution in the second repeat. Nonetheless, we speculate that the absence of this substitution may be found in rare individuals with normal CBS cDNA and unexplained hyperhomocysteinemia. Gene scanning and direct nucleotide sequencing were used to characterize the VNTR in 398 patients with premature coronary artery disease and 137 controls. Five alleles and 10 genotypes were found; 17/17 is the most prevalent genotype in our study population. The two other prevalent genotypes, 16/17 and 17/18, are associated with significantly decreased tHcy levels as compared to the 17/17 genotype, suggesting that the 16 and 18 repeats haplotype may be in linkage disequilibrium with regulatory elements which upregulate CBS gene transcription. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Volume95
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 11 2000

Keywords

  • Cystathionine beta-synthase
  • Direct nucleotide sequencing
  • Gene scanning
  • Homocysteine
  • MRNA splice
  • Variable number tandem repeat

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