PCR Optimisation and Sequencing of L1CAM for the Verification of a Mutation in a Family with L1 Syndrome

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för klinisk och experimentell medicin


L1 syndrome is an X-linked recessive disorder, characterised by congenital hydrocephalus, adducted thumbs, spastic paraplegia, agenesis of the corpus callosum and mental retardation. The disease is caused by mutations in the L1CAM gene, encoding a protein predominantly expressed in the nervous system. This protein has been implicated in a variety of processes including neuronal migration, neurite outgrowth and fasciculation, myelination, and long-term memory formation.

L1 syndrome was suspected at genetic counselling of a family with a boy suffering from congenital hydrocephalus and mental retardation. Complete sequencing of L1CAM, performed by an external laboratory, revealed a novel mutation in the family, including a boy, affected with L1 syndrome, his sister, his mother and his maternal grandmother.

To verify this mutation and to be able to detect mutations in the L1CAM gene locally in the future, a method for mutational analysis of this gene was set up using PCR optimisation and cycle sequencing.

Sequencing of L1CAM was then performed on DNA samples from the four family members and the mutation was verified. A point mutation (c.3458-1G>C) in the 5’ splice site of exon 26 was detected in all of them. This new, not previously described, mutation is supposed to cause a deletion of the 26th exon and a frameshift in the part of the protein encoded by exons 27 and 28. This means that almost the entire cytoplasmic domain of the protein would have a loss of function, explaining the symptoms affecting the boy.

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