Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) is a late-onset autosomal dominant muscular dystrophy characterized by progressive ptosis, swallowing difficulties, and proximal limb weakness. Recently, the genetic basis of this disease has been characterized by mutations in the PABP2 gene that involve short expansions of the trinucleotide repeat GCG.
To independently confirm the presence and study the meiotic stability of the GCG expansion mutations in a distinct ethnic population with OPMD.
Hospital and university research laboratories in Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects and Methods
Three unrelated families of Hispanic American descent were identified in whom OPMD was transmitted in an autosomal dominant pattern. All of these families can trace affected ancestors to the southwestern United States or to the bordering states of Mexico. In these families, 14 persons with OPMD were identified and studied.
Our results confirm that in these families, expansion mutations characterized by a gain of 3 GCG repeats in the wild-type allele result in an abnormal nucleotide length of 9 GCG repeats in the PABP2 gene. In these families, these mutations are associated with the OPMD phenotype. The identical repeat mutation ([GCG]9) is found in all affected members of these unrelated families and shows relative meiotic stability.
These results support and extend our study of haplotype analysis and suggest that a founder effect may have occurred for OPMD in this Hispanic American population.