WASP gene mutations in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome and X-linked thrombocytopenia.
The WASP gene has been recently cloned from Xp11.23 and shown to be mutated in three patients with the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS). We have developed a screening protocol for identifying WASP gene alterations in genomic DNA and have identified a spectrum of novel mutations in 12 additional unrelated families. These missense, nonsense and frameshift mutations involve eight of the 12 exons of the gene. Two mutations creating premature termination codons were associated with lack of detectable mRNA on Northern blots. Four amino acid substitutions, Leu27Phe, Thr48Ile, Val75Met and Arg477Lys, were found in patients with congenital thrombocytopenia and no clinically evident immune defect indicating that the WASP gene is the site for mutations in X-linked thrombocytopenia as well as in WAS. A T-cell line from a WAS patient contained two independent DNA alterations, a constitutional frameshift mutation, also present in peripheral blood leukocytes from the patient, and compensatory splice site mutation unique to the cell line. The distribution of eight missense mutations provides valuable information on amino acids which are essential for normal protein function, and suggests that sites in the first two exons are hot-spots for mutation.