Homozygous hereditary C3 deficiency due to a partial gene deletion.

M Botto, KY Fong, AK So, R Barlow, R Routier, Bernard J Morley, MJ Walport

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The molecular mechanism of C3 deficiency in an Afrikaans patient with recurrent pyogenic infections was studied. Restriction enzyme analysis showed a gene deletion of 800 base pairs (bp) mapping to the alpha chain of C3. Amplification of genomic DNA, using the PCR, demonstrated that the deletion included exons 22 and 23 of the C3 gene. Truncated mRNA was shown in an Epstein-Barr virus-transformed B-cell line by PCR amplification of first-strand cDNA. A consequence of this deletion was that the RNA transcribed 3' to the deletion was out of frame, resulting in formation of a stop codon 19 bp downstream from the deletion. The molecular basis of the deletion was compatible with homologous recombination between two Alu sequences located in introns 21 and 23. An unrelated nonconsanguineous relative and two of a sample of 174 Afrikaans-speaking individuals were heterozygous carriers of the same gene deletion. The wide prevalence of this null allele in this population is probably due to the effects of a small founder population. The presence of this deletion in the C3 gene is not compatible with production of any functional C3, supporting the idea that study of such patients offers a valid model for understanding physiological activities of C3 in vivo in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4957-4961
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1992


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