Promoter mutation is a common variant in GJC2-associated Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • E Meyer
  • Alisdair McNeill
  • S Pasha
  • Louise Tee
  • Andrew Norman
  • MS van der Knaap
  • E Wassmer
  • RC Trembath
  • Louise Brueton


Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease (PMLD) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous neurological disorder of cerebral hypomyelination. It is clinically characterised by early onset (usually infantile) nystagmus, impaired motor development, ataxia, choreoathetoid movements, dysarthria and progressive limb spasticity. We undertook autozygosity mapping studies in a large consanguineous family of Pakistani origin in which affected children had progressive lower limb spasticity and features of cerebral hypomyelination on MR brain imaging. SNP microarray and microsatellite marker analysis demonstrated linkage to chromosome 1q42.13-1q42.2. Direct sequencing of the gap junction protein gamma-2 gene, GJC2, identified a promoter region mutation (c.-167A>G) in the non-coding exon 1. The c.-167A>G promoter mutation was identified in a further 4 individuals from two families (who were also of Pakistani origin) with clinical and radiological features of PMLD in whom previous routine diagnostic screening of GJC2 had been reported as negative. A common haplotype was identified at the GJC2 locus in the three mutation-positive families, consistent with a common origin for the mutation and likely founder effect. This promoter mutation has only recently been reported in GJC2-PMLD but it has been postulated to affect the binding of the transcription factor SOX10 and appears to be a prevalent mutation, accounting for ~29% of reported patients with GJC2-PMLD. We propose that diagnostic screening of GJC2 should include sequence analysis of the non-coding exon 1, as well as the coding regions to avoid misdiagnosis or diagnostic delay in suspected PMLD.


Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2011