Splice site mutation in the human protein C gene associated with venous thrombosis: demonstration of exon skipping by ectopic transcript analysis

B Lind, WW van Solinge, M Schwartz and S Thorsen


Heterozygosity for a G-->C mutation converting the highly conserved Gln184 (CAG) to His (CAC) was identified at the last nucleotide of exon 7 of the protein C gene in two family members with deep vein thrombosis. As the nucleotide is a part of the 5 splice site of intron G, it was examined how the mutation affected splicing of protein C pre- mRNA. Relevant protein C cDNA fragments were amplified with polymerase chain reaction after reverse transcription of ectopic mRNA from peripheral blood lymphocytes. Southern blot analysis and nucleotide sequencing of these fragments showed a fragment (A) corresponding to correctly spliced mRNA originating from the normal allele and a fragment (B) corresponding to a truncated mRNA lacking exon 7, originating from the mutant allele. A third fragment (C) lacking exons 7 and 8 was identified in both affected and unaffected family members, as well as in normal controls. Analysis of human liver protein C mRNA indicated that the ectopic lymphocyte mRNA was qualitatively representative for the tissue-specific mRNA. In conclusion, evidence is provided showing that the mutation abolishes formation of correctly spliced mRNA. This agrees with the observation that the mutation results in a type 1 protein C deficiency.