US20060051806A1 - Mutations associated with iron disorders - Google Patents

Mutations associated with iron disorders Download PDF

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US20060051806A1
US20060051806A1 US11252452 US25245205A US2006051806A1 US 20060051806 A1 US20060051806 A1 US 20060051806A1 US 11252452 US11252452 US 11252452 US 25245205 A US25245205 A US 25245205A US 2006051806 A1 US2006051806 A1 US 2006051806A1
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mutation
hfe
method
disorder
iron
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Barry Rothenberg
Ritsuko Sawada-Hiraj
James Barton
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Rothenberg Barry E
Ritsuko Sawada-Hiraj
Barton James C
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    • C12Q1/6876Nucleic acid products used in the analysis of nucleic acids, e.g. primers or probes
    • C12Q1/6883Nucleic acid products used in the analysis of nucleic acids, e.g. primers or probes for diseases caused by alterations of genetic material
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    • C12Q2600/00Oligonucleotides characterized by their use
    • C12Q2600/156Polymorphic or mutational markers
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    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12QMEASURING OR TESTING PROCESSES INVOLVING ENZYMES, NUCLEIC ACIDS OR MICROORGANISMS; COMPOSITIONS OR TEST PAPERS THEREFOR; PROCESSES OF PREPARING SUCH COMPOSITIONS; CONDITION-RESPONSIVE CONTROL IN MICROBIOLOGICAL OR ENZYMOLOGICAL PROCESSES
    • C12Q2600/00Oligonucleotides characterized by their use
    • C12Q2600/158Expression markers

Abstract

The invention features a method of diagnosing an iron disorder, e.g., hemochromatosis, or a genetic susceptibility to developing such a disorder in a mammal by determining the presence of a mutation in exon 2 or in an intron of an HFE nucleic acid.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Hemochromatosis is the most common progressive (and sometimes fatal) genetic disease in people of European descent. Hemochromatosis is a disease state characterized by an inappropriate increase in intestinal iron absorption. The increase can result in deposition of iron in organs such as the liver, pancreas, heart, and pituitary. Such iron deposition can lead to tissue damage and functional impairment of the organs.
  • In some populations, 60-100% of cases are attributable to homozygosity for a missense mutation at C282Y in the Histocompatibility iron (Fe) loading (HFE) gene, a major histocompatibility (MHC) non-classical class I gene located on chromosome 6p. Some patients are compound heterozygotes for C282Y and another mutation at H63D.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention is based on the discovery of novel mutations which are associated with aberrant iron metabolims, absorption, or storage, or in advanced cases, clinical hemochromatosis. Accordingly, the invention features a method of diagnosing an iron disorder, e.g., hemochromatosis or a genetic susceptibility to developing such a disorder, in a mammal by determining the presence of a mutation in exon 2 of an HFE nucleic acid. The mutation is not a C→G missense mutation at position 187 of SEQ ID NO:1 which leads to a H63D substitution. The nucleic acid is an RNA or DNA molecule in a biological sample taken from the mammal, e.g. a human patient, to be tested. The presence of the mutation is indicative of the disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing it. An iron disorder is characterized by an aberrant serum iron level, ferritin level, or percent saturation of transferrin compared to the level associated with a normal control individual. An iron overload disorder is characterized by abnormally high iron absorption compared to a normal control individual. Clinical hemochromatosis is defined by an elevated fasting transferrin saturation level of greater than 45% saturation.
  • For example, the mutation is a missense mutation at nucleotide 314 of SEQ ID NO:1 such as 314C which leads to the expression of mutant HFE gene product with amino acid substitution I105T. The I105T mutation is located in the α1 helix of the HFE protein and participates in a hydrophobic pocket (the “F” pocket). The alpha helix structure of the α1 domain spans residues S80 to N108, inclusive. The I105T mutation is associated with an iron overload disorder.
    TABLE 1
    Human HFE cDNA sequence
     atgggcccg cgagccaggc
    cggcgcttct cctcctgatg cttttgcaga ccgcggtcct gcaggggcgc ttgctgcgtt
    cacactctct gcaccacctc ttcatgggtg cctcagagca ggaccttggt ctttccttgt
    ttgaagcttt gggctacgtg gatgaccagc tgttcgtgtt ctatgatcat gagagtcgcc
                                                       H63D   S65C
    gtgtggagcc ccgaactcca tgggtttcca gtagaatttc aagccagatg tggctgcagc
    tgagtcagag tctgaaaggg tgggatcaca tgttcactgt tgacttctgg actattatgg
                      G93R                                    I105T
    aaaatcacaa ccacagcaag gagtcccaca ccctgcaggt catcctgggc tgtgaaatgc
    aagaagacaa cagtaccgag ggctactgga agtacgggta tgatgggcag gaccaccttg
    aattctgccc tgacacactg gattggagag cagcagaacc cagggcctgg cccaccaagc
    tggagtggga aaggcacaag attcgggcca ggcagaacag ggcctacctg gagagggact
    gccctgcaca gctgcagcag ttgctggagc tggggagagg tgttttggac caacaagtgc
    ctcctttggt gaaggtgaca catcatgtga cctcttcagt gaccactcta cggtgtcggg
    ccttgaacta ctacccccag aacatcacca tgaagtggct gaaggataag cagccaatgg
    atgccaagga gttcgaacct aaagacgtat tgcccaatgg ggatgggacc taccagggct
    ggataacctt ggctgtaccc cctggggaag agcagagata tacgtgccag gtggagcacc
    caggcctgga tcagcccctc attgtgatct gggagccctc accgtctggc accctagtca
    ttggagtcat cagtggaatt gctgtttttg tcgtcatctt gttcattgga attttgttca
    taatattaag gaagaggcag ggttcaagag gagccatggg gcactacgtc ttagctgaac
    gtgagtgaca cgcagcctgc agactcactg tgggaaggag acaaaactag agactcaaag
    agggagtgca tttatgagct cttcatgttt caggagagag ttgaacctaa acatagaaat
    tgcctgacga actccttgat tttagccttc tctgttcatt tcctcaaaaa gatttcccca
    tttaggtttc tgagttcctg catgccggtg atccctagct gtgacctctc ccctggaact
    gtctctcatg aacctcaagc tgcatctaga ggcttccttc atttcctccg tcacctcaga
    gacatacacc tatgtcattt catttcctat ttttggaaga ggactcctta aatttggggg
    acttacatga ttcattttaa catctgagaa aagctttgaa ccctgggacg tggctagtca
    taaccttacc agattcttac acatgtatct atgcattttc tggacccgtt caacttttcc
    tttgaatcct ctctctgtgt tacccagtaa ctcatctgtc accaagcctt ggggattctt
    ccatctgatt gtgatgtgag ttgcacagct atgaaggctg tgcactgcac gaatggaaga
    ggcacctgtc ccagaaaaag catcatggct atctgtgggt agtatgatgg gtgtttttag
    caggtaggag gcaaatatct tgaaaggggt tgtgaagagg tgttttttct aattggcatg
    aaggtgtcat acagatttgc aaagtttaat ggtgccttca tttgggatgc tactctagta
    ttccagacct gaagaatcac aataattttc tacctggtct ctccttgttc tgataatgaa
    aattatgata aggatgataa aagcacttac ttcgtgtccg actcttctga gcacctactt
    acatgcatta ctgcatgcac ttcttacaat aattctatga gataggtact attatcccca
    tttctttttt aaatgaagaa agtgaagtag gccgggcacg gtggctcgcg cctgtggtcc
    cagggtgctg agattgcagg tgtgagccac cctgcccagc cgtcaaaaga gtcttaatat
    atatatccag atggcatgtg tttactttat gttactacat gcacttggct gcataaatgt
    ggtacaacca ttctgtcttg aagggcaggt gcttcaggat accatataca gctcagaagt
    ttcttcttta ggcattaaat tttagcaaag atatctcatc tcttctttta aaccattttc
    tttttttgtg gttagaaaag ttatgtagaa aaaagtaaat gtgatttacg ctcattgtag
    aaaagctata aaatgaatac aattaaagct gttatttaat tagccagtga aaaactatta
    acaacttgtc tattacctgt tagtattatt gttgcattaa aaatgcatat actttaacaa
    atgtacactg tattgtaaaa aaaaaaa
    (SEQ ID NO:1; GENBANK ® Accession No. U60319)
  • TABLE 2
    Human HFE gene product
    MGPRARPALLLLMLLQTAVLQG
    RLLRSHSLHYLFMGASEQDLGLSLFEALGYVDDQLFVFYDHESRRVEPRTPWVSSRISSQ
    MWLQLSQSLKGWDHMFTVDFWTIMENHNHSKESHTLQVILGCEMQEDNSTEGYWKYGYDG
    QDHLEFCPDTLDWRAAEPRAWPTKLEWERHKIRARQNRAYLERDCPAQLQQLLELGRGVL
    DQQVPPLVKVTHHVTSSVTTLRCRALNYYPQNITMKWLKDKQPMDAKEFEPKDVLPNGDG
    TYQGWITLAVPPGEEQRYTCQVEHPGLDQPLIVIWEPSPSGTLVIGVISGIAVFVVILFI
    GILFIILRKRQGSRGAMGHYVLAERE (SEQ ID NO: 2; GENBANK ® Accession
    No. U60319)

    Residues 1-22=leader sequence; α1 domain underlined; residues 63, 65, 93, and 105 indicated in bold type)
    Other mutations include nucleotide 277 of SEQ ID NO: 1, e.g., 277C which leads to expression of mutant HFE gene product G93R and one at nucleotide 193 of SEQ ID NO: 1, e.g., 193T, which leads to expression of mutant HFE gene product S65C.
  • Any biological sample containing an HFE nucleic acid or gene product is suitable for the diagnostic methods described herein. For example, the biological sample to be analyzed is whole blood, cord blood, serum, saliva, buccal tissue, plasma, effusions, ascites, urine, stool, semen, liver tissue, kidney tissue, cervical tissue, cells in amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, hair or tears. Prenatal testing can be done using methods used in the art, e.g., amniocentesis or chorionic villa sampling. Preferably, the biological sample is one that can be non-invasively obtained, e.g., cells in saliva or from hair follicles.
  • The assay is also used to screen individuals prior to donating blood to blood banks and to test organ tissue, e.g., a donor liver, prior to transplantation into a recipient patient. Both donors and recipients are screened.
  • In some cases, a nucleic acid is amplified prior to detecting a mutation. The nucleic acid is amplified using a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to exon 2 and a second oligonucleotide primer is 3′ to exon 2. To detect mutation at nucleotide 314 of SEQ ID NO: 1, a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to nucleotide 314 and a second oligonucleotide primer which is 3′ to nucleotide 314 is used in a standard amplification procedure such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To amplify a nucleic acid containing nucleotide 277 of SEQ ID NO: 1, a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to nucleotide 277 and a second oligonucleotide primer which is 3′ to nucleotide 277 is used. Similarly, a nucleic acid containing nucleotide 193 of SEQ ID NO:1 is amplified using primers which flank that nucleotide. For example, for nucleotide 277, the first primer has a nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 3 and said second oligonucleotide primer has a nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 4, or the first primer has a nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 15 and said second oligonucleotide primer has a nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID NO: 16. Table 3, below, shows examples of primer pairs for amplification of nucleic acids in exons and introns of the HFE gene.
    TABLE 3
    I. PRIMERS USED FOR AMPLIFICATION
    Target
    DNA Forward Primer Reverse Primer
    Exon 2 CCTCCTACTACACATGGTTAAGG GCTCTGACAACCTCAGGAAGG
    (SEQ ID NO: 3) (SEQ ID NO: 4)
    Exon 3 GGTGGAAATAGGGACCTATTCC CACTCTGCCACTAGACTATAGG
    (SEQ ID NO: 5) (SEQ ID NO: 6)
    Exon 4 GTTCCAGTCTTCCTGGCAAGG AAATGCTTCCCATGGATGCCAG
    (SEQ ID NO: 7) (SEQ ID NO: 8)
    RT-PCR AAAGGATCCACCATGGGCCCGCGAGCCAGG GTGAGTCTGCAGGCTGCGTG
    (SEQ ID NO: 9) (SEQ ID NO: 10)
    Intron 4 GTTCCAGTCTTCCTGGCAAGG AAATGCTTCCCATGGATGCCAG
    (SEQ ID NO: 11) (SEQ ID NO: 12)
    Intron 5 GTTCCAGTCTTCCTGGCAAGG AAATGCTTCCCATGGATGCCAG
    (SEQ ID NO: 13) (SEQ ID NO: 14)
    II. PRIMERS USED FOR AMPLIFICATION
    Exon 2 GTGTGGAGCCTCAACATCCTG ACAAGACCTCAGACTTCCAGC
    (SEQ ID NO: 15) (SEQ ID NO: 16)
    Exon 3 GGTGGAAATAGGGACCTATTCC CACTCTGCCACTAGAGTATAGG
    (SEQ ID NO: 17) (SEQ ID NO: 18)
    Exon 4 GTTCCAGTCTTCCTGGCAAGG TTACCTCCTCAGGCACTCCTC
    (SEQ ID NO: 19) (SEQ ID NO: 20)
    RT-PCR AAAGGATCCACCATGGGCCCGCGAGCCAGG GTGAGTCTGCAGGCTGCGTG
    (SEQ ID NO: 21) (SEQ ID NO: 22)
    Intron 4 TGCCTGAGGAGGTAATTATGG AAATGCTTCCCATGGATGCCAG
    (SEQ ID NO: 23) (SEQ ID NO: 24)
    Intron 5 TGCCTGAGGAGGTAATTATGG AAATGCTTCCCATGGATGCCAG
    (SEQ ID NO: 25) (SEQ ID NO: 26)
  • Mutations in introns of the HFE gene have now been associated with iron disorders and/or hemochromatosis. By “exon” is meant a segment of a gene the sequence of which is represented in a mature RNA product, and by “intron” is meant a segment of a gene the sequence of which is not represented in a mature RNA product. An intron is a part of a primary nuclear transcript which is subsequently spliced out to produce a mature RNA product, i.e., a mRNA, which is then transported to the cytoplasm. A method of diagnosing an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing the disorder is carried out by determining the presence or absence of a mutation in an intron of HFE genomic DNA in a biological sample. The presence of the mutation is indicative of the disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing the disorder. The presence of a mutation in an intron is a marker for an exon mutation, e.g., a mutation in intron 4, e.g., at nucleotide 6884 of SEQ ID NO:27 is associated with the S65C mutation in exon 2. A mutation in intron 5, e.g., at nucleotide 7055 of SEQ ID NO:27 is associated with hemochromatosis. In some cases, intron mutations may adversely affect proper splicing of exons or may alter regulatory signals. Preferably, the intron 4 mutation is 6884C and the intron 5 mutation is 7055G. To amplify nucleic acid molecule containing nucleotide 6884 or 7055, primers which flank that nucleotide, e.g., those described in Table 3, are used according to standard methods. Nucleic acid-based diagnostic methods may or may not include a step of amplification to increase the number of copies of the nucleic acid to be analyzed. To detect a mutation in intron 4, a patient-derived nucleic acid may be amplified using a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to intron 4 and a second oligonucleotide primer which is 3′ to intron 4, and to detect a mutation in intron 5, the nucleic acid may be amplified using a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to intron 5 and a second oligonucleotide primer which is 3′ to intron 5 (see, e.g., Table 3).
  • In addition to nucleic acid-based diagnostic methods, the invention includes a method of diagnosing an iron overload disorder or a genetic susceptibility thereto by determining the presence of a mutation in a HFE gene product in a biological sample. For example, the mutation results in a decrease in intramolecular salt bridge formation in the mutant HFE gene product compared to salt bridge formation in a wild type HFE gene product. The mutation which affects salt bridge formation is at or proximal to residue 63 of SEQ ID NO:2, but is not amino acid is substitution H63D. Preferably, the mutation is between residues 23-113, inclusive of SEQ ID NO:2 (Table 2), more preferably, it is between residues 90-100, inclusive, of SEQ ID NO:2, more preferably, it is between residues 58-68, inclusive, of SEQ ID NO:2, and most preferably, the mutation is amino acid substitution S65C. Alternatively, the mutation which affects salt bridge formation is a mutation, e.g., an amino acid substitution at residue 95 or proximal to residue 95 of SEQ ID NO:2. Preferably, the mutation is G93R. Such an HFE mutation is detected by immunoassay or any other ligand binding assay such as binding of the HFE gene product to a transferrin receptor. Mutations are also detected by amino acid sequencing, analysis of the structural conformation of the protein, or by altered binding to a carbohydrate or peptide mimetope.
  • A mutation indicative of an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing such a disorder is located in the α1 helix (e.g., which spans residues 80-108, inclusive, of SEQ ID NO:2) of an HFE gene product. The mutation may be an addition, deletion, or substitution of an amino acid in the wild type sequence. For example, the mutant HFE gene product contains the amino acid substitution I105T or G93R or in the loop of the β sheet of the HFE molecule, e.g., mutation S65C
  • Isolated nucleic acids encoding a mutated HFE gene products (and nucleic acids with nucleotide sequences complementary to such coding sequences) are also within the invention. Also included are nucleic acids which are at least 12 but less than 100 nucleotides in length. An isolated nucleic acid molecule is a nucleic acid molecule that is separated from the 5′ and 3′ sequences with which it is immediately contiguous in the naturally occurring genome of an organism. “Isolated” nucleic acid molecules include nucleic acid molecules which are not naturally occurring. For example, an isolated nucleic acid is one that has been amplified in vitro, e.g, by PCR; recombinantly produced; purified, e.g., by enzyme cleavage and gel separation; or chemically synthesized. For example, the restriction enzyme, Bst4C I (Sib Enzyme Limited, Novosibirsk, Russia), can be used to detect the G93R mutation (point mutation 277C); this enzyme cuts the mutated HFE nucleic acid but not the wild type HFE nucleic acid. Such nucleic acids are used as markers or probes for disease states. For example, a marker is a nucleic acid molecule containing a nucleotide polymorphism, e.g., a point mutation, associated with an iron disorder disease state flanked by wild type HFE sequences. The invention also encompasses nucleic acid molecules that hybridize, preferably under stringent conditions, to a nucleic acid molecule encoding a mutated HFE gene product (or a complementary strand of such a molecule). Preferably the hybridizing nucleic acid molecule is 400 nucleotides, more preferably 200 nucleotides, more preferably 100, more preferably 50, more preferably 25 nucleotides, more preferably 20 nucleotides, and most preferably 10-15 nucleotides, in length. For example, the nucleotide probe to detect a mutation is 13-15 nucleotides long. The nucleic acids are also used to produce recombinant peptides for generating antibodies specific for mutated HFE gene products. In preferred embodiments, an isolated nucleic acid molecule encodes an HFE polypeptide containing amino acid substitution I105T, G93R, or S65C, as well as nucleic acids the sequence of which are complementary to such nucleic acid which encode a mutant or wild type HFE gene product.
  • Also within the invention are substantially pure mutant HFE gene products, e.g., an HFE polypeptide containing amino acid substitution I105T, G93R, or S65C. Substantially pure or isolated HFE polypeptides include those that correspond to various functional domains of HFE or fragments thereof, e.g., a fragment of HFE that contains the α1 domain.
  • Wild type HFE binds to the transferrin receptor and regulates the affinity of transferrin receptor binding to transferrin. For example, a C282Y mutation in the HFE gene product reduces binding to the transferrin receptor, thus allowing the transferrin receptor to bind to transferrin (which leads to increased iron absorption).
  • The polypeptides of the invention encompass amino acid sequences that are substantially identical to the amino acid sequence shown in Table 2 (SEQ ID NO:2). Polypeptides of the invention are recombinantly produced, chemically synthesized, or purified from tissues in which they are naturally expressed according to standard biochemical methods of purification. Biologically active or functional polypeptides are those which possess one or more of the biological functions or activities of wild type HFE, e.g., binding to the transferrin receptor or regulation of binding of transferrin to the transferrin receptor. A functional polypeptide is also considered within the scope of the invention if it serves as an antigen for production of antibodies that specifically bind to an HFE epitope. In many cases, functional polypeptides retain one or more domains present in the naturally-occurring form of HFE.
  • The functional polypeptides may contain a primary amino acid sequence that has been altered from those disclosed herein. Preferably, the cysteine residues in exons 3 and 4 remain unchanged. Preferably the modifications consist of conservative amino acid substitutions. The terms “gene product”, “protein”, and “polypeptide” are used herein to describe any chain of amino acids, regardless of length or post-translational modification (for example, glycosylation or phosphorylation). Thus, the term “HFE polypeptide or gene product” includes full-length, naturally occurring HFE protein, as well a recombinantly or synthetically produced polypeptide that correspond to a full-length naturally occurring HFE or to a particular domain or portion of it.
  • The term “purified” as used herein refers to a nucleic acid or peptide that is substantially free of cellular material, viral material, or culture medium when produced by recombinant DNA techniques, or chemical precursors or other chemicals when chemically synthesized. Polypeptides are said to be “substantially pure” when they are within preparations that are at least 60% by weight (dry weight) the compound of interest. Preferably, the preparation is at least 75%, more preferably at least 90%, and most preferably at least 99%, by weight the compound of interest. Purity can be measured by any appropriate standard method, for example, by column chromatography, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, or HPLC analysis.
  • Diagnostic kits for identifying individuals suffering from or at risk of developing an iron disorder are also within the invention. A kit for detecting a nucleotide polymorphism associated with an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility thereto contains an isolated nucleic acid which encodes at least a portion of the wild type or mutated HFE gene product, e.g., a portion which spans a mutation diagnostic for an iron disorder or hemochromatosis (or a nucleic acid the sequence of which is complementary to such a coding sequence). A kit for the detection of the presence of a mutation in exon 2 of an HFE nucleic acid contains a first oligonucleotide primer which is 5′ to exon 2 and a is second oligonucleotide primer is 3′ to exon 2, and a kit for an antibody-based diagnostic assay includes an antibody which preferentially binds to an epitope of a mutant HFE gene product, e.g., an HFE polypeptide containing amino acid substitution I105T, G93R, or S65C, compared to its binding to the wild type HFE polypeptide. An increase in binding of the mutant HFE-specific antibody to a patient-derived sample (compared to the level of binding detected in a wild type sample or sample derived from a known normal control individual) indicates the presence of a mutation which is diagnostic of an iron disorder, i.e., that the patient from which the sample was taken has an iron disorder or is at risk of developing one. The kit may also contain an antibody which binds to an epitope of wild type HFE which contains residue 105, 93, or 65. In the latter case, reduced binding of the antibody to a patient-derived HFE gene product (compared to the binding to a wild type HFE gene product or a gene product derived from a normal control individual) indicates the presence of a mutation which is diagnostic of an iron disorder, i.e., that the patient from which the sample was taken has an iron disorder or is at risk of developing one.
  • Individual mutations and combinations of mutations in the HFE gene are associated with varying severity of iron disorders. For example, the C282Y mutation in exon 4 is typically associated with clinical hemochromatosis, whereas other HFE mutations or combinations of mutations in HFE nucleic acids are associated with disorders of varying prognosis. In some cases, hemochromatosis patients have been identified which do not have a C282Y mutation. The I105T and G93R mutations are each alone associated with an increased risk of iron overload (compared to, e.g., the H63D mutation alone), and the presence of both the I105T and H63D mutation is associated with hemochromatosis. Accordingly, the invention includes a method of determining the prognosis for hemochromatosis in a mammal suffering from or at risk of developing said hemochromatosis by (a) detecting the presence or absence of a first mutation in exon 4 in each allele of an HFE nucleic acid, e.g., patient-derived chromosomal DNA, and (b) detecting the presence of a second mutation in exon 2 in each allele of the nucleic acid. The presence of the first mutation in both chromosomes, i.e. an exon 4 homozygote such as a C282Y homozygote, indicates a more negative prognosis compared to the presence of the second mutation in one or both chromosomes, i.e., an exon 2 heterozygote or homozygote. An exon 4 mutation homozygote is also associated with a more negative prognosis compared to the presence of a first mutation (exon 4) in one allele and the presence of the second mutation (exon 2) in one allele, i.e., a compound heterozygote.
  • Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, and from the claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of the family of proband 1 (HFE genotype H63D/I105T). □=male, ●=female, ø=deceased, ▪=hemochromatosis phenotype. Proband 1 is indicated by an arrow. Phenotype and genotype data: age in year saturation; % Ftn=serum ferritin concentration. I105 separate chromosomes. The sister of the proband (II, 203) has hyperferritinemia.
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram of the family of proband 2 (HFE genotype C282Y/G93R). Symbols and abbreviations are the same as those described for FIG. 1. Proband 2 is indicated with an arrow. G93R, C282Y, and wt alleles are known to exist only on separate chromosomes. The father and sister of the proband are being treated for hemochromatosis.
  • FIG. 3 is a diagram of the family of proband 3 (HFE genotype C282Y/S65C). Symbols and abbreviations are the same as those described for FIG. 1. Proband 3 is indicated with an arrow. S65C, C282Y, and wt alleles are know to exist only on separate chromosomes. Proband 3 also has porphyria cutanea tarda, and her brother (II, 203) has ankylosing spondylitis.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • A proband is the first individual in a family identified to be affected by hemochromatosis. Forward and reverse sequencing of HFE exons 2, 3, 4, and 5, and of portions of HFE introns 2, 4, and 5 was carried out on biological samples taken from twenty hemochromatosis probands who lacked C282Y homozygosity, C282Y/H63D compound heterozygosity, or H63D homozygosity. Four probands had novel HFE coding region mutations. Probands 1 and 2 were heterozygous for previously undescribed mutations: exon 2, nt 314T→C (314C; I105T), and exon 2, nt 277G→C (277C; G93R), respectively; these probands were also heterozygous for H63D and C282Y, respectively. Probands 3 and 4 were heterozygous for an HFE mutation in exon 2, nt 193A→T (193T; S65C). Twelve other probands did not have an exon 2 HFE exon mutation; four were heterozygous for H63D. In probands 1, 2, 3, and 4, the amino acid substitutions I105T, G93R, and S65C (respectively) occurred on separate chromosomes from those with the C282Y or H63D mutations. In 176 normal control subjects, two were heterozygous for S65C; I105T and G93R were not detected in controls. Nine probands were heterozygous and two probands were homozygous for a base-pair change at intron 2, nt 4919T/C (SEQ ID NO:27). Heterozygosity for a base-pair change in intron 4 (nt 6884T→C) was detected only in probands 3 and 4, both of whom also had S65C and HLA-A32. The intron 2 mutation is not diagnostic of an iron disorder and appears randomly in the population. One proband was heterozygous for a base-pair change at intron 5 (nt 7055A→G).
  • The data described herein indicate that, in addition to the C282Y and H63D HFE mutations, the HFE exon and intron 5 mutations described herein are diagnostic (and prognostic) of iron disorders.
  • Pathology of Iron Overload
  • Iron plays an essential role in normal growth and development, but in elevated concentrations, iron is a toxic inorganic molecule and is the leading cause of death in children by poisoning. It has been implicated in the pathophysiology of a number of common diseases, e.g., hepatitis, cancer, heart disease, reperfusion injury, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, AIDS, and psychological abnormalities (e.g. depression).
  • The incidence of cancer (especially liver cancer) rises dramatically in the course of hemochromatosis. Iron, acting alone or in synergy with other environmental agents, catalyzes free radical formation. These free radicals which mediate tissue damage also cause DNA double strand breaks and oncogene activation. Iron may also play a role in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases and in predisposition to heart disease. High levels of iron can also cause diabetes with 2% of diabetics being hemochromatosis patients. High levels of iron may also affect the disease progression of many viral diseases. Individuals infected with such viruses as hepatitis (e.g., hepatitis B or C) or HIV should be tested for HFE mutations because of the impact increased iron stores have on the treatment and prognosis of such diseases.
  • Excessive iron stores and iron deposition is also a major contributing factor in the pathology and treatment of non-valvular heart disease. These conditions include dilated cardiomyopathy cased by deposition of iron in myocardial fibers; myocardial injury the product of anthracycline cardiomyopathy and re-perfusion injury. Increased iron stores may also be a contributing factor in myocardial infarction due to atherosclerosis. Some evidence suggests a significant increase in the incidence of reported heart disease in probands (cardiac symptoms-32%, insulin-dependent diabetes-18%, cardiac arrhythmia-17%, clinically significant coronary artery atherosclerosis-9%, and congestive heart failure-7%. Cardiac complications have been detected in 30% of patients. These include EKG abnormalities, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. An increased frequency of HFE mutations in individuals with porphyria cutanea tarda indicates that HFE mutations may predipose an individual to developing this syndrome.
  • The effect of iron overload is irreparable damage to vital organs and a multiplicity of associated pathologies described above. The multiplicity of clinical symptoms (and associated pathologies) often causes misdiagnosis of hemochromatosis or failure to diagnose hemochromatosis.
  • Untreated hemochromatosis is characterized by iron overload of parenchymal cells, which is toxic and the probable cause of various complications including cirrhosis, and liver cancer, arthropathy, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, marrow aplasia, skin disorders, diabetes mellitus, and cardiomyopathy. There are 1.5 to 2 million active cases in the U.S. of which 40% have progressive liver disease because they have not been properly diagnosed or treated.
  • In untreated hemochromatosis, iron is universally deposited in the hepatocytes of the liver. The iron is found primarily in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes, and by electron microscopy in lysosomal vacuoles, and in more severe cases iron has also been reported deposited in mitochondria. Other liver toxins such as alcohol, and hepatitis exacerbate the damage caused by the iron deposition. Patients with hemochromatosis are advised not to drink, because of increased liver damage, or to smoke, as iron deposition can also occur in the lungs.
  • Individuals which are homozygous (and to a lesser extent heterozygous) for an HFE mutation are at risk for developing increased levels of blood lead. Thus, it is important to identify heterozygous as well as homozygous patients.
  • Identification and detection of mutations in the HFE gene are critical to understanding the general mechanisms of iron disorders and diagnosing iron-related pathologies.
  • Nucleic Acid-Based Assays for HFE Mutations
  • A biological sample containing RNA or DNA is obtained from an individual and the nucleic acid extracted. Optionally, the nucleic acid is amplified according to standard procedures such as PCR. A nucleic acid polymorphism, e.g, a single base pair polymorphism, is detected using methods well known in the art of molecular biology. For example, a mutation is detected using a standard sequencing assay, nucleic acid hybridization, e.g, using standard Southern, Northern, or dot blot hybridization assay systems and an HFE-specific oligonucleotide probe, restriction enzyme fragment polymorphism analysis, oligonucleotide ligation assay (OLA; Nikerson et al., 1990, Nucl. Acids Res. 87:8923-8927), primer extension analysis (Nikiforov et al., 1994, Nucl. Acids Res. 22:4167-4175), single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis, allele-specific PCR (Rust et al., 1993, Nucl. Acids Res. 6:3623-3629), denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), fluorescent probe melting curve analysis (Bernard et al., 1998, Am. J. Pathol. 153:1055-61), RNA mismatch cleavage assay, capillary hybridization, or TaqMan™ assay (PE Applied Biosystems, Foster City, Calif.). Nucleic acid hybridization assays are also carried out using a bioelectronic microchip technology known in the art, e.g., that described in Sosnowski et al., 1997, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 94:1119-1123; Cheng et al. 1998, Nature Biotechnology 16:541-546; or Edman et al., 1997, Nucl. Acids Res. 25:4907-4914.
  • Detection of Mutations Using Antibodies and Other HFE Ligands
  • Anti-HFE antibodies are know in the art, e.g., those described by Feder et al., 1997, J. Biol. Chem. 272:14025-14028, or are obtained using standard techniques. Such antibodies can be polyclonal or monoclonal. Polyclonal antibodies can be obtained, for example, by the methods described in Ghose et al., Methods in Enzymology, Vol. 93, 326-327, 1983. An HFE polypeptide, or an antigenic fragment thereof, is used as an immunogen to stimulate the production of HFE-reactive polyclonal antibodies in the antisera of animals such as rabbits, goats, sheep, rodents and the like. HFE antibodies specific for mutated HFE gene products are raised by immunizing animals with a polypeptide spanning the mutation, e.g, a polypeptide which contains the mutations described herein. For example, the entire α1 domain of a mutant HFE gene product is used as an immunogen. Monoclonal antibodies are obtained by the process described by Milstein and Kohler in Nature, 256:495-97, 1975, or as modified by Gerhard, Monoclonal Antibodies, Plenum Press, 1980, pages 370-371. Hybridomas are screened to identify those producing antibodies that are highly specific for an HFE polypeptide containing a mutation characteristic of an iron metabolism abnormality or clinical hemochromatosis. Preferably, the antibody has an affinity of at least about 105 liters/mole, preferably at least 106 liters/mole, more preferably at least 108 liters/mole, and most preferably, an affinity of at least about 109 liters/mole.
  • Antibodies specific for the wild type HFE can also be used to diagnose hemochromatosis or iron metabolism abnormalities. Such antibodies are also useful research tools to identify novel mutations indicative of iron disorders or hemochromatosis. A reduction in binding to a wild type HFE-specific antibody indicates the presence of a mutation. Antibody binding is detected using known methods. For example, an ELISA assay involves coating a substrate, e.g., a plastic dish, with an antigen, e.g., a patient-derived biological sample containing an HFE gene product. An antibody preparation is then added to the well. Antibodies specific for a mutant HFE gene product bind or fail to bind to a patient-derived sample in the well. Non-binding material is washed away and a marker enzyme e.g., horse radish peroxidase or alkaline phosphatase, coupled to a second antibody directed against the antigen-specific primary antibody is added in excess and the nonadherent material is washed away. An enzyme substrate is added to the well and the enzyme catalyzed conversion is monitored as is indicative of presence of the mutation. Antibodies are also labelled with various sizes of colloidal gold particles or latex particles for detection of binding.
  • The invention employs not only intact monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies, but also an immunologically-active antibody fragment, for example, a Fab or (Fab)2 fragment; an antibody heavy chain, an antibody light chain; a genetically engineered single-chain Fv molecule (Ladner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,778).
  • EXAMPLE 1 Selection and Characterization of Subjects
  • All individuals studied were Caucasians, 18 years of age or older, and from central Alabama. Twenty probands were identified that were either heterozygous for C282Y or H63D, or lacked these mutations. Hemochromatosis is typically diagnosed by detecting elevated saturation of transferrin, with elevated serum ferritin levels, combined with liver biopsy. Each proband patient described below was previously diagnosed to have hemochromatosis by the working diagnostic criterion for hemochromatosis of the American College of Pathologists (elevated fasting transferrin saturation of greater than 60% saturation for males and greater than 50% saturation for females) on at least two occasions in the absence of other known causes. Probands were interviewed regarding their general medical history, diet (including estimated iron content and ethanol consumption), medicinal iron use, receipt of blood transfusion, prior significant hemorrhage, blood donation for transfusion and/or therapeutic phlebotomy, and pregnancy and lactation. Each proband was also evaluated for viral hepatitis B and C and other hepatic disorders, excess ethanol intake, and hereditary, and acquired anemia. Iron overload was defined as evidence of systemic iron overload demonstrated by otherwise unexplained elevated serum is ferritin concentration (≧300 ng/mL in men, ≧200 ng/mL in women), increased hepatic iron content determined using hepatic biopsy specimens, or iron >4 g mobilized by phlebotomy. Complications of iron overload were evaluated and treated, and therapeutic phlebotomy was performed using standard methods. HFE mutation analysis for C282Y and H63D and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) immunophenotyping or molecular typing were performed using known methods. In some family members, HLA haplotyping had been performed previously for other disease associations, or their HLA type could be deduced from analysis of their kinship and HFE genotyping results. Measurement of serum iron and other clinical laboratory parameters and analysis of hepatic biopsy specimens were performed using routine methods. Control subjects (n=176) who were in apparently good health and were unrelated to the hemochromatosis probands were recruited from the general population. Iron parameters were measured and HLA typing was performed in two control subjects after HFE genotyping revealed that they had the S65C mutation.
  • EXAMPLE 2 HFE Gene Analysis
  • PCR amplification was used to detect mutations. Genomic DNA was prepared from peripheral blood buffy coat or saliva using the QIAmpBlood Kit (QIAGEN, Valencia, Calif.) or FTA Paper and FTA purification reagent (Fitzco Inc., Maple Plain, Minn.), respectively. Fragments were amplified from genomic DNA using eLONGase (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.) or HotStarTaq DNA polymerase (QIAGEN, Valencia, Calif.). Primers used to amplify each exon are shown in Table 3.
    TABLE 4
    Human HFE genomic DNA
    1 ggatccttta accgaggaga ttattatagc cggagctctg aagcagcaat ctcagttctt
    61 gtgatagtga gcaaagaact acaaactaac accaaaatgc aagcttaaag caaagtttat
    121 tgaagcacaa taatacactc tgagggacag cgggcttatt tctgcgaagt gaactcagca
    181 cttctttaca gagctcaagg tgcttttatg gggtttgtgg ggaggagttg aggtttgggc
    241 tgtatctgag tgacaggatg atgttatttg attgaagttt atagctatac aatctaaaat
    301 taaactgtgc atggtcttac ctataatttg ttaagaaaag cctcccaggg atgggggggc
    361 aaaactgtat gtaaattcta ttataatgat ggcatgatga acttggggtg aacttgaaga
    421 caggcttttg tgttgttggg catgtgccac cttagggaat ttccacctgt accctccttt
    481 ctctttctcc aggatatttt ggccacagac tttatcataa actccatccc ttagggtggc
    541 attagggtag tcttgggcct gaatttaggt gggccagtgg ctgtcttagt gacagccttt
    601 ccgctctctt ctgtcatccc ctcccaactg ctaatgtcta actacctaac aattacccat
    661 taaatcagtg tgtctggggt taggagcagg cctcaatatg tttaatcatt ctccagataa
    721 tcccaatact gtaaagtttg tgaaacactt gtcagataat tcaattatga aggctgtgga
    781 acgtgtttca gtaggatcta attggttaat gttatgactt aattaatttg aatcaaaaaa
    841 caaaatgaaa aagctttata tttctaagtc aaataagaca taagttggtc taaggttgag
    901 ataaaatttt taaatgtatg attgaatttt gaaaatcata aatatttaaa tatctaaagt
    961 tcagatcaga acattgcgaa gctactttcc ccaatcaaca acaccccttc aggatttaaa
    1021 aaccaagggg gacactggat cacctagtgt ttcacaagca ggtaccttct gctgtaggag
    1081 agagagaact aaagttctga aagacctgtt gcttttcacc aggaagtttt actgggcatc
    1141 tcctgagcct aggcaatagc tgtagggtga cttctggagc catccccgtt tccccgcccc
    1201 ccaaaagaag cggagattta acggggacgt gcggccagag ctggggaaat gggcccgcga
    1261 gccaggccgg cgcttctcct cctgatgctt ttgcagaccg cggtcctgca ggggcgcttg
    1321 ctgcgtgagt ccgagggctg cgggcgaact aggggcgcgg cgggggtgga aaaatcgaaa
    1381 ctagcttttt ctttgcgctt gggagtttgc taactttgga ggacctgctc aacccaatcc
    1441 gcaagcccct ctccctactt tctgcgtcca gaccccgtga gggagtgcct accactgaac
    1501 tgcagatagg ggtccctcgc cccaggacct gccccctccc ccggctgtcc cggctctgcg
    1561 gagtgacttt tggaaccgcc cactcccttc ccccaactag aatgctttta aataaatctc
    1621 gtagttcctc acttgagccg agctaagcct ggggctcctt gaacctggaa ctcgggttta
    1681 tttccaatgt cagctgtgca gttttttccc cagtcatctc caaacaggaa gttcttccct
    1741 gagtgcttgc cgagaaggct gagcaaaccc acagcaggat ccgcacgggg tttccacctc
    1801 agaacgaatg cgttgggcgg tgggggcgcg aaagagtggc gttggggatc tgaattcttc
    1861 accattccac ccacttttgg tgagacctgg ggtggaggtc tctagggtgg gaggctcctg
    1921 agagaggcct acctcgggcc tttccccact cttggcaatt gttcttttgc ctggaaaatt
    1981 aagtatatgt tagttttgaa cgtttgaact gaacaattct cttttcggct aggctttatt
    2041 gatttgcaat gtgctgtgta attaagaggc ctctctacaa agtactgata atgaacatgc
    2101 aagcaatgca ctcacttcta agttacattc atatctgatc ttatttgatt ttcactaggc
    2161 atagggaggt aggagctaat aatacgttta ttttactaga agttaactgg aattcagatt
    2221 atataactct tttcaggtta caaagaacat aaataatctg gttttctgat gttatttcaa
    2281 gtactacagc tgcttctaat cttagttgac agtgattttg ccctgtagtg tagcacagtg
    2341 ttctgtgggt cacacgccgg cctcagcaca gcactttgag ttttggtact acgtgtatcc
    2401 acattttaca catgacaaga atgaggcatg gcacggcctg cttcctggca aatttattca
    2461 atggtacacg gggctttggt ggcagagctc atgtctccac ttcatagcta tgattcttaa
    2521 acatcacact gcattagagg ttgaataata aaatttcatg ttgagcagaa atattcattg
    2581 tttacaagtg taaatgagtc ccagccatgt gttgcactgt tcaagcccca agggagagag
    2641 cagggaaaca agtctttacc ctttgatatt ttgcattcta gtgggagaga tgacaataag
    2701 caaatgagca gaaagatata caacatcagg aaatcatggg tgttgtgaga agcagagaag
    2761 tcagggcaag tcactctggg gctgacactt gagcagagac atgaaggaaa taagaatgat
    2821 attgactggg agcagtattt cccaggcaaa ctgagtgggc ctggcaagtt ggattaaaaa
    2881 gcgggttttc tcagcactac tcatgtgtgt gtgtgtgggg gggggggcgg cgtgggggtg
    2941 ggaaggggga ctaccatctg catgtaggat gtctagcagt atcctgtcct ccctactcac
    3001 taggtgctag gagcactccc ccagtcttga caaccaaaaa tgtctctaaa ctttgccaca
    3061 tgtcacctag tagacaaact cctggttaag aagctcgggt tgaaaaaaat aaacaagtag
    3121 tgctggggag tagaggccaa gaagtaggta atgggctcag aagaggagcc acaaacaagg
    3181 ttgtgcaggc gcctgtaggc tgtggtgtga attctagcca aggagtaaca gtgatctgtc
    3241 acaggctttt aaaagattgc tctggctgct atgtggaaag cagaatgaag ggagcaacag
    3301 taaaagcagg gagcccagcc aggaagctgt tacacagtcc aggcaagagg tagtggagtg
    3361 ggctgggtgg gaacagaaaa gggagtgaca aaccattgtc tcctgaatat attctgaagg
    3421 aagttgctga aggattctat gttgtgtgag agaaagagaa gaattggctg ggtgtagtag
    3481 ctcatgccaa ggaggaggcc aaggagagca gattcctgag ctcaggagtt caagaccagc
    3541 ctgggcaaca cagcaaaacc ccttctctac aaaaaataca aaaattagct gggtgtggtg
    3601 gcatgcacct gtgatcctag ctactcggga ggctgaggtg gagggtattg cttgagccca
    3661 ggaagttgag gctgcagtga gccatgactg tgccactgta cttcagccta ggtgacagag
    3721 caagaccctg tctcccctga ccccctgaaa aagagaagag ttaaagttga ctttgttctt
    3781 tattttaatt ttattggcct gagcagtggg gtaattggca atgccatttc tgagatggtg
    3841 aaggcagagg aaagagcagt ttggggtaaa tcaaggatct gcatttggac atgttaagtt
    3901 tgagattcca gtcaggcttc caagtggtga ggccacatag gcagttcagt gtaagaattc
    3961 aggaccaagg cagggcacgg tggctcactt ctgtaatccc agcactttgg tggctgaggc
    4021 aggtagatca tttgaggtca ggagtttgag acaagcttgg ccaacatggt gaaaccccat
    4081 gtctactaaa aatacaaaaa ttagcctggt gtggtggcgc acgcctatag tcccaggttt
    4141 tcaggaggct taggtaggag aatcccttga acccaggagg tgcaggttgc agtgagctga
    4201 gattgtgcca ctgcactcca gcctgggtga tagagtgaga ctctgtctca aaaaaaaaaa
    4261 aaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa aactgaagga attattcctc aggatttggg tctaatttgc
    4321 cctgagcacc aactcctgag ttcaactacc atggctagac acaccttaac attttctaga
    4381 atccaccagc tttagtggag tctgtctaat catgagtatt ggaataggat ctgggggcag
    4441 tgagggggtg gcagccacgt gtggcagaga aaagcacaca aggaaagagc acccaggact
    4501 gtcatatgga agaaagacag gactgcaact cacccttcac aaaatgagga ccagacacag
    4561 ctgatggtat gagttgatgc aggtgtgtgg agcctcaaca tcctgctccc ctcctactac
    4621 acatggttaa ggcctgttgc tctgtctcca ggttcacact ctctgcacta cctcttcatg
    4681 ggtgcctcag agcaggacct tggtctttcc ttgtttgaag ctttgggcta cgtggatgac
    4741 cagctgttcg tgttctatga tcatgagagt cgccgtgtgg agccccgaac tccatgggtt
    4801 tccagtagaa tttcaagcca gatgtggctg cagctgagtc agagtctgaa agggtgggat
    4861 cacatgttca ctgttgactt ctggactatt atggaaaatc acaaccacag caagggtatg
    4921 tggagagggg gcctcacctt cctgaggttg tcagagcttt tcatcttttc atgcatcttg
    4981 aaggaaacag ctggaagtct gaggtcttgt gggagcaggg aagagggaag gaatttgctt
    5041 cctgagatca tttggtcctt ggggatggtg gaaataggga cctattcctt tggttgcagt
    5101 taacaaggct ggggattttt ccagagtccc acaccctgca ggtcatcctg ggctgtgaaa
    5161 tgcaagaaga caacagtacc gagggctact ggaagtacgg gtatgatggg caggaccacc
    5221 ttgaattctg ccctgacaca ctggattgga gagcagcaga acccagggcc tggcccacca
    5281 agctggagtg ggaaaggcac aagattcggg ccaggcagaa cagggcctac ctggagaggg
    5341 actgccctgc acagctgcag cagttgctgg agctggggag aggtgttttg gaccaacaag
    5401 gtatggtgga aacacacttc tgcccctata ctctagtggc agagtggagg aggttgcagg
    5461 gcacggaatc cctggttgga gtttcagagg tggctgaggc tgtgtgcctc tccaaattct
    5521 gggaagggac tttctcaatc ctagagtctc taccttataa ttgagatgta tgagacagcc
    5581 acaagtcatg ggtttaattt cttttctcca tgcatatggc tcaaagggaa gtgtctatgg
    5641 cccttgcttt ttatttaacc aataatcttt tgtatattta tacctgttaa aaattcagaa
    5701 atgtcaaggc cgggcacggt ggctcacccc tgtaatccca gcactttggg aggccgaggc
    5761 gggtggtcac aaggtcagga gtttgagacc agcctgacca acatggtgaa acccgtctct
    5821 aaaaaaatac aaaaattagc tggtcacagt catgcgcacc tgtagtccca gctaattgga
    5881 aggctgaggc aggagcatcg cttgaacctg ggaagcggaa gttgcactga gccaagatcg
    5941 cgccactgca ctccagccta ggcagcagag tgagactcca tcttaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaa
    6001 aaaaagagaa ttcagagatc tcagctatca tatgaatacc aggacaaaat atcaagtgag
    6061 gccacttatc agagtagaag aatcctttag gttaaaagtt tctttcatag aacatagcaa
    6121 taatcactga agctacctat cttacaagtc cgcttcttat aacaatgcct cctaggttga
    6181 cccaggtgaa actgaccatc tgtattcaat cattttcaat gcacataaag ggcaatttta
    6241 tctatcagaa caaagaacat gggtaacaga tatgtatatt tacatgtgag gagaacaagc
    6301 tgatctgact gctctccaag tgacactgtg ttagagtcca atcttaggac acaaaatggt
    6361 gtctctcctg tagcttgttt ttttctgaaa agggtatttc cttcctccaa cctatagaag
    6421 gaagtgaaag ttccagtctt cctggcaagg gtaaacagat cccctctcct catccttcct
    6481 ctttcctgtc aagtgcctcc tttggtgaag gtgacacatc atgtgacctc ttcagtgacc
    6541 actctacggt gtcgggcctt gaactactac ccccagaaca tcaccatgaa gtggctgaag
    6601 gataagcagc caatggatgc caaggagttc gaacctaaag acgtattgcc caatggggat
    6661 gggacctacc agggctggat aaccttggct gtaccccctg gggaagagca gagatatacg
    6721 tgccaggtgg agcacccagg cctggatcag cccctcattg tgatctgggg tatgtgactg
    6781 atgagagcca ggagctgaga aaatctattg ggggttgaga ggagtgcctg aggaggtaat
    6841 tatggcagtg agatgaggat ctgctctttg ttaggggatg ggctgagggt ggcaatcaaa
    6901 ggctttaact tgctttttct gttttagagc cctcaccgtc tggcacccta gtcattggag
    6961 tcatcagtgg aattgctgtt tttgtcgtca tcttgttcat tggaattttg ttcataatat
    7021 taaggaagag gcagggttca agtgagtagg aacaaggggg aagtctctta gtacctctgc
    7081 cccagggcac agtgggaaga ggggcagagg ggatctggca tccatgggaa gcatttttct
    7141 catttatatt ctttggggac accagcagct ccctgggaga cagaaaataa tggttctccc
    7201 cagaatgaaa gtctctaatt caacaaacat cttcagagca cctactattt tgcaagagct
    7261 gtttaaggta gtacaggggc tttgaggttg agaagtcact gtggctattc tcagaaccca
    7321 aatctggtag ggaatgaaat tgatagcaag taaatgtagt taaagaagac cccatgaggt
    7381 cctaaagcag gcaggaagca aatgcttagg gtgtcaaagg aaagaatgat cacattcagc
    7441 tggggatcaa gatagccttc tggatcttga aggagaagct ggattccatt aggtgaggtt
    7501 gaagatgatg ggaggtctac acagacggag caaccatgcc aagtaggaga gtataaggca
    7561 tactgggaga ttagaaataa ttactgtacc ttaaccctga gtttgcttag ctatcactca
    7621 ccaattatgc atttctaccc cctgaacatc tgtggtgtag ggaaaagaga atcagaaaga
    7681 agccagctca tacagagtcc aagggtcttt tgggatattg ggttatgatc actggggtgt
    7741 cattgaagga tcctaagaaa ggaggaccac gatctccctt atatggtgaa tgtgttgtta
    7801 agaagttaga tgagaggtga ggagaccagt tagaaagcca ataagcattt ccagatgaga
    7861 gataatggtt cttgaaatcc aatagtgccc aggtctaaat tgagatgggt gaatgaggaa
    7921 aataaggaag agagaagagg caagatggtg cctaggtttg tgatgcctct ttcctgggtc
    7981 tcttgtctcc acaggaggag ccatggggca ctacgtctta gctgaacgtg agtgacacgc
    8041 agcctgcaga ctcactgtgg gaaggagaca aaactagaga ctcaaagagg gagtgcattt
    8101 atgagctctt catgtttcag gagagagttg aacctaaaca tagaaattgc ctgacgaact
    8161 ccttgatttt agccttctct gttcatttcc tcaaaaagat ttccccattt aggtttctga
    8221 gttcctgcat gccggtgatc cctagctgtg acctctcccc tggaactgtc tctcatgaac
    8281 ctcaagctgc atctagaggc ttccttcatt tcctccgtca cctcagagac atacacctat
    8341 gtcatttcat ttcctatttt tggaagagga ctccttaaat ttgggggact tacatgattc
    8401 attttaacat ctgagaaaag ctttgaaccc tgggacgtgg ctagtcataa ccttaccaga
    8461 tttttacaca tgtatctatg cattttctgg acccgttcaa cttttccttt gaatcctctc
    8521 tctgtgttac ccagtaactc atctgtcacc aagccttggg gattcttcca tctgattgtg
    8581 atgtgagttg cacagctatg aaggctgtac actgcacgaa tggaagaggc acctgtccca
    8641 gaaaaagcat catggctatc tgtgggtagt atgatgggtg tttttagcag gtaggaggca
    8701 aatatcttga aaggggttgt gaagaggtgt tttttctaat tggcatgaag gtgtcataca
    8761 gatttgcaaa gtttaatggt gccttcattt gggatgctac tctagtattc cagacctgaa
    8821 gaatcacaat aattttctac ctggtctctc cttgttctga taatgaaaat tatgataagg
    8881 atgataaaag cacttacttc gtgtccgact cttctgagca cctacttaca tgcattactg
    8941 catgcacttc ttacaataat tctatgagat aggtactatt atccccattt cttttttaaa
    9001 tgaagaaagt gaagtaggcc gggcacggtg gctcacgcct gtaatcccag cactttggga
    9061 ggccaaagcg ggtggatcac gaggtcagga gatcgagacc atcctggcta acatggtgaa
    9121 accccatctc taataaaaat acaaaaaatt agctgggcgt ggtggcagac gcctgtagtc
    9181 ccagctactc ggaaggctga ggcaggagaa tggcatgaac ccaggaggca gagcttgcag
    9241 tgagccgagt ttgcgccact gcactccagc ctaggtgaca gagtgagact ccatctcaaa
    9301 aaaataaaaa taaaaataaa aaaatgaaaa aaaaaagaaa gtgaagtata gagtatctca
    9361 tagtttgtca gtgatagaaa caggtttcaa actcagtcaa tctgaccgtt tgatacatct
    9421 cagacaccac tacattcagt agtttagatg cctagaataa atagagaagg aaggagatgg
    9481 ccttctcttc gtctcattgt gtttcttctg aatgagcttg aatcacatga aggggaacag
    9541 cagaaaacaa ccaactgatc ctcagctgtc atgtttcctt taaaagtccc tgaaggaagg
    9601 tcctggaatg tgactccctt gctcctctgt tgctctcttt ggcattcatt tctttggacc
    9661 ctacgcaagg actgtaattg gtggggacag ctagtggccc tgctgggctt cacacacggt
    9721 gtcctcccta ggccagtgcc tctggagtca gaactctggt ggtatttccc tcaatgaagt
    9781 ggagtaagct ctctcatttt gagatggtat aatggaagcc accaagtggc ttagaggatg
    9841 cccaggtcct tccatggagc cactggggtt ccggtgcaca ttaaaaaaaa aatctaacca
    9901 ggacattcag gaattgctag attctgggaa atcagttcac catgttcaaa agagtctttt
    9961 tttttttttt gagactctat tgcccaggct ggagtgcaat ggcatgatct cggctcactg
    10021 taacctctgc ctcccaggtt caagcgattc tcctgtctca gcctcccaag tagctgggat
    10081 tacaggcgtg caccaccatg cccggctaat ttttgtattt ttagtagaga cagggtttca
    10141 ccatgttggc caggctggtc tcgaactctc ctgacctcgt gatccgcctg cctcggcctc
    10201 ccaaagtgct gagattacag gtgtgagcca ccctgcccag ccgtcaaaag agtcttaata
    10261 tatatatcca gatggcatgt gttcacttta tgttactaca tgcacttggc tgcataaatg
    10321 tggtacaagc attctgtctt gaagggcagg tgcttcagga taccatatac agctcagaag
    10381 tttcttcttt aggcattaaa ttttagcaaa gatatctcat ctcttctttt aaaccatttt
    10441 ctttttttgt ggttagaaaa gttatgtaga aaaaagtaaa tgtgatttac gctcattgta
    10501 gaaaagctat aaaatgaata caattaaagc tgttatttaa ttagccagtg aaaaactatt
    10561 aacaacttgt ctattacctg ttagtattat tgttgcatta aaaatgcata tactttaata
    10621 aatgtacatt gtattgtata ctgcatgatt ttattgaagt tcttgttcat cttgtgtata
    10681 tacttaatcg ctttgtcatt ttggagacat ttattttgct tctaatttct ttacattttg
    10741 tcttacggaa tattttcatt caactgtggt agccgaatta atcgtgtttc ttcactctag
    10801 ggacattgtc gtctaagttg taagacattg gttattttac cagcaaacca ttctgaaagc
    10861 atatgacaaa ttatttctct cttaatatct tactatactg aaagcagact gctataaggc
    10921 ttcacttact cttctacctc ataaggaata tgttacaatt aatttattag gtaagcattt
    10981 gttttatatt ggttttattt cacctgggct gagatttcaa gaaacacccc agtcttcaca
    11041 gtaacacatt tcactaacac atttactaaa catcagcaac tgtggcctgt taattttttt
    11101 aatagaaatt ttaagtcctc attttctttc ggtgtttttt aagcttaatt tttctggctt
    11161 tattcataaa ttcttaaggt caactacatt tgaaaaatca aagacctgca ttttaaattc
    11221 ttattcacct ctggcaaaac cattcacaaa ccatggtagt aaagagaagg gtgacacctg
    11281 gtggccatag gtaaatgtac cacggtggtc cggtgaccag agatgcagcg ctgagggttt
    11341 tcctgaaggt aaaggaataa agaatgggtg gaggggcgtg cactggaaat cacttgtaga
    11401 gaaaagcccc tgaaaatttg agaaaacaaa caagaaacta cttaccagct atttgaattg
    11461 ctggaatcac aggccattgc tgagctgcct gaactgggaa cacaacagaa ggaaaacaaa
    11521 ccactctgat aatcattgag tcaagtacag caggtgattg aggactgctg agaggtacag
    11581 gccaaaattc ttatgttgta ttataataat gtcatcttat aatactgtca gtattttata
    11641 aaacattctt cacaaactca cacacattta aaaacaaaac actgtctcta aaatccccaa
    11701 atttttcata aactcagttt taaactaact ttttttcaaa ccacaatctg atttaacaat
    11761 gactatcatt taaatatttc tgactttcaa attaaagatt ttcacatgca ggctgatatt
    11821 tgtaattgtg attctctctg taggctttgg gtataatgtg ttcttttcct tttttgcatc
    11881 agcgattaac ttctacactc taacatgtag aatgttacta caatattaaa gtattttgta
    11941 tgacaatttt atttgaaagc ctaggatgcg ttgacatcct gcatgcattt attacttgat
    12001 atgcatgcat tctggtatct caagcattct atttctgagt aattgtttaa ggtgtagaag
    12061 agatagatat ggtggatttg gagttgatac ttatatattt tctatttctt ggatggatga
    12121 atttgtacat taaaagtttt ccatgg
    (SEQ ID NO:27; GENBANK ® Accession No. Z92910)
  • Exon 1 spans nt 1028-1324, inclusive; exon 2 spans nt 4652-4915, inclusive; exon 3 spans nt 5125-5400, inclusive; exon 4 spans nt 6494-6769, inclusive; exon 5 spans nt 6928-7041, inclusive; exon 6 spans nt 7995-9050, inclusive, and exon 7 spans nt 10206-10637, inclusive. Intron 4 spans nt 6770-6927, inclusive, and intron 5 spans nt 7042-7994, inclusive.
  • Total RNA for the RT-PCR was prepared from 1.5 mL of whole blood using the RNeasy Blood Kit (QIAGEN, Valencia, CA). Total messenger RNA encoding the HFE gene was transcribed and amplified with the primers shown above using standard methods, e.g., the Superscript ONE-STEP RT-PCR System (Life Technologies, Gaithersburg, Md.). The amplified product was directly subcloned into the pCR2.1-TOPO vector and transfected into TOP 10 bacteria (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.). Plasmid DNAs isolated from the subcloning were prepared with the UltraClean Mini Prep Kit (Mo Bio, Solana Beach, Calif.) and sequenced.
  • DNA sequencing was performed using the ABI Prism BigDye Terminator Cycle Sequencing Ready Reaction Kit (PE Applied Biosystems, Foster City, Calif.) and analyzed on an ABI Prism 377.
  • To detect mutations in exon 2 of the HFE gene, the genomic DNA of probands and normal control subjects were amplified and subjected to a dot blot hybridization assay. 1.0 μl of each resulting PCR product was then applied to a Magna Graph nylon membrane (MSI, Westboro, Mass.). The membranes were treated with 0.5 N NaOH/1.5 M NaCl to denature the DNA, neutralized with 0.5 M Tris-HCl (pH 8.0)/1.5 M NaCl, and rinsed with 2×SSC (1×SSC=0.15 M NaCl/0.015 M sodium citrate, pH 7.0). The DNAs were fixed on the membrane by UV irradiation using a Stratalinker 1800 (Stratagene, Inc., La Jolla, Calif.). The ECL 3′-oligolabelling and detection system (Amersham, Arlington Heights, Ill.) was used for synthesis of labeled oligonucleotide probes, hybridization, and signal detection. The oligonucleotide sequences used to detect each point mutation were (substituted bases are shown as upper case letters):
    TABLE 5
    Oligonucleotide Probes
    Point Mutation Oligonucleotide
    G93R mutation gtctgaaaCggtgggat
    (SEQ ID NO:28)
    I105T mutation acttctggactaCtatgg
    (SEQ ID NO:29)
    S65C mutation atcatgagTgtcgccgt
    (SEQ ID NO:30)
  • For signal detection, each oligonucleotide was labeled with fluorescein-11-dUTP using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase according to the manufacturer's instructions (Amersham Ltd., Arlington Heights, Ill.). The membranes were prehybridized in 5×SSC, 0.1% Hybridization buffer component, 0.02% SDS, 5% LiquidBlock at 42° C. for approximately 2 hours. Labelled oligonucleotide probes were added to individual bags containing the membranes and prehybridization buffer and incubated at 42° C. overnight. The blots were washed twice with 5×SSC, 0.1% SDS for 5 minutes at room temperature. Stringency washes for hybridization with oligonucleotides having the sequence of SEQ ID NO: 30 or 28 were performed twice in 0.2×SSC/0.1% SDS for 15 minutes at 42° C. Membranes probed with an oligonucleotide having the sequence of SEQ ID NO:29 was washed twice under less stringent conditions (0.5×SSC/0.1% SDS, 15 minutes at 42° C.). Detection of a fluorescent signal was performed according to standard methods.
  • EXAMPLE 3 Characterization of Probands
  • The mean age of the twenty probands was 44±11 years (range 27-62 years); thirteen (65.0%) were men and seven (35.0%) were women. Eleven had iron overload. One had hepatic cirrhosis, two had diabetes mellitus, four had arthropathy, and two had hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. One proband also had hereditary stomatocytosis, another had beta-thalassemia trait, a third had ethanol intake >60 g daily, and a fourth had porphyria cutanea tarda. No proband had evidence of excess oral or parenteral iron intake, or of viral hepatitis B or C. At diagnosis of hemochromatosis, evaluation for common HFE mutations revealed that eleven probands were C282Y heterozygotes, five were H63D heterozygotes, and four did not inherit C282Y or H63D.
  • The mean age of the initial 176 control subjects was 52±15 years (range 18-86 years); 79 (44.9%) were men and 97 (55.1%) were women. There was no significant difference in the mean ages of men and women. Frequencies of HFE genotypes among the control subjects are shown in Table 6. These values are similar to those previously reported from normal persons from the same geographic area.
    TABLE 6
    Frequencies of HFE Genotypes in Alabama Subjects.
    Hemochromatosis Probands
    with “Atypical” HFE Normal Control
    HFE Genotype Genotypes, % (n) Subjects, % (n)
    wt/wt 15.00 (3)  60.23 106)
    C282Y/wt 45.00 (9)  13.06 (23)
    H63D/wt 20.00 (4)  15.34 (27)
    S65C/wt 5.00 (1) 1.14 (2)
    C282Y/S65C 5.00 (1) 0
    C282Y/G93R 5.00 (1) 0
    H63D/1105T 5.00 (1) 0
    H63D/C282Y 0  6.82 (12)
    H63D/H63D 0 3.41 (6)

    Results are expressed as percentage (n). The wild-type (wt) allele was defined as the HFE configuration in which the mutations C282Y, H63D, S65C, I105T, or G93R were not detected.
  • EXAMPLE 4 Identification of Novel HFE Mutations in Hemochromatosis Probands
  • The following novel mutations (missense mutations) were identified in probands 1 and 2: exon 2, nt 314T→C (I105T), and exon 2, nt 277G→C (G93R), respectively (Table 7; FIGS. 1 and 2). Probands 3 and 4 had a S65C mutation The S65C mutation has been observed in hemochromatosis patients but has not been deemed to be indicative of a disease state. In contrast, the data presented herein indicate that the S65C mutation is diagnostic of a disease state. This result is surprising in view of earlier observations. Other than C282Y or H63D, no HFE exon mutations were detected in the remaining sixteen of the twenty probands (Table 6). Nine probands were heterozygous for a base-pair change at intron 2, nt 4919T/C (SEQ ID NO:27); two probands were homozygous for this base-pair change. Heterozygosity for a base-pair change in intron 4 (nt 6884T→C) was detected only in probands 3 and 4, both of whom also inherited S65C. One proband was heterozygous for a base-pair change at intron 5, nt 7055A→G.
  • Using dot blot methodology, heterozygosity for the S65C mutation was detected in two of 176 normal control subjects (Table 6). The G93R or I105T mutations were not detected in normal control subjects (Tables 6 and 8).
  • EXAMPLE 5 Association of Novel HFE Coding Region Mutations to C282Y and H63D and HFE Intron Alleles
  • In proband 1, two mutations of exon 2 (H63D and I105T) were detected. After subcloning the genomic fragment, the subclones revealed that these mutations occurred on separate chromosomes; this observation was confirmed by family studies indicating segregation of I105T
    TABLE 7
    Phenotypes and Uncommon HFE Genotypes in Alabama Subjects*
    Age (years), HFE Transferrin Serum Ferritin, Hepatocyte Phlebotomy,
    Subject† Sex Genotype HLA Type Saturation, % ng/mL Iron Grade Units
    Proband 1 52 M H63D/I105T A2, 3; B7, 7 62 868 2+ 20
    Proband 2† 40 M C282Y/G93R A2, 3; B7, 62 78 861 4+ 34
    Proband 3§ 47 F C282Y/S65C A2, 32; B8, 44; 90 281 3+ 37
    Bw4, 6; Cw5, 7
    Proband 4** 81 F S65C/wt A2, 32; B14, 62 100 5,135 N.D. 37
    Normal Control 1 28 M S65C/wt A2, 31; B35, 60 28 141 N.D. N.D.
    Normal Control 2 69 M S65C/wt A24, 26; B8, 42 747 2+ N.D.
    B37; Bw4, 6;
    Cw6, 5 (or 7)

    *Serum transferrin saturation, serum ferritin concentration, and percutaneous hepatic biopsy were performed before therapeutic phlebotomy was initiated. Reference ranges for these parameters are 15-45%; 20-300 ng/mL (men) and 20-200 ng/mL (women); and 0-1+, respectively. Iron depletion (serum ferritin ≦20 ng/mL) was induced by removing the indicated numbers of units of blood. None of these persons had evidence of hepatic
    # cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, hemochromatosis-associated arthropathy, hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, other endocrinopathy, or cardiomopathy. N.D. = not done. The mutations indicated are exon 4, nt 845G→A (C282Y); exon 2, nt 187C→G (H63D); exon 2, nt 314T→C (I105T); exon 2, nt 277G→C (G93R); and exon 2, nt 193A→T (S65C). The wild-type (wt) allele was defined as an HFE allele in which the mutations C282Y, H63D, S6SC, I105T, or G93R were not detected.

    †Countries of origin: Probands 1 and 2, England; Proband 3, Wales, England, and Americas (Cherokee); Proband 4, England and Ireland; Normal Control 1, England; Normal Control 2, The Netherlands.

    ‡The father and sister of Proband 2 are presently undergoing therapy for hemochromatosis and iron overload, but their clinical and genetic data were unavailable.

    §Proband 3 had porphyria cutanea tarda alleviated with therapeutic phlebotomy.

    **Proband 4 had hereditary stomatocytosis unaffected by phlebotomy treatments. 37 units of blood were removed by phlebotomy before treatment was discontinued due to stroke apparently unrelated to anemia or iron overload (post-treatment serum ferritin 1,561 ng/mL). Her 59 year-old daughter (who does not have hereditary stomatocytosis) had transferrin saturation 42%, serum ferritin 62 ng/mL, HLA type A1, 32; B14, 15; Bw4, 6; Cw3, 8, and HFE genotype S65C/H63D.
    # These data permitted assignment of the S65C mutation in this family to a haplotype carrying HLA-A32; linkage of S65C and HLA-A32 was also observed in the family of Proband 3.
  • TABLE 8
    Frequencies of HFE Alleles in Alabama Subjects.
    wt* C282Y H63D S65C† I105T G93R
    Hemochromatosis Probands with 0.500 0.275 0.125 0.050 0.025 0.025
    “Atypical” HFE Genotypes (n = 20)
    Normal Control Subjects (n = 176) 0.750 0.099 0.145 0.006

    The wild-type (wt) allele was defined as an HFE allele in which the mutations C282Y, H63D, S65C, I105T, or G93R were not detected.

    †S65C was detected in 2 of 22 (0.091) proband chromosomes and in 2 of 266 (0.0075) control chromosomes that did not bear the C282Y, H63D, S65C, I105T, or G93R mutation.

    ‡Based on this data set, the frequency of the I105T and G93R HFE alleles is estimated to be <0.0028, respectively.

    and H63D (FIG. 1). In proband 2 (HFE genotype C282Y/G93R), RT-PCR analysis (with subsequent subcloning and sequencing) revealed that these HFE mutations occurred on separate chromosomes. Family studies of proband 3 (HFE genotype C282Y/S65C) indicated that the C282Y and S65C HFE alleles segregated independently, establishing their occurrence on separate chromosomes (Table 7, FIG. 3).
  • In proband 1 (HFE genotype H63D/I105T), the I105T mutation was co-inherited with HLA-A3, B7. In probands 3 and 4 and their respective families, S65C was inherited on the same chromosome as HLA-A32, indicating that HLA-A32 is a marker for chromosomes bearing the S65C mutation, and individuals with HLA-A32 have an increased risk for developing hemochromatosis. The G93R mutation is associated with HLA-A2, and individuals with that haplotype have an increased risk for developing hemochromatosis. The I105T mutation is associated with HLA-A3, e.g., HLA-A3, B7, and individuals with that haplotype have an increased risk for developing hemochromatosis. Among twenty probands tested, the nucleotide polymorphism in intron 4 (nt 6884T→C) was detected in probands 3 and 4, both of whom also had S65C. Subjects that tested positive for the S65C mutation all were found to have the intron 4 (6884T→C) mutation, including two probands (3 and 4), their families, and two normal controls.
  • EXAMPLE 6 HFE Coding Region Mutations and Clinical Phenotype
  • The 110ST and G93R mutations were associated with a hemochromatosis clinical phenotype in probands 1 and 2 who also inherited H63D and C282Y, respectively. Proband 3 had clinical evidence of hemochromatosis, iron overload, and porphyria cutanea tarda associated with compound heterozygosity for C282Y and S65C. Proband 4 had severe iron overload associated with heterozygosity for S65C and co-inheritance of hereditary stomatocytosis (Table 7). The sister of proband 1 (HFE genotype I105T/wt) was not completely evaluated for hyperferritinemia (FIG. 1). Otherwise, family members of probands who were heterozygous for novel HFE mutations described herein had little or no evidence of abnormal iron parameters, a hemochromatosis phenotype, or of iron overload (Table 7 and 9; FIGS. 1 and 3). Normal Control 1 who had HFE genotype S65C/wt had a
    TABLE 9
    Hemochromatiosis (HC) Family study/patent
    Diagnosis/
    intron 4 Tf sat** Ftn** Hepatocyte
    Subject/Age/Sex HLA Type exon 2 exon 4 5636 bp % ng/ml Iron grade
    Proband 1/57M (201) A2, 3; B7, 7 H63D/H, 1105T/1 Wt T 62 868 HC/2+
    brother/45M(204) H63D/H Wt T* 31 186
    sister/50F(203) A3, 3: B7, 7 1105T Wt* T* 37 576
    daughter/31F(301) A32, 68 ; B7, 44 1105T/1 Wt* T* 31 56
    son/27M(302) A2, 68; B7, 44 H63D/H Wt* T* 33 44
    Proband 2/40M A2, 3; B7, 62 G93R/G C282Y/C T 78 861 HC/4+
    Father Wt C282Y/Y* T* HC
    Sister G93R/G C282Y/C* T* HC
    Proband 3/47(201) A2, 32; B8, 44 S65C/S C282Y/C T/C 90 281 HC/3+
    brother/45M(202) A2, 32; B44, 51 S65C/S Wt T/C 33 42
    mother/81F(102) A2, 2; B8, 51 Wt C282Y/C T* NT NT
    sister/33F(204) A2, 7; B27, 51 Wt Wt T* NT NT
    brother/35M(203) A2, 7; B27, 51 Wt Wt* T* NT NT
    sister Wt C282Y/C* T*
    sister S65C/S Wt* T/C*
    Proband 4/81F A2, 32; B14, 62 S65C/S Wt T/C 100 S135 HC +
    stomatocytosis
    daughter/59 A1, 32; B14, 15 H63D/H, S65C/S Wt* T/C 42 62
    Control 1/28M A2, 31; B35, 60 S65C/S Wt T/C 28 141
    Control 2/69M A24, 26; B8, 37 S65C/S Wt T/C 42 747 2+

    *RE cut

    **normal (15-45%)

    ***20-300 ng/ml (men)

    2C-200 ng/ml (women)

    normal iron phenotype (Table 7). Normal Control 2, who also had the HFE genotype S65C/wt, had hyperferritinemia and mildly increased stainable hepatocellular iron deposition, but had no symptoms or other objective findings attributable to iron overload (Table 7). These data indicate that S65C heterozygosity is associated with abnormal iron parameters.
  • EXAMPLE 7 HLA Gene Linkage
  • In the family of proband 1, the I105T mutation was linked to HLA-A3, B7, markers which are often linked to the C282Y mutation and its ancestral haplotype. HLA-A3, B7 is also significantly more common among C282Y-negative hemochromatosis probands than in normal control subjects tested. S65C was linked to HLA-A32 in probands 3 and 4 (and their respective families). The base-pair change in intron is 4 (nt 6884T→C) was detected only in probands who inherited the S65C mutation. These data indicate that an intron 4 mutation (nt 6884→C) is a marker for chromosomes bearing the S65C HFE allele. Three of four probands who inherited mutated HFE exon 2 mutations described herein also inherited the C282Y or H63D mutations on separate chromosomes. In a fourth proband, the co-inheritance of S65C heterozygosity and hereditary stomatocytosis was associated with severe iron overload.
  • Altered interactions of transferrin receptor, transferrin, and C282Y and H63D mutant HFE protein contribute to the pathology of hemochromatosis. The S65C, G93R, and I105T mutations are located within the α1 domain: in the α1 helix of the HFE class I-like heavy chain (I105T and G93R), and at the tip of the A chain loop of the β-pleated sheet (S65C). These mutations affect the overall structure of the HFE gene product, and specifically affect the salt bridge between residues H63 and D95. The I105T substitution also inhibits proper folding of the α1 domain of the HFE gene product, and specifically affects the hydrophobicity of the hydrophobic F pocket.
  • Other embodiments are within the following claims.

Claims (17)

  1. 1. A method of diagnosing an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing said disorder in a mammal, comprising determining the presence of a mutation in exon 2 of an HFE nucleic acid in a biological sample from said mammal, wherein said mutation is not a C→G substitution at nucleotide 187 of SEQ ID NO: 1 and wherein the presence of said mutation is indicative of said disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing said disorder.
  2. 2. The method of claim 1, wherein said disorder is hemochromatosis.
  3. 3. The method of claim 1, wherein said nucleic acid is a DNA molecule.
  4. 4. The method of claim 1, wherein said nucleic acid is a RNA molecule.
  5. 5. The method of claim 1, wherein said mutation is a missense mutation at nucleotide 314 of SEQ ID NO:1.
  6. 6. The method of claim 5, wherein said mutation is 314C.
  7. 7. The method of claim 6, wherein said mutation results in expression of mutant HFE gene product I105T.
  8. 8. The method of claim 1, wherein said mutation is at nucleotide 277 of SEQ ID NO:1.
  9. 9. The method of claim 8, wherein said mutation is 277C.
  10. 10. The method of claim 9, wherein said mutation results in expression of mutant HFE gene product G93R.
  11. 11. The method of claim 1, wherein said mutation is at nucleotide 193 of SEQ ID NO:1.
  12. 12. The method of claim 11, wherein said mutation is 193T.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein said mutation results in expression of mutant HFE gene product S65C.
  14. 14. The method of claim 1, wherein said biological sample is selected from the group consisting of whole blood, cord blood, serum, saliva, plasma, effusions, ascites, urine, stool, buccal tissue, liver tissue, kidney tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, skin, hair and tears.
  15. 15. The method of claim 1, wherein said mammal is a human.
  16. 16. A kit for diagnosing an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing said disorder in a mammal, comprising an antibody which preferentially binds to an epitope of a mutant HFE gene product, wherein said gene product comprises amino acid substitution I105T, G93R, or S65C.
  17. 17. A kit for diagnosing an iron disorder or a genetic susceptibility to developing said disorder in a mammal, comprising an antibody which preferentially binds to an epitope of a wild type HFE gene product, wherein said gene product comprises amino acid substitution I105, G93, or S65.
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