Wenstrup RJ, Florer JB, Willing MC, Giunta C, Steinmann B, Young F, Susic M, Cole WG.
Division of Human Genetics, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.
We have identified haploinsufficiency of the COL5A1 gene that encodes the proalpha1(V) chain of type V collagen in the classical form of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a heritable connective-tissue disorder that severely alters the collagen-fibrillar structure of the dermis, joints, eyes, and blood vessels. Eight of 28 probands with classical EDS who were heterozygous for expressed polymorphisms in COL5A1 showed complete or nearly complete loss of expression of one COL5A1 allele. Reduced levels of proalpha1(V) mRNA relative to the levels of another type V collagen mRNA, proalpha2(V), were also observed in the cultured fibroblasts from EDS probands. Products of the two COL5A1 alleles were approximately equal after the addition of cycloheximide to the fibroblast cultures. After harvesting of mRNAs from cycloheximide-treated cultured fibroblasts, heteroduplex analysis of overlapping reverse transcriptase-PCR segments spanning the complete proalpha1(V) cDNA showed anomalies in four of the eight probands that led to identification of causative mutations, and, in the remaining four probands, targeting of CGA-->TGA mutations in genomic DNA revealed a premature stop at codon in one of them. We estimate that approximately one-third of individuals with classical EDS have mutations of COL5A1 that result in haploinsufficiency. These findings indicate that the normal formation of the heterotypic collagen fibrils that contain types I, III, and V collagen requires the expression of both COL5A1 alleles.