The genetic basis of autosomal dominant familial Mediterranean fever

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Booth D., Gillmore J., Lachmann H., Booth S., Bybee A., Soyturk M., ...More

QJM-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, vol.93, no.4, pp.217-221, 2000 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is classically an autosomal recessive periodic inflammatory disease occurring in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern populations. lt is caused by mutations affecting both alleles of MEFV, a gene that encodes pyrin (marenostrin), an uncharacterized neutrophil protein. Occasional reports of autosomal dominant FMF have often been discounted, on the basis that asymptomatic FMF carriers are common in certain populations, and give rise to pseudo-dominant inheritance. We performed comprehensive MEFV genotyping in five families in whom FMF appeared to be inherited dominantly. Transmission proved to be pseudo-dominant in two cases, but true dominant inheritance of FMF with variable penetrance was supported by the genotyping results in the other three families. The disease in these cases was associated with heterozygosity for either pyrin Delta M694 alone or the compound pyrin variant E148Q/M6941, the latter occurring in two unrelated families. Complete MEFV sequencing failed to identify any coding region abnormality in the other allele in any of these cases, and, in the largest kindred, single-allele disease transmission was further supported by analysis of silent single nucleotide polymorphisms, which proved that affected individuals had at least three different complementary alleles. Studies of two further unrelated British patients with FMF associated with simple heterozygosity for pyrin Delta M694 were also consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance. The clinical features of dominantly inherited FMF were absolutely typical, including AA amyloidosis in a patient with pyrin Delta M694. These findings extend the spectrum of FMF, and suggest that the methionine residue at position 694 makes a crucial contribution to pyrin's function, and that a 50% complement of normal pyrin activity does not prevent susceptibility to FMF.