The molecular basis of β thalassaemia in Punjabi and Maharashtran Indians includes a multilocus aetiology involving triplicated α-globin loci

G. Garewal, C. W. Fearon, T. C. Warren, N. Marwaha, R. K. Marwaha, C. Mahadik, H. H. Kazazian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We have analysed 201 β-thalassaemia (β-thal) genes from natives of the Punjab (156) and Maharashtra states of India and found the causative mutation in 200 of them. The most common β-globin gene mutations differed significantly between these two groups and between these groups and Indian immigrants in the U.S.A. and the U.K. In the Punjabi Indians the IVS-1, nt 1 (G-T) mutation accounted for nearly one-quarter of β-thal genes, whereas it was 5% or less in the other groups. Likewise, the cap + 1 mutation was much more prevalent in the Punjabis, whereas the nonsense codon 15 allele had a higher frequency in the Maharashtrans of the Bombay region. The common IVS- 1, nt5 allele had a frequency of 60% of β-thal genes in the Maharastrans, 35% in North American immigrants, and only 23% in the Punjabis. Two-thirds of all β-thal genes in Punjab were found in the merchant caste (Khatri-Arora), whereas the menial caste (Shudra) was highly represented among those with β- thal genes in Maharashtra. Two novel β-globin alleles were each found once; a frameshift codon 55 (+A) in Maharashtrans and a frameshift codons 47-48 (+ATCT) in Punjabis. Of three Punjabi patients with β-thal intermedia in whom only a single severe β-globin gene mutation was found, two had six α- globin genes (homozygosity for a triplicated α-globin locus) instead of the normal α-globin gene number of four. Thus, these two individuals had a multilocus aetiology of β-thal and their parents have the unusual recurrence risk of 1 in 8 for conceiving a third with β-thal intermedia. Since 15% of 126 α-globin clusters studied in Punjabis contained either single (10%) or triplicated (5%) α-globin genes, the α-globin gene number is a frequent modifier of the phenotype of β-thal in this ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-376
Number of pages5
JournalBritish journal of haematology
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

Keywords

  • Asian Indians
  • triplicated α-globin genes
  • β-thalassaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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