Human mutation

Novel mutations of the growth hormone 1 (GH1) gene disclosed by modulation of the clinical selection criteria for individuals with short stature.

PMID 12655557


Subtle mutations in the growth hormone 1 (GH1) gene have been regarded as a comparatively rare cause of short stature. Such lesions were sought in a group of 41 individuals selected for short stature, reduced height velocity, and bone age delay; a group of 11 individuals with short stature and idiopathic growth hormone deficiency (IGHD); and a group of 154 controls. Heterozygous mutations were identified in all three groups but disproportionately in the individuals with short stature, both with (odds ratio 25.2; 95% CI, 5.1-132.2) and without (odds ratio 3.6; 95% CI, 1.0-12.9) IGHD. Twenty-four novel GH1 gene lesions were found. Thirteen novel missense mutations were characterized by assaying the signal transduction activity of in vitro expressed variants; six (T27I, K41R, N47D, S71F, S108R, and T175A) exhibited a reduced ability to activate the JAK/STAT pathway. Molecular modeling suggested that both K41R and T175A might compromise GH receptor binding. Seven GH variants (R16C, K41R, S71F, E74K, Q91L, S108C, and a functional polymorphism, V110I) manifested reduced secretion in rat pituitary cells after allowance had been made for the level of expression attributable to the associated GH1 proximal promoter haplotype. A further leader peptide variant (L-11P) was not secreted. Eleven novel mutations in the GH1 gene promoter were assessed by reporter gene assay but only two, including a GH2 gene-templated gene conversion, were found to be associated with a significantly reduced level of expression. Finally, a novel intron 2 acceptor splice-site mutation, detected in a family with autosomal dominant type II IGHD, was shown to lead to the skipping of exon 3 from the GH1 transcript. A total of 15 novel GH1 gene mutations were thus considered to be of probable phenotypic significance. Such lesions are more prevalent than previously recognized and although most may be insufficient on their own to account for the observed clinical phenotype, they are nevertheless likely to play a contributory role in the etiology of short stature.