Inherited type 1 antithrombin (AT) III deficiency is characterized by a decrease of immunoreactive and functional protein levels to about 50%. The disorder is associated with a significantly increased risk of thromboembolism. We have investigated the molecular basis of type 1 AT deficiency in a Belgian family. The diagnosis of the disease was primarily made in a newborn girl with unusually severe thrombotic complications. Using the polymerase chain reaction and single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, followed by direct sequencing of AT gene fragments, we identified a novel point mutation in exon 6. We detected a G to C substitution in the first position of codon 424 leading to a glycine to arginine substitution. The modification at this highly conserved position in the serine protease inhibitor gene family probably leads to an unstable mutant-gene product. The mutation creates a unique restriction site for the enzyme Hha I in exon 6. This change permitted a rapid and accurate screening of the kindred with identification of the molecular defect in five other family members.

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