Translational suppression by trinucleotide repeat expansion at FMR1

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Science  05 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5211, pp. 731-734
DOI: 10.1126/science.7732383


Fragile X syndrome is the result of the unstable expansion of a trinucleotide repeat in the 5'-untranslated region of the FMR1 gene. Fibroblast subclones from a mildly affected patient, each containing stable FMR1 alleles with 57 to 285 CGG repeats, were shown to exhibit normal steady-state levels of FMR1 messenger RNA. However, FMR protein was markedly diminished from transcript with more than 200 repeats. Such transcripts were associated with stalled 40S ribosomal subunits. These results suggest that a structural RNA transition beyond 200 repeats impedes the linear 40S migration along the 5'-untranslated region. This results in translational inhibition by trinucleotide repeat expansion.

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