Identification and rapid detection of three Tay-Sachs mutations in the Moroccan Jewish population

Liat Drucker, Richard L. Proia, Ruth Navon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Infantile Tay-Sachs disease (TSD) is caused by mutations in the HEXA gene that result in the complete absence of β-hexosaminidase A activity. It is well known that an elevated frequency of TSD mutations exists among Ashkenazi Jews. More recently it has become apparent that elevated carrier frequencies for TSD also occur in several other ethnic groups, including Moroccan Jews, a subgroup of Sephardic Jews. Elsewhere we reported an in-frame deletion of one of the two adjacent phenylalanine codons at position 304 or 305 (ΔF304/305) in one HEXA allele of a Moroccan Jewish TSD patient and in three obligate carriers from six unrelated Moroccan Jewish families. We have now identified two additional mutations within exon 5 of the HEXA gene that account for the remaining TSD alleles in the patient and carriers. One of the mutations is a novel C-to-G transversion, resulting in a replacement of Tyr180 by a stop codon. The other mutation is a G-to-A transition resulting in an ArgI70-to-Gln substitution. This mutation is at a CpG site in a Japanese infant with Tay-Sachs disease and was described elsewhere. Analysis of nine obligate carriers from seven unrelated families showed that four harbor the ΔF304/305 mutation, two the Arg170→Gln mutation, and one the Tyr180→Stop mutation. We also have developed rapid, nonradioactive assays for the detection of each mutation, which should be helpful for carrier screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-377
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1992


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