The six patients described in this study were clinically diagnosed with congenital hypothyroidism. Based on clinical and pathophysiological parameters, the cause of the thyroid dyshormonogenesis was suspected to be a defect in the synthesis of thyroglobulin, the matrix protein for thyroid hormone synthesis in the thyroid gland. After RNA isolation from six goitrous tissues and control thyroid tissues, RT-PCR was used to amplify 20 overlapping thyroglobulin (TG) cDNA fragments. Two alternative splice transcripts were identified: a transcript with a deletion of nucleotides 177-274 and a transcript with a deletion of nucleotides 3430-3736 that result in frame shifts and the introduction of premature stop codons. Two alternatively spliced transcripts not changing the reading frame were also identified: a transcript containing a deletion of nucleotides 4529-4699 and a transcript with a deletion of nucleotides 7301-7561. All these transcripts were expressed in thyroid tissue of both patients and controls. Nucleotide sequence analysis and comparison to the revised TG sequence (1997) revealed one revision and eight polymorphisms that did not result in amino acid changes and four polymorphisms that did change amino acid codons. In three patients a homozygous mutation was present at nucleotide position 229, causing a glycine to serine amino acid substitution. The clinical description 'thyroglobulin synthesis defect' in this population cannot be explained by major mutations in the coding region of the TG gene. Furthermore, the presence and level of expression of the alternatively spliced transcripts do not co-segregate with thyroid dyshormonogenesis, since in normal thyroid tissue the same alternatively spliced transcripts are presen
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