The fragile X syndrome results from expansions as well as deletions of the repeating CGG·CCG DNA sequence in the 5′-untranslated region of the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome. The relative frequency of disease cases promoted by these two types of mutations cannot be ascertained at present because the routine clinical assay monitors only expansions. At least 30 articles have been reviewed that document the involvement of deletions of part or all of the CGG·CCG repeats along with varying extents of DNA flanking regions as well as very small mutations including single base pair changes. Studies of deletion mutants of CGG·CCG tracts in Escherichia coli plasmids revealed a similar spectrum of mutagenic products. The triplet repeat tract in a non-B conformation is the mutagen, not the sequence per se in the right-handed B helix. Hence, molecular investigations in a simple model organism may generate useful initial information toward therapeutic strategies for this disease
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