Molecular genetics of chronic granulomatous disease

M. C. Dinauer, S. H. Orkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Scopus citations


Chronic granulomatous disease is an inherited disorder characterized by the failure of phagocytic cells to produce superoxide upon the ingestion of microorganisms due to a lesion in a membrane-associated NADPH-oxidase. The components of the oxidase have been incompletely characterized by standard biochemical approaches. A genetic strategy has recently led to the identification of the gene affected in the common X-linked form of CGD without reference to its protein product. The X-CGD gene, assigned to chromosome position Xp21.1, encodes a phagocyte-specific RNA transcript that is mutated in patients with X-CGD. Antisera directed toward the predicted protein product of the X-CGD gene recognize a 90 kD membrane glycoprotein, which corresponds to the larger subunit of the phagocyte b-cytochrome heterodimer. The recent genetic and biochemical findings provide an explanation for the consistent absence of the b-cytochrome spectrum in X-CGD, and establish this cytochrome as an essential component of the phagocyte oxidase. The primary amino acid sequence of both the 90 kD b-cytochrome subunit and the 22 kD subunit (cloned as the cDNA using a specific antisera) have no significant similarity to other proteins, including previously studied cytochromes. As both subunits of the b-cytochrome heterodimer are absent in the X-CGD, despite a genetic deficiency of only the larger polypeptide, a close interaction between the two subunits may be important for b-cytochrome stability and function. Expression of the b-cytochrome large subunit mRNA is increased by interferon-gamma, an important macrophage activator. Partial or complete restoration of oxidase activity in some X-CGD patients treated with interferon-gamma suggests new therapeutic approaches in the management of this disorder. Molecular reagents prepared from the cloned X-CGD cDNA or gene may prove to be clinically useful in prenatal diagnosis and may provide a basis for somatic gene therapy in future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalImmunodeficiency Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

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