Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (RCDP) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized clinically by a disproportionately short stature primarily affecting the proximal parts of the extremities, typical dysmorphic facial appearance, congenital contractures and severe growth and mental retardation. Although some patients have single enzyme deficiencies, the majority of RCDP patients (86%) belong to a single complementation group (CG11, also known as complementation group I, Amsterdam nomenclature1). Cells from CG11 show a tetrad of biochemical abnormalities: a deficiency of i) dihydroxyacetonephosphate acyltransferase, ii) alkyldihydroxyacetonephosphate synthase, iii) phytanic acid α-oxidation and iv) inability to import peroxisomal thiolase. These deficiencies indicate involvement of a component required for correct targeting of these peroxisomal proteins. Deficiencies in peroxisomal targeting are also found in Saccharomyces cerevisiae pex5 and pex7 mutants2–6, which show differential protein import deficiencies corresponding to two peroxisomal targeting sequences (PTS1 and PTS2). These mutants lack their PTS1 and PTS2 receptors, respectively. Like S. cerevisiae pex7 cells, RCDP cells from CG11 cannot import a PTS2 reporter protein7. Here we report the cloning of PEX7 encoding the human PTS2 receptor, based on its similarity to two yeast orthologues. All RCDP patients from CG11 with detectable PEX7 mRNA were found to contain mutations in PEX7. A mutation resulting in C-terminal truncation of PEX7 cosegregates with the disease and expression of PEX7 in RCDP fibroblasts from CG11 rescues the PTS2 protein import deficiency. These findings prove that mutations in PEX7 cause RCDP,CG11.
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