Widening the spectrum of deletions and molecular mechanisms underlying alpha-thalassemia

J. Ferrão, M. Silva, Lúcia Gonçalves, S. Gomes, P. Loureiro, A. Coelho, A. Miranda, F. Seuanes, A.B. Reis, F. Pina, R. Maia, P. Kjöllerström, E. Monteiro, J.F. Lacerda, J. Lavinha, J. Gonçalves, P. Faustino

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Inherited deletions of α-globin genes and/or their upstream regulatory elements (MCSs) give rise to α-thalassemia, an autosomal recessive microcytic hypochromic anemia. In this study, multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification performed with commercial and synthetic engineered probes, Gap-PCR, and DNA sequencing were used to characterize lesions in the sub-telomeric region of the short arm of chromosome 16, possibly explaining the α-thalassemia/HbH disease phenotype in ten patients. We have found six different deletions, in heterozygosity, ranging from approximately 3.3 to 323 kb, two of them not previously described. The deletions fall into two categories: one includes deletions which totally remove the α-globin gene cluster, whereas the other includes deletions removing only the distal regulatory elements and keeping the α-globin genes structurally intact. An indel was observed in one patient involving the loss of the MCS-R2 and the insertion of 39 bp originated from a complex rearrangement spanning the deletion breakpoints. Finally, in another case, no α-globin gene cluster deletion was found and the patient revealed to be a very unusual case of acquired α-thalassemia-myelodysplastic syndrome. This study further illustrates the diversity of genomic lesions and underlying molecular mechanisms leading to α-thalassemia. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1921-1929
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals Of Hematology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Acquired HbH
  • Alpha-thalassemia
  • MLPA
  • Novel deletions


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