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Molecular characterization of Tunisian families with abetalipoproteinemia and identification of a novel mutation in MTTP gene

Mohamed Najah1*, Sarraj Mohamed Youssef1, Hrira Mohamed Yahia2, Slimani Afef1, Jelassi Awatef1, Hammami Saber3, Najjar Mohamed Fadhel4, Agnès Sassolas5 and Slimane Mohamed Naceur1*

Author Affiliations

1 Research Unit: UR 12ES09 Dyslipidemia and Atherogenesis, Faculty of Medicine, Monastir, Tunisia

2 Research Unit 07/UR/06, Faculty of Pharmacy, Monastir, Tunisia

3 Faculty of Medicine, Monastir, Pediatric Service, University Hospital of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia

4 Laboratory of Biochemistry and Toxicology of the University Hospital of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia

5 NSERM U1060 CarMeN, University of Lyon, Lyon, France

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:54  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-54

Published: 4 April 2013



Abetalipoproteinemia (ABL; OMIM 200100) is a rare monogenic disorder of lipid metabolism characterized by reduced plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and almost complete absence of apolipoprotein B (apoB). ABL results from genetic deficiency in microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP; OMIM 157147). In the present study we investigated two unrelated Tunisian patients, born from consanguineous marriages, with severe deficiency of plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and apo B.


Intestinal biopsies were performed and The MTTP gene was amplified by Polymerase chain reaction then directly sequenced in patients presenting chronic diarrhea and retarded growth.


First proband was homozygous for a novel nucleotide deletion (c. 2611delC) involving the exon 18 of MTTP gene predicted to cause a non functional protein of 898 amino acids (p.H871I fsX29). Second proband was homozygous for a nonsense mutation in exon 8 (c.923 G > A) predicted to cause a truncated protein of 307 amino acids (p.W308X), previously reported in ABL patients.


We discovered a novel mutation in MTTP gene and we confirmed the diagnosis of abetalipoproteinemia in new Tunisian families.

Virtual slides

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Abetalipoproteinemia; Tunisian children; Mutations; MTTP gene