Recently, we demonstrated a previously unknown high rate of de novo mutations of the androgen receptor (AR) gene in androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) with some resulting in somatic mosaicism of mutant and wild type AR alleles. However, data on the genotype-phenotype relationship in the latter patients are sparse. We present here a 46,XY newborn with ambiguous genitalia carrying a mosaic of an 866 GTG (Val) → ATG (Met) mutation with the wild type AR gene. This mutation has usually been associated with complete AIS. Accordingly, we found markedly impaired transactivation due to the mutant Met866 AR. Essential information arose from Scatchard analysis of methyltrienolone binding on cultured genital skin fibroblasts. We demonstrated for the first time the expression of two functionally different ARs (K(d)1: 5.58 nM = mutant, K(d)2: 0.06 nM = wild type) in one AIS individual. This finding not only represents an important confirmation for the presence of the somatic mosaicism in the patient, it also indicates the most likely molecular mechanism responsible for the unexpectedly strong virilization of the patient: Androgen action through the wild type AR expressed by part of the somatic cells. Conclusions: The present case clearly demonstrates the molecular mechanism by which somatic mosaicism of the androgen receptor gene can modulate in vivo androgen action. It underlines the importance of particular notice on somatic mosaicism in all androgen insensitivity syndrome patients carrying de novo mutations of the androgen receptor gene.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)