Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked disease characterized by thrombocytopenia, eczema, and various degrees of immune deficiency. Carriers of mutated WASP have nonrandom X chromosome inactivation in their blood cells and are disease-free. We report data on a 14-month-old girl with a history of WAS in her family who presented with thrombocytopenia, small platelets, and immunologic dysfunction. Sequencing of the WASP gene showed that the patient was heterozygous for the splice site mutation previously found in one of her relatives with WAS. Sequencing of all WASP exons revealed no other mutation. Levels of WASP in blood mononuclear cells were 60% of normal. Flow cytometry after intracellular staining of peripheral blood mononuclear cells with WASP monoclonal antibody revealed both WASPbright and WASPdim populations. X chromosome inactivation in the patient's blood cells was found to be random, demonstrating that both maternal and paternal active X chromosomes are present. These findings indicate that the female patient has a defect in the mechanisms that lead in diseasefree WAS carriers to preferential survival/proliferation of cells bearing the active wild-type X chromosome. Whereas the patient's lymphocytes are skewed toward WASPbright cells, about 65% of her monocytes and the majority of her B cells (CD19+) are WASPdim. Her naive T cells (CD3+CD45RA+) include WASPbright and WASPdim populations, but her memory T cells (CD3+CD45RA-) are all WASPbright. After activation in vitro of T cells, all cells exhibited CD3+CD45RA- phenotype and most were WASPbright with active paternal (wild-type) X chromosome, suggesting selection against the mutated WASP allele during terminal T-cell maturation/differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas