Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by attacks of fever and serositis. In this paper, we define a minimal co-segregating region of 60 kb containing the FMF gene (MEFV) and identify four different transcript units within this region. One of these transcripts encodes a new protein (marenostrin) related to the ret-finger protein and to butyrophllin. Four conservative missense variations co-segregating with FMF have been found within the MEFV candidate gene in 85% of the carrier chromosomes. These variations, which cluster at the carboxy terminal domain of the protein, were not present in 308 control chromosomes, including 162 validated non-carriers. We therefore propose that the sequence alterations in the marenostrin protein are responsible for the FMF disease.
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