Screening of the glucocerebrosidase (GBA) gene in South Africans of African ancestry with Parkinson's disease

Amokelani C. Mahungu, David G. Anderson, Anastasia C. Rossouw, Riaan van Coller, Jonathan A. Carr, Owen A. Ross, Soraya Bardien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sequence variants in glucocerebrosidase (GBA) are a major genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD), and display ethnic-dependent frequencies, for example, variants such as p.N370S and 84insGG are common in Ashkenazi Jewish patients. Notably, there are limited studies on black patients from the African continent; hence, we conducted a study on 30 South African black PD patients. All 11 exons of GBA were screened using a nested PCR approach to avoid pseudogene contamination. We identified previously described Gaucher's disease–associated variants, p.R120W in one patient [age at onset (AAO) of 35 years], and p.R131L in another patient (AAO 30 years) and in her affected sibling (AAO 45 years). In addition, we found 3 previously identified [p.K(-27)R, p.T36del, and p.Q497*] and 2 novel (p.F216L and p.G478R) variants. Screening of ethnic-matched controls for the novel variants revealed that the allele frequency of p.F216L was 9.9%, whereas p.G478R was not found in the controls. Studies such as these are important and necessary to reveal the genetic architecture underlying PD in the understudied patients of African ancestry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156.e11-156.e14
JournalNeurobiology of aging
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • African ancestry
  • GBA variants
  • Glucocerebrosidase
  • Parkinson's disease
  • South African

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Developmental Biology


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