McLeod Syndrome via the XK Gene

  • Summary and Pricing
  • Clinical Features and Genetics
  • Citations
  • Methods
  • Ordering/Specimens
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Test Code Test Copy GenesIndividual Gene PriceCPT Code Copy CPT Codes
1716 XK$610.00 81479 Add to Order
Targeted Testing

For ordering targeted known variants, please proceed to our Targeted Variants landing page.

Turnaround Time

The great majority of tests are completed within 18 days.

Clinical Sensitivity

Mutations in the XK gene are the only reported cause of MLS. In a study of 22 MLS patients, XK mutations were found in each case with one patient exhibiting a deletion of the entire gene (Danek et al. 2001). Analytical sensitivity is >85% for detection of causative mutations in the XK gene. Gross deletions have been reported in a minority of cases (Peng et al. 2007; Danek et al. 2001).

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Deletion/Duplication Testing via aCGH

Test Code Test Copy GenesIndividual Gene PriceCPT Code Copy CPT Codes
600 XK$690.00 81479 Add to Order
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Turnaround Time

The great majority of tests are completed within 28 days.

Clinical Features

McLeod Syndrome (MLS) is a progressive multi-system disorder with hematologic, neuromuscular, and central nervous system involvement. MLS is a subtype of neuroacanthocytosis syndrome which is characterized by degeneration of the basal ganglia leading to motor, cognitive, and psychiatric impairment. Acanthocytosis, spike protrusions in erythrocytes, is typically the first indication of MLS and present in asymptomatic individuals. Onset of neurological symptoms such as chorea, involuntary movements, and vocalizations ranges from 25-60 years old with disease duration potentially extending beyond 30 years. Psychiatric manifestations include depression, schizophrenia-like psychosis and obsessive compulsive disorder which typically presents prior to motor and cognitive dysfunction. About 60% of patients develop cardiomyopathy which is the leading cause of death in individuals with MLS (Danek et al. 2001; Jung et al. 2011; Jung et al. 2004). Genetic testing is helpful in the differential diagnosis of MLS from Huntington’s disease and other neuroacanthocytosis syndromes including Chorea-acanthocytosis, Huntington’s disease-like 2 and pantothenate kinase associated neurodegeneration (Jung et al. 2011).


MLS is inherited in an X-linked recessive manner with complete penetrance through mutations in the XK gene. Males are predominantly affected, however, there have been rare instances of heterozygous females presenting with MLS (Ho et al. 1996). Most pathogenic mutations to date are null mutations including nonsense, splice site alterations, small insertions/deletions, and gross deletions which have been reported throughout the XK gene (Danek et al. 2001; Ho et al. 1994; Jung et al. 2004). MLS has also been reported to be part of a contiguous gene syndrome including chronic granulomatous disease (CYBB), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and retinitis pigmentosa (RPGR) (Peng et al. 2007). Mutations in the XK gene lead to loss of or truncation of the XK protein Kell binding domain. This interaction is important for surface expression of Kell antigens which are important determinants of blood type (Ho et al. 1994). The exact function of XK is unknown but studies of an analogous C. elegans gene, ced-8, suggest it may be involved in regulating apoptosis (Stanfield et al. 2000).

Testing Strategy

This test involves bidirectional sequencing using genomic DNA of all coding exons of the XK gene plus ~20 bp of flanking non-coding DNA on each side. We will also sequence any single exon (Test #100) or pair of exons (Test #200) in family members of patients with known mutations or to confirm research results.

Indications for Test

Patients with clinical features consistent with McLeod Syndrome including choreiform movements, peripheral neuropathy with areflexia, and cognitive impairment are candidates for testing. Common laboratory findings include weak to no Kell antisera reaction, acanthocytes, elevated serum creatine kinase (300-3000U/L), and MR imaging displaying progressive atrophy of the caudate nucleus (Danek et al. 2001; Jung et al. 2011; Jung et al. 2004).


Official Gene Symbol OMIM ID
XK 314850
Inheritance Abbreviation
Autosomal Dominant AD
Autosomal Recessive AR
X-Linked XL
Mitochondrial MT


Name Inheritance OMIM ID
McLeod Syndrome 300842


Genetic Counselors
  • Danek A, Rubio JP, Rampoldi L, Ho M, Dobson-Stone C, Tison F, Symmans WA, Oechsner M, Kalckreuth W, Watt JM, Corbett AJ, Hamdalla HHM, Marshall AG, Sutton I, Dotti MT, Malandrini A, Walker RH, Daniels G, Monaco AP. 2001. McLeod neuroacanthocytosis: Genotype and phenotype. Annals of Neurology 50: 755–764. PubMed ID: 11761473
  • Ho M, Chelly J, Carter N, Danek A, Crocker P, Monaco AP. 1994. Isolation of the gene for McLeod syndrome that encodes a novel membrane transport protein. Cell 77: 869–880. PubMed ID: 8004674
  • Ho MF, Chalmers RM, Davis MB, Harding AE, Monaco AP. 1996. A novel point mutation in the McLeod syndrome gene in neuroacanthocytosis. Annals of neurology 39: 672–675. PubMed ID: 8619554
  • Jung HH, Danek A, Walker RH, Frey BM, Gassner C. 2004. McLeod Neuroacanthocytosis Syndrome. In: Pagon RA, Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Bird TD, Dolan CR, Fong C-T, Smith RJ, and Stephens K, editors. GeneReviews(®), Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle. PubMed ID: 20301528
  • Jung HH, Danek A, Walker RH. 2011. Neuroacanthocytosis syndromes. Orphanet J Rare Dis 6: 68. PubMed ID: 22027213
  • Peng J, Redman CM, Wu X, Song X, Walker RH, Westhoff CM, Lee S. 2007. Insights into extensive deletions around the XK locus associated with McLeod phenotype and characterization of two novel cases. Gene 392: 142–150. PubMed ID: 17300882
  • Stanfield GM, Horvitz HR. 2000. The ced-8 Gene Controls the Timing of Programmed Cell Deaths in C. elegans. Molecular cell 5: 423–433. PubMed ID: 10882128
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Bi-Directional Sanger Sequencing

Test Procedure

Nomenclature for sequence variants was from the Human Genome Variation Society (  As required, DNA is extracted from the patient specimen.  PCR is used to amplify the indicated exons plus additional flanking non-coding sequence.  After cleaning of the PCR products, cycle sequencing is carried out using the ABI Big Dye Terminator v.3.0 kit.  Products are resolved by electrophoresis on an ABI 3730xl capillary sequencer.  In most cases, sequencing is performed in both forward and reverse directions; in some cases, sequencing is performed twice in either the forward or reverse directions.  In nearly all cases, the full coding region of each exon as well as 20 bases of non-coding DNA flanking the exon are sequenced.

Analytical Validity

As of March 2016, we compared 17.37 Mb of Sanger DNA sequence generated at PreventionGenetics to NextGen sequence generated in other labs. We detected only 4 errors in our Sanger sequences, and these were all due to allele dropout during PCR. For Proficiency Testing, both external and internal, in the 12 years of our lab operation we have Sanger sequenced roughly 8,800 PCR amplicons. Only one error has been identified, and this was due to sequence analysis error.

Our Sanger sequencing is capable of detecting virtually all nucleotide substitutions within the PCR amplicons. Similarly, we detect essentially all heterozygous or homozygous deletions within the amplicons. Homozygous deletions which overlap one or more PCR primer annealing sites are detectable as PCR failure. Heterozygous deletions which overlap one or more PCR primer annealing sites are usually not detected (see Analytical Limitations). All heterozygous insertions within the amplicons up to about 100 nucleotides in length appear to be detectable. Larger heterozygous insertions may not be detected. All homozygous insertions within the amplicons up to about 300 nucleotides in length appear to be detectable. Larger homozygous insertions may masquerade as homozygous deletions (PCR failure).

Analytical Limitations

In exons where our sequencing did not reveal any variation between the two alleles, we cannot be certain that we were able to PCR amplify both of the patient’s alleles. Occasionally, a patient may carry an allele which does not amplify, due for example to a deletion or a large insertion. In these cases, the report contains no information about the second allele.

Similarly, our sequencing tests have almost no power to detect duplications, triplications, etc. of the gene sequences.

In most cases, only the indicated exons and roughly 20 bp of flanking non-coding sequence on each side are analyzed. Test reports contain little or no information about other portions of the gene, including many regulatory regions.

In nearly all cases, we are unable to determine the phase of sequence variants. In particular, when we find two likely causative mutations for recessive disorders, we cannot be certain that the mutations are on different alleles.

Our ability to detect minor sequence variants, due for example to somatic mosaicism is limited. Sequence variants that are present in less than 50% of the patient’s nucleated cells may not be detected.

Runs of mononucleotide repeats (eg (A)n or (T)n) with n >8 in the reference sequence are generally not analyzed because of strand slippage during PCR and cycle sequencing.

Unless otherwise indicated, the sequence data that we report are based on DNA isolated from a specific tissue (usually leukocytes). Test reports contain no information about gene sequences in other tissues.

Deletion/Duplication Testing via Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization

Test Procedure

Equal amounts of genomic DNA from the patient and a gender matched reference sample are amplified and labeled with Cy3 and Cy5 dyes, respectively. To prevent any sample cross contamination, a unique sample tracking control is added into each patient sample. Each labeled patient product is then purified, quantified, and combined with the same amount of reference product. The combined sample is loaded onto the designed array and hybridized for at least 22-42 hours at 65°C. Arrays are then washed and scanned immediately with 2.5 µM resolution. Only data for the gene(s) of interest for each patient are extracted and analyzed.

Analytical Validity

PreventionGenetics' high density gene-centric custom designed aCGH enables the detection of relatively small deletions and duplications within a single exon of a given gene or deletions and duplications encompassing the entire gene. PreventionGenetics has established and verified this test's accuracy and precision.

Analytical Limitations

Our dense probe coverage may allow detection of deletions/duplications down to 100 bp; however due to limitations and probe spacing this cannot be guaranteed across all exons of all genes. Therefore, some copy number changes smaller than 100-300 bp within a targeted large exon may not be detected by our array.

This array may not detect deletions and duplications present at low levels of mosaicism or those present in genes that have pseudogene copies or repeats elsewhere in the genome.

aCGH will not detect balanced translocations, inversions, or point mutations that may be responsible for the clinical phenotype.

Breakpoints, if occurring outside the targeted gene, may be hard to define.

The sensitivity of this assay may be reduced when DNA is extracted by an outside laboratory.

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Ordering Options

myPrevent - Online Ordering
  • The test can be added to your online orders in the Summary and Pricing section.
  • Once the test has been added log in to myPrevent to fill out an online requisition form.
  • A completed requisition form must accompany all specimens.
  • Billing information along with specimen and shipping instructions are within the requisition form.
  • All testing must be ordered by a qualified healthcare provider.


(Delivery accepted Monday - Saturday)

  • Collect 3 ml -5 ml (5 ml preferred) of whole blood in EDTA (purple top tube) or ACD (yellow top tube). For Test #500-DNA Banking only, collect 10 ml -20 ml of whole blood.
  • For small babies, we require a minimum of 1 ml of blood.
  • Only one blood tube is required for multiple tests.
  • Ship blood tubes at room temperature in an insulated container. Do not freeze blood.
  • During hot weather, include a frozen ice pack in the shipping container. Place a paper towel or other thin material between the ice pack and the blood tube.
  • In cold weather, include an unfrozen ice pack in the shipping container as insulation.
  • At room temperature, blood specimen is stable for up to 48 hours.
  • If refrigerated, blood specimen is stable for up to one week.
  • Label the tube with the patient name, date of birth and/or ID number.


(Delivery accepted Monday - Saturday)

  • Send in screw cap tube at least 5 µg -10 µg of purified DNA at a concentration of at least 20 µg/ml for NGS and Sanger tests and at least 5 µg of purified DNA at a concentration of at least 100 µg/ml for gene-centric aCGH, MLPA, and CMA tests, minimum 2 µg for limited specimens.
  • For requests requiring more than one test, send an additional 5 µg DNA per test ordered when possible.
  • DNA may be shipped at room temperature.
  • Label the tube with the composition of the solute, DNA concentration as well as the patient’s name, date of birth, and/or ID number.
  • We only accept genomic DNA for testing. We do NOT accept products of whole genome amplification reactions or other amplification reactions.


(Delivery preferred Monday - Thursday)

  • PreventionGenetics should be notified in advance of arrival of a cell culture.
  • Culture and send at least two T25 flasks of confluent cells.
  • Some panels may require additional flasks (dependent on size of genes, amount of Sanger sequencing required, etc.). Multiple test requests may also require additional flasks. Please contact us for details.
  • Send specimens in insulated, shatterproof container overnight.
  • Cell cultures may be shipped at room temperature or refrigerated.
  • Label the flasks with the patient name, date of birth, and/or ID number.
  • We strongly recommend maintaining a local back-up culture. We do not culture cells.
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