American journal of human genetics

delta-Aminolevulinate dehydratase deficient porphyria: identification of the molecular lesions in a severely affected homozygote.

PMID 2063868


delta-Aminolevulinate dehydratase deficient porphyria, a recently recognized inborn error of heme biosynthesis, results from the markedly deficient activity of the heme biosynthetic enzyme, delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (ALA-D). The four homozygotes described to date with this disorder have remarkably distinct phenotypes, ranging from a severely affected infant with failure to thrive to an essentially asymptomatic 68-year-old male. To investigate the molecular nature of the lesions causing the severe infantile-onset form, total RNA was isolated from cultured lymphoblasts of the affected homozygote, RNA was reverse-transcribed to cDNA, and the 990-bp ALA-D-coding region was amplified by the PCR. Heterozygosity for an RsaI RFLP within the ALA-dehydratase-coding region permitted identification of the paternal and maternal mutant alleles prior to sequencing. The maternal mutation (designated G133R), a G-to-A transition of nucleotide 397, predicted a glycine-to-arginine substitution at residue 133 at the carboxyl end of the highly conserved zinc-binding site in the enzyme subunit. The G133R mutation created a PstI site and permitted the confirmation and rapid detection of this lesion in amplified genomic DNA from maternal relatives. The paternal mutation, a G-to-A transition of nucleotide 823, predicted a valine-to-methionine substitution of residue 275 (designated V275M). This mutation was confirmed in genomic DNA from family members by the competitive PCR technique. Both missense mutations, which occurred at CpG dinucleotides, resulted in the synthesis of enzyme subunits such that the activity of the homooctameric enzyme was markedly reduced, thereby causing the severe infantile-onset phenotype in the affected homozygote.