Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry

Functional analysis of novel splicing and missense mutations identified in the ASS1 gene in classical citrullinemia patients.

PMID 25179242


Classical citrullinemia (CTLN1) is an inborn error of the urea cycle caused by reduced/abolished activity of argininosuccinate synthetase due to mutations in the ASS1 gene. To determine the pathogenicity of novel variants detected in patients is often a huge challenge in molecular diagnosis. The purpose of our study was to characterize novel ASS1 gene mutations identified in CTLN1 patients. Exon trapping assay with pSPL3 was used to confirm splice aberrations while bioinformatics structural analysis predicted the possible effects of missense mutations. Novel donor site (c.174+1G>A) and missense (p.V141G) mutations were detected in a patient exhibiting a biochemical phenotype only. The splice mutation provoked exon skipping hence the truncated product. The mutation p.V141G, is predicted to disturb a hydrophobic pocket in the ATP binding domain in the ASS. Both mutations are predicted to lower binding of ATP. The second patient presented with early onset neonatal citrullinemia marked by an elevated biochemical profile and a clinical phenotype. Analysis revealed a donor site (c.773+1G>A) mutation leading to both exon skipping and intron retention. Subsequent introduction of premature stop codons would result in severely truncated products likely to be degraded. A previously reported R265C is predicted to distort the citrulline binding site. Three novel mutations are reported in this study. They expand the spectrum of genetic pathology underlying CTLN1. Overall this study provides new insight of CTLN1 and illustrates a comprehensive protocol investigating inborn errors of metabolism at the molecular level.