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Research Article

Uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase: a splice site mutation causes the deletion of exon 6 in multiple families with porphyria cutanea tarda.

J R Garey, L M Harrison, K F Franklin, K M Metcalf, E S Radisky and J P Kushner

Division of Hematology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City 84132.

Published November 1990

Uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (URO-D) is a cytosolic heme-biosynthetic enzyme that converts uroporphyrinogen to coproporphyrinogen. Defects at the uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase locus cause the human genetic disease familial porphyria cutanea tarda. A splice site mutation has been found in a pedigree with familial porphyria cutanea tarda that causes exon 6 to be deleted from the mRNA. The intron/exon junctions on either side of exon 6 fall between codons, so the resulting protein is shorter than the normal protein, missing only the amino acids coded by exon 6. The shortened protein lacks catalytic activity, is rapidly degraded when exposed to human lymphocyte lysates, and is not detectable by Western blot analysis in lymphocyte lysates derived from affected individuals. The mutation was detected in five of 22 unrelated familial porphyria cutanea tarda pedigrees tested, so it appears to be common. This is the first splice site mutation to be found at the URO-D locus, and the first mutation that causes familial porphyria cutanea tarda to be found in more than one pedigree.

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