To investigate the molecular basis of the phenotypic heterogeneity in congenital erythropoietic porphyria, the mutations in the uroporphyrinogen III synthase gene from unrelated patients were determined. Six missense (L4F, Y19C, V82F, V99A, A104V, and G225S), a nonsense (Q249X), a frameshift (633insA), and two splicing mutations (IVS2+1 and IVS9 delta A + 4) were identified. When L4F, Y19C, V82F, V99A, A104V, 633insA, G225S, and Q249X were expressed in Escherichia coli, only the V82F, V99A, and A104V alleles expressed residual enzymatic activity. Of note, the V82F mutation, which occurs adjacent to the 5' donor site of intron 4, resulted in approximately 54% aberrantly spliced transcripts with exon 4 deleted. Thus, this novel exonic single-base substitution caused two lesions, a missense mutation and an aberrantly spliced transcript. Of the splicing mutations, the IVS2+1 allele produced a single transcript with exon 2 deleted, whereas the IVS9 delta A+4 allele was alternatively spliced, approximately 26% being normal transcripts and the remainder with exon 9 deleted. The amount of residual activity expressed by each allele provided a basis to correlate genotype with disease severity, thereby permitting genotype/phenotype predictions in this clinically heterogeneous disease.
W Xu, C A Warner, R J Desnick