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Blood. 2000 Apr 1;95(7):2193-6.

A missense mutation in the heavy subunit of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase gene causes hemolytic anemia.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge University Hospital, Huddinge, Sweden.


gamma-Glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS) catalyzes the initial and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of glutathione. gamma-GCS consists of a heavy and a light subunit encoded by separate genes. Hereditary deficiency of GCS has been reported in 6 patients with hemolytic anemia and low erythrocyte levels of glutathione and gamma-glutamylcysteine. In addition, 2 patients also had generalized aminoaciduria and developed neurologic symptoms. We have examined a Dutch kindred with 1 suspected case of GCS deficiency. The proband was a 68-year-old woman with a history of transient jaundice and compensated hemolytic anemia. One of her grandchildren was also GCS deficient; he was 11 years old and had a history of neonatal jaundice. The enzyme defect was confirmed and GCS activity was found to be less than 2% of normal in the erythrocytes of both patients. The complementary DNA (cDNA) for the heavy subunit of GCS was sequenced in these patients and in several members of the family. The proband and her GCS- deficient grandson were identified as homozygous for a 473C-->T substitution, changing codon 158 from CCC for proline into CTC for leucine. Several family members with half-normal GCS activity in their erythrocytes were heterozygous for the mutation.

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