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Clin Chim Acta. 2009 Mar;401(1-2):51-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2008.11.012. Epub 2008 Nov 21.

Identification of patients with abetalipoproteinemia and homozygous familial hypobetalipoproteinemia in Tunisia.

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  • 1Research Unit of Genetic and Biologic Factors of Atherosclerosis, Faculty of Medicine, Monastir, Tunisia.



Abetalipoproteinemia (ABL) and Homozygous Familial Hypobetalipoproteinemia (Ho-FHBL) are rare monogenic diseases characterised by very low plasma levels of cholesterol and triglyceride and the absence or a great reduction of apolipoprotein B (apoB)-containing lipoproteins. ABL results from mutations in the MTP gene; Ho-FHBL may be due to mutations in the APOB gene.


We sequenced MTP and APOB genes in three Tunisian children, born from consanguineous marriage, with very low levels of plasma apoB-containing lipoproteins associated with severe intestinal fat malabsorption.


Two of them were found to be homozygous for two novel mutations in intron 5 (c.619-3T>G) and in exon 8 (c.923 G>A) of the MTP gene, respectively. The c.619-3T>G substitution caused the formation of an abnormal mRNA devoid of exon 6, predicted to encode a truncated MTP of 233 amino acids. The c.923 G>A is a nonsense mutation resulting in a truncated MTP protein (p.W308X). The third patient was homozygous for a novel nucleotide deletion (c.2172delT) in exon 15 of APOB gene resulting in the formation of a truncated apoB of 706 amino acids (apoB-15.56).


These mutations are expected to abolish the apoB lipidation and the assembly of apoB-containing lipoproteins in both liver and intestine.

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