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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Nov 1;88(21):9853-7.

Genetic variants of serum albumin in Americans and Japanese.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


A collaborative search for albumin genetic variants (alloalbumins) was undertaken by cellulose acetate and agarose electrophoresis at pH 8.6 of the sera of patients at two major medical centers in the United States and of nearly 20,000 blood donors in Japan. Seventeen instances of alloalbuminemia were ascertained, and seven different alloalbumin types were characterized by structural study. Two previously unreported alloalbumin types were identified. In one type, which was present in a Caucasian family and designated Iowa City-1, aspartic acid at position 365 was replaced by valine (365 Asp----Val); this is the second reported mutation at this position. The other type present in a Japanese blood donor had the mutation 128 His----Arg. An unexpected finding was the presence in a single Japanese of a Naskapi-type alloalbumin (372 Lys----Glu), a variant that had previously been described only for certain Amerindian tribes in whom it occurs with a polymorphic frequency (greater than 1%) and in Eti Turks. An arginyl-albumin (-1 Arg, 1 Asp----Val) occurred in an American family. The other alloalbumin types identified were proalbumins Lille and Christchurch and albumin B that have a cumulative frequency of about 1:3500 in Caucasians probably because of the hypermutability of CpG dinucleotides at the mutated sites. All of the variants characterized in this study are point mutants, and the sites are spread throughout the albumin gene. However, about one-fourth of all known albumin mutations are clustered in the sequence segment from position 354 through 382.

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