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Proc Natl Sci Counc Repub China B. 1993 Jul;17(3):98-102.

Dominance of the mutant ALDH2(2) allele in the expression of human stomach aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 activity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


About half of Chinese individuals lack mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) activity, which is responsible for the oxidation of acetaldehyde produced during ethanol metabolism. The ALDH2 deficiency in Chinese has been implicated in alcohol flush reaction and reported to be a negative risk factor for development of alcohol dependence. To assess the effects of inactive ALDH2 subunits, encoded by the mutant ALDH2(2) allele, on the catalytic activity of tetrameric enzyme molecules, we have phenotyped ALDH2 from 30 gastroendoscopic biopsies by using agarose isoelectric focusing and determined the genotypes from leukocytes of the same individuals by using polymerase-chain-reaction amplification and hybridization with allele-specific oligonucleotide probes. Sixteen subjects were homozygous for the ALDH2(1) allele, one was homozygous for ALDH2(2), and thirteen were the heterozygous genotype. None of the subjects with the mutant homozygotic and the heterozygotic genotypes exhibited the ALDH2 activity band or intermediate bands between ALDH2 and ALDH1 on isoelectric focusing gels. Our results support the notion that the mutant allele is dominant and that the heterotetrameric ALDH2 molecules containing the mutant subunits are enzymatically inactive or far less active.

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